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First Time Home Buyers Guide

Charlotte NC

First Time Home Buyers Tips, Tools and Strategies, Buying Your First Home Smart!

So, you are thinking about buying your first home! I know its exciting, I remember it well… yet it also means more… more responsibility (a mortgage eeks!!!), more commitment to your job, to the area, perhaps to a life partner… just MORE! (scroll down for some homes NOW, updated daily)

I’m going to assume you’ve made the decision to buy your first home, and now you are trying to figure how to go about it.  Whatever the reason you are considering buying a home, and at whatever age you may be,  know this:

That everyone buying a home for the first time feels much the same way- both excited and nervous, and often over-whelmed by the “buying process.” The buying of your  first home is  confusing- regardless of your age, 25, 35, 55, the first home purchase is unlike any other purchase-

but like many other large “confusing” tasks, if you break the process down into its components, it not only becomes more manageable, it becomes more understandable, and can be fun!

This page, and the posts attached, are here to help you understand  and some what simplify the process. Knowing what you need to do, before you need to do it, is less stressful, more accurate and more likely to lead to a successful outcome.   I liken it to someone reading directions to you before you miss the turn, better that than after!

Your starting point choices are

1) learn it all yourself-do it all yourself,

2) find knowledgeable experts (Real Estate broker -ahem- and Mortgage Broker) and turn the process over to them, or

3) a mix, become more knowledgeable your self, find quality professionals, and lead your home and mortgage search team to a home you’ll be happy with for many years.

There are pros and cons to each choice- but unless you have lots of time, energy, and desire to learn real estate, and a willingness to make mistakes I’d skip choice 1.  Choice 2 makes sense if you need to buy from a distance- lets say you worked 90 hours per week, 50 of those in NYC, 20 in Boston, 20 elsewhere- and you spent a day in Charlotte every other week, but this is where you want to call home. Otherwise- Choice 3 is best for most, invest in yourself, become more knowledgeable yourself, lead the search, find good professionals (we steer you clear of the sand traps, land mines, etc) and work together to find a home, negotiate the deal , and buy it smartly.  Sellers pay all commissions, so you don’t pay for Buyer Agent services.

As is often the case, good professionals give you a fast start. But what are you looking for? And how do you find them?

While there are sometimes specialties home buyers occasionally need, I think there are two broad principals that are over-arching. Get these right, you’ll get great help and 99.9% chance of a great outcome.

First you need a professional dedicated to your interests, one you feel confident is looking out for you in every way.  You may not know right off, but in the course of e-mails, talking, meeting, it will become clear, and if you don’t feel that commitment- go no further with this person, I don’t care how knowledgeable or connected they are.

Second, you do want a knowledgeable broker, one who knows the market,  knows the ins and outs, where (what I call) the sand traps and land mines lay, and how to avoid them. You can read what they write online, you can ask them questions and check their answers against what you’ve learned yourself, you can speak to their references, or All of The Above!

The reason I put dedication to your interests before knowledge is this– if you ask a question of an Agent he or she doesn’t know- if they are dedicated to your interests,  they’ll research and find out the answer for you. If there isn’t that dedication, they make something up. Its true, and a good test too! Otherwise, no Agent could gain the experience necessary to become knowledgeable – we all start somewhere, and most of us learn, and the best of us keep learning, and stay dedicated to each and every client. Willingness to learn is an absolute necessity that helps define  a dedicated Agent.

The principals above pretty well express the dedication of the McDonald Team at Wilkinson and Associates. You can meet Terry McDonald, and visit his home search site at any time under Search for Homes, top left, or this link, Charlotte Homes For Sale First Home Buyer

However, there is a learning curve, so a few successful years and lots of transaction experience makes sense too.

What do all the initials behind Broker names mean?  In the best light, it means the Agent has taken course work provided by the local Realtor Association- these were very important in the pre-Internet days, when it was harder for a buyer or seller to learn about a Broker, so brokers tried to distinguish themselves with these designations. Unfortunately, there are not high standards to passing  these courses, and an entire cottage industry sprang up “training” Agents,  and without objective and high standards, many of these initials mean quite little. Without dedicaiton to your interests, they mean nothing.

Mortgage Loan Officers– this is the 2nd professional you need on your team, and you need a person you can talk to and meet with if necessary. Please, please, please, I beg you, don’t use an Internet source for a loan.  In the last 3 years, I’ve had half a dozen terrible loan experiences, and all, ALL were Internet loan provider…some quite popular ones too. I’ve a list of several, we are Preferred Brokers for Bank of America,and we have trusted mortgage brokers if for some reason you can’t deal with BOA.

What do you want from a mortgage professional? Integrity, competence, and one willing to take as long as necessary answering your questions, so that you understand what’s going on, and what’s coming up.

Important links for first time home buyers…

Charlotte Homes Sorted by Price & Popularity

Some possible first time homes- homes in Charlotte recently listed under $250,000

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There IS Money to Buy A Home In Charlotte and no, it doesn’t take credit better than God…

Fort Mill First Time Buyer Market Report a look at low tax nearby SC, what $150-250K buys

A Physicians First Home- Great News From BOA Perfect if you are just finishing your residency and considering Charlotte

South Charlotte Town Home Market Report There were 96 town homes under $200K the date of this report

First Time Buyer Tax Credit to $7500 A look at this summers attempt to jump start housing- it didn’t work! But a real credit may be in the new plan.

Charlotte Real Estate- More Good Years Ahead Here are the facts (for you in the “reality-based” community) about Charlotte… a persuasive case for Charlotte’s bright future

Ten Essentials To Buying a New Home–  good anytime, but doubly true in this market

Why You Always Need A Buyer Agent- A True Life Story this happened to me, 20 years ago, and demonstrates the need for Buyer Agents.

First Time Home Buyer Dos and Don’ts explores credit and some things Not to do when buying a house


Home for Sale at 10231 Squires Way| MLS 3075194

April 6th, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Real Estate

10231 squires way

This new listing at 10231 Squires way Cornelius NC has it all! A popular school cluster (JV Washam to Hough HS) a large lot, dramatic 2 story great room, a master down, and a guest room down... lovingly taken care of, this home lives and shows extraordinarily well. 5 bedrooms, 3 bath's, freshly painted, lovingly lived in! Here is a sneak peak...   For full details  http://terry.mcdonaldgroupcharlotte.com/blog/New++Listing+10231+Squires+Way+MLS  Easy to show, this home is tight.  Not all listings are created equal, put this one at the...Continue Reading!

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Charlotte Appreciation Report Q1 2015

March 31st, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Featured Articles, Real Estate

beautiful Dilworth

What are the top Zip Codes for appreciation in Charlotte? Everybody has an opinion, here is the data! Starting with popular suburban zip 28277, Ballanytne area, and then the historic Myers Park, 28207, and Dilworth, 28203. All compared the the MLS average. Measured in increase/ decrease in median price per square foot. As of 3/31/2015, year over year, MLS is UP 4.5%, 28277 UP 3.5%, 28207 DOWN 3.8%, 28203 UP 9.1% Wow, what a variance! Averages hide a lot! Dilworth prices pass...Continue Reading!

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Coming Soon | 7101 Woodstream Dr Charlotte NC 28210

March 17th, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Real Estate

7101 Woodstream Dr Charlotte

Just off South Blvd and walking distance to a Lynxx Light Rail stop, a large 3 bedroom 2 bath home is coming on the market in popular Starmount.                       Nearly 1600  square feet, a full master bedroom with master bath and office/nursery attached.  All the rooms are large, from the great room to the kitchen, you'll notice the open floor plan, the extra large pantry, the small den or office overlooking a flat (mostly) fenced back yard.  There is plenty of table space in...Continue Reading!

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Charlotte Hornets Win 6 Straight — Standing Pretty for the Postseason

March 7th, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Charlotte News, Things To Do Charlotte

new charlotte hornet logo

The Charlotte Hornets have been on a roll recently. Since trading for Mo Williams, the Hornets have won their last 6 straight and their last 8 home games! Mo Williams has been averaging 23.4 pts and 7 assists -- oh, and did I mention Kemba Walker is still out recovering from knee surgery? The once stumbling team is picking up steam at just the right point, with about a month left in the regular season. Last week the Hornets defeated the Brooklyn...Continue Reading!

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Whats Hot Whats NOT in Charlotte Neighborhoods 2014

February 6th, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Charlotte News and Real Estate, Real Estate

Charlotte Core area

Terry's Top HOT Twenty Subdivisions in Charlotte | 2014 Edition I'm often asked the question, "How is the re-sale value here?"  and it is usually a combination question ..." Are Prices going Up? If I had to sell, how easy (hard) would it be?  This roughly relates to my TERSCORE© a proprietary  composite score measuring increased sales (units), increase in prices ($/sf) and a measure of velocity, the number of sales in less than 30 days in 2014. Ranked on a 100 point...Continue Reading!

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It’s Official! Google Fiber’s Gigabit Internet is Coming to Charlotte in 2016 (or maybe 2017)

February 3rd, 2015 Leave A Comment Listed Under: Charlotte News, Things To Do Charlotte

Google Fiber

A while back we got excited about Google Fiber naming Charlotte as one of its possible expansion cities.  Well Google has announced the winning cities and its blazing fast Internet service is coming to Charlotte sometime in 2016 or 2017! So why is everyone freaking out? For $80/month, Google Fiber offers 1 Gigabit down (that's 1,000 MB down) and for those keeping count (read: this guy), that's about 40 times faster than the best residential Internet available in Charlotte today (I pay...Continue Reading!

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The McDonald Group
Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered
8604 Cliff Cameron Dr ST 110
Charlotte NC 28269
704-390-6221 Cell
704-393-0048 Office
Licensed in NC & SC
USAA Certified
ERA Luxury Home Certified

Charlotte Communities Online

Terry McDonald [email protected]   704-351-1519

Bobby McDonald [email protected] 704-351-1519