Owning a home in Clayton

So are you ready for home ownership?  Are you ready to NOT own your own home – and keep paying someone else’s mortgage?  There’s pluses and minuses both ways and we’ll hit them here.  It helps when you have first hand experience – and we have just purchased a home in Clayton NC. Actually to be specific, we purchased a home just OUTSIDE of the town. We are just coming up on the end of our first year and have a LOT of insights for anyone looking to buy a home – or on the fence about it.

Paying someone else’s mortgage?

When one is renting a house – or apartment, they write out a monthly rent check usually as much or maybe more from the amount they might be paying for their own mortgage. Paying for someone ELSE to own a property month after month, year after year can feel very defeating. We know from experience.  In a LOT of cases, though, owning your own home is possible for a lot of people. Aside from all the hoopla that is being read and heard in the news about how hard it is to get a home loan, money IS being lent, houses ARE being bought and new homeowners are popping up daily! It is happening.

Making the decision to buy

We just recently bought our own home. After years of renting at 1000/mo – 5 years of renting, I decided that we needed to start looking at buying a house. Just the girlfriend and I and a few animals. We had been living in Raleigh NC – in name only as the little spit of land is dead square between Clayton NC and Knightdale.  She had a lot of thoughts about moving to the Raleigh proper area. Since I work out of the house, it really was immaterial to me. The house DID need to have an area that could be used for an office – or could be turned INTO an office. For HER though, she owns a hair salon in downtown Clayton and being able to get back and forth to work was a big consideration for her. We all hope gas prices will stay down but we can’t count on it forever. So the closer to town, the better.

Since it is just the two of us, and a few animals, we didn’t have huge needs – though we did end up with about a 2400 sf house in the end LOL. We were looking for something safe for the animals – no major road where cars would be whizzing by at 55 mph – or faster. Enough land where we could actually have a little room to do something. Our rental property in the Raleigh area had only a small backyard – and it was usually about a swamp – pretty much unusable. The front yard, while it DID have a cute little stream, was nothing but leaves and bare dirt. It’s not as bad as it may sound. It was cute and rustic looking, but it wasn’t someplace where you could invite the family for a big cookout.  My girlfriend, Kristty, HAS a large family – and she likes cookouts.

So, with those few things in mind, we went looking for a home that would fit the bill. It likely would not be in town per se. We both know from experience that the local electrical cooperative in Clayton can be considerably more expensive than the local Progress Duke electrical service. Additionally, outside of town, there will be no ongoing water/sewer costs. However, when there is no water/sewer, then you have well/septic tank. We’ll hit that shortly – or maybe in a second post.

Do you want an agent?

An agent who IS familiar with the town/areas that you are interested in can be a huge time saver – and make the value of the home that much better. Trying to find properties that are perhaps undervalued or have additional benefits that just don’t show up on a standard MLS sheet are why your agent will be so handy. Knowing that a particular area is going to be a good fit for your needs/personality – big boon.  For example, a young family moving into the middle of a neighborhood full of retired people may NOT be the best thing. Or an older established quiet couple looking at homes – next to local fraternity houses.  Realtors can help you knock the chaff off the wheat and get to the good stuff more quickly.

Since we are both very familiar with the town, we didn’t have a huge need for an agent to “show us around”, but having a good realtor on your side can make all the difference in the world. In our area, I can suggest Clayton real estate agent Teresa Byrd. I’ve know Teresa for years now and she is the kind of agent you dream of. Caring and has a slightly motherish/grandmotherly feel to her – depending on your age LOL.

This is actually getting long – I’ll put up another post to finish this. Sorry for the long-windedness, but I’m nothing if not complete! Check back for part 2!