The Pros and Cons of Buying a Foreclosed Home

Buying a foreclosed home can be a smart move depending on your situation, but there are also risks involved. Before you decide to buy a foreclosed home, it is important you know what you’re getting yourself into. Having a real estate agent in Charlotte walk you through the process can help make it go smoother.  There are several pros and cons involved in this sort of transaction, and we will discuss those in more detail.

Pro: Greater Bargaining Power

The urgency of a foreclosure does increase your bargaining power. You will want to research the title to ensure that it’s clear of any liens and request inspections before making an offer. Additionally, there is usually no emotional component to pricing so any offer you make may be entertained without reservation.

Con: Shorter Time for Financing

You may have a shorter time to get funds together if you’re purchasing a foreclosed home from a court auction. The time frame the court gives you is much shorter than it is for a traditional home purchase. You will have to be prepared to move quickly!

Pro: Getting a Good Bargain

Purchasing a foreclosed home can be a good investment. With the help of a realtor in Charlotte, you may be able to get a steep discount. If you’re purchasing a home in a good neighborhood at a lower price, this can be a very smart investment.

Con: Condition of the Home

The homeowner may have known about the foreclosure for some time and emotions may have run high. The property may be in poor condition because of damage or neglect. Appliances and fixtures may be missing, and it’s tough to know the extent of any needed repairs. It is always smart to invest in a credible home inspection so that you know what you’re buying into.

Whether you are considering  buying a foreclosed home, or you are just exploring the market in general, Top Charlotte Agent can help you navigate the process. We are a top realtor in Charlotte and with our knowledge and experience, we are more than happy to help!

Contact us today to get in touch with one of our realtors!

Tips For Taking Out Your First Mortgage

Having a realtor in Charlotte, NC guide you through the home buying process can definitely make it easier, but if this is your first home purchase, you may have questions about obtaining a mortgage. The experts at Top Charlotte Agent have gathered a few handy tips that can help you successfully navigate purchasing your first home!

Know Your Credit Score

Any real estate agent in Charlotte, NC will tell you that you should never approach a lender without obtaining a copy of your credit score and credit history report. It is important to take a look at your credit history to ensure there are no recent late payments or errors because this can hurt your chances of getting approved. You should always be one step ahead of the game and anticipate what a lender may bring up in your credit report.

Know How Much You Owe

Your lender is going to consider your debt ratio when deciding to approve your mortgage. Before applying for a mortgage, you should also be aware of this information. If you can pay off any debts just prior to applying for your mortgage, this will increase your odds of being approved for a loan.

Develop a Mortgage Budget

Before speaking to a lender, you should determine how much in terms of a monthly payment you can afford to pay comfortably. Keep in mind that when you purchase your home there will be fees, taxes, and insurance payments to make. Your mortgage payment should not be more than 35 percent of your gross monthly income.

Shop Around for Better Rates

You took the time to shop around for a real estate agent in Charlotte, NC, so it makes sense that  you should also evaluate local mortgage lenders. Check out different banks and financial institutions to see what types of rates they are willing to offer you.

If you’re in the market for a credible realtor in Charlotte, NC, then look no further than Top Charlotte Agent. We are experienced and knowledgeable about the real estate market and can help guide you through the process of purchasing your first home. Whatever questions you may have, we’re ready and willing to answer!

Learn more about our services and how we can help you today!

5 Things to Consider Before Buying a Foreclosed Home

Any Charlotte Realtor will tell you that buying a foreclosed home is a little different than purchasing a traditional resale. If you are considering purchasing a foreclosed home, there are a few things you may want to keep in mind before you put your money down. Coming from a professional real estate agent in Charlotte, here are five things to consider before purchasing a foreclosed home.

Get Credit Pre-approval

Getting credit pre-approval is important because it is better to know how much you can afford ahead of time before approaching a real estate agent in Charlotte. Getting your credit pre-approved will let you know what your financial limit is and will streamline the purchase process. You will be able to save time looking for properties with a credit pre-approval.

Find an Charlotte Realtor

You will need to find a Charlotte real estate agent that specializes in foreclosures. An experienced realtor can help walk you through the complex process for purchasing a foreclosed home. You will be able to benefit from their experience and avoid common mistakes that many buyers may make during a real estate foreclosure sale.

Invest in a Home Inspection

Shelling out a few hundred dollars for a home inspection is much better than purchasing a home that will costs you far more money down the road. A home inspection can provide you with information about the structure of the home and anything else you should know about the property before officially purchasing it.

Look for Signs of Poor Maintenance

In a foreclosure situation, owners often give up on caring for their property. A home inspection can uncover a few problems, but it can not uncover every little thing. Gutters may need cleaning, showers and tubs may need caulk, and overgrown vegetation may need to be addressed. These are typical problems for a foreclosure, so it is important to keep a look-out for signs of poor maintenance.

Come to the sale prepared

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that all foreclosure sales areas are as-is sales. There are no warranties or guarantees; what you see is what you get. Your new home may have liens and other obligations that may not be readily apparent. It is best to come to the sale prepared to face these types of obstacles.

Nearly a third of home sales nationwide were in some stage of foreclosure during the last quarter. Purchasing a foreclosed home can be an excellent way to get a great deal on a home, but there may be hidden costs involved.

To get the benefit & experience that a realtor has with foreclosures, contact Top Charlotte Agent today!

Top 5 Suburbs To Live in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is a wonderful city with a great deal of available housing options. Any Charlotte realtor will agree that this city truly is a wonderful place to live. One of the best things about the Charlotte real estate market is that there are lots of great deals to be had, even in the suburbs. The suburbs have been a good option for many buyers due to property taxes being lower. Of course, land prices are also lower and home prices are extremely reasonable. With all this in mind, here are 5 suburbs in Charlotte that surpass all the others when it comes to purchasing a home.

Fort Mill

Fort Mill really has it all! People who move to this area can enjoy the conveniences that Ballantyne offers without having to pay extra. The overall cost of living for this area is much lower. Many real estate agents in Charlotte recommended this suburb to buyers because the demographics appeal to young families who want to live somewhere that offers a strong sense of community. This area is actually located in South Carolina, but is only 18 miles from uptown Charlotte. Explore houses in Fort Mill, South Carolina!

Concord

If you’ve fallen in love with Davidson, but the home prices there are not within your price range, Concord may be your best bet. This area has a lot going on; there are specialty shops, theatres, restaurants, art galleries, and more. Best of all, these draws are all within walking distance of downtown Concord. Any realtor in Charlotte will agree that Concord is one of the best places to buy a house in Charlotte. Explore houses in Concord, North Carolina!

Indian Trail

It may be hard for many people to believe, but for a while now many Charlotte real estate agents have touted this secret gem as a wonderful place to settle. This once-sleepy suburb has recently experienced a big housing boom and the area infrastructure has finally caught up with new retail and restaurant offerings for residents. It’s a great place to live because it offers the convenience of Matthews without the high price tag. Explore houses in Indian Trail, North Carolina!

Mount Holly

Mount Holly has branded itself as a “playful city”, and with wonderful reason: the area contains two recreational facilities and six parks. Mount Holly is conveniently located across the Catawba River, right near the US National Whitewater Center. Also, Crowders Mountain State Park is only thirty minutes away from the area. This exciting suburb will most likely appeal to people who are drawn strongly to an adventurous life. Explore houses in Mount Holly, North Carolina!

Rock Hill

Although this suburb is about thirty miles from the uptown Charlotte area, it’s a prime candidate for being a wonderful place to live because of the low cost of living and strong schools. There are also lots of parks and natural spaces to wander. Winthrop University offers a bustling cultural scene for the area, which includes live music theatre and dance. The best part is that admission to these cultural hotspots usually costs less than the cultured events that go on in the uptown Charlotte area. Explore Houses in Rock Hill, North Carolina!

It is clear that the Charlotte area houses some wonderful areas for people to call home. For more information about these wonderful areas, contact Top Charlotte Agent today. We can point you to all sorts of wonderful deals on Charlotte area homes in the best Charlotte neighborhoods!

Using the Same Buyers and Sellers Agent in Charlotte

If you are selling your home in Charlotte, NC and looking to buy within the area there is no reason to hire a separate buyers agent and selling agent. Whether you have outgrown your home or need to downsize, changing homes within the Charlotte area is common. Our realtors at Top Charlotte Agent are skilled listing and buying agents and can help you through every part of your transaction.

Why Use the Same Agent

You will want to work with an agent you trust during both the home buying and selling processes. It is a good idea to meet with real estate agents to find someone who has the knowledge and experience you are looking for. When you are staying in the Charlotte area there is no need to go through this process twice when the same agent can fulfill your needs.

Convenience is also a major benefit of using the same Charlotte real estate agent. You can talk to your buyers agent and your listing agent with one phone call. This makes it much easier to get updates on both processes simultaneously.

When you are working with the same agent to buy and sell your home in Charlotte, North Carolina, your real estate has a better sense of your timeline. By knowing the details of your home sale, your realtor can help coordinate your closings of both houses and minimize your transition time between homes.

For help selling your home and buying a new house in the Charlotte, NC area, give us a call!

Do I Need a Buyers Agent?

As a buyer entering the housing market, you are faced with an important decision: to hire a buyers agent or go at it alone. Buying a home is a big decision, and there are a number of reasons a qualified buyers agent in Charlotte is essential to your home purchase.

Housing Market Knowledge

When navigating the real estate market in Charlotte, it is important to have an expert on your side to help guide you. An extensive knowledge of housing market trends is vital when buying a home. Working with an expert in the industry gives you a past to present view on what has influenced the market in Charlotte, North Carolina. Industry expertise paired with comprehensive knowledge of the area gives you a big advantage when working with a buyers agent.

Historical Price Data

A buyers agent can access historical price data for the home you are considering. Historical data can help determine a fair price for the home, as well as assess its resale potential. Your buyers agent can access and analyze this data to help you make the most informed decision on your purchase.

Keep Track of Details

Chances are, buying a house is not the only thing you are focused on. With work and family obligations, keeping up with the details of your home purchase can be a handful. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of when it comes to buying a home: searching for homes, setting up showings, making an offer, inspections, the mortgage, the closing, real estate lawyers, and the title company to name a few. Your buyers agent in Charlotte will guide you through the process and keep you on schedule.

Contact us to learn how one of our buyers agents can help you find a home in Charlotte, NC!

Research the Neighborhood before Purchasing Your Next Home

When you are making the type of investment that is going to be the biggest one of your life, there are many factors to consider before pulling the trigger on your dream home.

I’m not just talking about whether it is close to work or it is close to where you grew up, more or less the convenience factor, I’m talking about actually digging in deep and figuring out the ins and outs before a real estate agent just tries to sell you on the house.

You can do your research by taking an online real estate investing course or by just taking the time to use any number of search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) to figure out what the neighborhood and surrounding areas are like. You don’t want to go in blind and then be caught off guard on these things, especially since this will probably be your home for a very long time.

Here are five (of many) suggestions to research before signing on the dotted line:

Room For Growth?
Is your dream home situated in a growing area that will eventually make your property value sky rocket? If so, that is a great investment for the long term because you know that since it is a growing area with lots more to develop, the value of the property is going to increase significantly. These are the types of neighborhoods you want. Don’t go for the neighborhood that has no surrounding areas to develop because whatever the land and property is worth at the time of your purchase, chances are it won’t increase because the standard value is pretty much set in stone by that point.

Fit Your Lifestyle?
Make sure you find out if you are moving into a neighborhood that is primarily young couples with kids or whether you are going to be the only couple that is under 80 years old. This may sound a little funny, but truth of the matter is you need to figure that out. If you have one or two children, you probably want to move into a neighborhood that has a ton of swing sets and pools because you know that there are young families that are going to be your neighbors. This is significant because you want your children to have playmates, not people who haven’t had a young child since before Vietnam.

Know Your Surroundings
When you are going to check out the new house for the first time, or even the second time, make sure you check to see where the closest grocery store, hospital, dry cleaner, gas station and restaurant is. Not that this should be the end-all, be-all, but it does help for convenience to have all of these nearby. It will make it easier for you and your family in more ways than one, and it shows that the area is stable since all of these are present. A hospital is something that no one ever wants to go to, but having one nearby is essential, especially if you have children. And the rest of the features to look out for are amenities to an extent, but who wants to spend 30 minutes just driving to get a tank of gas or some milk and bread?

School System
Not only should you figure out how far away the local high school is located, but you should also find out where the elementary school and any preschools are located. You need to know whether there is a bus stop nearby or are you going to be driving your children to school every day. Also, it is nice to know what size of school is it, whether there are 150 to each grade or whether there are 500 per grade. This is big when it comes to your child getting the proper attention that you think they deserve. This information can be found online or by visiting the school directly before you make the purchase.

Roadways
Being near or close to a major roadway is essential when moving into a new home. You don’t want to be so far off the beaten path that you can’t ever go anywhere without driving a half hour to get to one of the major arteries around town. Even if you are buying a farm house or a house with tons of acres, you want to make sure that major roadways are within striking distance. Also, you want to make sure that your roads are kept clean and repaired so that, if you live in the North, you know whether they will be plowed or not. Again, something small and minute, but it is well worth looking into for the long run on the investment of your new home.

Finding the right neighborhood is easy when you have the help of an expert. Call Keith Thompson at 704-619-0887 for information on neighborhoods in the Charlotte area.

Author: Doug Chapman is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a stay at home dad blog. He specializes in diapers and sippy cups, but is a successful real estate investor on the side.

Closing Costs in Charlotte, NC

When buying a home in Charlotte you want to be prepared every step of the way.  The closing is one of the final steps in the home buying process, but buyers need to be prepared for the costs associated with this important step.  There are four main costs you can expect when buying a home in Charlotte: earnest money, due diligence fee to the seller, down payment and closing costs.

Earnest money is the money you deposits to show the seller you intend to buy the home. It is a check for approximately 1 to 5 percent of the selling price. This money is applied to the purchase price if the offer is accepted and returned if the offer is rejected.  “Due diligence” is a non-refundable payment made directly to the seller as for taking the property off the market while the Buyer makes financial arrangements.

The third closing cost to expect is the down payment; this is the percentage of the cost of the home you must pay when you make the settlement.  The amount of money you put down varies, but in general the more money put down at settlement, the lower the mortgage rate will be. Depending on the type of loan you select, you may be required to put down up to 10 to 20 percent of the offered price.

The final costs are the closing costs. There are a few costs associated with closing that are optional, your buyers agent can help you decide what would be best for you. Charlotte real estate closing costs include:

  • Origination fee: most lenders in Charlotte, NC charge a fee for providing the loan, it is normally 1% of the loan amount.
  • Optional- Survey: $300-$400 a plot plan showing the lot and the location of structures on the lot as well as any easements or encroachments.  Be aware that larger plots of land can cost more. While optional, most NC realtors recommend a survey to support title insurance and reveal unanticipated conditions associated with the property.
  • Optional – Appraisal Fee: $400-$450 an independent assessment of value of the home done by a certified appraiser who is selected by the lender. If you are buying with cash, you would be wise to still have an appraisal performed.
  • Credit Report: $12- $55 a report of the buyers credit history ordered by the lender.
  • Attorney: $600 +/- You must hire a real estate attorney to oversee the technical aspects of the closing.
  • Title Insurance: In Charlotte, NC, title insurance is about $2 per $1,000 of coverage-based on loan amount
  • Home Inspection: $350-$750 An inspection is usually completed within the 10 days following acceptance of the contract.  In Charlotte, the inspection includes built-in appliances, structural components and operating systems of the property and is done by a general contractor or licensed inspector and lasts about 2 to 4 hours.
  • Termite Inspection: $75-$90 this must be done within 30 days of closing by a licensed inspector.  Any infestation of active termites must be chemically treated before closing.

Determining all your closing costs in Charlotte can be complicated.  We are here to help you navigate the Charlotte real estate market. Call us to discuss these costs and we will let you know how we can help!

The Importance of Location and Happiness

The Importance of Location and Happiness

By Andrew Hill @ www.newhomesource.com

So you’ve heard the saying, “Location, location, location.” Often times this is tied into the monetary aspect of your home- what it will cost you and how much you can plan to sell it for. But location is also very much related to your happiness, because if you like where you live it will go a long way.

First thing’s first: given enough time, effort, and capital, nearly everything else about your home can be changed. The paint, the fixtures, the tile, everything. The one thing that you cannot change is the neighborhood you live in. Be sure you enjoy your surroundings. If you’re married with children, don’t move into a neighborhood with 20-somethings if you can’t see yourself being friends with them. If you need peace and quiet, please don’t look at homes in the city.

Location also applies to proximity. Are you the type who needs a grocery store within walking distance? Or do you prefer to only go into town a few times a month? Be sure to also consider your proximity to work. Traffic makes us miserable. As the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.” If you hate commuting an hour and a half, then you need to buy a home that’s closer to work. Cut that commute down from a three hour round trip to only one hour a day, and in just one week you’ll save ten hours- in a year you’ll gain more than 20 days!

Another key location factor are your streets and sidewalks. “Sidewalks?” you ask. Absolutely! Are you an active jogger? Do you want to live in a neighborhood where kids play in the street? Do you want to be able to take a walk with you family or pet? Sidewalks are a good indicator of location quality. They’ll tell you plenty about what goes on and how safe your neighborhood is.

Which brings mean to my final point: crime rate. Not to be overlooked is the influence of location and crime rate. If you are the type of person who fears rough city dwellers, get a home in the suburbs. If a small amount of crime doesn’t bother you so long as you have a downtown loft, go for the loft. You need to be conscious of what you want to surround yourself and your family with, as well as what you can afford. Everyone wants to feel safe, but some are more comfortable in certain communities than others. Make sure you are in tune with your comfort zone.

As you can see, the importance of location goes well beyond your house value. Where ever you choose to rest your head, eat your meals, and spend time with your family should make you happy. Now go forth and be location conscious when finding your perfect home!

Why Buying a Home is Still a Good Idea

Why Buying a Home is Still a Good Idea

If you think that there is no longer any benefit to buying a home, think again. Despite the mortgage crisis and the faltering real estate market, there are still plenty of good reasons to buy a home. Even as the economy continues to flounder and unemployment rates remain unbearably high, buying a house continues to be a smart move. Learn more about why it still pays to buy a home below.

  • Renting is Getting Costlier

In the old days; it was easy to argue that renting was more affordable on a month-to-month basis. In other words, monthly rent payments were often drastically lower than average monthly mortgage payments. That is becoming less and less true. In fact, it’s often possible to get a mortgage with a monthly payment that is significantly lower than the payment that goes along with the typical apartment lease. Renting isn’t always cheaper, and you could save a lot of money by purchasing a home instead.

  •  Interest Rates are at Record Lows

When it comes to buying a home, interest rates have never been lower. In recent months, they have dipped down to record lows. The overall expense of getting a home loan is, therefore, considerably lower than it used to be. The same is true about home refinancing. By refinancing right now, you could secure an exceptionally low interest rate that lowers your monthly payments by a significant margin. The real estate market may not be in great shape, but low interest rates mitigate a lot of that.

  • Housing Prices couldn’t be Lower

In just about every part of the country, housing prices have dropped precipitously. While that is bad news for the people who currently own those homes, it’s great news for people who are looking to purchase new homes. Prices are expected to drop a little lower too. They aren’t expected to start rising again for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait. Thanks to these low prices, you can probably afford a nicer and larger house than you could even a few years ago.

  • Buying a House is Still a Smart Move

Whether home values remain the same or go up, buying a house is still a very viable option. Unlike renting, you will be investing your money in something that will provide long-term benefits. That is true even if you don’t end up making a lot of money when selling the house at a later date. As a homeowner, you will be able to call all of the shots when it comes to updating and remodeling your home. There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from owning a home, and there has never been a better time to buy.