Ellen was wonderful to work with. She knows the area, was easy to get ahold of and she is a great negotiator. Ellen kept us well informed throughout the process and offered her experience to help us make well informed decisions. We highly recommend her as an agent.

Brittney & Brennan McGann

Resources for Buying a Home

(Selling your Home?  See Resources for Sellers here.)

#1. Rent or Buy?

Whether you are just moving to the area and are unsure of whether you should buy a home or rent, or you are renting and wondering if you could actually SAVE money buy purchasing a home, the question of Rent vs. Buy can be a tricky one!  The cost of a mortgage payment is really only a part of the decision to rent or buy (although it is the most significant factor). Other things that should influence your decision are the costs associated with TAXES, the cost of MAINTENANCE, the CLOSING COSTS you will pay on your loan, but also HOW LONG YOU PLAN TO STAY IN YOUR HOME.

Fortunately, the NY Times has a phenomenal calculator that allows you to weigh all the different costs of home ownership. Click the image below to access it.

Rent vs Buy Calculator

Rent vs Buy Calculator

#2. Cost of a Mortgage

Mortgage Calculator


Downpayments can range from 3.5% to 20% or more depending on the type of loan you use.
You can access today’s rates at Bankrate.com.
If you’re ready for more concrete idea of what you can afford, our preferred lenders below will take good care of you!

#3.  Find a Good Lender!

Michael Martin at Movement Mortgage has a phenomenal team of professionals to help you through each step of the loan process from application to closing. A multiple award-winning lender, Michael prides himself on his team’s systems that ensure nothing falls through the cracks. You can access the application here or if you want to speak to a friendly voice, call or email George Maddox (919) 601-6035, Lead Team Manager for Michael Martin’s team.


Phyllis Faulkner Movement Mortgage

Phyllis Faulkner at Movement Mortgage will always make you feel like you’re in good hands. With over 25 years in the mortgage business, a strong affinity for details and knowledge of how those details apply to the innumerable mortgage programs available to you, Phyllis will make sure you get the best loan for your needs. Besides all that, she’s just a really nice person! You can email Phyllis here or call her at (919) 880-6019. And you can access her loan application here.


#4. Find a Good Realtor and the Perfect House!

Ellen PittsI would love to help you find that perfect house!  Learn more about Harmony Realty and me here.  If you are ready to talk, please give me a call or contact me through the website here.

And go ahead and start looking for that perfect home. . . try my Advanced Search, or browse by Area, Top Neighborhoods, Zip Code and Property type, or just browse the most recent listings in the Triangle.

If you are out an about and need the perfect mobile app for your home search (harmonyrealty.com is fully mobile responsive), you might try Homespotter.  This is the best home search app out there! Why? Because it was developed by our local Multiple Listing Service. No Gimmicks or ads or outdated, incorrect listings. And it also has a really cool feature for couples who have to commute to different parts of the Triangle. The Venn Diagram mapping tool allows you to input multiple addresses and desired commute time via car, bus, bike or foot and gives you a neat little map with homes only in the spots that meet the commute criteria of each party.

This app can only be used in conjunction with a licensed member of the Multiple Listing Service. And you can text me in real time in the app if you have questions about properties you run across on the app. It’s super convenient!best home search app

#5.  Enjoy Your Home!

These are the best apps I have found to keep your home clean, beautiful and well-maintained!

Bright Nest – If you need help remembering when to perform basic home maintenance, BrightNest is the app for you! Their 60 second Home Quiz will tailor their maintenance suggestions to your home so you always know what’s coming!

HomeKeepr – This is my personal list of vendors and repair people. These are all people I have used, my clients have used or who have been recommended to me by someone I trust. Having said that, I am not personally responsible for these businesses and I can only say that they did good work for me or my client at the time of service.

Color Snap – This is a really cool app from Sherwin Williams that allows you to snap a pic with your phone of any color you are trying to use for your decor. The app will then suggest a matching Sherwin Williams color swatch as well as multiple coordinating colors. It will also show you the color in a room.

Flylady Plus – If you have trouble keeping up on housework, Flylady’s Daily Mission will help you keep the clutter from piling up.

Offline  – Need something to do in the Triangle? Offline does a phenomenal job of keeping all the local events up to date in an easily accesible format. You’ll never be bored with Offline!

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