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Buying Your First Home

Overview of the home buying process for home buyers in the Charlotte real estate market

Buying a home can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Buying a home is a complex, multi-step-process that requires careful planning, diligence and know-how. For most people, buying  a home is  the largest investment they will ever make in a lifetime. For this reason,  we highly recommend for all home buyers to be adequately represented by a real estate professional in order to make a sound buying decision.  There are many details involved, many decisions to make and many documents to sign when buying a home. Did you know that in the course of a usual real estate transaction, there are  about 200 documents that need to be reviewed for accuracy? Can you imagine going at it alone with no real estate experience! When you are ready to purchase a home in the greater Charlotte NC real estate market, give us a call.  We are real estate consultants, not salespeople and that translates into a huge difference in the level and quality of service we offer.  We understand that buying a home is 100% your decision. Our goal is to assess your real estate and mortgage needs so we can help you achieve your goal of home ownership. We apply ourselves to make the home buying process as easy and pleasant as possible for home buyers in the Charlotte NC real estate market.

Home buying process steps

As mentioned before, the home buying process is a multi-step process. Each step needs to completed successfully before moving on to the next step.


As obvious as it sounds, the first step in the home buying process is to make the decision to become a homeowner and being committed to achieving that goal. If you are not 100% ready to own…wait until you are ready to start the process. Owning a home is a very personal decision. You should come up with a “wish list” that describes in details what kind of home you would like to own. Your wish list should have lots of details. What kind of home are you looking for? What location are you interested in? Do you need a large kitchen, family room, two-car garage, fenced yard? How many bedrooms? How many bathrooms? Do you want a large yard or a small yard? What kind of amenities are you looking for? What’s your price range or how much would you like your monthly mortgage payments to be? Do you have money saved for a down payment or do you need a down payment assistance program to help you with your down payment? Do you have enough money saved to cover your closing costs (usually about 3.5% of purchase price) or do you need us to negotiate closing costs with the seller? Knowing ahead of time the specifics of what you are looking for and your current financial situation/requirements will help you (and us) establish a good foundation to start the home buying process. Here is a sample dream home wishlist you can use.


Unless you intend to purchase a home with cash, you will need to prequalify for a loan to determine how much you can afford to borrow based on your income and monthly revolving debts. Why go shop for a home if you don’t know what price range to look into? Many people would rather wait until after they have found the perfect home to reach out to a lender. That’s a mistake. Shopping for a home is an emotional process and you don’t want to start shopping and  get attached to a home before knowing whether or not you can get financed to purchase it. It is FREE and fast to find out if you prequalify through one of our preferred lenders. When a lender pulls your credit,  it will reveal if there are credit issues that need to be repaired. If you have credit issues, you can start repairing your credit early instead of later and eliminate the risk of losing your dream home to another home buyer who is already pre-qualified and ready to make an offer. Remember this – everything in real estate is about timing.

We make it easy for you to find out if you prequalify (this is one of the many real estate services we provide). We have already done the homework for you and found the top local lenders in the Charlotte NC area and we work with those lenders on a regular basis. We can take an application for you over the phone or setup an appointment for you with a lender. If you want to use one of our lenders (and make it a lot easier for yourself), just call us at (704) 322-3710 or complete our online application and a licensed real estate professional will call to gather some information from you. The over-the-phone application process only takes a few minutes and we will let you know whether or not you qualify for a loan within 24 hours of taking your application. All information we collect from home buyers is kept strictly confidential and only shared with the lender that will be pulling credit.


Once you have been prequalified by a lender, we will arrange to meet with you. We will go over a few real estate legalities, sign a few documents with you and discuss your real estate and mortgage needs. We will also go over, in details,  the remaining steps involved in the home buying process so you know what to expect.


After our initial meeting, we will start searching available properties that meet your criteria. We will compile a list of properties for your review. From that list, you will be able to select homes you would like to view. Once we have a “short list” of homes from you, we will schedule appointments so we can show you the homes you selected. We will share with you detailed market data about each of the homes we visit to help you narrow down your list.


After you have identified the “one home” you really would like to own, we will help you structure an offer based on market values and other data. We will, under your directives, negotiate price and terms on your behalf with the seller. Having us negotiate on your behalf will allow you to keep emotions out of the way and to remain objective during this process. We are skilled at negotiations and will prepare your offer to purchase so you get the best deal possible. There are a lot of strategies involved with an offer to purchase. We will share those strategies with you so that your offer has the best chance of being accepted by the seller. Once the seller has accepted your offer and signed it, you will officially be under contract and the offer to purchase will be considered executed. Usually it takes 30 to 45 days from that time to close on your home. It can sometimes take less time but sometimes more depending on the loan process.


Once you are under contract for the purchase of a home, the lender will order an appraisal for the property. We will help you select a closing attorney who will perform a title search on the home to make sure it is free of liens and encumbrances. The closing attorney will also be the one who will be holding your earnest money in escrow and help you close the real estate transaction. During this period, your loan will be processed by the lender. Through constant communication with the lender, we will keep you inform of progresses during the loan processing period and ensure that there are no unnecessary delays so you can close on time. In order to find out if the home you want to purchase is structurally sound, we recommend for you to have the home inspected.  We always recommend for home buyers to have a home inspection. Sometimes, if the home selected is brand new, the builder will offer a warranty on the home (usually referred to as a 2/10 warranty). Since the home is under warranty, it might not be necessary to order a home inspection, but it is always at the discretion of the home buyer whether or not to have one done. Once the results from the home inspection have come back, we will go over the report with you and help you decide what needs to be repaired by the seller. We will prepare a repair request on your behalf to be presented to the seller. Please note that if you have selected a foreclosure, all foreclosures are sold as is, which means that the seller will not make any repairs to the property. We will also provide you with a list of homeowner insurance providers so you can select the right company to protect your home. You will usually get a better rate if you combined your auto insurance with your homeowner’s insurance.


After the successful completion of all the previous steps and final approval of the loan, we will meet with the closing attorney who will guide you through a large amount of paperwork to be signed so that the deed for the house can be transferred over to you.We will be by your side during the closing to answer questions you may have and to make sure that there are no errors in the documents you are signing, including the closing statement and the deed. Once all the papers have been signed, you will get the keys to your new home and officially become a homeowner – time to celebrate!


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Would you like to find out if you qualify for the purchase of a home? A down payment assistance? Are you interested in having Cornerstone Realty help you to sell your home? Call us today or fill out the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.

Mortgage Center

We have included below a few tools to help you determine your mortgage payments, closing costs and an estimator of how much you could afford based on your income. To get pre-approved for the purchase of a home, give us a call today or fill out an online inquiry from our website and we will contact you with 24 hours of your submission.

About Us

This Charlotte real estate website provides search tools, information and market news for home buyers and sellers. All the properties displayed on this website are generated automatically from the Carolina MLS and are updated daily.

The down payment assistance programs discussed in this website are based on a 30-year fixed loan. Interest rate is the current market rate.

If you have questions, please contact us today. Your inquiry will be answered by a Realtor® licensed to practice real estate.

Contact Information

Office: (704) 837-4672
Email: info@nc-homeownership.com
Address: 317 Matthews Mint Hill Road, Suite 201 Matthews, NC 28105

Mon-Fri: 9am to 6pm EST
Sat & Sun: By appointment only

Charlotte Real Estate website – We provide Real Estate services to home buyers and home sellers in Mecklenburg, Union, Gaston, Cabarrus and Stanly Counties.

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