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Step 2

In step 1, we covered credit, budgeting, and pre-qualification phase of the homeownership process. Now that you have a better understanding of these areas and have identified how much you of a house you can afford, we're ready to move forward throug the next step.

In this section, we will focuse on the home-buying process as it relates to house shopping, selecting the right home, and making an offer to purchase your dream home!

What to look for in a home

Once you are ready to start the fun process of shopping for you home, carefully think about what you are looking for. Before heading into the house hunting process, you may want to consider:

  • Sales Price
  • Neighborhood
  • Distance to work
  • Schools
  • Property taxes
  • Property Type
  • Nearby amenities

You may also want to consider the specific features of the home including electrical systems, plumbing, heating, closet space, number of bedrooms, etc. To help facilitate this process, take along our Homebuyer Checklist when you are shopping for your home. It will help you evaluate your needs and compare up to three homes! Without a list, you might find yourself in a pickle trying to remember specific details of each home!

The  right real estate agent on your side

Real estate agents can be extremely helpful because they understand the local real estate market. Real estate agents can also help you find the perfect home as they have access to multiple listing services (MLS) that publish directories of all properties listed for sale in a particular market.

Using the MLS, the real estate agent can help narrow down your home search and show you homes that are relevant within your needs. The real estate agent can setup home showings or you can simply view the relevant search results right from your computer or mobile device!

Another advantage of using a real estate agent is that the agent is familiar with the area you wish to live in and can provide insightful information such as school systems, tax rates, water/sewer charge, public transportation, and other items that might impact your decision.

You can find real estate agents by:

  • Asking a friend or relative who may be able to recommend someone they have worked with in the past
  • Meeting agents through open houses
  • Contact real estate firms that are advertising a particular property you are interested in
  • Or by asking your Homeside Loan Officer for recommendations. Your loan officer has probably worked with a dozen real estate agents and may be able to provide few recommendations for you.

The best way to narrow down your real estate agent is to pick the one that you're comfortable working with. Choose one real estate agent that you can work with until you find the right home you would like to buy.

Things to consider before making an offer

Before you select a home to make an offer, make sure you look at a wide range of homes. Its rare and usually not advised for a buyer to look at a single home, and fall in love with it and purchase it immediately. Remember, this is quite possibly the biggest purchase you may make in your entire life - make sure you think thoroughly before making an offer!

Don't make a haste decision just because you've waited a long time and are eager to own a home. If you've found one or more neighborhoods that you like, make sure you look at enough homes to get a feel for real estate values, or prices. Then, once you've narrowed down your choices, do your homework in regards to factors such as:

  • Property taxes
  • School district
  • Cost of utilities
  • Quality of community services (i.e. fire & police)

When you find a home you really like, take some time to think about it before making an offer. In some markets, you may have to act quickly if there aren't many homes for sale in the area but there are a lot of buyers. Still, think about your purchase carefully. You are making a big investment. It is important to make an informed decision so that you will be happy with the home you've chosen.

So you are ready to make an offer?

You've looked at plenty of homes, done the research, and you're certain this is the one? Well, congratulations! You're one step closer to being a home owner. Next step in the process is to make an offer.

When you are ready to make an offer, typically, home buyers will meet with their real estate agent and complete the Offer to Purchase form together. An Offer to Purchase includes detailed, complex information. When you are ready to make an offer, get a copy of your state's form from the real estate agent, and look it over carefully. Make sure your real estate agent or attorney thoroughly explains each item on the form so that you can understand exactly what you are committing to before you actually write an offer.

Things to consider when making an offer:

  • Contingencies - conditions that must be satisfied or you will not be required to go through with the purchase after your offer is accepted
  • Home inspections - an examination of a property to determine the condition of the structural and mechnical systems.
  • Earnest money - A deposit held in an escrow account as a show of good faith on your part that you are sincere about your offer. This amount will be deducted from the amount you owe the seller at closing.
  • Counteroffers - Once you make your offer, the seller has the option to accept, reject, or make a counter proposal. If a counter offer is made by the seller, be prepared to accept, reject, or make another counter offer.
Christopher Murray, Sr. Loan Officer, AVP NMLS #103453
Homeside Financial
4141 Parklake Ave Suite 530, Raleigh, NC  27612
Cell:  (919) 656-8375
cmurray@gohomeside.com
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