Buying

A Step-by-Step Buyer's Guide

Buying a home is one of the most exciting milestones of your life. To prepare yourself for this moment, you need to know what to expect during the process. This step-by-step buyer’s guide will help reduce the stress of buying a home and help you enjoy the journey as much as possible.

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Step 1: Research

Do you already know where you want to buy? If you want a condo, townhome, or single-family home? Which features do you like and dislike? What’s available on the market now? If you answered no to any of these questions, now is the time to start researching. In addition to looking for homes that interest you, also take note of any changes in asking prices. This could give you valuable insight into housing trends in specific neighborhoods and help you when the time comes to make an offer.

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Step 2: Decide on Your Budget

Don't let your mortgage company determine how much your budget should be. In many cases, a mortgage company will pre-approve you for more than you’re comfortable spending, which is why you need to determine the monthly payment you feel comfortable with before talking to a lender. This likely includes doing a full household budget and taking into consideration what changes other than a mortgage payment will occur once you move into your new home. If you’ve lived in an apartment or with roommates, you may overlook new expenses like garbage, water, or HOA fees that could easily blow your budget.

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Step 3: Get Prequalified

Just because you think you can afford a certain payment every month doesn’t mean the mortgage company will agree. Just as they may approve you for too large of an amount, they may also approve you for a lesser amount or deny you a mortgage altogether. Lack of time at a job, insufficient credit, past bankruptcies, or other financial issues can cause major problems when trying to secure a mortgage. Before you get your heart set on a home, talk to a mortgage professional to find out what amount you can qualify for. This will also be an advantage when you make an offer on a home, as some sellers won’t entertain offers from those who aren’t already prequalified for a loan.

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Step 4: Choose a Real Estate Agent

Can you shop for, look at, and ultimately make an offer on a home without a real estate agent? Technically yes, but why would you when it costs you nothing for an agent to take much of the stress off your shoulders? Not only will we help identify properties you might be interested in, arrange showings, and ultimately handle the offer process, but we also have a knowledge of the market that you don’t possess. We may be able to steer you away from certain homes or neighborhoods, suggest hidden gems, or give you pointers that will help you find your dream home for the right price.

Our goal is to provide you with the most personalized service that is designed to help you buy your dream home.

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Step 5: Find the Right Home

This should be the most enjoyable step of the entire process (other than moving in!). We will arrange showings of homes you’re interested in that are within your price range. Take notes about what you like and don’t like, and make sure to pay attention to details. Turn light switches on and off, open and close doors, and run the faucets in various rooms. Don’t limit your inspection to the home itself. Make sure to take time to explore the neighborhood and keep an eye on traffic at certain times of the day, the parking situation, and how close it is to necessities like schools and grocery stores.

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Step 6: Make an Offer

Once you have selected the perfect home, work with your agent to craft a fair offer based on the value of comparable homes on the market. Depending on what the home is listed at and whether the current environment is a buyer’s or seller’s market, your offer may be below, at, or even above the asking price. We will be able to help you negotiate if you receive a counteroffer and reach an agreement. At this point, the house will go into escrow.

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Step 7: Have the Home Inspected

In most cases, your offer will be contingent on having the home inspected to ensure there is no major structural damage or large repairs needed. We can help you arrange this, and you can schedule it within days of making an offer. If there are no major issues, the process goes to step eight. If there is, you can renegotiate your offer based on what needs to be fixed, or you can withdraw it.

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Step 8: Select Your Loan

Now is the time to go back to the mortgage lender who pre-approved or pre-qualified you and choose your mortgage. You will be presented with various options based on your unique financial situation, including fixed-rate, variable-rate, 15-year, 30-year, or special programs such as VA loans or FHA loans. Work with your mortgage lender to select the option you feel the most comfortable with.

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Step 9: Get a Home Appraisal

Your lender will have your new home appraised so they have their independent value of it. The appraisal is to ensure that all parties involved are paying a fair price for the house.

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Step 10: Finish Paperwork

No one looks forward to all the paperwork involved in buying a home, but it’s a necessary part of the process. Fortunately, everything will be arranged by your lender and title company and, when you’re finished, you’ll know you are the legal owner of your new home.

Congratulations!

After signing the final paperwork to complete the purchase, you are now the owner of a new house. It may take a few days for your loan to be funded once the paperwork has been returned to the lender, but once that check is delivered to the seller, you’ll be all set to move into the home of your dreams. 

Testimonials

See why our clients love working with us.
Tracy Hedden

Tracy Hedden

Special shout out to Rashaune, Amanda and the entire Vignette Realty team for guiding me to find this beautiful home! It is better than I ever imagined!! Over a year ago, Rashaune and I started looking for a home that met my ch...
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Kristin Basner

We enjoyed working with Sky! She was knowledgeable, friendly and readily available to answer questions and help!
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Teresa Williams

Sky was amazing to work with! We were buying from out of state and she went above and beyond to do video tours and get us thorough information on properties we were interested in! I highly recommend looking her up when you’re r...
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Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker

Ryan went above and beyond to get my house sold. He helped get this through the due diligence period and to closing without any issues! Highly recommend.
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Judy Rex

Kristie Brennan and her team at Vignette Realty were so friendly and honed right in on what I wanted to purchase for property near Franklin, NC. The first property Kristie showed me was exactly what I wanted and I ended up maki...
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Serina Kietzke

Sky is very attentive and helped me stay calm in the middle of all the chaos that comes with surveying land and negotiating offers and counter offers. We were doing everything from out of state and she kept the process smooth a...
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Eric Smith

We recently had the pleasure of working with Sky Golebiewski-Kral. She has our highest recommendation! What a wonderful and knowledgeable agent. She listened intently, asked the right clarifying questions, and had creative solu...
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Linda Ryan

When I began looking for a house in Franklin, NC, I expected to find what I wanted quickly because the market was in its hottest phase. That didn’t happen. I found many real estate agents over a year and a half of searching, bu...
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David Oakes

David Oakes

The Vignette Realty team excels in collaboration! Their team worked closely with us to understand our unique needs and goals. We worked with Kristie Brennan and experienced the team's well-thought-out strategy that considers ev...
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Karen Dempsey

Karen Dempsey

Personality Plus!...that's how I describe Kristie! She and her team spent a lot of hours searching for our "forever home", at least for now :). Would not hesitate to go back to Kristie for any future purchases. And by the way, ...
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Michael Jordan

Jeff was great to work with as we traveled to listings from Franklin to Murphy.
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Alison Carrillo

Jeff Willson did a fantastic job of bringing my new Hiawassee River retreat to me. The process of buying a new home could not have been any easier. He answered all my questions, did any investigating of matters that I needed, a...
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Alexander Neach

Alexander Neach

Excellent experience. 👏
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Brian Costa

Such a smooth and enjoyable experience working with Sky and her team! We were from out of the area, but from the first email and phone call we felt like Sky cared about our dreams of owning land in Western North Carolina. Being...
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Alberto Cappelleti

Rashaune was great to work with. Super efficient & responsive - would definitely recommend!
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Ryan Burgess

Ryan Burgess

My experience with Vignette Realty, Kristie, and her team was no less than 5 stars! Recommended by a friend, Kristie was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and responsive throughout the whole process of selling my property. Even...
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Robert Cook

Robert Cook

Rashaune was attentive to my needs and questions. They made sound recommendations that resulted in a relatively quick sale! Great experience!
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Dana Rowlett

Jeff really went out of his way to make buying a new home a good experience for us. Since we were in Alaska at the time, dealing long distance was a bit more complicated. He helped us every step of the way!
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Cheyenne Wade

THE STARS ALIGNED!! 🌟 SKY! Sky, girl.. You are absolutely amazing at what you do. Not only did you help us close on our property in a record time of only 6 days because of our unique situation, but you helped save our fur babi...
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Ashley Peterson

Ashley Peterson

Vignette was very easy to work with, they took great care of us. The team took amazing photos and video of the house, and they did all the legwork, organizing the survey and inspection for us. All in all, the transaction went ...
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