Where to Start if You’re a First-Time Homebuyer

Townhouse with blue siding and brick accent.

Mortgage Rates in the High Country of North Carolina are at an all-time low right now, so many people are considering buying their first home. If you are a first time home owner in the market for purchasing your own house, here are the first steps for your buying process.

Step #1: Start Saving For…

Your Down Payment

Since you’ve been staying home more because of COVID-19, you’ve had more time to save your money for a house. Your down payment requirement will depend on the type of mortgage you choose and the lender. Some conventional loans aimed at first-time home buyers with excellent credit allow as little as 3% down. But even a small down payment can be challenging to save. For example, a 3% down payment on a $300,000 home is $9,000. Use a down payment calculator to decide a goal, and then set up automatic transfers from checking to savings to get started.

Your Closing Costs

Closing costs are the fees and expenses you pay to finalize your mortgage, and they typically range from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. You can ask the seller to pay a portion of your closing costs, and you can save on some expenses, such as home inspections, by shopping around.

Your Move-in Expenses

You’ll need some cash after the home purchase. Set some money aside for immediate home repairs (you’ll never know when your home will need a septic tank repair, or some well maintenance), upgrades and furnishings.

Step #2: Choose Your Mortgage

A variety of mortgages are available with varying down payment and eligibility requirements. Conventional mortgages are not guaranteed by the government. Some conventional loans targeted at first-time buyers require as little as 3% down. FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration and allow down payments as low as 3.5%. USDA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are for rural home buyers and usually require no down payment. VA loans are guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. They are for current and veteran military service members and usually require no down payment.

Step #3: Choose Your Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent will scour the market for homes that meet your needs and guide you through the negotiation, due diligence, and closing process. Get agent referrals from other recent home buyers. When speaking with potential agents, ask about their experience helping first-time home buyers in your market and how they plan to help you find a home.

Feel free to contact 828 Real Estate, we would love to help you get started in the home buying journey. Fill out our contact form below or call us at (828)-386-6047.

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About the Author

I have lived in North Carolina my whole life, 20+ years in the High Country.  I grew up in Chapel Hill with a huge extended family. Naturally, I am a huge UNC fan.  Although my whole family lived in Chapel Hill, the majority of them are Appalachian State graduates. So, when it was time to pick a college, I knew Boone was the place for me.  I came to the mountains because, as my parents had always told me, it is an absolutely beautiful place and the people are so down to earth! That was 1997 and I have lived here ever since.  I met my husband Dave at ASU and we married in 2001.  We have 3 children, Elias, Faith, and Penelope.  Our family lives in Downtown Boone. Dave teaches middle school science at Valle Crucis Elementary School. Before becoming a Real Estate Agent,  I spent 5 years as the co-teacher of the 9-12 year old class at Mountain Pathways Montessori School.  We are elders at our church, Harvest House, where I have taught preschool for the last 20 years.  I can't believe it been that long.... time flies when you’re having fun!  I met Sarah Long, 828 Real Estate's Broker/ Owner, in 1997.  My interest in Real Estate developed when we bought our first home and has grown as we have bought and sold over the years.  Sarah was our Realtor for years and suggested many times that I pursue Real Estate as a full time career.   I am so glad I did.  I am enjoying introducing others to the place I love and call home….I look forward to helping you find your perfect place!