Buying or selling a home in Durham and the surrounding areas?

For most people, buying a home can be an intimidating event. But with a little planning ahead of time, it's not that complicated. I like to give buyers a road map of the whole deal so they'll understand exactly what they can expect. Here are my nine steps to purchasing a home. Call Frank Ward, REALTORS TODAY, Experience matters.

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Step 1 – Prepare to purchase a home
There are several things you need to do before you look for a home. When you begin your search, you'll probably want to put together an index of features you need, get a feel for what neighborhoods you want to live in, and start working on your budget. A good guideline to adhere to is that your mortgage payment should be less than or close to a third of your monthly income.

Step 2 – Contact an experienced REALTOR. 
This is where I come in. I'd be more than happy to set up a time to meet with you and talk about your real estate needs and get an idea of your upcoming plans. We'll discuss neighborhoods, school districts in the Durham area, the mortgage industry, and any additional economic factors that could potentially affect your buying decision today or in the future.

In addition, I'll help you facilitate the loan process. I partner with some of Durham's best mortgage professionals, so you're in great hands. They will assist you with choosing which kind of loan is best for you and help you get qualified.

Step 3 – Start house-hunting
After our initial meeting, I'll begin looking for available houses on the market that are good for you. I'll preview most of the houses and eliminate the bad ones, and then we'll set up appointments to view the houses when it's convenient for you.

As we view the houses, I'll show you the positive features, as well as bad ones. And I'll ask you about things you like and dislike. For the most part, buyers amend their wish list as we tour houses and some things become more crucial than others. If such is the case, I'll go back through the listings once more and narrow it down to the house you've been dreaming about.

Step 4 – Know the housing market
My knowledge of the Durham home market is a valuable benefit in your home search. I'm conscious of all the schools and neighborhoods, and I can communicate which neighborhoods are "hot" and warrant immediate action and the others that are "cold" and allow for cautiousness.

When we tour houses, I'll make sure to communicate when the seller's asking price has room for negotiation and also when I think the house is "priced to sell." Every real estate agent will tell you they truly understand the housing market, but keep an eye out, and be sure to ask your agent lots of questions. If things don't add up, call me at 919-688-5811 or e-mail me at, and I'd be glad to answer your questions. My market knowledge will keep you a step above the rest throughout the entire process.

Step 5 – Find the home you've been looking for
I'm sure we'll find the house of your dreams in the Durham area. When that happens, I'll thoroughly create your home purchase offer. The offer will be tailored to suit your needs, including many contingencies, such as acquiring financing, finishing the home inspection, and a clear title.

Let FRANK WARD, REALTORS guide you through finding your dream home in Durham Upon presenting your offer, you'll want to present "earnest money." This is a cash deposit given to the seller to secure an offer to purchase the property. The amount is most often put towards the closing costs. If the seller accepts the offer, we should close on the property within 30 to 60 days afterward. This allows ample time for your mortgage financing.

Step 6 – Negotiate
Most contracts don't close on the initial offer. It's very common to receive a counter offer. Don't let it discourage you. We'll figure out whether or not to take the counter offer, present our own counter offer, or refuse the seller's offer and go on.

The state of the market will play a part in how aggressively we negotiate the deal. In addition, we'll work within your financing limits. And at the end of the day, we'll formulate a contract that's best for you.

Step 7 – Secure financing
After the deal is finished, you'll start working with your mortgage lender to close the loan. If you've been pre-approved, it won't be a long process at all. However, you should to keep in close contact with your mortgage lender. And I'll sort out all the property information your mortgage lender needs to close the loan.

Step 8 – Close the deal
Your mortgage lender will supply you with a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) of closing costs within three days of getting your application. This estimate is based on the loan amount, and RESPA requirements dictate that it has to include all closing costs and fall within a strict range of accuracy. I'll analyze the estimate and let you know if it all looks good.

Then we'll close on your house. This will most likely happen at a title company or escrow office and will most likely be a smooth and comfortable occurrence.

Step 9 – Move in
Success! Now you can move into your new house. Enjoy it. And if you need anything or have any questions, be sure to call me at 919-688-5811 or send me an e-mail.

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