By: Spencer Collins
Helpful Keys to Buying a Home in Charlotte
Moving out of my parent’s house.
Getting a real job.
Buying a car without a co-signer.
Paying for my own car insurance.
Moving all the way across the country from everything I had ever known.
Paying for my own cell phone bill.
These were all signs that I was growing up.
The biggest step though—buying a house. Now let me be honest, my boyfriend technically bought the house, but I was very much a part of the process and pay half of the mortgage. I had NO clue how this process worked, so it’s a good thing I wasn’t doing it on my own. There were SO many things I wish I would have known ahead of time.
That’s why I’m hoping this article helps you.
#1 You’re going to need a lot of PATIENCE.
I am the most impatient person I know, so being patient was very hard for me.
There are so many steps in the house buying process, so it takes months for the whole thing to actually happen. Houses are going SO fast right now. We would send our realtor a list of six houses on Wednesday that we wanted to check out on Saturday and by then, two of them would already be under contract.
We also put in offers on three houses. It took until the third one to get our offer accepted, because of how many people are looking to buy right now. In the end, I think we looked at about 20 houses before we finally moved into ours.
The end of the school year is a pretty good time to buy, because more people are selling. This is because families are more willing to move after their kids are out of school so they don’t disrupt them. On the flip side, if you are looking to move in the fall/winter, your options may be more limited, but the seller may be more willing to negotiate with you.
#2 Try and get pre-approved.
This way, you know your price range so you don’t waste your time looking at houses you can’t afford. You’ll also want to keep in mind that you will want ‘spending money’ after you buy the house to furnish it and decorate it the way you want.
#3 Do some research.
I had only lived in Charlotte about a year and a half before we started looking at houses. I had mostly stayed in my South End/Uptown bubble, so I didn’t know too many other neighborhoods. I knew some neighborhoods that were definite NOs, but there were lots of areas that I needed to check out more. This is the link CMPD uses to track crime. It is definitely really helpful to figure out if an area is safe or not.
#4 Know what is negotiable and what isn’t.
We have two dogs, so we wanted a doggy door, but in the end, the house we bought didn’t have one. This wasn’t something that was going to make or break our purchase. However, we knew we wanted a decent-sized master closet, a decent-sized kitchen, and a good-sized backyard. We didn’t want to budge on these things, so we looked for a house that had all of them.
#5 Understand the due diligence fee.
Once your offer is accepted, you’ll have to pay a due diligence fee.
This is NON-refundable. Ours was a couple hundred dollars, so in the end, it’s not a lot, but if you are feeling iffy about the house and think you might back out, it’s definitely something to consider.
#6 Your appraisal really matters.
Something else I learned and I think is crazy, is the appraisal of the house is done AFTER you put in your offer.
So how does this affect you?
The appraisal is how much the house is actually worth and how much the bank will give you for your loan. For example, if you put in an offer for $200,000, but the house is only worth $180,000 that means YOU have to come up with the extra $20,000. Now if this happens, you can always back out or ask the seller to bring the price down. Just remember, if you back out, you won’t be getting your due diligence fee back.
#7 Of course, having a good realtor is always KEY.
I met my realtor, David a month after I moved to Charlotte. We were both at what used to be Icehouse watching football and he noticed me, because I was the one person wearing a Denver Broncos jersey. He also likes the Broncos (sorry all you Panthers fans) so he called me over to sit with him and his girlfriend. Who knew over a year later, he would be helping me get a house! He is wonderful and super helpful, so if you are looking for a new place, get in touch with him through his website or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are of course only some things to keep in mind when purchasing a house, but I hope it helps. Good luck and if you have any questions find me on Twitter @spencercollins_
Written by: Spencer Collins | @spencercollins
News junkie. 4th grade spelling bee winner. Dance floor addict.