US flagPurchasing a home can be a complicated experience, especially when it's your first. There are many steps in the homebuying process, and deciding where to start can be as confusing as the process itself. We've provided a short checklist that outlines the basic steps in the homebuying process.
 
Always begin with ordering your credit report – months in advance, if possible. Experts advise requesting your credit report at least once a year (twice is better), whether you're purchasing a home or not.
 

Step 1 – Know what's on your credit report

Assuming you have requested a copy of your credit report from one of the major credit reporting agencies, you know the items that need work. Take time to clean it up. Pay off debt, close unused accounts and establish a "pay on time" system for at least 6 months; 12 is better; 24 is best.
 

Step 2 – Determine necessities & amenities

Before purchasing a home, make a list and decide what features you need and those you can do without. Be realistic and flexible. Consider your family's size, space needed, recreation needs, location and number of years you'll live in the house.
 

Step 3 – Get Pre-qualified

Visit a lender before you begin shopping for a home. A lender will help you determine what you can afford.
 

Step 4 – Begin house hunting & decide which house is best

Choose a real estate professional or go it alone. Real estate professionals offer a wide variety of homes for sale using the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and offer professional advice and guidance in negotiating the price of the home as well as making sure the transaction is finalized.
 

Step 5 – Make an offer to purchase

A real estate professional really comes in handy when you are making the offer to purchase. He/She will handle the details of the contract and assist you with finalizing the entire transaction.
 

Step 6 – Apply for a mortgage

Now that you have completed the pre-qualification session, the loan approval should be a breeze, right? Maybe not. Final loan approval requires additional information, including an appraisal, termite inspection, reports from all three credit-reporting agencies, additional income information, a home inspection and lots more. Get ready!!!
 

Step 7 – Close the Loan & Move in

The lender has approved your loan! Finish the transaction and get the keys to your new home. Congratulations! You've completed the steps in the homebuying process!
 
Having your loan approved by a lender is one of the tallest hurdles in the homebuying process. When preparing to apply for a loan, consider your credit, income and the amount of debt you carry (and value of property you want to buy). Several loan products offer creative financing and down-payment assistance programs that help you purchase a home with low upfront expenses. We recommend you shop around. Check at least three different lenders and compare products. Chances are, there's a loan product designed for you.
 
Feel free to contact the following lenders for information on pre-qualification and mortgage loan products. These local lenders have a good working relationship with the City of Raleigh and Wake County. These lenders have helped many citizens purchase their first home:
  • BB&T
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Homestead USA
  • Wells Fargo
  • PNC Bank