What First Time Home Buyers NEED To Know Before They Buy a Home

Posted by Ryan Fitzgerald on Friday, September 13th, 2019 at 11:51am.

What First Time Home Buyers Need to Know Before They Buy a Home

One of the first things you should know as a First Time Home Buyer is that there are many national and local first time home buying programs available to you!

Understanding your options is an important step in buying your first home. In this article, we are going to jump in and explore what to do, as well as what to expect when buying your first home!

Without further ado, here are 7 things to know before buying your first home:

Plan Ahead

Whether you're buying a first home, you'll want to make sure you are planning far enough ahead that you understand the process. Planning ahead when buying a home makes the entire process far less stressful and the end result is a much more successful home purchase. We have prepared an article for folks here in the Charlotte area who are looking for answers to the question: How do I buy a home in Charlotte?

If you're reading this article you're already doing a great job preparing yourself for a successful home purchase. You're likely in the informational gathering stage which is a perfect time to connect with a local Realtor® to help you better understand the process. If you're one of the many folks who are moving to Charlotte, NC you will want to begin your relocation by connecting with local Realtors® to assist you!

Writing down a list of your top priorities in a home is strongly encouraged. This will help you determine what is most important and what you can live without. Too often we find buyers shopping between totally different areas or totally different types of homes (townhomes, condos, single-family) and this typically means they don't have a plan/haven't prioritized. These are things you need to decide on before shopping for houses.


Long gone are the days of needing 20% down to buy a home. These days we have mortgage options in Charlotte that will allow you to buy a home with 0% down assuming you qualify. If you'd like to learn more about what your options feel free to reach out, we are happy to chat with you. 

Keep in mind the money you invest in a home is similar to having a forced savings account. If you are one of the fortunate ones who can put down 20% and not pay mortgage insurance it makes a lot of financial sense to do so. This can save you thousands of dollars a year in mortgage insurance costs. 

If you don't have 20% for a downpayment, don't worry. Buying a home still makes a lot of financial sense with these historically low-interest rates, even when paying mortgage insurance.

Mortgage Options

Aside from your downpayment, you will have a wide variety of mortgage options available to you. A mortgage preapproval will go a long way in helping you understand the best options for you!

Every lender will have different programs so you'll want to make sure you chat with several to find what your best options are. We recommend talking to a minimum of three different mortgage lenders when buying a home because it will help ensure you are receiving a good deal on your mortgage.

Figuring out how much house you can afford is an important step in the home buying process. You likely don't want to max yourself out or overstretch yourself financially just because you love the home. Find a monthly payment that you're comfortable with and go from there!

Neighborhoods + Location

When you begin looking at homes for sale in Charlotte, make sure you know what area, neighborhood and location you want to be in first. You want to choose a location BEFORE you buy a home because there is nothing more important than the location of the home you buy.

Understanding the area you want to live will be helpful in narrowing down your home search. A lot of folks reach out to us and ask about the best neighborhoods or neighborhoods for families in Charlotte, NC - We always recommend exploring these neighborhoods yourself and taking a few days to really understand the pros and cons to each!

When it comes to appreciation, you'll want to try and spot the desirable areas before they are outside of your price range. 

School Districts

You may have kids you may not, understanding that school districts have an impact on home resale values will help you when it comes time to sell down the road.

If good school districts in Charlotte are a priority for you, you'll want to be sure to check out

Commute to Work

Time is the most valuable asset in the world, you don't want to spend your entire day commuting back and forth to work. Too often folks will overlook their work commute to settle on a home they love because it's their "dream home." Does your dream home include a 75-minute drive to work in the morning and a 75-minute drive home in the afternoon? That's 150 minutes per day spent commuting and for someone who works 5 days a week that equates to 12.5 hours per week, or 27 days a year.

Buying a home near the places you go the most will allow you to spend more of your time doing the things you love, whether it's spending time with family or watching the latest Netflix shows. 

Moral of the story, time is valuable, don't spend it commuting!

Choosing a Realtor

One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing a Realtor. A lot of folks opt to work with friends or acquaintances and don't give a second look to the person's resume or real estate knowledge. The Realtor you choose will impact the home you end up in and ultimately the return on investment you experience when you go to sell. Choosing the wrong Realtor® could equate to tens of thousands of dollars lost. It's imperative that you choose the right Realtor®, especially as a first time home buyer.

A lot of times sellers will ask me why their home isn't worth as much as they think and it's typically because the Realtor they worked with didn't warn them against buying the most expensive home in the neighborhood OR buying a home on the main road with a steep driveway.

Often times I have seen people change their Realtor while in the process of buying a home. The reasons someone switches Realtors are usually around the particular Realtor's motivation and/or experience. 

When buying a home in Charlotte, NC you want a local Realtor who's going to work hard, understands the area and most importantly one you can trust to help you make a great decision!


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Ryan Fitzgerald Raleigh RealtyHi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR in Charlotte, NC. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Charlotte Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below... We love comments!


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