In the typical residential real estate transaction in North Carolina, a buyer offers to purchase property from a seller. After negotiating the price and terms, the buyer and seller sign an offer to purchase and contract, and the buyer gives the seller (or the seller's agent) an earnest money deposit to show good faith in the transaction.
A real estate "closing" is the final step in the transaction. At closing, the buyer pays the purchase price to the seller (usually with the proceeds from a loan), and the seller gives the buyer a deed transferring title to the property to the buyer. Also, funds are paid to an appraiser, home inspector, and/or other service providers, and to pay off banks or others who may have claims against the property.