Whether you're a first-time home buyer or an experienced real estate investor in the Triangle, it's always a good idea to brush up on your real estate know-how before you begin your home search. This will ensure that you are an informed buyer, prepared with the knowledge and equipped with the tools to make a confident home buying decision.
1. Where Should I Start the Process?
- Organize and review your finances. Set a budget and figure out what you will be able to afford for a down payment. Use our handy mortgage calculator to see what a monthly mortgage payment might look like for you.
- Start researching the many communities in and around the Triangle to see which might be best for you.
- If you're a first-time buyer, you might want to get more information first!
2. How Do I Know What to Look for in a Home?
- This is up to you! Take some time to decide what's important to you - proximity to amenities, school districts, yard sizes, noise, commute, highway access. This will help you find a neighborhood.
- Review home features you might want and those you'll need, from size to style to overall condition. Having a good idea of what you're looking for will save you time and tours of homes that don't meet your criteria.
- Browse our Triangle featured listings, or start searching homes by amenities and features.
3. Why Should I Use a Realtor?
- A good Realtor can guide you through the financial and legal complexities of the Triangle real estate process.
- A local Realtor will be a Triangle expert and can provide vital insight into its neighborhoods and communities.
- A Realtor can help you find the right price range for your income and finances and can explain the pros and cons of different types of mortgages.
- A Realtor will answer all your questions and guide you through the complicated paperwork.
4. Where and How Can I Get a Loan?
- Mortgage loans are typically available through banks, credit unions, private mortgage companies, and government state lenders.
- Your Realtor can help connect you with lenders. You can also shop for lenders on your own, making sure you take some time to search around and compare rates. Calling local government agencies can also be a good idea to find out more about programs that might be available to you.
5. What if I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment?
- You might qualify for a federal mortgage program or local home buying assistance program.
- The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps home buyers by offering insured loans. This means that if the buyer defaults, the lender will still get their money. Insured loans encourage lenders to work with more buyers regardless of their credit or available down payment.
- Many state and local governments offer additional programs for buyers who meet various criteria or are buying within individual communities.
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers many assistance programs to home buyers.
6. Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?
- Earnest money: This is the "security deposit" you pay when you submit your offer to prove to the seller that you are serious. After your offer is accepted, it is applied to your down payment or closing costs.
- Down Payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home. The amount will depend on your loan; government programs can help you decrease this amount.
- Closing Costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.
7. What Other Costs Will I Pay?
- Other costs can include utilities, HOA or condo fees, and property taxes - which are typically included in your mortgage payment.
- Ask your Realtor about additional fees associated with your particular home, community, or neighborhood.