1. Get ready to make an offer
When the homes sell faster than they come on a market there is no time for delay or mistakes. Mistakes can cost you that house you have been looking for months. Before you start the search find out how much you an afford by getting pre-approved. Pre-qualification verbally confirms your financial condition while per-approval is backed by documentation you have provided to the lender like W-2’s and other income. The pre-approval process takes about 24-48 hours and may cost you about $25 for the credit report fee.
The Raleigh Triangle area market is very hot, fast and quite brutal for buyers. It is a seller’s market right now and has been for several years. When the sellers receive offers they comb through them with a fine tooth comb looking at each buyers’ offer, due diligence deposit, earnest money deposit, contingencies, and dates.
2. Narrow down the location
Before scheduling to see a new house consider how it meets your location needs:
- Distance to work. Consider traffic during rush hours and notice that when you browse the home on weekends or during the day everything is more peaceful than during rush hours.
- Distance to schools.
- Distance to a grocery store. When you forget that one ingredient, how far will you have to drive to get it?
- Distance to parks, recreation, pool for kids, workout facilities and shopping.
3. Know what you want in the house layout and size
- Master Bedroom on main floor or second floor? If you are looking to stay in the house indefinitely or if this is your retirement home than master on main floor would be a requirement for most.
- Size and layout of the home. Will the layout fit your growing family needs?
- Number and size of bedrooms.
- Number and size of bathrooms.
- Do you need extra rooms for guests?
- Closet and storage space. Most homes in NC don’t have a substantial main floor coat closet.
4. Know what style of home you want
- Do you like the architectural style?
- How is the outside noise level?
- Are you looking for a private location with some acreage or a house with access to community pool, tennis courts, golf, etc?
- Are you loving the neighborhood? In a community with smaller lots good neighbors are essential as you will be bumping into them more frequently than not.
- How is the age and condition of the roof and siding?
- What repairs and remodeling if any are needed and do you have experience and time to manage the extra workload?
5. How much will you pay for Property Taxes?
Every county has different tax rates and when your house is located within city limits, you have to add city property taxes on top of that. The difference on a $300,000 house can be double when the house is located in the city.
6. What projects or work plans do you have and are they allowed in the subdivision?
Deed restrictions are those pesky covenants that run with the land and the house. They are there to either annoy you with their infinite list of can’t do’s or they are there to protect your home value against neighbors that come from the Wild Wild West with big plans with no restrains.
99% of homes build in a subdivision will have restrictive covenants, however not all will have an active Home Owners Association. Without the HOA the neighbors are on their own to enforce the deed restrictions through the local courts. Older neighborhoods without HOA are especially in danger of downgraded home values and issues selling their homes if the neighbors don’t uphold the covenants and build unsightly fences or structures, and leave their old deteriorating vehicles in their driveway or don’t take care of their landscaping and lawns. Also buyers should know that in many HOAs one can’t run a business out of a house like dog sitting or selling anything for instance through the garage.
Therefore, always ask to get a copy of the Restrictive Covenants and verify that what you want to do on the lot is not restricted by the covenants. Even without HOAs, deed restrictions in North Carolina are taken very seriously and are strongly enforced through the judicial process.