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Free online clinic educates first-time home buyers on navigating hot housing market

First-time home buyers make up about a third of the market, but that percentage has fallen off a little lately.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Searching for a new home is tough already, but trying to do it as a first-time buyer can be overwhelming.

The Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors has set up new online classes to help new buyers navigate the housing market. 

“We’ve really not seen a market quite like this before,” said Elizabeth McCoy, the president of the greater Fort Worth Realtor’s Association.

First-time home buyers make up about a third of the market, but that percentage has fallen off a little lately. 

“We wanted to reach out and give them a whole bunch of tools so that they’d be prepared to buy a home and set themselves up for success when they were ready,” said McCoy.

The clinic conducted on Zoom includes four parts: getting started and what to research, financing and credit, protecting a home through inspections and warranties and what to expect when closing on a home.

The classes are free, Tuesdays at noon and last about 45 minutes. They’ve already finished the first two but plan to post the video online when they wrap up in a couple weeks. The top questions are about where to look or how much money is needed to buy.

“The most important thing you can do as a first-time home buyer is get prequalified with a lender ahead of time,” said McCoy.

Part of the program encourages people to take advantage of the programs available to them like first-time home buyers assistance, which can provide up to $20,000 in cash for those who qualify.

While first timers want to be careful, the market is moving fast. A national report shows homes are getting twice as many offers as they were at the same time two years ago.

“We’ve got a lot of buyers who are a little bit frustrated, because it’s been hard to get their offer accepted,” McCoy said. “You kind of don’t want to fall in love with the first one that you see or the first one that you like.” 

The median home price in Dallas-Fort Worth was $354,000 last month, up nearly 30% since 2019. McCoy said many are now having to search longer and be more prepared going in.

“You just need to have a good team behind you,” said McCoy.