Christine  Chadwick

Christine Chadwick


Realty World - First Coast Realty

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7 Amazing Tips To Help Prepare First Time Homebuyers

7 Amazing Tips To Help First-Time HomebuyersWhat a wonderful place to consider buying your first home! The Crystal Coast real estate market has some wonderful opportunities for first-time homebuyers. There are a few things to keep in mind when buying your first home. While the process may seem like a difficult one, it’s actually a lot easier to own your own home than you might realize, but it might require some knowledge from your Realtor® and an experienced Mortgage Broker. There are quite a few different loan options available, so even if your credit isn’t the best, or you have little to no credit, there is more than likely a loan option out there for you. 

Most times, your monthly mortgage payment can be equal to what you pay in rent each month. The biggest difference is at the end of the day, you’ll end up holding on to more of your money than if you were to rent. So, if you’re paying $1,000 in monthly rent, you don’t keep any of it. However, if you were to pay $1,000 in a mortgage, a good portion of that money comes back into your pocket by way of equity. You have to live somewhere, right? Why not try to keep more of your money in your pocket, vs. someone else’s?

1. Use a Realtor® - Think of me as a guide

There’s no better tool for a first time home buyer and to use a local, knowledgeable Crystal Coast Real Estate Agent. Using a Realtor® will help you piece together all the elements of the home buying process, allowing you to focus on finding your perfect place to call home. Did you know that using a buyer’s agent rarely costs you anything? That’s right. Your Realtor® gets paid based on the commission of the price of the home, so the seller pays their commission.

2. It’s Greek - Don’t get overwhelmed by the lingo and terminology

The home buying process is detailed and contains a lot of independently moving parts. This is where having a Realtor® to help guide you through the process is invaluable. Just the thought of owning your own home can seem a bit scary, never mind having to translate the confusing nomenclature. There are a lot of legal matters involved, and the paperwork and contracts are all written in that language. Not to worry, as your Realtor®, I have the resources and relationships in place to help explain each detail.

3. Home Sweet Home - Find what you like

Perhaps you can afford the beautiful waterfront home in Morehead City? Or perhaps you’re looking for more of a starter home? Whichever home you're looking for, it's a great idea to create a list of all the items you would like in a home. This isn’t a “must-have” list, more like a “really would like to have” list. No home is perfect but having a list of things you would like in a home helps to create a clear picture for your Realtor® and clarify which homes you may want to see. There can be a lot of Crystal Coast homes for sale, but having a better idea of what you’re looking for in the beginning may make the process easier. Write everything down that you think you’d like in a home and sit down with your Realto®r to discuss the opportunities.

What are some things you would like in a home? Stainless steel appliances? A spacious backyard? Close access to water?


4. Monthly payments & Down Payments - Where your money goes

When thinking of buying your first home, the first thought many consider is if they’ll be able to afford the down payment. While the down payment may be your first concern, the next one should be what you can afford, monthly. This includes your escrow account. Escrow is simply an account used to keep funds for property taxes and insurance premiums - and in Carteret County real estate includes wind and hail insurance. Most times, your escrow funds are included as one bill in your monthly mortgage costs. If you’re unfamiliar with these items, don’t worry, it’s something you can learn about when speaking with your Realtor or Mortgage Broker.

5. Be prepared - Know what you owe

Home buying is an investment, right? Anytime you invest, it’s important to know where your current money is going. Besides your down payment, you’ll also want to know what your debt-to-income ratio is. This includes any school debt you may have and the basic monthly bills. You want to make sure that even with your normal bills, you’ll still be able to afford your monthly home payment. This is a step you can perform before you’re ever ready to own a home. It’s a great planning tool to prepare you for when you’re ready and able to move forward with your goals.

6. Buy nothing - at all!

Buying a home is exciting and thinking about what type of furniture you may want to fit into your new home may seem like something that can’t wait. This is probably one of the biggest mistakes folks make when looking to buy their first (or second) home. You should hold off on any major purchases until your loan has been approved, and you have closed on your house. Any credit reviews will drastically influence what your loan amount could be, completely muddling the process. So just be patient. Save your money for after you close as to not interfere with the transaction.

7. Get Pre-Approved - Find a mortgage broker

If you’re looking for a home you’ll definitely want to get pre-approved for a loan. Getting pre-approved means that you will have met with a Mortgage Broker and have already discussed all of your financial information to approve you for a loan. You’ll want to know how much you’ll need for a down payment as a first-time homebuyer and any first-time homebuyer loan options. A good rule of thumb for a down payment is roughly 20%–30% of the estimated cost of the home. Find a mortgage broker that you can trust. If you aren’t sure where to start, just ask your Realtor. For a list of local Crystal Coast Mortgage Brokers, check out my list of recommended vendors.



Other things to consider:

  • What are your long-term goals?
  • Are you planning on having to buy a car?
  • Are you planning to attend college?
  • Are you planning on having children?
  • Do you need lawn equipment?
  • Do you prefer HOA or no HOA?
  • Do you want to be close to your job?

Taking these items into consideration when planning for your first home can be a critical deciding factor in what and where you buy. Even if you can’t have everything you want in your first home, it can be a great pathway to your “dream” home. 

Be sure to discuss all your wants and needs with your Realtor® and be sure you’re honest and realistic with your requirements. Keeping an open mind when performing a home search can also come in handy. You may find one home that has the kitchen you dream of, but not enough bedrooms. Make sure that when creating your “really-would-like-to-have” list, that you try to prioritize that list as best you can, so that when you’re in a situation where you have to choose one want over another, you can do so much easier. 

Buying your first home can be both exciting, and scary, but with a trusted realtor by your side, you’ll have no problem navigating the course of the home buying process. For some, their first home will be their only home. For others, it’s a stepping stone to a bigger dream. Whichever the reason is for you, you can trust that I’ll put your interests first and will do my best to find you the perfect place to call home.  

Download the Preparing To Be A First-Time Homebuyer PDF Checklist

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