What you need to know as a new homebuyer [Partner]

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Buying your first home can be confusing, but the right support can ensure that it’s a smooth, even enjoyable process. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use a Realtor® to help you navigate the Charlotte real estate landscape.

We talked to Geena Fie, a local Realtor® who owns GW Estates & Homes, Inc., to get some answers to the top questions about home buying.

CharlotteFive: What’s the one thing all new homebuyers need to know?

Geena Fie: You don’t need 20 percent down to purchase a home! There are a number of programs available for first-time homebuyers. If you qualify for the right program, you might not even need a down payment. There are also programs with down payments as low as one percent to three and half percent. Your Realtor® can introduce you to knowledgeable lenders and help you find the right fit. Just make sure you get pre-approved prior to looking for homes.

C5: What’s the biggest mistake first time homebuyers make?

GF: Learning to manage expectations! No home is perfect. Think about your lifestyle, how long you plan to live in the home and your possible life changes. I like to advise my clients to always think of their home as an investment property you could potentially keep as a rental. This will help you stay focused.

C5: When should first-time homebuyers know, “This is the place for me?”

GF: Once you have narrowed your search down, double check it meets your requirements:

  1. Is the home within your budget?
  2. Does the home fit your needs?
  3. Is the location ideal for your lifestyle?

But ultimately, you will know when you walk in the door if it’s the right home by how it makes you feel.

C5: How should they make that first offer?

In our current market you want to put your best offer forward from the beginning. We haven’t seen inventory this low in forever. Have your pre-approval letter prior to viewing and act quickly when the home feels right to you.

C5: How can they stay sane from the first walk through to closing?

GF: It can be fun and very stressful purchasing a home, but we want it to be more fun than stressful! Hiring a knowledgeable Realtor® will help keep you sane and navigate you through the homebuying process.

Look for someone who will educate you on the homebuying process from the beginning and has systems in place to help keep you on track. There are always unexpected surprises with every purchase, so you want to make sure you have someone on your side who has been through it before.

More information: Learn more about the Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association and why Realtors® Make It Right.


  1. You left out: The only one you can trust is yourself. Your realtor is there to make money off of you and you’re negotiating against them too. If you look through the transaction with the idea that everyone, including your realtor, wants you to pay too much and get the deal done quickly so they can walk away with money, the process will make a lot more sense to you.


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