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Buyers Guide

Welcome to Phoenix Realty

Serving the triangle area which includes Wake County, Orange County, Durham County, and Chatham County. Specific cities are Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, Pittsboro, Hillsoboro.

Planning to Purchase a Home

Before spending your precious time looking for your dream home, consider the following questions.  The process of answering them will help you better understand what you what/where/when/how you might obtain your dream home.

1.  How much can I afford? 

Everyone has a different threshold to their spending, but if you are to borrow money from the bank, where most do, it does not matter your spending limits.  The bank, or the lender, will determine what you can borrow.  Contact a broker or a bank and ask for a pre-approval letter.  Your real estate agent should also be able to point you to good mortgage brokers/lenders who can help. 

 2. Where do you want to live?

Remember, buying a house is more than picking the house you want.  For many, it entails these factors:

  1. Good school
  2. Proximity to work & your community
  3. Type of neighborhood
  4. Convenient to family & friends.

 3. When do you plan to move?

Ideally, when do you plan to move if the right house is found?  If you have only a 30-60 days window to move, this should invite you to move quickly to identify the neighborhoods/area you want to be purchase and with an assistance of an agent, screen out the available homes.  A 30-day closing is average assuming you are borrowing money from the bank.  Hence, this leaves you 4-5 weeks to have an accepted offer contract.  If your move window much larger and/or flexible, this invites a different approach – more strategy like, careful planning, and if appropriate screen the market online saving time.  Your agent should help you plan out the plan to best fit your needs and schedule.

Things NOT To Do Before Purchasing a Home

No Major Purchase of Any Kind

Any purchase that creates a debt of any kind is a flag. This includes furniture, appliances, electronic equipment, jewelry, vacations, expensive wedding, and automobiles.

Don’t Move Money Around

When a lender reviews your loan package for approval, one of the things they are concerned about is the source of funds for your down payment and closing costs. Most likely, you will be asked to provide statements for the last two or three months on any of your liquid assets. This includes checking accounts, money market funds, certificates of deposit, stock statements, mutual funds, and even your company 401K and retirement accounts.

If you have been moving money between accounts during that time, there may be large deposits and withdrawals in some of them.

The mortgage underwriter (the person who actually approves your loan) will probably require a complete paper trail of all the withdrawals and deposits. You may be required to produce cancelled checks, deposit receipts, and other seemingly inconsequential data, which could get quite tedious.

Perhaps you become exasperated at your lender, but they are only doing their job correctly. To ensure quality control and eliminate potential fraud, it is a requirement on most loans to completely document the source of all funds. Moving your money around, even if you are consolidating your funds to make it “easier,” could make it more difficult for the lender to properly document.

So leave your money where it is until you talk to a loan officer.

Oh…don’t change banks, either.

Other Important Topics

Pre-Qualify vs. Pre-Approval

These are two different animals.  In today’s environment, get pre-approval before going shopping.  Your agent should advise you of this on the phone before you step into the first house.

Getting pre-approval is not that difficult.  Fill out an application for a mortgage.  The application asks information about your employment history, income, debt, assets, etc.  The result is you will know exactly what the maximum loan amount will be.  Getting pre-approved gives you credibility in your offer and helps narrow down the homes your agent will show you. This saves everyone’s precious time and especially angst (for you) when you fall in love with a house that you cannot afford.  An agent who tries to get you to house shop beyond your financial means is not a responsible agent.  This agent is not seeking after your well being.  He or she is just wanting to make a big sale and get that commission. 

Watch Your Credit Card

If you consider buying a home, consider curbing your credit card spending three to six months ahead of the purchase.  Credit card spending impacts your borrowing amount.  Some figures have shown for every $100 you credit to your plastic card, it could curb your mortgage borrowing by $10,000.  A lease payment for a car of $259/month could lower your borrowing by $25,900.  This is independent of your down payment on the house or your savings.

Consider a Buyer’s Agent

We think it is very important that you choose an experienced agent who is there for you. A Buyer’s Agent will be actively finding you potential homes, scheduling & promptly show you the homes, keeping you informed of the buying process, and negotiating furiously on your behalf to get you the lowest price and best possible terms.

Get An Inspection

Don’t buy a house without having it inspected.  Your Buyer’s Agent will remind you of it and schedule it for you.  If he or she does not, you need to look for another agent.  It is well worth the $250 or so you will spend.  Expect findings in the reports.  This is the inspector’s job.  There is no such thing as a house with no problems.  The trick is to make sure the faults found are within the range that you expect and can compensate for.  Otherwise, the offer contract can be rescind under the contingency clause.

Lastly, make sure the inspector is ASHI certified.  Again, your Buyer’s Agent should know this.

A Few Local Etiquette

Compensation to your Realtor is normally paid by the seller. 

Basement homes are not common in the Triangle area. 

New construction homes usually come with a washer/dryer and a refrigerator in today’s market.  Resale is 50/50.  It all depends on the seller.  Always a good practice to ask.

It is not necessary to work with a Realtor in North Carolina when purchasing a home.  You are free from any representation if you choose.  So don’t let any Realtor mislead you into thinking you have to have their service in order to purchase a home. 

Realtors earn their keep by demonstrating their deep knowledge of the area real estate and helping you have a smooth closing.

Purchasing for investment?   Let us help.  We help our clients identify the property, acquire the property, and smoothly transit it to a rental.  Our Property Management Services group can assist you.