Buying a Home
Buying a home is an exciting and complex adventure. It can also be a very time-consuming and costly one if you’re not familiar with all aspects of the process, and don’t have all the best information and resources at hand. One of my specialties is representing the best interests of Wilmington area buyers throughout the home buying process. My comprehensive, high-quality services can save you time and money, as well as make the experience more enjoyable and less stressful. If you’re like most people, buying a home is the biggest investment you will ever make. So whether you’re buying a starter home, your dream home or an investment property, why not take advantage of my experience as a local market expert for the Wilmington area to make the most informed decisions you can, every step of the way?
We work with buyers to find properties in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender Counties, which includes Wilmington, Leland, Bolivia, Winnabow, Wrightsville Beach, Pleasure Island (Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wilmington Beach, Fort Fisher), Ogden, Porter's Neck and Olde Point. I look forward to serving you no matter where on the Southeast Coast of North Carolina you choose to live! Let me find your next home for you!
How to Choose a Neighborhood for Your Home Search
Narrow your home search by identifying neighborhoods that are right for you. This helps keep your search focused and efficient. Your local REALTOR® can offer neighborhood information to guide you in your search. When evaluating a neighborhood you should investigate local conditions. Depending on your own particular needs and tastes, some of the following factors may be more important considerations than others:
· Quality of Schools
· Property Values
· Crime Rate
· Future Construction
· Proximity to schools, employment, hospitals, shops, public transportation, prisons, freeways, airports, beaches, parks, stadiums and cultural centers such as museums and theaters
Neighborhood Search Strategies for Limited Budgets
If you’re a first time-buyer with limited financial resources, it's wise to buy a home that meets your primary needs in the best neighborhood that fits within your price range. You can maximize your home purchase location by incorporating some of the following strategies into your neighborhood search:
· Upcoming neighborhoods: Look for communities that are likely to become "hot neighborhoods" in the coming years. They can often be discovered on the periphery of the most continuously desirable areas.
· Check for planned future development such as additional transit; new community services such as pools and theatres; and chain stores planning to move in. Look for a home in a good neighborhood that is a bit farther out of the city. If commuting is a concern, purchase a home that is close to public transportation.
· Neighborhood demand: Look at the neighborhood demand by asking your real estate agent whether multiple offers are being made, whether the gap between the list price and sale price is decreasing and whether there is active community involvement. You can also drive around neighborhoods and see how many "sale pending" and "sold" signs there are in a particular area.
· Co-ownership: Look into purchasing a condominium or co-op, rather than a house, in a desirable neighborhood. This way you still may be able to purchase in a prime area that you otherwise could not afford.
Why Use a REALTOR® When Buying a Home?
A real estate agent can help you understand everything you need to know about the home buying process. Not all real estate licensees are the same; only those who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR " ®" trademark on their business cards and other marketing and sales literature.
REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. Realtors® subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reported that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments of most people’s lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $250,000. If you had a $250,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a certified professional accountant? If you had a $250,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be wise to work with a professional REALTOR® when you are buying a home.
If you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are more reasons to use one:
· Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power - that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders - banks and mortgage companies - offer limited choices.
· Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
· Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know: First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
· Your REALTOR® can help you with negotiations and inspections. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or appliances. The purchase agreement should allow time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
· Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the property evaluation. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports.
· You will also want to see a preliminary report on the property title. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title search company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
· Your REALTOR® can help you understand different financing options and identify qualified lenders.
· Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
Take Charge When Buying a Home
If you approach the home buying process intelligently and with confidence, you are much more likely to buy a house you'll be proud to call home.
Approaching the task of buying a home can be overwhelming; there's so much to consider:
· How much house can I afford?
· How can I find the best loan?
· Where will I come up with a down payment, and how much will I need?
· Should I buy a new or resale home, and which will go up in value?
· Should I work with an agent or look at homes on my own?
And these questions are just the beginning. Buying a home is one of the largest financial transactions in your lifetime - do your research so you know what you’re doing.
Here are the two most important things to remember no matter where you are on the road to home ownership:
1. You can and should understand everything that is happening in the home buying process. There is nothing that is so complex that it can't be easily explained to anyone with average intelligence. Just because you don't apply for a thirty-year mortgage once a week doesn't mean you have to take the first one that comes along. You'll need to learn some new terms, apply some new concepts and take the time to understand what you're getting into.
If, at any point, something happens that doesn't make sense to you, simply demand a full and complete explanation. If it still doesn't make sense, seek help from someone you trust like your CPA, your banker or maybe an online real estate columnist.
2. In the world of real estate sales, YOU are the most important person in the entire process. It's easy to think that everyone else carries more weight than you. The agent talks fast and has an answer for everything. The lender may decline your loan application, and on and on.
But the truth is that you, the buyer, are the one person in the transaction that makes it all happen. If you decide to not buy, the entire process comes to a grinding halt. So flex your consumer muscle and take command of this process. Surround yourself with a team of professionals that you have confidence in and make them work for you. Approach home buying with intelligence and confidence, and by doing your homework, and you are more likely to buy a house you’re happy with and to know that you made the right decision.