Buying or selling a home?

With some planning ahead of time, buying a home isn't too complex, but the event is stressful for many people. So they'll understand exactly what they can expect, I'll supply buyers with an outline of the entire deal. These are my nine steps to purchasing a home. When you're ready to get started, simply contact me here or e-mail me at . I'm happy to address questions you have about this information.

Step 1 – Prepare to purchase a home
Prior to beginning your home search, there are several things you should contemplate. When you start your search, you'll probably want to create an outline of features you want to have, get an idea of what school districts you want to live in, and begin planning around your budget. A good principle to go by is that your mortgage payment should be no more than a third of your net monthly income.

Step 2 – Contact a real estate agent
This is where I can help. I'd be happy to set up a time to get together with you and talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll discuss neighborhoods, school districts in the Durham area, the mortgage and housing industries, and any additional economic factors that may affect your purchase today or in the future.

I'll also assist you in getting started on your loan. There are some great mortgage professionals in Durham, and I partner with a lot of them, so you'll be in great hands. They'll help you choose which kind of loan is best for you, as well as help you get approved.

Step 3 – Start looking
After our first meeting, I'll start searching for available homes on the market that are a great fit for you. I'll research many of the houses and ignore the duds, and then we'll schedule appointments to tour the houses whenever it's convenient for you.

When we tour homes, I'll call attention to positive features and bad ones. I'll also ask you what things you like and dislike. Most often, buyers amend their must-have list as we tour houses and some items become more important than others. If that's the situation, I'll look through all the listings once again and trim it down to the house of your dreams.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
My understanding of the Durham housing market is a crucial element in your home search. I am conscious of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I can let you know what areas are "hot" and call for immediate action and the ones that are "cold" and allow for thoughtful analysis.

As we view homes, I'll be sure to tell you when the seller's list price has room for negotiation and also when I know the house is "priced to sell." When working with an agent, trust your instincts and make sure you ask a lot of questions, as any REALTOR in Durham will convince you they know the housing market. If things don't add up, just call me at 919-317-1115 or e-mail me at , and I'll be happy to answer any questions you have. My knowledge of the market will keep you a step ahead through the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the house you've been looking for
We'll find the home of your dreams in Durham, and when we do, I'll thoroughly develop your purchase offer. The offer will be made to fit your needs and the home. We'll include some contingencies, such as acquiring financing, carrying out the home inspection, and a clear title.

When we present your purchase offer, you'll need to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit made to a seller to secure the offer to buy the property, and it's most often put towards the closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, we should close about 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows sufficient time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate the deal
Most deals aren't closed on the beginning offer – it's really common to receive a counter offer. But don't let it discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to take the counter offer, submit our own counter offer, or decline the seller's offer and move on.

Market conditions determine how aggressively we negotiate the deal. We'll also work within your financing budget. And when it's all said and done, we'll assemble a deal that's best for you.

Step 7 – Obtain your loan
Upon completion of the contract, you'll begin working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-approved, it shouldn't take very long at all, but you need to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll look after all the property information your lender will need to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
You'll get a Loan Estimate (LE) detailing your closing costs from your mortgage lender within three days of accepting your application. This estimate is formed from the loan amount. RESPA requirements mandate that it has to contain all closing costs and be within a strict range of accuracy, and I'll review the estimate and let you know if everything looks adequate.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most likely happen at a title company or escrow office and is often a smooth and calm occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Congratulations! Now you can move into your new home. Enjoy it. And if you have any questions, make sure you call me at 919-317-1115 or e-mail me at .

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