First Time Home Buyer FAQs

5 Things NC First Time Home Buyers Should Know!

Remember To Use A Realtor!If you are ready to move out on your own, and Kiss Your Landlord Good-bye…  CONGRATULATIONS!  Earlier this year the newest part of the Government’s program to help people buy a house went into place!  First Time Home Buyers definitely have an advantage in NC, and we offer all of the First Time Home Buyer NC programs that can help you with your first home!

As mortgage interest rates continue to climb in the fall of 2013, these Government First Time Home Buyer programs are more important than ever.  Not every Bank offers them, but the NCHFA Programs increase buyer qualifications – allowing folks who have been renting to purchase a slightly larger house than they would otherwise be able to buy… with very few out of pocket expenses – using the NC First Time Home Buyer Program.

Johanna Brown, an agent with Re/Max United in Cary,  said it would be pretty common for people sitting on the fence to get motivated by mortgage interest rates creeping up this summer.

“When we see an uptick in interest rates, people start to get that feeling that they might have missed the bottom of the market — which they have already. But sometimes fear is an important factor in buying property,” she said. “The interest rates are still very, very good, and people who want to buy a home, if they can, should be out there trying to buy.”

The low rates and tight supply also have lured buyers back into the first time home buyer market.  Because of the purchase power these low rates have afforded first time homebuyers in NC,  the hike in rates is likely to serve as an additional motivating factor for drawing buyers into the market.

If you are for your First Home, there are some basics we think you should consider as you are starting the process to look for a home.  Here are FIVE THINGS we think every First Time Home Buyer should consider before making that move:

  • When you buy a House – you get a Raise!  Uncle Sam definitely sees benefits in having homeowners, so you get to “write off” the interest you pay each month on your taxes!  We advise First Time Home Buyers to see a tax professional, and consider changing your W-4 when you purchase!  This way, instead of the government giving you a $2400 refund… you get a $200 RAISE! (seriously, you can bring home more each month and not owe on April 15!)!  We also offer the MCC | Mortgage Credit Certificate for those who qualify.  This program actually DOES change your W-4, but it does not diminish the tax credit that you can write off each Spring.  It’s an ADDITIONAL Tax Credit available for those who have been renting for the last 3 years in NC.
  • You CAN get into a house with absolutely no pennies out of pocket –  but it’s HARD.  We would suggest that you have at least $1500 if you want to buy a house.  There are really 3 buckets that your costs associated with buying the home will fall into.
    • Downpayment:  Conventional loans and FHA loans have the highest threshold for downpayment, requiring 3.5%. For FHA loans, this money can be a gift, and they allow a family member to co-sign with you to buy the house (without them having to live with you).  USDA Home loans are available in every county in NC, and they require ZERO downpayment.  The payments on this owner occupied program are super low too because USDA has the lowest PMI rates offered, often times saving homeowners $200 a month or more over a FHA loan.  Because USDA Home Loans are designed for more rural parts of our state, you just need to be okay with living on the “outskirts” of town.  If you have Veteran benefits you will not need any money for a downpayment when you apply for a VA Loan.  Even if you’ve used your entitlement, you might still qualify for the program.
    • Closing Costs:  We can help you structure your contract so that the Seller is paying most of your Closing Costs, the trick is with wording the Seller Concessions correctly for the Underwriters.   There are some of these fees that the Seller “can’t” pay, or won’t pay.  You should be prepared to pay for the Inspection of the home, you will have to pay for your Home Owners Insurance, and your part of the taxes.  Depending on what time of year you are closing, you could need as few as 4 months of taxes, or as many as 9.  So there’s no way for me to give you an exact figure.  We, as the Lender can also absorb some of your closing costs with the mortgage loan.  There are other sources for help with closing costs and down payment.  We offer the NC Affordable Housing Agency Program.  Those who qualify can receive up to a 3% Grant! This money can be used towards your Down payment, or your closing costs, has no monthly payments, and is forgivable over time.  It is designed to help folks who have been renting for the last three years.
    • The Actual Move:  You are going to want to have some cash to turn on appliances, buy a refrigerator (if you don’t negotiate one) and maybe buy some new shelf paper.  Yeah, you could charge part of this – but having a “little” nest egg so that you can buy beer and pizza for the guys that help you actually move everything to your new place is a great idea.  Having an amount equal to 2 house payments after you close on your home is the minimum we suggest.   But if you are super tight on cash, don’t get too worked up … you skip a payment when you buy a house! When you buy a house, let’s say you close on June 25th – you pay interest at closing from June 25th thru June 30th.  You live in your home during the month of July- and your first payment isn’t until AUGUST!  Woot! Woot!
  • Go ahead and meet with us (your Lender) EARLY in the process!  Let us peek at your credit, look at your paystubs and give you an honest assessment about your decision to purchase!  You might think you have to wait 6 months – and we might be able to tell you NOW is the time!  Even if it IS six months – let us talk to you about the taxes, and insurance and the tax benefits!  Let us HELP YOU get your credit in order – this is what we do all day, and we don’t charge for that help! (Here are some questions to ask your lender!)
  • Use a Real Estate Agent (period).  You will NOT get a better deal without one.  Do NOT go to a new home Community and think that the sales person there is going to help you get the best deal… get a Real Estate Agent that is working for YOU.  That does NOT mean that you have to pay for them – you don’t… but they work on YOUR behalf! (We know some GREAT ONES!)  The right Real Estate agent is going to be critical in helping you structure an offer to purchase that is accepted, and for the best terms.  Especially now that Real Estate prices are headed up – use an Agent!
  • Don’t believe everything you hear on the News!  Yes, the real estate market stumbled… IN CALIFORNIA!  We live in North Carolina!  Housing sales slowed, but it’s started picking back up.  There are SOME foreclosed homes available, but we don’t have as many distressed homes here as there are in other parts of the country and the bidding for those homes is fierce.  As we said earlier, mortgage interest rates have gone up in the past few weeks, and so have the prices on houses.

The Raleigh and Cary Real Estate market will continue to be a great investment because we have over 20 Colleges and Universities in the area, State Government (the Capitol) and MAJOR World Class Hospitals!  Other NC real estate markets will continue to see improvement for the exact same reasons, including Charlotte and Greensboro.  As the Economy continues to improve, real estate prices in NC will continue to climb.  The time to buy is NOW!

We offer first time home buyer programs through our North Carolina Affordable Housing Agency that provides specific assistance for folks who have been renting for the last three years.  The NC First Time Home Buyer program offers:

The NC Affordable First Time Homebuyer program changed in May of 2013, and is now open to anyone who has not owned a home as a primary residence within the last three years.  This works great for folks who owned a property in another area and moved to find a job.  Having that rental property does not mean that you will not qualify for the program as long as you’ve been renting for the last three years.

The NC Affordable Housing Agency Program works in partnership with FHA, VA, USDA and Conventional loans.  It’s an additional benefit offered to those who qualify and have been renting in NC.  You might qualify for a 3% forgivable government GRANT that will help you buy a home!

So Relax! NC First Time Home Buyer Programs can help you do this!  Buying your First Home in NC is FUN! Call Steve and Eleanor Thorne, Best Mortgage Rates in Cary NC, 919-649-5058.  Connect with us on Google Plus and Facebook :)


  1. says

    Hi Eleanor. I am interested in buying a home because I am tired of renting, and I want to have a place of my own. I have never bought a home, and I really don’t know where to start. Could you possibly point me in the right direction?

    I’m looking to move to the Belmont/Mount Holly area of NC.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  2. says

    Jonathan – later this week, NC is coming out with a new program for first time homebuyers. In your area, we could see a change in the USDA Maps in March – but in general, a combination of the NCHFA program and the USDA Home Loan program will mean that you can purchase a home with very little cash out of pocket. Please call us, and we can figure out the best path for you in about 30 minutes! If you don’t have any revolving credit, we generally start there. Just having installment loans (car payments and college loans) will not get you the best scores. A Secured Credit Card / generally two are needed / will help increase scores within 6 months. Our number is 919 649 5058

  3. says

    YES! We have an office in Greensboro, in fact that is where all of our Underwriters are. We help folks all across the state… Greensboro is one of our favorite places, because our daughter goes to UNCG :)

  4. says

    hi im betty and im trying to buy a home …im a first time homebuyer im looking to move to Lewiston NC i was wondering if yall have programs in this area

  5. says

    Betty! We will contact you directly, or you can call us at 919 649 5058. We certainly do first time home buyer loans in Lewiston, NC, and we would be happy to help. We offer all of the First Time Home Buyer Programs, and no down payment USDA Home Loans. If you need a co-borrower to buy your house, we offer programs for that too! Congratulations on taking this next step!

  6. says

    Eleanor, do you know if there’s any “First Time Homebuyer” programs that have higher income limits? Everything I’ve read has a limit for our area around $82,000. Is there any type of NC program I could take advantage of that doesn’t have a limit like that?

  7. says

    Please let me know what are you are looking at, remember that some of the programs ONLY look at the BORROWER, and some look at everyone in the HOUSEHOLD. Call us, 919 649 5058 and we can help you :)

  8. Melanie says

    Hey Eleanor do you do work around the Charlotte area? My fiancé and I are first time homebuyers looking into the USDA loans around the Mint Hill area which is right outside of Charlotte.

  9. says

    Hey! My cousins all live in Mint Hill (just off of Wilgrove Mint Hill Road)! The Philadelphia Presbyterian Cookbook my Aunt gave me for a wedding present is my FAVORITE! I know exactly where you are! We certainly do help folks in that area – and I would encourage you to call us! 919 649 5058 / we work after hours, and on weekends. This is exciting!

  10. Grace Moodie says

    Hello, I currently live in Princeton, WV but would like to move back to NC where I used to live. I wonder if there are any first time home buyer programs that I would qualify for. There are better opportunities available in other states. I desperately need a change. Let me know. Thank you for your assistance.

  11. Edward Tyson says

    Hello my wife and I are on fixed incomes what do we have to do to buy our first home

  12. says

    Congratulations on your decision to be home owners! You need to make copies of your income statements, (if you don’t get a statement, and money is direct deposited, copy your bank statement) and give us a call! You can qualify for a first home on fixed income, and you might qualify for several of the State of NC first time home buyer benefits! Their are Grants to help with costs, and Mortgage Tax Credits available too! Here are some additional tips for First Time Home Buyers! Call us! 919 649 5058

  13. sheena boyette says and my husband are trying to buy our first home.we have a secured credit card and have been told that his credit score is good enough that we could get a lone to buy something now but we can’t come up with the money for a down payment.what should we do?we are in beulaville nc.

  14. says

    There are MANY options for you! USDA Home Loans might be the perfect program, but there are other NCHFA Affordable Housing Programs available that have virtually no down payment requirements too! Just call us at 919 649 5058 for more information!

  15. Natasha Osborne says

    I’m looking to buy my first home in Wake county, can you help us find a first time homebuyer program? Thank you for any help you could give us.

  16. says

    There are several programs you might want to look at – and we offer them all! USDA Home Loans do not require a down payment, and the State offers down payment assistance, so that you only need .5% to buy a house! There are also Mortgage Tax credits available. CALL US 919 649 5058 and we can give you the exact info you need to buy a house!

  17. Morgan says

    I would be a first time home buyer and I just have so many questions about which program I’d qualify for and which would be best. Or if I don’t qualify for any of them, what can I do to qualify for them? Is that something yall could help me with?

  18. says

    We can definitely help you! In NC (and every other state) there are mortgage programs available for First Time Home Buyers! Our motto is “First the Loan, then the Home.”

  19. Haley says

    Hi Eleanor. My name is haley. My fiancé and I are renting and are very low income. We have a child and would like a place to call our own. Is there anything we can do to get approved for a loan for a home?

  20. says

    Sure! Give us a call – the first thing to do is look at your credit. If you don’t have any, or it needs to be fixed, we can help. There are many programs that don’t require a down payment – and there are NEW Grants from the State of North Carolina that will be available starting January 1st! It is a great time to buy a house!

  21. says

    YES! We have great friends in Goldsboro, we love Wilbur’s (I know that was not the question) but YES! We work with folks all over the state of NC :) Call us at 919 649 5058

  22. Alice Nelson says

    Hello Eleanor, We are looking to buy our first home in wake county. Preferably Raleigh. Which parts of Raleigh are eligible for a USDA mortgage? Is there an office here where we can discuss the process?

  23. says

    Alice, we do a ton of these loans, and we are located at the Crossroads Shopping Center in Cary. You are welcome to make an appointment and come by to see us – additionally, here are the most up to date maps regarding Eligibility for USDA Loans in Raleigh. Be careful when you are looking at the USDA Eligibility Website, because as I wrote yesterday – it can be misleading. When you have an actual address you are interested in, be sure to look at the USDA Loan Future Eligibility map :)

  24. Stanley Clarke says

    Hello Looking to get started on your 6 month credit program. DO you have any offices in or near Statesville?

  25. Shannon says

    Hello Eleanor. My husband and I have just started paying Camden Credit Services to help us fix our terrible credit. Not knowing that the car dealer we purchased our last 3 vehicles from had ran our credit with different banks a total of 49 times in the last two years, it has really damaged our credit! I was so livid when the specialist told me what was going on with it. Anyway, we already have a mortgage counselor through the service we are paying for, but my question is, did I make the right decision to fix my credit problems? And what should be my next step?

  26. says

    Shannon – I haven’t seen your credit, but you are welcome to send me a copy of your report. Send it to eleaVor@gmail DOT com / most people do NOT need to pay a company to fix their credit. You can usually do it yourself. Your credit is really only a snapshot of what your credit IS, and then an indication of what it WILL be, based upon that snapshot. So NEWER items, in general, are given more “weight” in the report, than “older stuff.” That’s why we suggest that folks make sure they do the following:

    1. Don’t let ANY more bad stuff hit your file. Meaning, payments on time, no going over your credit limit on anything – and NO MEDICAL (or other) collections hitting your files.
    2. Open up NEW credit, if you don’t have any recent open credit accounts. We generally suggest that folks get at least 2 “secured Credit Cards.” Use them once a month – then pay them down to a $10 balance. Having that SMALL amount of interest that you pay once a month will help your scores.
    3. Do NOT allow anyone to dispute all of the stuff on your credit file. It will usually mean that “old” collections get sold to another company, and it will, in the long run simply hurt your file more.
    4. If you have Collection and Liens that are NOT Medical Collections, start making payments. Set up a payment plan of $15 to $25 a month, get it in writing – then stick to it. Making on time payments like that can be used after 6 to 8 months, especially if it is an IRS lien.

    You are headed in the right direction! You can do this! CONGRATULATIONS! If you send me your file, now or later – I’ll be glad to run it through our simulator that will tell us exactly how many points you will get for various adjustments!

  27. Julie Freeland says

    Hi. Me & my son want to move from MD to NC. I’m working on my credit now & saving. What is the requirements if I have a judgement ? Do I need to show months of consecutive payments or does it need to be all paid off before I can buy a home? Im looking for someone to guide me through these steps. I have no idea where to start? We are planning on moving Sept/Oct to the Concord/Charlotte area.

  28. says

    Julie! Welcome to North Carolina! I think you’ll both love it here!
    In answer to your question – It will depend on what program you are applying for. In general, FHA will accept 6 months of payments on a tax lien (for instance) as a payment history. I suggest that you either call us, or hit the apply button on the top right of the site. We’ll be glad to give you exact feedback on what steps you need to take.

  29. Jessica R says

    My fiancée’ and I are planning on buying our own house in the next year. We are interested in finding out what we need to do in order to become first time home buyers. We do not have any major credit cards. We both work and I am currently in school and we moved here to Wake County 3 years ago and we have been renting for 2 years now. Will you please assist us on ways or steps we need to take in regards to buying our own home next year.

  30. says

    I think I emailed you directly – but if not… first let me say CONGRATULATIONS! You’re going to be a Home Owner!!

    In order to give you the BEST advice, we need to see a loan application. You can fill out as much as you can with that APPLY ONLINE green button on the top of the page, or call us at 919 649 5058. Either way – we will have the information we need, and there’s no cost or obligation.

    Getting a couple of revolving credit cards, and then keeping the balance really low is generally important to boosting credit scores – but I don’t know what yours are…

    The answer is YES! We will assist you with the steps you need to take to buy a house!! Sorry – I should have said that first!

    You might find this helpful as you are looking for more information on a plan to buy a house – but generally, all you need to do is either fill out the application on line or call :) Can’t wait to talk!

  31. Sabrina says

    Hello Eleanor,

    I really enjoy reading your posts! I am currently looking into getting a FHA loan and was wondering if enrolling in an extended-fixed student loan repayment plan would show up differently on my credit report (compared to standard-fixed 10 year plan).

    For example, if someone owes 100k and their fixed repayment amount is $1,200 over 10 years, but when their loan repayment period is extended to 25 years they may then pay $800. Would the $800 show up on their credit report instead of the $1,200.

    I know that IRB plans will not show up on your credit report because the amount isn’t fixed.

  32. says

    Sabrina – thank you for your kind words :) Yes – the payment you negotiate is going to be the payment that counts for a FHA Loan. The way the guidelines are written, it really does not HAVE to be a fixed payment loan for FHA Loans (like it does for USDA Home Loans) however, this is very new – so we don’t really know if a Bank is going to add other restrictions. This is why I’ve been saying figure out what your deferred payment is going to be, then get a letter, and let’s hope the letter just says here’s what the payment will be – not that it’s a payment based upon IBR or PAYE calculations. The fact that it is a 30 year loan should make the payments lower. Let us know when you are ready for us to talk about your specific situation – we would love to help you with your mortgage! 919 649 5058

  33. rachelle says

    I recently got married. my husband and I are wanting to buy a home together. But let’s just say we have not so great credit. He also has a foreclosure on his credit that’s suppose to be coming off this fall. Myself, I’ve never bought a house.

    Please tell me there is hope and I’m wanting to buy pronto. Not a big fan of my land lord Or the place we’re renting now

    Thank you in adnvace

  34. says

    Rachelle – There is hope. If he had a foreclosure that’s coming off this fall, that means the foreclosure was more than 5 or 6 years ago. So it really is old news, and will not affect you. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to have a) on time payments for 12 months b) no medical collections (etc) on your credit file ADDED in the last 12 months and c) you need to have at least 2 open trade lines for 12 months. You can get a secured credit card at the Bank at Walmart.

  35. Joyce collins says

    Hi elanor. I am hoping to become a first time buyer. My family and I have already located a home we sincerely love and have our hearts set on our goals its just now the steps to get there . we have a 4bed 2 bath in stokes county were looking at . I’m just not sure where to start. I have a small down payment and several of us work so payments are not an issue . any help is appreciated. Thanks !!

  36. Jamie McCullers says

    Hi my name is Jamie and I have started planning to purchase my first home.I am wanting to purchase a home in the Shepards Pointe Subdivision in Zebulon Nv.I am currently working on my credit score.I have fallen in love with the model 2508 of Adams homes in the Shepards Pointe subdivision.The base price of that model is 213,000.I have been told that my income is not enough to qualify for that price range.My income is 1900-2000 per month gross.With a loan that amount will put my mortgage payment around 1400.00 a month.I can not afford that with my income.Do you know of any programs,plans or anything I can do to purchase this home and have affordable payments as a first time buyer?

  37. says

    Jamie – I’ve often seen folks fall in love with a house, before they spoke with a mortgage lender to see what price range they could afford. That’s hard. However, there are some options open to you. First, call us. 919 649 5058. Maybe a good option is a non-owner occupied co-borrower.

    Additionally, are you in a field, or a position where you feel your income is going to increase in the next couple of years? We can talk with you about temporary buydowns for your payments. These haven’t been used in a while, but it’s how Steve and I bought our first house.

  38. says

    Joyce! Congratulations! The first step is to call us, and let us look at monthly payments and down payment options. We work with folks every day who are just like you. They want to buy a house, they found the one they want to buy… but now what? HOW do you go about buying a house? Spend 15 to 20 minutes on the phone with us. It’s a no obligation, free conversation – and we can get this process started for you! 919 649 5058

  39. jamie mccullers says

    Ok that sounds like a good option.Im getting really discouraged and I feel that this just might not be my time.

  40. Frances Hooper says

    Me and my husband found a house we love, but he is worried about loans and stuff. We have never done this before and we desperately need your help. We are wanting to move to Sanford, NC. Please help us

  41. says

    We help folks all the time who don’t really know where to start. Here’s some more information about a First Time Home Buyer Plan – if you’d like to talk, you can call us at 919 649 5058. It’s never too early to talk about payments and how much money you’ll need. In NC, many Seller pay your closing costs.

  42. Caitlin says

    I am looking to be a first time home buyer. I have good credit and only loans I have currently are my student loans (about $209 total/month). I called my bank about mortgage options and they said I qualify and can get a home! However, now I don’t know where to start! I have been looking at homes online when I get a chance, but I don’t want to get too over my head and be house poor. I know that with FHA I only need a 3.5% down payment. Please help!

  43. Amber says

    My husband and I would like to purchase our first home instead of renting our whole entire lives. We have no clue how everything works, but would love to learn how. We heard of the first time loan. How much would you have to put down out of pocket when buying a house? My husband is the only one who works. When he got a loan to have dental work down they said his credit was good.

  44. says

    Amber! Congratulation on making the decision to buy a house! Here’s a First Time Home Buyer Purchasing Plan. This is another article I did on Frequently Asked Questions for First Time Home Buyers.

    The VERY FIRST STEP in buying a house, is deciding to do it – and talking to a lender. We will tell you what kind of programs you qualify for, what mortgage tax credits are available for you (not all lenders offer these) and what you will need to do to be in a position to buy a house. We’d love to be that lender for you! You can call us at 919 649 5058 – we work nights and weekends, and there’s no cost or obligation to call us. You could also complete the quick application by clicking on the green button on the side of every page.


  45. says

    Caitlin! I’ve been on vacation – so I sincerely apologize for the delay in responding!

    You might also qualify for Mortgage Tax Credits, which most lenders don’t offer. The Tax credits could be the “off setting amount” that helps you feel more comfortable with your mortgage payments. Depending on your income, they could be as much as $166 a month!

    You can call us anytime for a no obligation, free conversation about what you specifically need to do to buy a house. We offer all of the NC First Time Home Buyer Grants

  46. Lee Watley says


    My wife and I are looking to buy a home in the Fuquay-Varina area and i believe we are a perfect match for the first time home buyers grants and tax credit. We have already been pre-approved by a lender for around selling price of $200,000. I would like to stay around $170,000 (my comfort zone). I know my credit score (approximately, within a few points) and my income is $60,000.

    The lender I have been working with has been steering me away from the grants (Mainly because they do not participate in the grants I am assuming). I wanted to get a second opinion and more information on these grants for which I may qualify.

    A question I did have was what is the period that we have to stay in the home in order not to have to pay back the grant?

  47. says

    Lee, I certainly appreciate the fact that not everyone has the programs – however, even if you don’t use the grant – the monthly payments will be significantly less if you take advantage of the Mortgage Tax Credit Program. We would be glad to help. This is $166 a month savings, and could make you more comfortable with the payments. 919 649 5058

  48. Jamie says

    hi my name is Jamie and my husband has a good paying job now I’m looking into buying a home in Nash county and I was wondering if we have to have money to pay you to look into whether we qualify for grants or anything or what I should do. Thank you for your time.

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