The Best Cities for First Time Home Buyers in 2021

5 min

Are you getting ready to purchase your first home? Are you considering where you can get the best deals and the most affordable lifestyle as a first-time buyer?

Purchasing a home can be tricky. It’s important to remember that your month-to-month mortgage expenses will be only part of your budget. Taxes, utilities, and the cost of meeting your daily needs will also need to get factored in. 

You’ll want to carefully think about searching for a house or condo in the best cities for first time home buyers across the country. These locations provide access to many up-and-coming businesses, as well as public transportation, shopping, and entertainment that city life brings. 

Most importantly, purchasing a home in these areas won’t break the bank. Instead, it will provide you with a great home in an affordable area that will provide you with the equity you’ll need in years to come.

Here’s where you should be looking.

1. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem is located in the northwest portion of the state, located a little over an hour north of Charlotte.

The average cost of homes in Winston-Salem is just over $152,000. The city is home to a variety of wonderful restaurants, fine museums, and impressive art galleries. Enjoy local vineyards and resources from nearby universities like Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Carolina Christian College.

Locals of Winston-Salem love the local gardens, homemade brews, and historical neighborhoods in the area. Experience southern hospitality while building up equity in a home that you can be proud of. Charming ranches, pretty cottages, and even stately colonials can all get purchased for under $300,000.

2.  Arlington, Texas

Homes in Arlington currently have a median listing price of around $250,000. Colonials, ranches, and condos can all get purchased for under $300,000.

And remember that there is no income tax in the entire state of Texas! You will, however, need to pay some local and county taxes, as well as sales taxes.

The weather in Texas is not as hot and muggy as it is for other Texan cities, including San Antonio and Houston. Winters are mild. The job market in Arlington is expected to continue growing.

Arlington is home to awesome chophouses, super sports, and the original Six Flags. Just make sure you’re ready to buy a car or take an Uber since there’s no public transportation.

3. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

The average cost of homes in Pittsburg is around $210,000. The steel city is known for its exciting sports, excellent nightlife, and colleges. 

Beer and craft breweries are popular, and there are many world-class museums. Lofts, apartments, and homes are plentiful. 

Keep in mind, however, that Pittsburg is mostly a driving city. You’ll need a car or a great relationship with Uber to get around.

4. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City boasts affordable housing and a low cost of living. Winters are mild and summers are hot, although not as overwhelming as some other cities. 

Oklahoma City is known for its delicious steakhouses and breweries. It’s also home to some great museums and sports. College football is a big deal.

Oklahoma is also a lower tax state for most families. Home types include charming ranches, front-hall colonials, and condo units for a low cost.

5. Louisville, Kentucky

The cost of living in Louisville is 8% lower than the national average. And it’s home to the headquarters of lots of major businesses, including Papa Johns and Norton Healthcare.

Louisville has lots of parks and green spaces, but you can also enjoy indoor activities like yoga or climbing walls. Families will love the Louisville zoo, nature trails, and lots of delicious restaurants and breweries. There is also an art scene, great sports, and lots of local festivals.

Homes in Louisville have lots of charm. Condo units, colonials, and capes all abound. 

6. Knoxville, Tenessee 

The cost of living in Knoxville is 18% lower than than the national average. Expect to be paying significantly less for things like groceries and healthcare.

The average home value is around $200,000. Expect starter homes to include rambling ranches and pretty front porches.

Views of the smoky mountains are impressive throughout the area. And the downtown market includes great bars, food, and trails.

Knoxville provides a small-town feel with the excitement of a big city. Lots of blues, jazz, and bluegrass music can be heard throughout the town. Families can enjoy great schools and universities in the area.

7. Virginia Beach, Virginia

The average home price in Virginia Beach is around $280,000. Starter homes include townhomes, condos, and single-family houses.

Virginia Beach boasts a low tax rate and a moderate climate. Summers are warm and winters are mild.

Enjoy fishing, water sports, and a bustling nightlife. There are lots of music festivals, breweries, and excellent seafood places. You can also enjoy a state park with excellent hiking trails.

8. Pueblo, Colorado

Pueblo is only about two hours south of Denver. Yet it boasts some gorgeous mountain views, invigorating outdoor activities, and delicious cuisine. The average home price in Pueblo is around $190,000.

Pueblo boasts many sunny days every year and lots of outdoor recreation. Those who love to hike, bike, and kayak will be in their glory. Enjoy lots of movie nights and riverwalks.

Those who are into the arts will enjoy a center with a children’s museum, ballet, and symphony. Families will also enjoy all of the parks and zoos. If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, lots of outdoor activities, and affordable living, Pueblo is a great place to start.

9. Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati has a low cost of living, and the average home price is around $160,000. Cincinnati starter homes include townhomes, duplexes, and Victorians.

Cincinnati boasts a booming job market. It’s currently home to two major health systems and several financial institutions.

Residents of Cincinnati enjoy museums, professional sports teams, and great restaurants. Public transportation is available, and the commute time is lower than average.

Folks from Cincinnati enjoy a nightlife that includes fabulous casinos and breweries. There’s also museums, theater, and lots of music along the river.

10. St. Louis, Missouri 

The cost of living in St. Louis is lower than the national average. 

St. Louis boasts beautiful architecture, art, and smalltown charm. Enjoy fantastic schools and family-friendly attractions like parks, farmer’s markets, and museums.

Eateries include bakeries, grocery stores, and food gardens. There are also lots of boutiques, restaurants, and bars. And don’t forget about baseball for sports fans.

Home-Buying Tips

Try to pay off as much debt as you can before saving up to purchase your first home. You’ll also want to start building an emergency fund. You won’t want to get stuck with a leaky roof or flooded basement if you don’t have money put aside for maintenance.

Think about how much house you can realistically afford. Remember that you’ll be paying for heat, hot water, and electricity every month. This is in addition to any expenses you currently pay, including cell phone bills and grocery costs.

Do a little research before finding the best loan if you are planning on taking out a mortgage. You’re going to want to find a competitive interest rate. And you’ll, of course, want to know that you can pay off your mortgage each month. 

Shop around a lot before settling on a home. Don’t just pick one because it’s pretty or you feel at home in it. Compare features of different homes in the neighborhood, and make sure yours seems like a solid deal for the price you’re paying.

If you have a family, you’ll want to carefully consider the school district before you purchase a home. If both parents will be working, think about child care and how you’ll manage schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Don’t forget to purchase homeowners’ insurance, as this can help you in case of unforeseen natural disasters, including hurricanes or tornados. 

Make sure you have a professional home inspection done before you go to contract. It can be tempting to forego an inspection, but doing so can end up costing you thousands of dollars. A professional inspector will be able to spot hidden damages that other folks can’t see.

The Best Cities for First Time Home Buyers

Buying your first home is an exciting adventure. Yet buying in an area that’s too expensive or inaccessible can end up costing you in the end. The best cities for first time home buyers have affordable housing, low daily living expenses, and plenty of employment and entertainment that will keep your whole family happy. 

For more great lifestyle advice, read our blog today.

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