Greater Raleigh Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 5, 2021

How to Find a Real Estate Agent

Whether buying or selling a home, finding a real estate agent is the most critical step, enabling you to navigate the complexities of the real estate industry. The intent is often to get all the help you need in the home buying or selling process and manage large transactions more efficiently. However, hiring the right real estate agent can be challenging, especially for first-time home buyers and sellers.

Although hiring the first real estate agent you interact with may be tempting, it is essential to note that a real estate agent can make or break the entire home-buying or home-selling experience. This means working with a rookie can be costly, while a professional and qualified real estate agent gives you more benefits. So, how do you find a real estate agent for you? Read on to find out.

What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

In a nutshell, real estate agents are licensed professionals working under a real estate broker to facilitate property sales for homeowners and purchases for potential home buyers. They help guide homebuyers and sellers through the buying and selling process, from scouting to closing. Therefore, a real estate agent is a valuable asset when selling or buying a home since they make the process smooth and efficient from start to finish. That said, here is what a real estate agent does:

  • Offer expert knowledge of the area: Real estate agents are experts who understand property values, neighborhoods, and schools within the area more than anyone else. They also know different laws and policies governing real estate in the area. This allows you to get more insights into selling your home or finding the right property to invest in.
  • Represent home buyers and sellers fully: Most people lack time to set up showings or search homes and properties. Hiring a real estate agent lets you access countless potential buyers if you are selling or listing your home. This saves you time while letting you get better deals.
  • Assist with paperwork: Buying or selling a home involves piles of paperwork; some may be unfamiliar, mainly for first-time home buyers and sellers. Finding a real estate agent makes sure you complete all your paperwork on time, resulting in a less stressful experience.
  • Guide negotiations: Suppose you sell your home, but it requires some repairs and replacement; an agent can negotiate for a better deal. Real estate agents know how to negotiate with both property owners and potential buyers. More so, they are familiar with necessary permits and allocations for ongoing projects.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker

In the real estate industry, not all real estate agents are realtors. Realtors are licensed real estate agents with National Association of Realtors membership. They pledge to observe the association's standards and code of ethics when carrying out their duties to home sellers and potential buyers.

On the other hand, real estate agents are licensed agents in the state where they operate and obey national and state laws governing real estate. A real estate agent only acquires a license after completing specified coursework or passing an exam to become a real estate agent.

Real estate brokers have completed additional training and licensing requirements to work in the industry, unlike realtors and real estate agents. Suppose you are a real estate agent; you can take additional training and complete state-required coursework and exams to become a broker. The best part is that a real estate broker can work independently and even start their brokerage and hire agents.

Tips to Find a Great Real Estate Agent

The most effective way to find a real estate agent is by asking friends and colleagues for referrals. This gives you insights into prospective agents with great success in selling, buying, or renting properties on behalf of their clients. That said, here are expert tips for finding the right real estate agent in Chatham and Wake Counties, North Carolina.

Use Trusted Resources to Find Real Estate Agents Near You

Talking to lenders, considering referrals, and online reviews are great resources to find a real estate agent to facilitate your home sale or purchase. Generally, the real estate industry comprises hundreds to thousands of agents; hence, it is crucial to check with the state's real estate regulator to confirm licensing. Choosing the right agent with your interests in mind begins with using trusted resources. This promotes transparency, especially when looking for valuable information regarding real estate agents near you.

Evaluate Their Real Estate Experience

Buying or selling a home is a complex process that requires a better understanding of negotiations, market fluctuations, and managing large transactions. Thus, you should find a real estate agent with a ton of experience when selling or buying property. For instance, hire an agent with at least two years of full-time experience when buying a home. If you are selling your property, an agent with four or more years in the real estate sector is ideal.

Make Sure They Know Your Local Real Estate Market

The right real estate agent should incorporate adequate experience in helping people buy or sell homes within your area. The intent is to find a real estate agent who understands the real estate market in Chatham County. This means the agent should have several closings within your local area, at least 30 homes annually. Finding a seasoned real estate agent who knows the local real estate market gives you an advantage since they have invested in the community.

Check the Real Estate Agent's Track Record

Pricing homes is a critical factor when buying or selling property in Chatham County. When looking for a real estate agent, hire a top performer to price the property correctly, resulting in a closing. Check on key metrics to determine their skill levels, focusing on pricing and the period to close a home. These aspects give you insights into how qualified a real estate agent is. Besides, it enables you to hire an agent with a higher success rate in helping you sell or buy a home.

Learn About Their Customer Services

Some real estate agents are often after commission and making money for themselves without considering the interests of their clients. The right real estate agent should communicate at every step of the process and provide alternatives when you are unsatisfied. This promotes customer experience, besides making a home seller or potential buyer feel more comfortable working with a professional real estate agent. Hence, find a transparent real estate agent who communicates promptly, listens to your concerns, and offers practical guidelines.

Interview At Least Three Real Estate Agents

After shortlisting about five potential real estate agents to hire, interview at least three in-person. Face-to-face meetings can reveal several traits, mainly when you ask the right questions. Here are some questions to ask a real estate agent and set your expectations in the home buying/selling process:

  • Do you work full-time or part-time?
  • Are there references I can contact?
  • How many homes do you help buyers and sellers close?
  • How long do you typically take with potential home buyers/sellers, from the first step to the closing?
  • Can I review your real estate license?
  • Do you help home sellers/buyers in the area?
  • Do you work individually or as a team?

Reach Out to Chatham Homes Realty for the Perfect Realtor

Finding the right real estate agent can be overwhelming, especially if you buy or sell a home for the first time, but it doesn't have to be. You can use the above tips to get started and find a realtor to help you get through the process seamlessly. At Chatham Homes Realty, we understand the value of working with a realtor to satisfy your home buying or selling process. For more information, contact Chatham Homes Realty to learn more today!

Image Source: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Posted in Buying a Home
Nov. 5, 2021

How to Buy a House

A realtor's hand giving keys to a new home owner

For many people, just the thought of owning their very own is a dream come true. When you decide to purchase a home, you are making a substantial investment that has the ability to build equity over time. While purchasing a home can be exciting, it can also become overwhelming fairly quickly.

To help ease some of the confusion you may have, here is a quick guide that will tell you everything you need to know about buying a house.

Understanding What it Means to Buy a House

The idea of getting to say goodbye to your landlord and living in a home where you get to paint the walls any color you want may seem nice, but that shouldn't be the reason why you have decided to buy a home. When you purchase a home, you may not have to ask the landlord if you can hang a picture on the wall, but you also won't be able to call them to fix your water heater either.

Every house requires some regular maintenance. There will come a time when you may need to repair the roof or replace the stove, and you will now be the one required to cover the costs. Sure, your homeowners' insurance may pay for some of the repairs to your home, but that is only if you are current on your monthly insurance payments, and even then, there are several things that homeowner's insurance companies won't cover.

Before purchasing a home, you need to understand that there may sometimes be unexpected costs that sneak up on you without warning. You need to decide whether or not you are prepared to pay for those costs. This is why it is always good to keep some money stashed away for emergencies.

Determine How Much House You Can Afford

As we just mentioned, there can be many costs associated with owning a home. In addition to homeowner's insurance and possible repair costs, you will also have to pay property taxes on the home, interest on your loan, and private mortgage insurance (PMI). Also, depending on what neighborhood you live in, you may have homeowners association fees as well. You need to take all of these costs into account when deciding what home you can afford.

When deciding which house would be in your budget, you need to add your potential mortgage payment with all of the other costs that were just discussed. After you have added all of the costs together, you need to ensure that your monthly payments will not exceed the amount of income you make each month. In fact, it is recommended that your home (and your home-associated costs) is no more than 28% of your gross monthly income. This will help to ensure that you have money left over each month for other expenses.

Prepare a Down Payment

Before jumping right in and trying to buy a house, you need to save for a down payment. There are several reasons why having a large down payment on a home is in your best interest. For example, depending on your credit score, a larger down payment could help you get approved for a loan. Also, the bigger the down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage payments are likely to be.

How Much Money Should You Save for Your New Home?

When buying a new home, you will need to save enough money to cover the initial costs. This will include:

  • Moving Expenses
  • Down Payment
  • Closing Costs and Other Fees

When you are moving into a new home, you will need to set aside some money if you plan on hiring movers or if you need to rent a moving truck. The cost of moving expenses will depend on a number of factors. If you plan to buy a home close to where you already live, it will generally be less expensive than if you moved far away.

When considering how much you need for a down payment, look at the price of the home and figure out how much 15% of the total price would be. That is how much you need to save for a down payment. Again, it will be better for you in the long run to pay a large down payment. So, if you can save until you have 20% or 25%, that would be even better.

Mortgage Approval

If you don't have enough money saved to pay for the home in full, you will need to apply for a home loan, otherwise known as a mortgage.

Which Mortgage Option is Best for You?

Depending on your credit score, your income, and other criteria, you could qualify for a large range of mortgages. Some of the most popular types of mortgages include:

  • Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – The interest rate on the loan will adjust periodically.
  • Fixed-Rate Mortgage – The interest rate stays the same for the entire length of the loan.
  • Conventional Mortgage – The loan is backed by private lenders and is not insured by any government entity.
  • Balloon Mortgage – You start out making monthly interest payments for a period of time. Once you have reached the predetermined date, you will pay the remainder of the principal in one lump sum.

Every loan option has its advantages and disadvantages. It is best to talk with a financial advisor to determine which mortgage would be best for you.

Find the Right Real Estate Agent

While there are many resources to help you find a new home online, nothing is better than getting advice directly from an expert. When you work with an experienced and knowledgeable real estate agent, you will get specialized advice that you can't find on the internet. You may also be able to find out about houses that are put on the market before the general public.

Find Your New Home

When you go house hunting, it is important for you to have a list of everything that you hope to find in your new home. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to determine what is most important to you.

  • How many bedrooms do I need?
  • How many bathrooms do I need?
  • Is the school district important?
  • Do I want a big yard?
  • Do I need a garage for my car?

If you find a home that only fits a few of your needs, don't feel like you have to settle. There is nothing wrong with shopping around for your dream home.

Make an Offer on a House

Once you have found a house that you like, your agent will submit an offer on your behalf. You may not be the only potential buyer that makes an offer on the home, so you may end up in a bidding war with other potential buyers.

If your offer is accepted, you will have a purchase agreement that you will have to sign. This is a document that will include information about the home as well as list any contingencies that there are upon purchase.

Get a Home Inspection and Appraisal

Once your offer is accepted and you sign a purchase agreement, you are officially under contract for your new home. This means that you will need to have an inspection performed by a certified inspector. The inspector will check for things like structural damage, electrical problems, and other issues with the home.

You will also need to get an appraisal on the home if you are applying for a loan. No lender will approve a loan until they know the value of the house that you want to buy.


Before you can close on your home, your mortgage lender will have to review every detail of your case before they can approve your loan. This may take a few weeks to do. Try to be patient during this part. Also, while you are waiting, do your best to ensure that our financial situation does not change. This means that you shouldn't lease a new car, change jobs, or do anything else that could change your financial status. If you do, you may get denied the loan.

Close on Your New House

All of your hard work and patience have paid off, and closing day is finally here! When you close on a home, you will be asked to sign several documents. Some of the wording may be confusing, so don't be afraid to ask your agent if you have any questions. This part can be confusing for many people, and your agent is there to help you. Once everything is signed, you will be given the keys to your new home and will officially be a homeowner!

Find Your Dream Home Today

Buying a new home can be a fun and rewarding experience. When you choose to buy a home, you are investing in your future. 

If you are looking for your new dream home, check out a wide range of beautiful homes on our website today. At Chatham Homes Realty, we have a team of experienced professionals that has access to some of the most gorgeous homes in the area. We are also more than happy to answer any questions you may have and walk you through the entire home-buying process.

Image Source: nednapa / Shutterstock

Posted in Testimonials
Feb. 28, 2019

Robert & Sabrea R

We were recently able to buy and sell a home quickly. This wouldn’t have been possible without Laurie’s hard work. She helped guide us through the process with knowledge and advice and pushed the pace the whole time. Keeping up with the offers, counter offers and even multiple offers would have been impossible without a pro like Laurie. She even managed to arrange the closings for the same day so our time in between homes was only a couple hours! We would recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell. In fact, a friend of ours is now house shopping with Laurie’s help. 
-Robert & Sabrea R

Posted in Testimonials
June 9, 2017

Lindsay B Schwartz

Julie and Lonnie are the dream team! Both very responsive and knowledgeable during our whole process. We were looking at homes on land and they were always up for walking the acres with us. We immediately connected and it just felt like hanging out with friends which made house hunting fun! Would definitely recommend and use for any real estate needs."





Posted in Testimonials
May 24, 2017


Katy is great to work with! She is very professional, yet also very personable. She answers emails and phone calls in a timely manner. Before signing our contract with her she spent a lot of time discussing what different terms meant and she made sure that we were comfortable with everything before signing. She got right to work on selling our home. She had an open house the day after the house became available for purchase. She saw us through all the ups and downs of the process. She kept her humor and optimism throughout. I am very thankful that we chose Katy to be our real estate agent.

Posted in Testimonials
April 25, 2017


When my husband and I decided to sell our 5 acre property in Pittsboro, we looked for a realtor who would know the area and be dedicated to the task. We found that person in Teresa Howard! She took absolutely fantastic pictures of our home, posted the information immediately and kept us well informed of all progress. Our home was listed on every site available for maximum exposure. She was a lot of fun to work with and returned calls and emails very promptly. We got an excellent offer on our home and she helped us through all the closing process right down to the last minute. We consider Teresa a friend in addition to being a great realtor – and would definitely use her again for any sale in the future! You can’t go wrong with the folks at Chatham Homes Realty.

Posted in Testimonials
April 25, 2017


Buying Our Home After the sale of our house through Chatham Homes Realty, Teresa Howard helped us locate our new home. She was very patient with us and sent us many potential listings to consider which was a great help in determining what we could have for the money we wished to spend. She spent many hours squiring my wife and myself around, and always had a great attitude. She did her homework and answered all of our questions. Thanks to Teresa, we found the perfect place at a price we were thrilled with. She was extremely helpful during the offer and acceptance phase, and kept in touch with our lender and the closing attorney. We could not have asked for anyone to assist us any better than she did. Her contractor husband even assisted us in looking at several homes, giving valuable advice. We will use Chatham Homes Realty again – if we ever move – because everyone is very professional and helpful and Teresa did a great job for us.

Posted in Testimonials
April 25, 2017

Ann and Dean Westman

When we decided to downsize our home and retire to North Carolina in 2013, we chose Katy McReynolds to help us find a home in Chatham County. Working with her was a great experience in all respects. Although we had done considerable internet research concerning area listings, Katy’s knowledge of the local market was an invaluable resource that helped narrow our search. This made our on-site visits efficient and productive. She was incredibly responsive when we had questions, and if schedule conflicts made it impossible for her to accompany us, she promptly arranged for another agent at Chatham Homes Realty to fill in for her. She took time away from her family vacation to communicate with us as we considered making our offer, and was a strong advocate for us throughout the due diligence process and at our closing. She put us in touch with excellent local providers for inspections and service, and we still call upon her and trust her to guide us to area contractors for home repairs and improvements. We have worked with several other proven real estate agents in other states over the years, but Katy is among the most professional and capable we have encountered. We recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone in need of real estate services.

Posted in Testimonials
April 25, 2017

Andrea Hughes

Mark Hawe of Chatham Homes Realty was a dream to work with! In the hunt for the “perfect property”, I never expected to find someone who was so willing to accommodate our needs, listened carefully and made us feel like we were top priority. Mark took every detail into consideration and gave sound and immediate advise every step of the way. The timeliness of Marks efforts were unmatched by any Realtor I have ever worked with before. Because of Mark Hawe, my family has our “Perfect Home”!

Posted in Testimonials
April 25, 2017

Kristina Wilson

We moved here from NYS. Before we moved to NC I contacted some realtors because we were looking to buy a house. Some of the realtors contacted me back, but when they found out I wasn’t looking to buy a 6 digit figure house they blew me off! I emailed Mark Hawe on a listing he had. He called me and asked us all the right questions to help us find a house. Mark looked very hard for us when we were in NY and continued to when we were in NC. He always had our best interest in mind. When we purchased a house, he scheduled all the inspections and was present for them when they took place. All of the people he used to do the different inspections I was very impressed with. He attended our closing and stayed until the deed was recorded. This is our 5th house we have purchased. I never had a realtor that did so much and with such care. If you decide to go with Mark Hawe as a Realtor you won’t regret it!

Posted in Testimonials