9 Tips for Buying a House in Jacksonville, NC in 2020
2020 is your year to buy a house! Whether it’s your first house or your forever home, I’m here to help you find the perfect place in Jacksonville, NC and surrounding areas. Not sure where to start? No worries, I’ll be with you every step of the way. Here are 9 tips to get you started!
1) Find a top REALTOR® — Don’t go at your house search alone! You need a partner to help guide you through the process. Find a top local realtor who helps people looking to buy houses (there’s a difference in a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent, more on that later!) You should interview local REALTOR®. Not sure what to ask? See our list of questions to ask when interviewing a Buyer’s Agent.
2) Start browsing for houses online – You will want to get a feel for what features you like. All of my home buying clients come to me with at least some picture in their mind of what they are looking for in their new house. Maybe it’s an open kitchen, a big fenced yard, four bedrooms, or a house in a particular neighborhood or school district. Being able to give your REALTOR® these ideas in the beginning will allow you both to work together to make sure the perfect home doesn’t pass you by! Register to look at houses on my website, www.HomesbyKelli.com, for the most up-to-date listings.
3) Get pre-approved—You will need to get preapproved for a mortgage. It’s important to get this out of the way early. Your lender will give you a budget and an idea of what monthly payments will be on your new house. This will also allow you time to take care of any loose ends that need to be tied up before buying your new house. Not sure who to call? We have great local lending contacts, specializing in VA loans, who will be glad to help you with a loan for your new house in Jacksonville, NC and surrounding areas.
4) Gather documents for your lender – Your lender is going to need some items from you to process your loan. On a traditional VA loan, the lender doesn’t usually require you to provide any documents for a preapproval. Once you go under contract, you will need to provide your lender with financial documents, examples: current LES, W-2 forms, sometimes tax transcripts, copies of PCS Orders, etc. It’s best to ask your lender at the pre-approval process what documents they will need for your situation. Start gathering those documents now so you are not stressed once you are under contract.
5) Clean up your credit – If you are in the thinking and browsing stages of buying your house, you will still have time to clean up your credit, if needed. Your credit score can be a major factor in your interest rate which changes your affordability. Speaking with a lender early in the process allows the lender to give you tips and tricks on how to get your credit score up quickly and take care of any items necessary prior to going under contract on a house.
6) Monthly Budget – The last thing you want to be is broke. After getting pre-approved, find out from your lender what your monthly payment will look like. Spend some time working on your budget to make sure you can make those payments comfortably.
7) Have some cash available – While most buyers purchasing houses in Jacksonville, NC use a VA loan with no down payment, there are still costs associated with buying a house. There will be a need for you to have about $1,000 available at the time of writing the contract (could be more or less, depending on the price of the house and on negotiations) for Earnest Money Deposits, Due Diligence Fee, Appraisal if the lender requires you to pay for that upfront, and inspections if the inspectors don’t allow those to be paid at closing.
8) Search Neighborhoods – You are not just buying a house; you are also buying a neighborhood. Spend time driving through neighborhoods you are interested in. Drive through them at different times of the day, on weekends and weekdays. Get a feel for the neighborhood and the proximity to places important to you — work, school, grocery store, places to eat, gym, or your favorite coffee shop!
9) Understand the Local Market – The local market in Jacksonville, NC can change quickly. Great houses always seem to be snatched up fairly quickly, sometimes in one or two days of being on the market. It is important to have a conversation with your REALTOR® about the local market conditions. Questions to ask include: are we shifted more in buyer’s favor or seller’s favor? Are you seeing sellers pay none, some, or all of the buyer’s closing costs? How quickly are houses selling (days on market)? All of these questions are going to be essential in giving you an idea of the local market.
We still anticipate interest rates to be at historic lows in 2020. It’s a great time to buy your first or next house. Interested in asking some of these questions? Schedule a time to speak with top local realtor, Kelli Salter, about your home search in 2020.