Build a Plan of Action and Get Ready To Buy

February 16, 2024

Tim Clarke

Build a plan of action and get ready to buy your dream home. We provide expert guidance and resources for a smooth home-buying process. Join us today!

Buying a home here in the Triangle can be competitive, but I'll make sure you're prepared every step of the way. First, we'll get you pre-approved with a lender I trust so you know your budget upfront. Remember to factor in closing costs, insurance, fees - I'll break it all down so there's no surprises.

Determining Your Budget

Before embarking on your home-buying journey, it's crucial to establish how much you can afford to pay for a home. To do this:

  1. Get Pre-approved: Seek out a reputable lender and undergo the pre-approval process. This step will provide valuable insights into the amount you can afford and allow you to focus your search on homes within your price range. Pre-approval alleviates stress, as you gain clarity on your qualifications, interest rates, monthly mortgage payments, and down payment requirements. Make sure to get pre-approved for an amount higher than your target budget, as you may find a home you love that is slightly over budget.
  2. Calculate Additional Costs: Remember to factor in upfront contractual considerations like earnest money and due diligence fee, closing costs, moving expenses, home insurance, property taxes, HOA fees, and maintenance costs on top of your mortgage payment. Create a budget that includes these extra expenses so you have a complete picture of the monthly and annual costs.

Identifying the Ideal Location


Choosing the right location that suits your lifestyle and meets your family's needs is essential. Consider the following factors:

  1. Convenience: Assess the accessibility and convenience of the neighborhood for all family members. Evaluate commute times during rush hour, proximity to grocery stores, restaurants, parks, and other frequented places.
  2. Proximity: Take into account the distance to your workplace, schools, and other important destinations. Drive the commute during peak times to determine if the location is feasible long-term.
  3. Neighborhood Safety: Research the crime rate of the area to ensure a secure living environment. Check police reports and talk to current residents to get a well-rounded perspective on safety. Consider gated communities for added security.
  4. Transportation: Consider the availability and quality of local transportation options. Check if public transportation can sufficiently serve your needs if required.
  5. Housing Options: Explore the variety of homes available, such as condos, townhomes, co-ops, or newly constructed properties. Each option has pros and cons regarding maintenance, amenities, space, and investment potential.

Additional Considerations


In addition to budget and location, there are a few more aspects to ponder:

  1. Home Features: Determine the specific features you desire in a home, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, yard size, garage space, or other amenities like a pool. Make a wish list of must-haves versus nice-to-haves.
  2. Future Plans: Anticipate any future changes or requirements that may impact your housing needs, such as a growing family, aging parents, or the need for accessible features. Buy a home with some room to grow.
  3. Community Resources: Research the availability and quality of nearby schools, healthcare facilities, parks, recreational centers, and other amenities that contribute to your overall quality of life. Good schools and amenities can greatly impact resale value.

We at the Tim M. Clarke Team has helped homebuyers navigate the Raleigh-Durham Triangle real estate market since the recession in 2008. Our deep knowledge of the local area combined with a client-first approach has made the Tim M. Clarke Team a trusted resource for those looking to buy or sell in the Triangle. As Tim advises, being clear on your budget and needs while acting decisively are keys to success. With an expert agent on your side, you can buy your dream home in North Carolina with confidence.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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