Buying a home is one of the most exciting, yet stressful times of your life. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s best to learn as much as you can before signing those papers at closing. That includes learning all the different types of loans available to you, finding out the right questions to ask about your potential home, knowing more about the realtor/buyer’s agent relationship, and so much more. Luckily Network Real Estate is here to help guide you through the process of purchasing your first home. And wouldn’t you know—there are lots of opportunities available to you as a first-time homebuyer. Take advantage of the resources provided by the City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, and local real estate agencies.

The City of Wilmington offers the Home Ownership Pool (HOP Program Wilmington NC) in partnership with local banks to offer a specific loan program available for low to middle-income households. Homes just need to be within city limits! The maximum loan amount for both new and existing homes is $225,000. And program highlights include 100% financing, no PMI insurance, and a free city home inspection.

There are specific requirements for applicants as well—such as six months with your current employer, one year in your current profession, minimum credit score of 610, etc. Of course, the requirements for the program are subject to change each year. To see if you meet the requirements, you can contact the Community Services department.

Part of the requirements for participating in the HOP loan program is taking a mandatory homebuyer education seminar. Regardless of whether or not you plan on taking advantage of the HOP, investing your time in the homebuyer education seminar is a GREAT idea. You’ll learn the basics of loan types, what to expect as a first-time homebuyer, the process/stages of buying a home, important information related to staying in good financial shape, and more.

Please note that the HOP program is currently on hold while they are working on a few administrative details. This is merely temporary, and the City of Wilmington hopes to have it up and running in the next few weeks.

Another helpful resource is the New Hanover County tax department’s property assessment records. These records are published online each year and provide valuable information on homes you may be interested in purchasing. You can search for properties by owner’s name, parcel address or ID number. You’ll have access to records such as purchase prices and dates on previous sales of the property, exact specifications of the property and home itself, total appraised value, and more. Take advantage of this public information before making an offer on a home!

There is also a multitude of real estate agencies in our city. And we hate to toot our own horn (just kidding, we love it), but Network Real Estate has a long-standing history of providing the utmost service and attention to our clients. In fact, we have thirty years of experience! Our agents are here to guide you through the process of buying your first home so there are few surprises along the way. Many of the agents can even make specific recommendations as far as loan programs, mortgage consultants, home inspectors, contractors, home insurance providers, law offices (for closing) and more. They’ve worked with a variety of vendors, developed great professional relationships over the years, and can help steer you in good hands.