Let's start with some basics, then I can help you figure out the right way to move forward in your house hunt!
So, you want to buy a house—now what? The first time buying a home is an emotional, exciting, and also exhausting experience. Even if you've purchased before, buying in North Carolina may be a completely different experience. You may also be wondering along the way—what am I missing? This is a common question. Here’s how the buying process works from start to finish.
Do some preliminary online searching. Check into what homes are selling for in the areas you’re interested in to give you an idea of what you’re looking for. This will help later on when communicating your wish list with your real estate agent.
Take care of the budget. Use an online mortgage calculator to determine what your monthly mortgage payment would be if you were to purchase one of these homes you’ve found online. Make some additional estimates for utilities and see if this fits into your budget.
Get pre-approved. To get pre-approved for a mortgage you’ll need to get some paperwork ready: pay stubs, W-2s, bank account statements, tax returns for the past two years, and credit lines, and names and addresses of your landlords for the past two years. When you're shopping for lenders, there are many factors to consider. More on that on our "Finding the Right Lender" page. Also, consider the amount your lender approves you for as a maximum – this is by no means what you should spend.
Find an agent. A good real estate agent will help you navigate the process every step of the way, they have knowledge of the market area, experience, and will communicate with you. Honesty and communication are vital to this process! Fortunately, I know where you can find a good agent. 😉
Look at homes. Be patient at this stage. Your real estate agent may show you a variety of homes to get your reaction on features they think you’ll like. Give your agent detailed feedback so they can show you homes that are perfectly suited to you. Also, make sure you let friends and family know you’re looking for a new home--you may even find out about an amazing home before it hits the market.
Make an offer. Once you’ve found your home, you may want to move quickly. Your agent will guide you on a reasonable first offer to start negotiations based on market conditions. Also, make sure you consider closing costs which could account for 2-5% of the home price. There are other terms to consider as well, which your agent will review with you prior to making your offer.
Negotiate. Prepare to go back and forth with the seller a few times on price and selling conditions. Your real estate agent will be your advocate here and try to get you, their client as much as possible for your money while being fair and respectful to the seller and their real estate agent. The amount of negotiation needed will directly correlate to market conditions- right now we're in a "seller's market" which means buyer's and buyers' agents have less leverage in negotiations.
An accepted offer. Pop the champagne! When you reach an agreement, you’ll pay a due diligence fee and, possibly an earnest money deposit immediately. The standard closing time in our market is 30 to 45 days, while the first week or two (varies based on contract) are your "due diligence period". During this time, the seller takes the house off the market while you complete inspections with the contractual expectation that you’ll purchase the house.
Do a home inspection. Even if the home appears to be flawless, there’s no substitute for having a professional inspector review the property for quality, safety, and general condition of your potential home. You don’t want to be surprised with a home that needs a lot of major unexpected repairs. If the inspection reveals undisclosed serious defects, you can negotiate further to have the seller make repairs or discount the selling price. You’ll also likely have the option to withdraw your offer and get your earnest money deposit back, bearing in mind the due diligence fee paid will not be returned.
Closing & Settlement. When your negotiations with the seller are successful, the inspection and appraisal have come back,
the attorney's office and your lender have prepared final documents which have been reviewed and approved, you will be ready to close. At your closing, you’ll spend a little over an hour signing lots of paperwork, but we still won't be done! (Thanks North Carolina...) After signing, the attorney's office will file the paperwork with your lender for final approval and funding. From there, your deed will be sent to the county courthouse electronically where it will be recorded. Once your deed is recorded, you will be given the keys to your new home! The process between signing paperwork at your closing and settlement when the deed is recorded typically takes less than a day. NOW you're done! Congratulations homeowner!
Start your home search here
Here, you can search all homes in our market, active and pending. You can narrow your search by location, price point, and different home features. For a more personalized search, contact me to help you set it up.