First-Time Home Buyer in Denver, NC: 6 Things to Know

First-Time Home Buyer in Denver, NC: 6 Things to Know

Buying a home for the first time may seem like an intimidating and challenging process, but it doesn’t have to be. Your success depends on a few factors: the people you know, the information you know, and the market itself. Although you won’t have any control over the housing market, you can turn the odds in your favor by researching everything there is to know about buying a home in Denver, NC. Consider these six useful tips to get you started on the right track.

1. Set yourself apart

The real estate market is a business, and every business is bound to face competition – regardless if you’re the seller or buyer. In the case of buying a home, be prepared to encounter plenty of competition. Housing inventory has been on a decline for the past few years, and the next generation of home buyers has already begun searching. In order to make sure your offer is accepted among multiple bids, you need to leave a good impression on the seller.
Here are a few ways to distinguish yourself from the crowd:

  • Get pre-approved. Meet with a mortgage lender and receive a pre-approval letter. A pre-approval verifies how much of a loan you qualify for, which determines your price range. Most sellers won’t consider buyers without pre-approval, making this step an essential one.
  • Waive contingencies. A contingency is a requirement that must be satisfied before a contract becomes legally binding between buyer and seller. These requirements can be any combination of the following: home inspections, appraisals, renovations, implementing new systems and appliances, and/or covering repair costs. In a competitive market, you may want to consider waiving contingencies entirely, although it’s strongly advised to always get a home inspection. That said, a buyer without contingencies promises sellers a faster transaction.
  • Write an offer letter. Reach out to the seller as another human being. Write a personalized letter detailing your appreciation of their home and why you want to buy it. Sometimes expressing that emotional connection to a home can convince the seller to work with you.

2. Find a good real estate agent

The first thing you should do as a first-time home buyer in Denver, NC, is find a reliable real estate agent specializing in the area. Agents offer a vast repertoire of useful services and skills, such as access to the MLS, home-hunting strategies, powerful negotiation skills, a network of other professionals you may need to call upon, extensive knowledge of the current housing market, and general advice. The best part – you don’t have to pay a single dollar out of your pocket. Upon the completion of a successful transaction, the home seller pays the commission for both their agent and yours.

To get started, interview a wide variety of real estate agents until you resonate with a particular candidate. The best agents embody these traits: friendly and communicative, ambitious and goal-driven, and highly motivated and resourceful. You should also schedule a buyer’s consultation so that you and your agent start off on the same page. During this consultation, note down your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” so your agent knows what kind of home you’re looking for.

3. Don’t put down 20 percent unless it makes sense

You’ve likely heard the same thing repeated dozens of times: your down payment should be at least 20% of the home’s purchase price. This percentage is a sizable amount of money that may not be feasible for a first-time home buyer, but that shouldn’t be a cause for concern. It’s completely acceptable – and even encouraged – for first-time home buyers to put down a smaller percentage if it best suits their needs. Your down payment can be as little as 3% of the purchase price, allowing you to allot your savings toward the additional expenses that come after you successfully buy a home.

When you buy a home for the first time, the last thing you want to do is empty out your savings. You should plan a budget that accounts for property taxes, utility bills for at least six months, food and other necessities, home insurance premiums, and HOA fees (if applicable).

4. Be prepared to pay property taxes

There are a number of expenses that come with homeownership, one of them being the annual property tax. Speak with an experienced local agent, such as Susan Dolan, to appropriately understand what this might entail. Every first-time home buyer in Denver, NC, should plan their budget accordingly.

5. Check out available loans and homebuyer assistance programs

A majority of first-time home buyers don’t know that there are various loan options and homebuyer assistance programs specifically designed to help people buy their first home.
Below are five of the most common loan types you’ll likely encounter when financing your home:

  • Conventional loan. This is a great option for buyers with a good credit score and one of the most commonly used loans on the market. A credit score of at least 700 is acceptable for better mortgage rates, but a score of 740 or higher is preferred for the best rates overall.
  • Jumbo loan. For buyers with exceptionally good credit looking to buy a multi-million luxury home, a jumbo loan is a significantly larger loan better suited for these properties. Keep in mind that the requirements are a lot more rigorous.
  • Government-insured loan. This federally-backed loan is great for buyers with low credit and minimal cash, but you should always look into the requirements beforehand.
  • Fixed-rate mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage is ideal for buyers who want a set monthly payment that doesn’t change throughout the loan term.
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage. Conversely, an adjustable-rate mortgage is an option for people who don’t plan to live in the home for too long. It’s great for lower payments in the short term, but keep in mind these payments are subject to fluctuation and can become costly in the future.

6. Complete a homebuyer education course

In order to be eligible for homebuyer assistance programs in North Carolina, you may have to complete a homebuyer education course first. These courses can be completed in person or online, depending on the one you choose. They provide thorough explanations about the numerous components that go into buying a home, such as how a traditional mortgage works, loan options, additional costs and fees, and other useful information.

Discover more tips for becoming a Denver homeowner

There are plenty of other helpful resources out there for a first-time home buyer in Denver, NC, primarily homebuyer education courses and assistance programs for getting buyers started. For personalized advice and guidance, reach out to expert real estate agent Susan Dolan. Susan is a talented senior broker who goes the extra mile for each and every one of her clients, making sure they absolutely love the home they buy. She is the perfect agent for any first-time home buyer in Denver, NC, who wants to get started soon.

Work With Susan

Susan's 19 years of experience and in-depth knowledge of inventory and current market conditions combine with extensive and aggressive marketing techniques to allow the process of property buying and selling to happen efficiently, seamlessly, and successfully. Susan is focused and determined on getting results.