Charlotte first-time home-buyers are finding themselves in a flurry of craziness with the inventory being so low and their first home purchase being one that they, most likely, have to win in a bidding war. The secret, hiring the right Charlotte Realtor®! You really need one with a teaching heart and one that can and will win bidding wars for you.
Be prepared to act quickly, if necessary, especially in a seller’s market like we are in now. Unfortunately, many homes that have hit the market in Charlotte over the past 6 to 7 years, have sold within a matter of days - sometimes hours. But, as in everything in real estate, it’s all about location - hyperlocal markets can be vastly different.
#1 – Establish a Budget
This is obviously the number one tip to help first time homebuyers to achieve their dream of homeownership. We all have own way of how putting together and monitoring a budget. Some stay hyper-organized, noting every detail (which I think is great to help stay on-track; others, write it down once, set up bill-pay and whatever is left at the end of the week/bi-weekly period/month is thrown into savings or an investment account. *When setting up a budget, be sure to take into account the estimated mortgage (which includes interest), taxes, homeowner’s insurance and HOA dues.
#2 – Start Saving Money ASAP
The moment you a budget in place and have any additional income flowing into your checking account, it’s time to start saving! Make an effort to save an agreed upon amount each and every month, to ensure you met your goal. You will want to save enough for a down payment, closing costs and any appliance or furniture purchases you will need to make after your home purchase. As well, you will want to plan to have some reserves for emergencies.
#3 – Make a Wants vs. Needs (Wish) List
Once you have a budget and have started saving, let’s put together a wish list. Must haves, in my opinion, are NEEDS and are non-negotiable. Wishes and wants are the nice-to-haves are things you prefer to have, but they aren’t necessarily deal-breakers. This list is also helpful to me - It is always my mission to land you everything on your ‘needs’ list so, I love it when my clients share this list with me - in its entirety! YES, as your Realtor®, I want to know them all!
#4 – Get Pre-Approved & Re-Evaluate Your Budget
We have a great list of preferred lenders and are happy to help you find the perfect one for YOU. Different lenders offer different packages and we can help you find the one that’s right for you. It’s important to get a loan pre-approval before you actively begin the home search. Why? If you find a house you love, you don’t want to have to risk losing out on a home because you need to get your pre-approval. Have that out of your way so that you’ll know exactly how much you can afford. Remember, don’t just take into consideration the house cost; you must also factor in the taxes, insurance and any HOA dues.
*Once you have your pre-approval, plug that into your budget and plug your down-payment into an amortization schedule.The amortization schedule breaks down your estimated principal and interest of the loan over the period of time you plan to finance (for example, 15, 20, 30 years).
#5 – Eyes Wide Open During the Home Search!
Ah, yes! The fun part of the home-buying process. It is critical that during your tours of the prospective homes, keep your eyes open to the actual ‘bones’ of the house. Don’t let yourself be distracted by the staging and don’t make impulse decisions unless I tell you that you have to make a decision NOW! Always ask questions too, no matter how ‘ridiculous’ you think the question is - if you have the question, it’s an important one to you. We also recommend scoping out the neighborhood the house you’re looking at, is in. We will provide a market analysis on the home(s) you are serious about.
Again, be prepared to act quickly if need be. Know that when you’re spending the kind of money you’re about to spend on a house, you want to make sure you have all the information at-hand in order to make an informed decision. So act fast but, with eyes wide open!
Visit www.AtHomesCharlotte.com for more information and to search for homes in Charlotte. Of course, your very first step should be enlisting an experienced, local real estate broker. You want to enlist a seasoned real estate professional for your real estate needs. We would love to share our knowledge of the home-buying process and the Charlotte area with you...and give you the grand tour of our gorgeous city!
© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | THE 5 Most Helpful Tips for First Time Charlotte Homebuyers
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