The most exciting part of buying a new home is house hunting. One usually starts by clicking on an app or visiting a website to look at houses. It’s like a 24 hour car lot, but you do not have a salesman approaching you asking you all sorts of questions. Instead, you browse and take your time, entering your criteria that would make it possible for you to buy a home. You do need some help though.
Choosing a REALTOR®
Whether or not you have started looking for a home online, your choice of a real estate agent is a very important step. Everyone knows a real estate agent or has a friend or family member that knows one. We are all over the place. The difference in most agents is the experience factor. I have 20 years of experience in selling residential real estate. Experience is one thing, but personality and market knowledge are huge factors as well. You want to choose an agent that knows the area. You would not want a real estate agent from Wilmington to represent you in a transaction in Raleigh or vice versa. A good tip for a buyer is to ask family, friends or coworkers if they know of a well established agent. If they do recommend someone, read that agent’s Google Reviews and browse their website to see if they are established.
A huge component of the real estate transaction is your relationship with your agent. There will be a lot of communication and there should be a lot of listening on the agent’s part. You do not want an agent that will just pass you along to their buyer specialist and then pass you along to other team members such as a closing coordinator and so on and so on. Real estate is about Relationships and Representation and I will stay with you through the whole process.
Choosing a Lender
Most buyers will need to get a loan in order to buy a new home. There are buyers that are fortunate to pay cash, but those buyers may benefit by getting a loan versus paying cash in certain situations. There are almost as many lenders out there as there are real estate agents, so I will give you the same advice as searching for a real estate agent. Ask around, check your bank’s rates, but even better, ask your agent. Real estate agents have relationships with several lenders in the area. They have worked together in the past and are familiar with one another. This is by far not a requirement to use a lender recommended by your agent, but if you do not have a lender already, it may benefit you to ask your agent for a recommendation.
Typically, there are three main types of loans. Conventional, FHA, and VA. Without getting into a territory I am not licensed, it is best to speak with a lender to see what you qualify for and which type of loan will work best with your income, credit report, and financial status. Once you are pre-approved for a loan and have found the house that works for you; it’s time to make an OFFER.