First-Time Home Buyers
If you're a first-time home buyer, you have a lot of questions. The guide below offers helpful hints and tips to help you avoid common mistakes when buying your first home in Charlotte, NC.
Unless you intend to pay cash, you'll need a loan to buy your home. There's a ton of banks in Charlotte, so take your pick. I suggest you start at the bank where you do business and have an account.
If you'd like a referral, I can give you one, or, I'm sure you'll have a friend or family member excited to offer advice!
Before you speak with the loan officer, let's look at some of what you'll encounter. The first two terms are the big ones - Be sure you understand the difference between the two before you visit the lender.
- Pre-Qualification: A pre-qualification letter is what the lender provides if they've discussed your income and assets and perhaps pulled your credit. If you receive a pre-qualification letter from a lender, without giving the loan officer documentation, this is one of the weaker proof of funds letters a buyer can send with an offer.
- Pre-Approval: A pre-approval starts with a pre-qualification, but moves into a pre-approval once the lender receives and reviews your documentation. A pre-approval isn't a commitment in writing to lend from a lender. It is a stronger letter to the seller from the lender indicating more confidence in the buyer's choice of home at that price range.
- Commitment: The strongest letter from the lender. You won't receive this until all conditions for the loan are met.
- Make a List of Needs & Wants: It's good for you to make and use lists. You'll have a bunch of things to keep track of and lists help. When it comes to the home - make sure your lists include items you must have as well your wishes.
- Be Realistic: The thing to keep in mind is your dream home will only fit within what a builder has already built, or what you're willing to pay to have him make it.
- Another Golden Rule: If you get 80% of what you want, 10% you can change and 10% you can't you've probably found your home.
- Representation by a Professional: Yeah, I know... I'm a REALTOR, of course, I'd say that; however - Consider hiring yourself a real estate agent, especially if you buy new construction. An Agent who is working for you, the buyer, not the builder. The builder's agent represents the builder.
- Focus & Organization: There's going to be a lot of paperwork. Most of what I do is digital and esignature; however, if you decide to work with someone else, you should ask how you'll receive your docs. Client's use lots of methods to stay organized, here are a few:
- Maps, real ones, or even apps with your areas of interest highlighted.
- A list of properties your agent has shown you (you can also save your emails or archive them).
- Paper and pen, for taking notes or a notetaking app.
- Cell phone or video camera, always great for sharing or just refreshing your memory when you need to narrow the list. Also useful later, especially if this is your first home!
- Did I mention lists?
- Expect to spend some money: You're going to spend some money on your way to settlement. In most transactions you'll write 3-5 checks:
- One for your due diligence fee, one for your earnest money deposit, another for your appraisal fee and a couple for the home and pest inspections.
- You may end up paying only one of these; if that's the case most likely, you'll spend the appraisal fee unless you can negotiate that with the lender.
Don't get overwhelmed. There a lot to do. The good news is you don't have to track any of the details! That's what professional representation does for you. We keep track of everything, manage all the details and handle all of the scheduling for you.
Please, contact us when you're ready for help!