Buying a Home Soon? Don't Miss These Essential Tips

Are you looking to buy a home soon in the Winston-Salem area? You don't want to miss these 7 essential tips for Home Buyers. And check out our home buyer tips infographic below.

7 Essential Tips Every Home Buyer Should Know

1. Get a Home Inspection

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a home, but condition of the property is near the top. A home inspector can evaluate visible and accessible systems and components of a home (roof, plumbing, electrical, etc.). The home inspector can provide you with the condition of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear. This will help you decide if you want to purchase the home or not.  After all, you don't want to buy a pig in a poke.  In North Carolina, the home inspection should be done during the Due Diligence Period along with your appraisal and loan approval.  If you are paying for the inspection, only a Licensed Home Inspector may perform the home inspection. You can read more about Home Inspections on the NC Real Estate Commission's website Questions and Answers on Home Inspections.

2.  Before You Start House Hunting, Get Pre-Approved

Before you start looking at homes on realty websites, it is prudent to get pre-approved for a loan by a lender. You need to submit your financial statements and salary stubs to know how much of a loan bank is ready to give for your purchase. This pre-approval means a lot to the sellers as they know you are a serious buyer. They are also likely to give preference to your offer as they know you will be able to close the deal without any problems.  Pre-approval from a lender gives you an edge over other buyers. Also, knowing how much of a home you can afford allows you to conduct your house hunt in a more organized manner.

3.  Direct All Communication with the Seller through Your REALTOR®

Many buyers make the mistake of talking directly to the seller. However, it is better to go through your REALTOR® (buyer’s agent). Let your REALTOR® communicate with the seller as he has better knowledge of real estate and better negotiation skills. He/she has your best interest at heart. REALTORS® must adhere to a strong Code of Ethics policy.  The National Association of Realtor's Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1913.  It was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any trade group. The Code ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests.  

4.  Get Any Verbal Agreement in Writing

Many buyers get assurance from owners of the property regarding price, repairs, and condition of the house. But they are shocked when these verbal promises are not fulfilled by the seller at the time of closing. This is why it is always desirable for a buyer to get all verbal agreements with the seller in writing. The seller finds it difficult to break his own promises when you show him the agreement signed by him. Your REALTOR® will help to make sure all of the verbal agreements are written down and then, initialed or signed on the proper forms. 

5.  Include Important Contingencies  with Your Offer

Before making an offer, make sure you have included all contingencies that are particular and important in your offer. The Offer to Purchase should be drawn up in consultation with your real estate agent. Inspections, Loan Approval, Appraisal, Surveys, Clear Title etc. are typically NOT contingencies in North Carolina since there is a Due Diligence Period that allows all of these services to be performed. If any of the services are not performed to the buyer's satisfaction (problem with the home, low appraisal, failure of loan approval, encroachment, etc), the buyer has the right to back out of the deal. 

As far as backing out of the deal goes during the Due Diligence Period, the buyer can back out for any reason or even NO reason. The only loss to the buyer is their Due Diligence Fee to the Seller and any/all of their out of pocket costs for inspections, appraisal, etc. These fees are non-refundable. If an Earnest Money Deposit was also agreed upon, the buyer would also retain their Earnest Money Deposit. If the buyer backs out of the deal after the Due Diligence Period, then the Earnest Money Deposit would be forfeited as well. So the buyer should understand this before making the offer.

One of the most common contingencies for a home buyer is the contingency of their home selling. If this is the case, there must be a Contingent Sale Addendum included with the offer. Otherwise, if the buyers home did not sell, and they could not close on the new property, they would most likely forfeit all monies spent up to that point. 

Another common contingency would be the condition of the home at closing. In other words, the buyer is not obligated to purchase the home, if the condition is not in the same or better condition at closing as it was on the date of the original offer other than (minor) reasonable wear and tear. This contingency is built into the North Carolina Offer to Purchase and Contract (Standard Form 2-T).

Any other contingencies should be agreed upon by buyer and seller. This would be done with an addendum drawn up by a North Carolina State Bar Attorney. Alternatively, the two parties (buyer and seller) can arrange the addendum. However, in North Carolina (and other states), the real estate agent cannot draft addenda as it is considered practicing law.

6.  Create a Realistic Wish-list of What You Can Afford

There are always features in a house that you cannot live without. Create a wish-list of such features when conducting your house hunt. For example, you might want a larger kitchen, granite counter tops, master bedroom on the main level, finished basement, main-level garage, or other feature(s).  This checklist helps you in buying a perfect house that matches your needs. Of course, they all need to be realistic within your budget.  

7.  Work with a REALTOR® Who has Your Best Interests in Mind

Our REALTORS® at Green Haven Realty are your friends in real estate. They are real estate agents with integrity who will earn your trust. They will always work for you and your best interests.  Buying a home becomes smooth and hassle free when you have one of our real estate agents on your side. Call us today at 336.462.9544!  In the meantime, enjoy our 7 Essential Home Buyer Tips Infographic below.

7 Essential Tips Every Home Buyer Should Know