Preparing to Buy Your Home
Find your agent.
It is critical that you find an agent with whom you are comfortable early in the home buying process. Agents can help answer the myriad questions you have, connect you with lenders, inspectors, contractors or other professionals and alert you to properties that fit your needs. The Triangle market is extremely competitive, and the sooner you connect with an agent, the better your chances of landing your dream home.
Contact a lender to discuss all financing options and begin the loan approval process. Make sure you are aware of what your monthly payment would be at different sales prices. Your lender will then prepare a prequalification letter that must be submitted with any offer.
Set your budget.
It is important that you know your budget at the beginning of the home buying journey. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home above your budget or limiting yourself to homes below what you can afford.
Check your calendar.
Closing on a home usually takes 30 – 45 days after the acceptance of an offer. While under contract, you will need to be in constant communication with the lender, agent and closing attorney. Is there a timeframe that works best for your move? Are there times that don’t work? In the Triangle, the average days on market continues to drop. If you are not prepared to write an offer for another six months, wait until closer to that time to schedule showings.
Make a list.
Take some time to identify your must haves and nice to haves. The home buying process can be time consuming and overwhelming, so the more you are able to eliminate properties that won’t work, the easier it will be to find your next home. As your tour properties you can then modify your list as you better hone in on the properties that will work best for you and your family.
Identify the area(s) that could work for you.
Fortunately, the Triangle’s size and diversity means there is something for everyone, but that also means it is crucial you narrow in on the areas that will fit your needs. Consider your commute, schools, proximity to amenities, lot sizes, likely noise, etc., when determining areas in which you are interested.
Set your search.
Once you know your budget, your must have list and the areas in which you are interested, work with your agent to set up an online MLS search to identify potential properties. Once built, you will receive immediate email notifications for new listings, price changes, etc. In a competitive market, these instant notifications are key to staying one step ahead of the competition.
Find the one.
Once you’ve completed the above, you’re ready to start scheduling showings and find your new home!