HOME BUYERS: Raleigh Real Estate FAQ

Buying a Raleigh home is both exciting and nerve-wracking, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. To be honest, if you haven’t sold or purchased a home in a while, it is still a daunting process. As you might imagine, we field quite a few questions every day. The is where our Raleigh Real Estate FAQ comes in.

Raleigh Real Estate FAQThe Only Dumb Question is the One NOT Asked

People are naturally curious, and it’s our job to guide our clients through the often-complex world of home buying and selling. With our Raleigh Real Estate FAQ, both experienced home buyers and first-time buyers alike will find valuable information.

Before any journey, it is always a good idea to prepare yourself by educating yourself. This provides a solid foundation to succeed, and gives you the confidence in your decisions.

Do you work with buyers?

Yes! We work with seasoned home buyers and investors, as well as first time buyers. Please click here to set an appointment for our buyer consultation.

Why does your website not have a home search?

First, we do, it’s a mobile app called Homespotter. The app allows you to see the latest homes on market as well as directly communicate with us about those homes. Our buyers like that they could be out and see a home and the app will bring it up and show status, price as well as information on the property and notices of open houses. Second, we don’t pretend to have the resources of a Zillow or Realtor.com. In our buyer consultation we talk about how finding the right house is a cooperative venture between our buyers and our agent. They may find the home on one of the major portals and bring it to our attention. In our experience we’ve learned that as a home search develops the buyer’s search criteria used in the portals differ than those we had entered into the Multiple Listing Service search. Typically, these are incremental changes such as increasing the max price, area or square footage for example. As for which of the main portals we recommend it’s always Realtor.com. They generally have the most up to date listings.

I want to buy a home. What is the first thing I need to do?

There are quite a few steps that you’ll need to take. The first place to start is finding a lender. They will help you understand how much house you can afford, as well as detail the required documents they’ll need from you to get a pre-approval letter. In today’s market, a pre-approval letter is a document stating the lender is tentatively willing to lend to you, up to a certain loan amount, is required to submit an offer.  Sellers simply will not consider offers without a pre-approval letter or proof of funds.

Click here to set an appointment for our buyer consultation, and we’ll give you a roadmap.

I want to be moved in by a specific date. How do we do that?

Typically a loan package takes 35 days or more to complete. Settlement occurs 5 – 7 days upon loan approval so we would need to be under contract 42 days prior to your desired move in date. So you’re looking at two plus months.

How many homes will I see?

On average, our buyer clients tour six homes. This depends on the market and available supply. You may tour more or less. We’ve had a few clients put offers on the first house toured.

Do I need to speak to a lender prior to seeing homes?

Yes. It’s our policy to require our buyer clients to be pre-approved, NOT pre-qualificaiton, prior to touring homes. Why? There are a number of reasons.

First, there is nothing worse than seeing a home, getting excited to submit an offer only to learn that you’ll be unable to attain a loan of that amount. Now you have to look at less expensive homes while always comparing them to the home you fell in love with.

The second reason is that, in today’s market, unless you’re paying cash, your offer will NOT be considered if you don’t submit a pre-approval with the offer. Also, homes will not sit around waiting for you to mad dash to find a lender and get the pre-approval. They’ll be undercontract before you’ve finished speaking with the lender. If you don’t have a lender we have a number you can speak to. Again, if you’re paying cash all we’ll need is the latest account statement, with the account information blocked out, at time of offer.

Finally, when we take on a buyer client we invest our time and effort into them and the process. We take this seriously. By requiring the pre-approval our buyers are showing that they’re in the game as well.

Can I see all the home possibilities prior to making a decision?

We spend a fair amount of time at our buyer consultation to get to the heart of your property needs. You’ll discover in real time the number of homes that meet the requirements. This saves a lot of time by narrowing the property selection down to only the best matching candidates. 

We don’t pressure our buyer clients to put an offer on a property. You will find that the current market provides its own pressure on buyers. 

I want to buy a new construction home – do I need an agent?

Yes. It’s important to remember that the nice person selling the home works for the builder. Not you. What’s more the builder would pay our commission so you get our care and advice for free.

How much of a downpayment will I need?

You’ll find that you’ll get the best rates and avoid Private Mortage Insurance (PMI) by having 20% down. The best course of action is to speak to a lender and let them provide you with a range of options. Once you’ve moved in to your new home, we’ll make an appointment with you to show you how to pay off that mortgage faster.

It’s important to remember that in the current Raleigh real estate market, it is not uncommon for the homes value to not appraise for the offer value amount. This means the buyer needs to come to closing with more money or find a different loan product. Another factor confronting buyers is the larger than normal due diligence fees being presented. What was once $1,500 for a $300,000 home can now be in the range of $20,000. With the increased due diligence fees, home sellers are not open to renegotiating price to accommodate a low appraisal.

What is a seller's market?

In sellers’ markets, increasing demand for homes drives up prices. Here are some things that fuel the demand and home prices:

  • Economic Factors – Raleigh and the Triangle area, and are an attractive destination of late. As a result, this causes the local labor market to heat up, bringing an inflow of new residents and pushing up home prices before more inventory can be built.
  • Low Housing Inventory – This is a huge factor. There are fewer homes on the market because potential home sellers don’t have a place to move to, and new home builders are not able to keep up with demand. This causes prices for existing homes to go up because there are fewer units available.
  • Low Interest Rates – Lower interest rates improve monthly home affordability,  spurring buyer interest. Lower rates also allow home buyers to afford larger homes, as the borrowing cost of money goes lower.
  • Short-term spike in interest rates – may compel “on the fence” buyers to make a purchase if they believe the upward trend will continue. Buyers will want to purchase before the amount they can borrow erodes.
  • iBuyer and Hedge Fund Competition – Investment firms are looking at residential real estate as a place to put their cash. Few family homebuyers can hope to compete with the financial resources involved. Here are some articles from The Wallstreet Journal in April of 2021 and NBC news had a spot about this in July of 2021.

Have More Questions

Let us help! Contact us and we can answer any of your home buying questions about homes for sale, real estate in Raleigh or its many communities as well as recommendations for great out of town or state agents.

Start Your Search Today

Use our Homespotter app to search for Raleigh NC Real Estate and Surrounding area properties, spot coming soon homes, as well as connect to us when you find the perfect place.

Find your next home with our HomeSpotter App

Find Your Next Home With Our HomeSpotter App

Use Homespotter to search for homes, spot coming soon properties, and connect with us when you find the perfect place. Submit your email to receive a link to download the app.

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