Home Buying in Raleigh>Question Details

Lindsey, Home Buyer in Raleigh, NC

I am looking to buy my first home in the Raleigh area when I return from overseas (military). How far ahead is reasonable to start looking/planning?

Asked by Lindsey, Raleigh, NC Thu Jan 3, 2013

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Margaret Moore’s answer
Thank you for serving and protecting our country. It's never to early to start preparing for your new home purchase. There is a lot of information available to you online which helps since you're abroad. If you haven't been to Raleigh in a while you will be surprised to see how it has grown and changed. There may be new neighborhoods that you're not aware of. If you're looking for a home close to work that will help narrow your search. I offer snapshots of the area as well as having a video library (I'm continually adding to it) of neighborhoods on my website. Additionally, as active military (or veteran) you may be eligible for downpayment assistance through a special program geared towards those that have served. Please let me know if you have any questions or I can be of assistance.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 4, 2013
First off..thank you for your service to our country!!

All very good answers before, but after just helping my son and daughter-in-law purchase their first home ( he's active military) , can tell you from personal experience to have your credit checked first. Take the time to critique anything that may be on there from the VA if you ever took advantage of the GI Bill through them. My son had an entry on his credit from an overpay education tuition of $110 by the VA after they failed to alert him of this. This was never discovered until 2 years later when his credit was pulled for the home and the loan blocked. He immediately paid it off..however someone at the VA miscoded the payoff to reflect as a credit card late payment which immediately changed his credit to reflect many many 90 day lates! Even with a zero balance, this continues today with new 90 day lates being added on every month.. The VA refuses to make the change blaming the credit reporting companies and the companies are blaming the VA. Our lender worked her magic and still was able to get him the loan but we did close 2 months after the initial contracted date. He now has to hire an attorney to fix this.

Wishing you a safe return home and if there is anything I can do to help you, please don't hesitate to ask! In the meantime, feel free to browse my website at http://www.RaleighHomeSite.com . It has an active search tool allowing you to view current homes on the market. I didn't see anyone else mention this but you'll find several major search sites including Trulia of which you posted this question on. Know however that they are not as current as our IDX systems. My son loved Trulia but for every 5 homes he would send me to research, at least 2 were no longer available..some had even closed.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Ernie, we are running into a similar problem with the VA at this very moment. The lender says they are showing we owe around $200 which we'd never heard of. We just spoke to the VA and they say we have a 0 balance and will generate a letter to send to our lender. Of course she needed us to speak with someone else and due to high volume of calls we were disconnected which I'm sure you guys are familiar with. This is very unfortunate!!! Ironically, I'd just read your post last night and woke up today to this very similar situation. VERY FRUSTRATING to say the least. We'd been preapproved and were ready to make an offer on a place. Thanks for sharing your experience to warn myself and others. Apparently this is a common problem with the VA.
Flag Mon Jan 7, 2013
I think it depends on when you are coming back. I normally suggest once you have been qualified for a mortgage it is fine to begin your search. If you begin looking too soon say a year in advance the homes you are looking at most likely will not be available once you are ready to purchase. You typically want to start the process about 6 months in advance of when you will actually be ready to close.
I would first speak with a lender to find out how much you qualify for then if there are any credit issues you will need to address. Once you have done that and know how soon you can close on a loan then the search is on.
Please feel free to contact me to begin your process. We at Allen Tate are a full service company from the mortgage process, real estate, relocation , insurance etc.

This should be one of the most wonderful and exciting times in your life, and it will be if you surround yourself with a team of professionals that can guide you thru the process to end up in the home of your dreams.

Best of luck to you, and Thank YOU for the wonderful service you provide to US allowing me the freedom to be able to do what I LOVE to do and can only continue that because YOU have allowed me to live in this wonderful country of ours and allowed me to live FREE.

It would be an honor to bring you HOME in every sense of the word!!
Thank you Lisa Stanley 919-291-8502
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 23, 2013
Thank you so much for your service. I say start now. The general raleigh area is huge. You need to start narrowing down what you want...not just a home but schools, shopping, entertainment eat... There is a lot to consider for your location. Some of the surrounding areas are very rural but the home prices are better and you have bigger lots. What are your family's needs. I would love to help you narrow down the area. Please consider calling me.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 21, 2013
Hey Lindsey,

I wanted to follow up with you and make sure that you were able to get all of the answers you needed. If you happen to still have some questions; that we happened to miss in all of our replies please let me know. I also can send you some lenders that have experience with VA loans too!

As I mentioned earlier we are here to help! Feel free to look at homes on my site, I know you will find it super easy to use.


Stay safe!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 21, 2013
Hi Lindsey and thank you for your service. If you already know that you intend to purchase I would suggest starting the process now. The biggest step is purchasing a home are financial requirements. I'm not sure if you intend to use your VA loan eligibility but if not you should speak with my lending partner to determine where you currently stand and if there is anything extra you can do to improve your mortgage rates. If you already know you have a qualifying score you can use your time overseas to build on that score to get the best possible rates for when you return. If you are more than 6 months out from purchasing you don't necessarily need to get pre-approved for a loan but it's always good to know what you can afford before you start searching.

While your overseas I could send you available homes to your email address whether it be daily or weekly so you can have an idea of what to expect when you get home. Just let me know.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jan 14, 2013
First, and foremost, my highest regard for your service to our country. We wouldn't be this great nation without people such as yourself!
You asked such an excellent question Lindsey! Some would state to simply wait until you return, but you can never be too prepared for the home buying process. My recommendation is to set up some searches in your preferred area, pricepoint, # of bedrooms, etc and this will give you an idea of what's out there. You may find that perfect home that meets all your criteria or you may find that you need to adjust your criteria to concur with your reality. This is sometimes the hardest part of seeking a house to call "home".
Knowing that you are wanting to buy a home, I would suggest talking with a local agent and lender prior to going overseas. Then around 4 months before you return (or when you are ready), I recommend contacting the agent again to assist you to insure you're well prepared for this process when you return home. I would love to be that agent you contact! At any point, now or later, you can set up searches with your criteria, and you will be able to see the inventory of homes in your specified locale meeting your criteria. My website (link below) will allow you to set up searches and email alerts hassle-free -- and the data is real-time and always current. You are absolutely in control of this! If you would like to discuss options at any point, I'm available. Wishing the very best with much success overseas and back home!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
You can begin by logining onto our property organizer @ http://jimallen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Thank you for your service Lindsey and Welcome Home!! Please stop by the USO at the Raleigh Durham Airport. We love to welcome our military home with goody bags from so many locals who want to say thank you!! I am also a Realtor in Raleigh with Coldwell Banker HPW and it is never too early to start looking for a new home. You can narrow down the area you are looking for and watch the market in that area. Please email me and I can set you up with our "My Agent Online" service which will track homes in the area and price range you are looking for and alert you when they become available. It is a nice way to have eyes and ears working for you 24/7. Once again have a safe trip back. Welcome Home!!!
Stacey Redgrave
Realtor, Coldwell Banker HPW
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hi Lindsey.

How exciting that you're thinking about buying your first home! Very smart move on your part...particularly given the interest rates available now. When to start looking: Depends on when you'll be back in the US. I can link you to the local Multiple Listing Service now so that you can get a feel for what's available and price points. Looking in earnest...probably six months would give us time to find your new home. Another thing you can do right now is talk to a lender. USAA would probably be a good choice for you. That's who my military buyers usually use.

You may want to look at my web site, http://www.KarenJohnsonRealty.com, or email me so we can "talk" further. Thank you for your service. Stay safe. i look forward to hearing from you soon.

Karen Johnson
RE/MAX United
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Thanks for your service. Start looking now and get a feel for the market, and start talking with a lender that will help with the mortgage application. I offer programs for buyers that include home repairs, interior painting and more for buyers and sellers. When you are ready contact me for a consultation and see if you like how I can help you. References. http://www.scalvert.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hi Lindsey,
Thank you for your service. My wife and I deeply appreciate it.

Take a look at www. HomesInRaleigh.org. My wife and I are both Realtors. She has worked her head off on this website to provide some amazing information about Raleigh and a really easy and accessible way to take a peek at homes all over this area.


Ed Williams
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Thank you for serving and making a difference Lindsey. Hands down, USAA is one of the best financial institutions. They provide their members with superior service. I have found that the Naval Federal Credit Union offers a 100% financing no PMI. Kelly Diard is on point. You have to secure financing by consulting with a mortgage specialist. There are other Credit Unions in your town that offers the 100% financing, but I personally like USAA and Naval Federal Credit Union. Thank you once again for your honor and sacrifice. Best wishes on your search.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
You can begin by logining onto our property organizer @ http://jimallen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
CAll us at the Jim Allen Group we have the largest selection of New homes and resale homes in the Triangle. Call us @ 9198459909 or login into property organizer on http://jimallen.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
The first thing you'll want to do is obtain a mortgage pre-approval, to ensure you're looking in the right price range.

As a USAA member for over a decade, and having obtained two mortgages from them, I can personally recommend their mortgage servicing department to any service member. They do offer a home buying service that can potentially save you money when you use one of their recommended real estate agents. When we PCS'd from NAS Atlanta to Oceana in Virginia Beach, I listed/sold our home in Atlanta but didn't know anyone in VABch, so I used USAA's homebuying service for that purchase. While my personal experience with their service was good, I can't say it made searching from a distance any easier.

As for your transition to Raleigh, it's never too early to start looking. However, depending upon what part of Raleigh, and what type of home you're considering (detached, townhome, condo, highrise, etc), inventory can vary greatly. In my personal experience, we have more buyers Inside The Beltline than we have homes available for them to buy, we're having to watch the market daily for new listings and work our networks to find out about upcoming homes before they even hit the market. Accordingly, buyers have to be ready to jump when they see something.

I do think we'll see an increase in inventory as Spring approaches, so #1, definitely start looking online. #2, assess your long term financial goals and get pre-approved for a mortgage that supports, not defies, your goals, then #3, carefully select a real estate agent who will be your eyes on the ground and will work locally on your behalf to find the perfect home for this important part of your life.

Thank you, Lindsey, for your service to our country, for your part in protecting the many freedoms we take for granted, and for honoring Raleigh as your city of choice! We look forward to having you safely back on our soil!

Kelly Diard
via iPhone - Please excuse any typos!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Well, first you will need to get pre-qualified. That is always step one no matter how much you think you can and want to afford in your new home. If you would like to contact me I can help you out with that. It takes about 10 minutes and is totally free. From there, a home normally takes 30-45 days to close unless it is a foreclosure or a short sale. Short sales can take from 6 months to a year to close. Once you get pre-qualified I can set you up with a home search and you can start browsing as soon as you'd like! Lots of things are a case-per-case basis, but that's the basics!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
Hey Lindsey,

Thanks so much for your service, I ttruly appreciate your sacrifices for our country!

I just helped two vets conduct their home search from abroad. So I can understand your concerns. For both of them we set up home searches in the area that they were looking to purchase in. We did this a few months out from their return trip home. Doing this allowed them to familiarize themselves with the market and the home inventories. Which in turn made it easier for them to spot a great deal and feel confident in their decision. My website provides you an option to view a satellite overview of the homes which can also be rotated and viewed from the North, South, East and West. My clients love this because it gives them a lot of info about a home, the neighborhood and its location before touring it in person. In your case it would help give you one more insight about it since you can't tour in person right now.

I also agree with the other agent's recommendation in regards to financing. It is always to your advantage to seek prequalification ahead to be most prepared. Another reason to have a lender pull your credit is to ensure that no one has made fraudulent charges with your info and it is now on your credit. Often when fraud has been committed the victim doesn't know soon enough to fix it before it prevents them from doing something they want. (example purchasing a car or home) I am sure you are aware of the benefits of USAA, they could easily help you with this and cater to helping past and present military. My husband and I are both ex Air Force and love USAA!

I would be glad to help you with this step and would happily provide references from other veterans that I have helped in the past. Please review my Trulia profile for my website and contact information. Have a great day!!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
As a buyers agent, I would love to help you with this tremendously important decision! I believie in starting the process 4-6 months before move in date. However before you even look at homes I suggest you speak to a mortgage broker. Doing so ensures that you are looking in the right price point. This only takes a few minutes (doesn't cost you anything) and saves you time in the long run. If you have children you should also check out NC schools to see what would best fit your family's needs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
It depends on what you're looking for exactly. Some clients find what there looking for in one trip other need to see a lot of home before they really drill down on exactly what they want. I'd be happy to start sending you listings now so you can see what is coming on and then going off the market while you are abroad.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
4-6 months ahead is ample time. While you can always look at homes on the market online you'll need to remember that if you're looking much more in advance than this that the market is likely to change in terms of pricing a little and homes you see will likely get sold.

About 4-6 months out I would suggest reaching out to a locla Realtor who specializes in buyer brokering and who enjoys working with first time buyers like yourself. I've attached a link below on what to look for in a Realtor. Once yu've found a Realtor they will discuss financing options with you and you'll want to start the pre-approval process and your Realtor should start sending you listings that meet your parameters. This way when you get back you'll be ready to go and can hit the ground running. If you'd like to speak with me feel free to contact me directly through my profile here on Trulia, I don't work in Raleigh, but do cover all of Durham, Cary Orange county etc. I would be happy to suggest to you a couple of excellent Raleigh Realtors that I know would do a good job for you.

Thanks for your service and best of luck to you when you return.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 3, 2013
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