You have made the decision to buy a house – congratulations! There are a few things you should do first in preparing to buy a house. Buying a house is a big step, it’s also a very exciting and probably a little scary too. Preparing to buy a house in advance will help insure your transaction will go smoothly and have less complications along the way.
One of the first things you should do is write out a list of what your needs are for your new home. Write out what the must have’s are and what the desirable items are. Think about what amenities you want in a neighborhood. Do you even want a neighborhood or do you want outside of a neighborhood? Be clear on your list as to what is a “need” and what is a “want”.
The next thing you should do is talk to a reputable lender. Find out what types of mortgages are available, if you qualify for a loan and if so, for how much. Remember too that just because you qualify for a certain amount doesn’t mean you have to buy a home that expensive. You can always buy down but the lender will let you know what your maximum purchase price should be. It is important not to overstep your comfort level and make sure you can actually make your payments without straining yourself too bad. Different lenders will offer different products. It’s not a bad idea to talk to several and know what is best for your situation. If you need assistance with locating a reputable lender, contact us and we’ll be glad to put you in touch with one. We work with several lenders here in the Mooresville and Lake Norman areas and we know that we can count on them for trust and reliability.
Next you want to contact a great real estate agent, like Lisa Alford with Alford Realty Group to get you started on finding the right home. Don’t count on all those commercial real estate sites to search for your home. Agents get calls constantly on houses that sold 2 years ago or more because they saw it today on Z, T or some other commercial site. You want an expert helping you because we can get an idea of what you are looking for and narrow down the search field for you. And we have accurate, up to date information on what is on the market.
After finding several homes to go and see, we will make appointments to go and look at them. You should take your list (mentioned above) with you and check it off as you go through the home. Ask the agent about the type of heating, if there is central air, the amenities you desired and any other questions you may have at that time. Your agent is a great resource of information and is there to make sure you get all of your questions answered.
When you have found a home that you really like and would like to make it your own, let your agent know you would like to make an offer. Ask your agent to work up the comps (comparable sold properties) and let you know how that home stands in it’s price. Ask your agent if it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. The comps and the type of market you are in will greatly determine where you want to start off in your offering price for the home. If it’s a buyer’s market, you can offer lower and stand a better change of getting a lower price. If it’s a seller’s market however, you will want to offer a higher amount (closer to the asking price). Many times in a hot seller’s market it can go into a bidding war which is when two bids come in at about the same time and the seller asks them both to come back with their “highest and best offer”. You really need to find out from your agent what the local market is and what they would recommend. Remember that your agent works in the market everyday and understands what is going on. Also remember that (generally speaking) your agent has your best interests at heart. They want to see you get a house at the best price they can get for you. Your agent can also advise you on other negotiating tactics like closing costs, earnest money, due diligence money, etc. There is more than one negotiating tool that we agents use to help our buyers get the best deal.
Hopefully, after this point your agent will have negotiated out a good price and good terms for your new home and you will be under way to becoming a happy homeowner. Your agent will guide you through the inspections and negotiations on repairs. Your agent and lender will help you with making sure everything is lining up good for the closing. There are additional items that you will need to be getting into place between contract and closing time such as insurance, movers, etc and your agent should be able to help direct you with some of that.
If you are looking to purchase a home in the Mooresville, Charlotte or greater Lake Norman area, please contact us today. We’ll be more than happy to help you on your way to becoming a happy homeowner!