Confessions of a First-Time Home Buyer in Plaza Midwood

Confessions of a First-Time Home Buyer in Plaza Midwood

  • The Laws Collective
  • 02/6/23

Graduations, weddings, starting your family, starting a new career—there are many monumental milestones you will go through in your life. Perhaps one of the most important milestones you will ever have is deciding to buy your first home, especially in the Plaza Midwood area of Charlotte, North Carolina. From vintage shops to quirky restaurants and cafes, there are so many things to do in Plaza Midwood; with its centralized location near Uptown Charlotte, it’s easy to understand why so many first-time buyers are moving to Plaza Midwood.

Yet, it can be challenging to know where to start if you're a first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, many first-time homebuyers have been precisely where you are at this moment. The Laws Collective real estate team would like to share some tips to make your home-buying experience as fun and stress-free as possible.

Prepare to buy

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If you have never bought a home before, you might believe that homebuying begins when you start touring properties. There are a lot of beliefs centered around buying your first home, like the idea that you must have a 20% down payment saved up to buy a property or that you need to be debt-free before buying your first home. All of these myths are false. There are plenty of ways that prospective home buyers can secure their first homes, even if they don’t have 20% set aside for a downpayment or have other debts, such as student loans, car payments, or medical bills. Just like these ideas aren’t true, so is the notion that homebuying begins with house touring.

The home-buying process begins much earlier, starting with your finances. While you don’t necessarily need a 20% down payment to buy a house, your finances do need to be organized and planned out before your house hunt begins. Save enough money for a down payment, closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, and other expenses associated with homeownership. If you are trying to secure financing to purchase your first home, your lender will have specific requirements before issuing a pre-approval for a loan, including:

  • Tax returns
  • Tax forms that prove income (W-2’s, 1099s, etc.) 
  • Credit history
  • Bank statements/proof of assets
  • Photo ID
  • Renting history
  • Additional requested documents
Once you provide the requested documents to your loan provider, they will assess whether or not they will finance your mortgage. If you are approved for a home loan, that’s when you can move forward on your house hunt. It’s essential that you have a pre-approval in hand so you can focus on homes that fit within your budget.

Hiring the right agent matters

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Once you have secured your pre-approval letter, you can begin your house hunt with the confidence that sellers will take your offer seriously. Whether you are searching for a condo or a single-family home, the home search can sometimes feel overwhelming with so many choices on the market. That’s why hiring the right agent for your house hunt is essential.

Every buyer has certain aspects they look for when hiring a real estate agent. Whether they work with someone they know or recommend to them, hiring the right agent can make or break your home-buying experience. If you don’t have an agent already in your sphere of influence, you must prioritize what you need from your real estate agent.

So what are the most important qualities you should look for when hiring a Plaza Midwood real estate agent? You want to team up with an agent who is familiar with your ideal neighborhood, has plenty of industry experience, or has direct guidance from more experienced agents. Your prospective agent should know your local market from the inside out and have the skill set to help you navigate Charlotte’s red-hot real estate market. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable working with them on a professional level. Simply put, your agent should be your advocate, especially when you are new to the home-buying process.

Know what you want, but focus on what you need

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Once you have secured your letter of approval and hired your real estate agent, the real fun begins. House showings can be one of the most exciting or frustrating elements of your house hunt, depending on your experience. While there are some elements of the house hunt you can’t control, like whether or not you're caught in a bidding war for your dream home, there are some things you can control, namely your wish list.

When searching for your dream home, prioritize what’s most important to you and stick with your “must-haves.” If you are buying a home because you want to be close to work or need to be in a specific school district, then location is likely one of your biggest priorities. If you work from home, chances are, you need enough space for a home office and want to live in an area where fast, reliable Internet is readily available. If you have pets or kids, the size of your yard might be just as important as your home size, if not more important.

Yet, one crucial thing you need to take into consideration is affordability. Make sure your wish list items are in line with what you can afford. If you make a habit of touring houses that are beyond your budget, you will not only have unrealistic expectations for your dream home, but you will ultimately set yourself up for failure if your budget and wish list do not align. When that happens, everyone loses, especially you, as the buyer. Know what you want, but keep it realistic.

Buying your first house can be overwhelming

Buying your first home can be an emotional roller coaster. There are a lot of highs and lows at nearly every stage of the process, from searching for home listings online to securing your home deed. While many homebuyers are incredibly excited to find their first home, it can sometimes be overwhelming–and that’s okay! Most homebuyers go through a phase where they wonder whether or not this is all worth it, from bidding on a home to doing home inspections. Having mixed feelings is perfectly normal. With your agent by your side, the homebuying process should be a positive experience.

Are you ready to begin your house hunt? Lana Laws at The Laws Collective is your trusted Plaza Midwood realtor, with many years of experience matching clients to their dream homes. Contact The Laws Collective today to get started.

*Header photo courtesy of Pexels 



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