Buying a home is a process; a series of events. Sometimes the process only takes a few weeks and for others it can take months. But no matter which time frame you fall into, it can be a complicated process to try and do on your own.
Determine Your Price Range and Get Pre-Qualified
If you do not have a lender that you trust, talk to us. We'll help you find a lender that you are comfortable with and one that has the ability to get transactions closed in a timely manner. You also want a lender that has a wide variety of loan programs available for you to choose from. You need to consider how long you plan to keep the home, if you are eligible for any government backed loans, how much down payment money you have, and what your credit rating and debt ratio is. Many mortgage companies and banks are competitive when it comes to interest rates and the various fees that they charge. Any lender you speak with should be able to provide you with a Closing Disclosure summary. This breaks down all of the fees, closing costs and expenses associated with closing on a home. It is not enough to simply compare interest rates. In addition, lenders are now required to guarantee that these fees and expenses do not vary much from what they originally told you. It pays to shop for a mortgage!
Determining how much home you can comfortably afford is crucial before you go out and begin looking at homes to purchase. Many sellers require that buyers submit a prequalification letter with an offer to purchase. Thus it is important to visit a lender and have them provide you with a letter stating that they have reviewed your ability to afford a loan. For more detailed information on the various types of loans available, see Mortgage Financing.
Find Your Dream Home
Hire a Buyer's Agent! It is important to understand the various types of agency in North Carolina. See our section on Buyer Agency and discover how a professional, experienced real estate broker can save you money and time. Depending on the market, you may need to act fast and this requires the support of someone working on your behalf.
The only way to learn the market is to see homes first hand and compare them. Our job as your buyer agent is to help you get the best price, terms and conditions possible. We also want to ensure that you are investing wisely. Remember: we may have to sell this home for you down the road when you are ready to relocate to another property!
Submit an Offer to Purchase/Negotiations
Again: Hire a Buyer's Agent! Do not attempt to navigate this difficult process on your own. As professional, experienced agents we know the market, the ever-changing forms and addenda that are required, and we can prepare you for any potential obstacles that you may face. Before you write the offer, as your Buyer's Agent, we will show you what the fair market value is of similar homes to the one you are considering. In addition we will review and explain all disclosures associated with the property and the neighborhood. Everything you need to write an offer on the home you are considering. Once the Offer to Purchase and Contract is submitted to the seller, the negotiations begin. We will work to negotiate on your behalf and get you the best deal we can. Only you can decide if the terms are acceptable.
Due Diligence to Close
At this point, your offer has been accepted and the due diligence period begins. This is the time that you do your inspections, get your financing in order and anything else you need to do to determine if you want to go through with the purchase.
A home inspection will provide you the details and nuances of the home's condition and maintenance issues. Home inspectors don't just look for things that need fixing, they also look to understand the home's systems and features, as well as to point out areas that will require ongoing maintenance, and indicating where you should have specialists further inspect items of concern. Most home inspectors create detailed electronic reports complete with color photos and resources for further information. This report can help you negotiate with the seller to have them perform repairs prior to close or provide compensation for repairs.
In addition to inspections, you should be working with your lender to secure your financing. The lender will require a lot of documentation regarding your income, credit rating, work history, tax returns and more. They will also order an appraisal of the property to determine its value in relationship to the loan amount. You may want to order an official survey as well. You will need to hire a real estate attorney to prepare the closing documents, complete a title search and conduct the actual closing settlement. We can assist you with all of these details from recommending a qualified inspector to communicating with the lender and attorney to coordinate all your paperwork. Once the due diligence period expires, you cannot easily terminate the contract and get your earnest money back. It is important to pay attention to this date and act accordingly. Again, as your professional Buyer's Agent we have experience with this and can advise you along the way.
Once the closing attorney has completed the settlement, disbursed all the money and recorded the new deed in your name, the property is yours. Congratulations on your new home!