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4 Tips First-Time Home Buyers Need to Know

I’ve found there are 4 tips every first-time home buyer needs to know.


After over 25 years in real estate, I like to think I’ve learned a few things. And while I use my experience with every client, first-time home buyers have a special place in my heart.

I bought my first home while in my early 20s—a huge accomplishment for me! It helped shape my life as an adult and turned my finances around.

Back then, most first-time home buyers purchased their first home early in their adult lives. Things have changed since I was 20!

According to National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2018 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trend Report, 34% of home buyers are buying a home for the first time, and 65% of first-time home buyers are under 38 years old.

As a first-time homebuyer in and around Raleigh, Wake Forest, or Chapel Hill, you may know something about rental properties, how to find homes and townhouses for rent in Raleigh, and how to search Craigslist.


You may not know much about other Triangle real estate options.  But what you lack in experience, you can make up by educating yourself about the benefits of home ownership—starting right now.

Times change, the economy fluctuates, values shift, priorities shuffle. Every generation has its own way of doing things. But when it comes to real estate—no matter where you’re living—some things stay the same.

Here are 4 things I’ve learned about buying a first home were true 25 years ago and are still true today:

Tip #1: Try to Buy a Home in Your 20s

Every generation moves at its own pace. Statistically speaking, today’s young people get married later and have kids later. But does that mean you should wait to buy your first home–especially in a hot real estate market like the Triangle?

My advice—No! The sooner you can become a homeowner, the better it is for your financial future. If you really want to set yourself on the right path financially, you can’t just focus on your 401k.

If you don’t invest in real estate early on, you’re only leveraging a small portion of what you can do for your future. Raleigh real estate is HUGE!

Every time you make a monthly payment on your own home, you’re building your equity instead of someone else’s. In fact, it’s likely that you’re paying more in monthly rent than you would pay on a mortgage.

As soon as you have a stable income, consider buying a home.

As soon as you know you’ll be in the same town for a while, consider buying a home.

Buying in your 20s is the goal! Buying in your 30s is critical.

If you’d like to be a future homeowner and want advice on how to position yourself to purchase a home, contact me.

Tip #2: Get a Hold of Your Expectations

house for saleI talk to many renters who are putting off buying a home because they can’t afford what they consider to be a “nice” home in the right area.

This kind of thinking is backward, especially for a first-time buyer.

For many people, their first home will be a “starter” home—something they can work on, polish up, build equity with, and make money when they sell.

First-time home buyers should consider real estate with an eye for resale. Sure, the home may not be perfect, but if it’s the right property for you, it’s full of possibilities.

Get ideas from HGTV, Pinterest, and YouTube. Talk to your family and friends. Ask for their input—perhaps even their help. Put a little elbow grease into what you start with, and you can double or even triple your money in the long run.

Delayed gratification isn’t easy, but it is worth it. As a young person, you have the energy, the grit, and the determination.

If you put in the work now, it will pay off later—Believe me.

Tip #3: Location. Location. Location.

searching locationsThe hard part for most renters is knowing which neighborhood to look in, or which home to buy. Here’s the answer:

Buy the lowest price home you can find in the best neighborhood.

Even if it’s a fixer-upper or smaller than you’d like, a lower priced home in a great area is something that will increase in value over time—especially if you care for the home.

You’re going to learn a lot about being a homeowner after you purchase your first home such as how to do minor renovations or improve your landscaping and curb appeal.

I can refer you to a great mortgage lender who will help you understand your mortgage loan options. Then, my team will help you make important decisions about neighborhoods and home sizes.


Tip #4: Get Ahead of Other Buyers

girl searching for homesIf you want to find a real estate steal before other prospective home buyers do, you need to get a head start.

Don’t just look at homes that are currently ‘for sale.’ Look for homes that are preparing for the market and will be available for purchase soon.

This gives you more options to choose from, more time to get your ducks in a row, and more confidence that you’re making an offer on the right home.

Finding homes that are “Coming Soon” to the real estate market has always been difficult. For decades, all of us—agents and prospective home buyers—have had to rely on word of mouth and, if we’re lucky, a sign in the yard.

Until now., a national website where prospective home buyers can search hundreds of properties–land, townhomes, condos, single-family homes, and multiple family homes–at all different price points that will be for sale in the coming days, weeks, or months. Search by address, neighborhood, city, and/or zip code.

Just type your desired location into the search box on to find beautiful real estate in Apex, Cary, Chapel Hill, Clayton, Durham, Garner, Holly Springs, Morrisville, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and more.

Before you know it, you’ll be selling the first home you bought and using the equity you built to buy your next home, or maybe an investment property!

Like these first-time home buying tips? Want to know more?

Join me and other first time home buyers at my next Home Buyers Seminar.

Register now to reserve your seat!

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