Buying a home in North Carolina can come with just as much excitement as it does nervousness. No matter how much of a dream your home can be, it can easily curdle to a nightmare if you do not take steps to protect yourself.

Angie’s List lays out several measures to take during the homebuying process. Take note of how to safeguard your money, your time and your sanity.

Be selective in your choice of lender

Your lender does much more than secure you with the finances necessary to buy your home. For instance, your lending company could appraise the property. If it does, a currently licensed contractor should handle that appraisal. If your lender opts to not have a licensed or certified contractor handle the appraisal, paying for one out of your own pocket is sure to be worth it.

Do your homework. Twice

You can expect to work with a title company that looks into the house’s background regarding past owners, electrical wiring, plumbing, title documents and the like. You may want to do some digging yourself, just to be on the safe side. Work with your real estate agent to double-check and ensure the title company did a thorough investigation; you do not want to find out the hard way the title company missed something.

Look into earnest money

To show you are serious about buying a home, and to elbow out other interested buyers, you can put down an earnest money deposit. Talk with your real estate agent and the seller about how much you should put down for this deposit and if there is a mutual release that you have to sign.

Pay for a home inspection

Even after the home appraisal, you should go the extra mile and have the property looked over by a professional inspector. Inspectors know about hidden issues that are not always apparent during an appraisal or a basic visual inspection.