Buyer's Guide

Home Buyer’s Guide and Tools

Are You Ready For Home Ownership?

Owning a home may be your dream, but in order for the purchase to be the happy and satisfying experience it was meant to be, you need to ensure that you are financially and mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with it.

Some people have a notion that home ownership is like renting, but with the power to have pets and paint the walls whatever color you like. However, while these privileges are available to homeowners in most municipalities, they come with the responsibilities of a mortgage, taxes, and home maintenance. Preparing for home ownership requires you to take critical stock of your finances and your expectations.

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Questions for Prospective Homeowners

Are you ready to buy?
Owning your own home is about more than just being able to decorate any way you like; it’s about being prepared to maintain your home over the years, realizing that part of your income and time will go towards repairs and maintenance. It’s about being willing to take the risks of home ownership with a realistic expectation of the rewards.


How much can you afford?
It can be discouraging to find that your salary won’t stretch as far as the home you want to own. However, sacrificing a huge part of your income just to pay the mortgage can quickly make home ownership a burden rather than a point of pride. It’s better to buy a modest home now and look at purchasing your “dream home” in a few years.


What is your debt-to-income ratio?
This is something that lenders take very seriously. Your overall debt should not be more than 40% of your income, and your housing debt should not be more than 32%. What 32% of your income will buy depends on where you want to live. In rural or downtrodden areas, for example, it can buy a very comfortable residence and ample acreage. In highly sought-after urban areas, however, it may not even buy a 400-square-foot bachelor suite.


What do you want?
Do you like the idea of cleaning your own gutters? Do you shudder at the thought of lawn care? Would you rather just pay a fee every month and have everything done for you? Would obey rules about when you can have your garbage cans out bother you, or do you want to live in a neighborhood where everything is ‘just so? The answers to these questions can help you narrow down the search for the right type of property for you.

We Can Help

You need a good agent who will work hard for you. Our real estate team is dedicated to helping you find the right home, at the best price. We want you to find the home that will make you happy and successful in real estate ownership.

When you hire us to help you buy your first home, we want to know what you want and how much you can afford. Then we’ll find a way to merge these two priorities and find a residence that you’ll enjoy owning.


Keep your objectives in mind when visiting a home. Sometimes the idea of owning a home can overwhelm your practical sense, so keep your feelings in check. Keep a list handy of the features that you need and want in a home, and judge each home by the list instead of by details that could distract you from your goal. When you’re alone with your agent, you can go over the pros and cons of each home. We can help you stay on track while still keeping our eyes out for a great property.


Engage in the services of a good real estate lawyer. We can recommend several lawyers in the area who might be a good fit for you. Interview them to ensure that you get someone you can work with. The legalities of transferring land ownership can be dodgy, and a lawyer can be your best defense against future legal troubles. A good lawyer can charge several hundred to over a thousand dollars for their services, but the thousands of dollars saved in legal fees later make this a good expense.


Make the offer. This can be a maze of “buyer”, “seller”, “chattels”, “deposit”, and “completion”. We’ll be happy to prepare the paperwork and go through it with you before submitting it. Remember, the seller may reject or counter your offer, so even at this late date, avoid setting your heart on the home you hope to own. You’ll probably have to write a deposit check to the seller’s broker that proves the seriousness of your offer.


Get all necessary inspections done. A home inspector will check for signs of harmful materials like asbestos, lead paint, and mold. They’ll also check for evidence of pests, faulty wiring, and leaks. This is a crucial part of the home purchase. Not getting an inspection done means that you could be stuck in a home with a bad case of black mold and no recourse other than to pay for its removal. Inspections will cost a few hundred dollars, but again, this is more than worth it in the end. There are several inspectors in the area that we’d be happy to recommend.


Do a final walkthrough before closing the deal. We’d be happy to do this with you to make sure that everything agreed upon is completed prior to the final signing.

From the first interview that determines your requirements to the moment that you receive the keys, we can help you with the complicated process of buying a home. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we can make the home-buying process easier!

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Before You Move

  • Notify post office, charge accounts, credit card companies, utility companies, past employer (for tax return purposes), subscriptions, family, as well as friends, etc. of address change.
  • Close out local bank accounts and set up new bank account, if additionally necessary.
  • Notify insurance companies of new location for coverage.
  • Obtain school records, legal records, and other important documents.
  • Request medical records and history, transfer prescriptions, and research/request referrals for doctors, dentists, specialists, etc. in new town.
  • Use up perishables, defrost freezer, clean refrigerator.
  • Prepare large appliances and rugs for proper moving.
  • Disconnect utilities and get refunds for any deposits made.
  • Notify and register children in new school.
  • Request a relocation package from your REALTOR® or the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

On Moving Day

  • Double check rooms, closets, and cabinets for possible items left behind.
  • Make sure children have books and games to keep entertained during travel.
  • Prepare pets for transportation.
  • Carry jewelry and important documents on your person.
  • Leave all old keys needed for new tenant with your REALTOR®

At Your New Address

  • Check on utility services – gas, electric, water, telephone, etc.
  •  If relocating to new state, register car within 5 days of arrival and apply for state driver’s license.
  • If staying within state, obtain a driver’s license with your new address on it.
  • Register children in school if you haven’t done so already.
  • Set up new patient appointments with doctors, dentist, etc.
  •  Explore your neighborhood!

Our dedicated team is committed to helping every buyer find the down payment resource that best suits their needs. Leveraging the unique tools and resources available to real estate agents, which often are not accessible to the public, we ensure that you receive the most comprehensive and tailored support possible. By clicking the link below, you will be directed to our down payment resource page, where you can explore the various options designed to make your home buying journey smoother and more affordable.


Click here to Access Christy Walker & Associates' Down Payment Resource Portal.

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Searching for homes in other parts of the world?  We can help you with that. Call us today!


Relocation to another state or even within the state is exciting, but can be very stressful.  Moving the family, getting the children in school, finding good doctors and a local gym are just a few of the time-consuming activities everyone has to deal with when relocating.

As residents and local REALTORS® of the Lake Norman area, we are very knowledgeable in the real estate opportunities provided to you here and can provide a variety of information on golf course communities, luxury home communitiesestablished communities and more. We can also help you if you are a first time home buyer, a retiree, or looking for that special investment property.  Please fill out the form below and we will send you a customized Relocation Package devoted to the communities of your choice!

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Check out some of the comments from some of our clients.

Christy and her team are high performing, talented professionals. From the first meeting and though out every step of the process, she anticipates what you need. I couldn't have made this move without her holding our hand. We had a challenging seller, and she was firm when necessary, accommodating when appropriate and always diplomatic. BOTH my husband and I agree, she's the BEST. - Kristen M.

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Relocate To Lake Norman Like Me!

I personally relocated from Los Angeles to Lake Norman which I found to be an incredible place to live. My team will show you some of the best Lake Norman homes for sale as we feature all the property listings for sale in the Charlotte, North Carolina real estate market. Our Lake Norman real estate communities section will give you a glimpse into what some of our neighborhoods offer and why so many people call Lake Norman home.

We offer extensive community information, North Carolina golf course properties, school information, Lake Norman neighborhood information, and so much more.

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