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Buyer FAQs

Buyer Resources: Home Buying FAQ

Questions for First Time Home Buyers in North Carolina

Home Buyer Frequently Asked Questions

Where Should I Start?

  • Organize and review your finances. Set a budget and figure out what you will be able to afford for a down payment.
  • Start exploring the many communities in and around the Triangle from Raleigh to Apex to Holly Springs and more, to see which might be best for you.
  • If you’re a first-time buyer, you might want to get more information first!

How Do I Know What to Look for in a Home?

  • Take some time to decide what’s important to you (proximity to amenities, school districts, yard sizes, noise, commute, highway access.) This will help you find a neighborhood.
  • Review home features you might want and those you’ll need, from size to style to overall condition. Having a good idea of what you’re looking for will save you time and tours of homes that don’t meet your criteria.
  • Browse our Triangle featured listings, or start searching homes by amenities and features.

Why Should I Use a Realtor?

  • A good Realtor can guide you through the financial and legal complexities of the Triangle real estate process.
  • A local Realtor will be a Triangle expert and can provide vital insight into its neighborhoods and communities.
  • A Realtor can help you find the right price range for your income and finances and can explain the pros and cons of different types of mortgages.
  • A Realtor will answer all your questions and guide you through the complicated paperwork.

Where and How Can I Get a Loan?

  • Mortgage loans are typically available through banks, credit unions, private mortgage companies, and government-state lenders.
  • Your Realtor can help connect you with lenders. You can also shop for lenders on your own, making sure you take some time to search around and compare rates. Calling local government agencies can also be a good idea to find out more about programs that might be available to you.

What if I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment?

  • You might qualify for a federal mortgage program or local home buying assistance program.
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps home buyers by offering insured loans. This means that if the buyer defaults, the lender will still get their money. Insured loans encourage lenders to work with more buyers regardless of their credit or available down payment.
  • Many state and local governments offer additional programs for buyers who meet various criteria or are buying within individual communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers many assistance programs to home buyers.

What Should I Know About Home Inspections?

  • Understand the Purpose: Home inspections are crucial for identifying any issues with the property, from structural problems to outdated electrical systems.
  • Choosing an Inspector: Select a licensed and experienced home inspector. Your Realtor can often recommend reputable inspectors.
  • What’s Covered: Inspectors typically examine the home’s structure, roof, plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC, and more.

What Should I Know About Homeowners Associations (HOAs)?

  • Understanding HOAs: HOAs manage common areas and set rules for properties within a community.
  • HOA Fees: Be aware of the monthly or annual fees and what they cover, such as maintenance, amenities, and utilities.
  • Community Rules: Familiarize yourself with the HOA’s covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) to ensure they align with your lifestyle.

Once I Find My Home, What Will I Have to Pay Up Front?

  • Earnest money: This is the “security deposit” you pay when you submit your offer to prove to the seller that you are serious. After your offer is accepted, it is applied to your down payment or closing costs.
  • Down Payment: This is a percentage of the cost of your home. The amount will depend on your loan; government programs can help you decrease this amount.
  • Closing Costs: These are typically low for buyers and represent the fees associated with paperwork and lender charges.

What Other Costs Will I Pay?

  • Other costs can include utilities, HOA or condo fees, and property taxes, which are typically included in your mortgage payment.
  • Ask your Realtor about additional fees associated with your particular home, community, or neighborhood.

What if I Have Bad Credit or No Down Payment?

  • State Programs: North Carolina offers various programs to assist first-time home buyers, such as down payment assistance and affordable loan options.
  • Mortgage Credit Certificates: These certificates can help first-time buyers save on taxes.
  • Local Incentives: Some Triangle-area cities or counties may have additional incentives, grants, or programs specifically for first-time buyers.

Still Have Real Estate Questions?

We can help! Contact us and we can answer any of your home buying questions about homes for sale and real estate in the Triangle or its many communities.