Buying a Home?
Tarboro Realty offers a wide range of services to assist you throughout your home buying process. From finding a home to helping you move in – Tarboro Realty will be there every step of the way.
Buying a home, especially if it is your first home, can often seem to be a daunting task. Finding a home that meets your needs, getting the financing to purchase the home, inspecting your new home, information about the neighborhood, setting up utilities, and packing up and moving can seem like a large burden. Tarboro Realty takes the worry out of buying a home by assisting you in all areas of the home buying process.
Tarboro Realty will be there to answer all of your questions and to guide you along every step of the way.
Home Buyer Tips
Select a Realtor
This is a very important first step in the home buying process. Enlisting a Realtor will create a positive influence in the home buying process. A Realtor will be your partner, your confidant, your guide, and will provide advice and recommendations with your best interest in mind. They will deal with any problems encountered along the way and help relieve some of the stress often associated with the home buying process. Once you select an agent, be sure to sign a buyer’s agent agreement. This will ensure that the agent you’ve selected is working for and representing you exclusively.
Consult with your Realtor
This is where the groundwork is laid for the search for your new home. There are several points you should cover in your initial consultation. For example:
- Define your needs; the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, size of the kitchen, where you want to live, your price range, timeline, etc.
- Determine when and how often you can look at prospective homes.
- Verify your contact information and how you want to be contacted (email, phone, etc.)
- Ask your agent about financing. They can explain the different types of available loan programs, and refer you to lenders that can answer specific questions.
Look for a Home
This is often the most thrilling part of the process. But, if you’re not careful, it can get out of hand. The best way to proceed is limit the number of homes you look at in a single day. Visiting too many homes back to back will make it difficult to remember one house from another. It’s a good idea to create a checklist of homes to look at, and check them off as you visit them. Not only is this helpful in reminding you of which homes you visited, it allows you to eliminate homes from your search more quickly. Remember, communication is crucial. Explain to your agent why you like or don’t like a particular house. The more you communicate with your agent about your preferences, the better he/she will be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Select a Home
After narrowing the search to 2 or 3 homes, your agent will do whatever research is necessary to aid you in making your decision. Ultimately, however, it is your decision. Some tools that can help you make that final decision include school reports (if you have or are planning on having children), statistical information from the local chamber of commerce, future zoning or road expansion from local planning offices, etc. Whatever the factors of importance are to you, have your agent help locate that information.
Select a Lender
Selecting a lender is a matter of personal preference. Many people often shop around, looking for a lender that offers the lowest rate. More often, however, people will choose a lender based on a referral from an agent or friend. Most lending institutions will offer the same basic programs, such as FHA, VA, conventional fixed rate, etc.; and most will meet or beat another lender’s rates. What usually separates one lender from another is their “niche” product. An example would be a lending institution that specializes in low down payments, as compared to another that specializes in self-employment financing. Most agents will be able to point you in the right direction based on your particular situation.
Meet the Lender
Once you select a lender, you should speak with a loan officer as quickly as possible. At this point, there is one thing you should know: pre-qualifying means absolutely nothing. All pre-qualifying does is determine the amount of the loan you could qualify for based on factors such as your credit, salary, etc. It does not guarantee that a lender will actually loan you the money. It’s more important to get PRE-APPROVED. Pre-approval means that your application has been submitted to a lender who is willing to extend you a specific loan amount, pending a property and appraisal. Being pre-approved lets you know that you won’t be denied for a loan, and it also provides you with leverage to negotiate the purchase price of a home with the seller. From the seller’s standpoint, a buyer who’s been pre-approved is a buyer with “cash-in-hand”, who’s serious about purchasing the home with little worry about the deal falling through. Just be sure that once you’ve been pre-approved, you have a clear understanding of what your total estimated payment will be and the estimated cash you will need to complete the loan (from beginning to closing).
Make an Offer
Now that you’ve selected the home you like, it’s time to determine how much you are willing to pay. Establishing this prior to making a formal offer helps define your personal limits. You should determine how much to offer, how much earnest money you will put down, how much of the closing costs you will ask the seller to pay, when you plan to settle, and what inspections you plan to have conducted. Your agent will offer great advice for structuring your offer. Remember to ask your agent about contingencies and their importance. If you don’t fully understand something, be sure to clarify it.
After presenting your offer, a seller will do one of three things: Accept your offer outright, reject it, or counter it. It’s possible for the counter process to go back and forth several times, so be flexible during this phase. Determine what’s negotiable and non-negotiable. Be willing to give a little on things of lesser importance to you. This will help the negotiating process immensely. The main thing to remember is to stay cool and objective. Everyone has the same goal in mind: to complete the transaction.
Sign A Contract That Protects You
Make sure that the contract you put on a house allows you to arrange financing, inspect the home and negotiate any problems that you uncover.
Get a Home Inspection
This is a very important process, used to ensure that your new home is free from defects that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars later to repair. Home inspections will often reveal problems that you can have the seller correct before agreeing to purchase the home. This is known as a contingency.
Most offers are usually contingent offers. This means that the offer is contingent on another factor, such as a favorable home inspection or the ability to obtain insurance. In general, contingencies are safeguards for both buyers and sellers, but should not be overdone. In addition, it is important to meet all deadlines and that all contingencies are met exactly the way the offer describes. Your agent is responsible for making sure contingencies are written correctly.
Select an Attorney
The sales contract will decide who gets to choose the attorney to represent the sale. This is normally the buyer’s decision. If you don’t have a particular attorney or title company in mind, your agent can recommend one. The attorney is responsible for ordering a survey, title insurance, conducting a title search, and drawing up all of the documentation. They will also conduct a settlement. It is important to note that the attorney does not represent the buyer or the seller. They represent the transaction itself. Their job is to make certain that all of the terms previously agreed upon have been met. If any problem(s) were to arise, the buyer and seller would need to retain separate attorneys to resolve the issue(s).
Most sales contracts allow the buyer a pre-settlement inspection of the home. This is the last chance you have before signing to ensure that everything is satisfactory. Read your contract carefully, and make sure that all electrical systems, plumbing, appliances, heating, and air conditioning units are in good working order at the time of settlement. Pay close attention to anything the seller agreed to repair or replace as part of the sales contract. If for some reason the seller has not repaired or replaced a particular item, you have several options. The seller can do one of three things:
- Remedy the issue prior to settlement
- Credit you the amount of money it would take for you to have it fixed/replaced, or
- Promise to correct the issue and place into escrow with the attorney the amount of money needed to resolve the problem, should the seller fail to make good on the promise.
This is the day you “sign your life on the dotted line”. At this point, you will be signing all of the loan documents, which can seem never-ending. During the settlement, the attorney should be able to explain every document to you in a satisfactory manner. Do not ever feel intimidated. If you come across something you don’t understand, don’t sign. Your agent will help you understand everything. If you like, you can request blank copies of the documents you will be signing in advance so that you can carefully review them. You will decide at the settlement whether you want owner’s title coverage or just lender’s. You will have to present whatever down payment and closing-cost funds you were expected to pay. This check must be certified, as personal checks are not accepted.