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You? Buy a home? If that prospect sounds as unlikely as your becoming the next U.S. president—well, this campaign season has shown us that anything can happen.

Sure, amassing the funds and slogging through the necessary paperwork for your own piece of the real estate pie can be daunting, especially if you're a less-than-stellar loan candidate. Still, if you just assume there's no way you could buy a home, without doing any research, you could be missing out.

Here are some oft-cited reasons people don't buy a home, and the reality checks showing why they shouldn't give up hope.

Reason No. 1: ‘I don't have enough money for a down payment'

This is probably the most common justification for not making the leap into homeownership. After all, few people have a huge chunk of cash lying around—and you need 20% down to buy a home, right? Wrong.

“Needing a 20% down payment has lingered as a myth for years and causes many potential home buyers, including those in the millennial generation, to miss out on getting into a home,” says Christina Bartning with National MI, a private mortgage insurer in Emeryville, CA.

AJ Smith, a personal finance expert at SmartAsset, points out that with a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration or Department of Veterans Affairs, you can usually get by with a down payment of 3% to 5%.

In addition, “grants are an excellent way for young buyers with good credit and stable employment to subsidize their down payment,” says Realtor® Mike Murray of the Murray Home Team at Coldwell Banker in Annapolis, MD. “These can typically be obtained by taking homeownership courses or purchasing in designated community development areas.”

However, if you do put down less, keep in mind you'll need private mortgage insurance until you pay down the loan to the 20% threshold.

Reason No. 2: ‘I can't afford a mortgage payment'

“Some people don't realize the amount they pay in rent is more than if they had a mortgage,” says Realtor Kenneth Cagan of the Cagan Team in Coral Springs, FL. “Landlords are trying to recoup their taxes, insurance, maintenance fees and still make a profit. When you buy, you're investing in yourself.”

To find out if renting or buying makes more sense in your neighborhood, try realtor.com's Rent vs. Buy Calculator.

For first-time buyers with low to moderate incomes, organizations such as Neighborhood Housing Services of Richmond have plenty of experience in helping.

“Laniesha, a young mother of two, gave us every excuse in the book as to why she couldn't purchase a home, from ‘I don’t make enough money’ to ‘I am not married,’” says Samuel Robinson, NHSR's marketing and public relations officer. “After explaining that none of these issues could stop her, we worked with Laniesha to pay off her debts and raise her credit score. She'll be purchasing her new home in 2016.”

Reason No. 3: ‘I don't have good enough credit history to get a mortgage'

So you've made some late payments, or have other skeletons in your past that have dinged your credit score. That doesn't put a mortgage out of reach.

“If you've paid down your credit cards and kept a steady job, your application may be approved,” says SmartAsset's Smith. “Potential home buyers with bad credit can also explore options like lease-to-buy programs, financing through the seller, and loans from private lenders.”

Get this: Some private mortgage insurance programs allow for credit scores as low as 620, Smith says.

Meanwhile, you can slowly improve your credit score by paying your bills on time and keeping your balances and inquiries low, says Murray. A licensed loan officer should be able to set up a one-year outline to get your credit on track.

But there's one substantial caveat: Typically, mortgages for people with a lower credit score do come with a higher mortgage rate. And a very low score may require a higher down payment.

Reason No. 4: ‘I don’t have any credit history at all'

Even without a credit card, there are ways to build credit history, says Anne Postic of Mortgages.com.

“If you're a renter, ask your landlord about reporting your payments to establish a history. Experian makes it easy for your landlord to report your payments, or for you to do it yourself.”

Reason No. 5: ‘I haven't been at my job long enough'

“Work history is important,” says Jeremy David Schachter with Pinnacle Capital Mortgage in Phoenix AZ. “But even if you recently changed jobs and have only been there for a month, you can get qualified depending on your income and field.” A letter from your boss or place of employment will go a long way, so be sure to ask if you fear your relatively brief employment history might be an issue.

Reason No. 6: ‘I can't find a home I like in my price range'

“People often think they have to buy their last home first,” says Fort Myers, FL, Realtor Angeline Sackett. But making a dream home a reality takes time. After all, they call first homes “starters” for a reason, right?

It seems our need for real live people is ever-diminishing. There's self-checkout instead of cashiers, selfie sticks instead of photographers, self-driving cars, self-watering plants, self-administered colonoscopies ... well, you get the idea. Given that technology has become so important to buying and selling homes, you'd also think real estate agents would be a dying breed—yet they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down, with approximately 2 million active real estate agents throughout the country.

So why did real estate agents make the technology transition fully intact as opposed to, say, travel agents? We asked some experts to weigh in.

Reason No. 1: Selling is complicated

For many people, “a real estate transaction is financially momentous and complex—the most complex transaction people do in their life,” explains David Reiss, a law professor and academic program director for the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School.

Comparatively, personal travel agents—the kind where you’d walk in their office and have them book you a hotel and a flight—have gone the way of the dodo, because now that’s all simple DIY stuff (to be fair, not all travel agents are out of a job—there’s still a healthy travel agency sector that thrives on corporate and luxury bookings).

Find homes for sale on

“People like having an expert when dealing with large, complicated transactions,” says Jeff Tomasul, founder of Vespula Capital LLC, an investment management company based in Greenwich, CT. “Why do people still have financial advisers? They want someone who does it full-time to make sure they are not doing anything wrong.” Same with real estate agents.

And real estate transactions are often anything but straightforward. Some deals, like short sales, can be “much more intricate than a regular transaction,” Reiss says, with lenders who have requirements that “a regular person would have no idea about.”

Reason No. 2: Buying ain’t easy, either

Buying a home, even if you come in with all cash, is not a cookie-cutter task, and you can find yourself drowning in paperwork and stressed out juggling things like meeting buyers, and dealing with the seller’s agent, lender, and title companies. Agents ease the whole transaction, and it’s something that has kept their profession alive.

“They can hold your hand through the process,” Reiss explains. “They might say, ‘This lender takes a long time, so put in your contract immediately and sign this and that paper and get all this stuff ready before you’re walking over hot coals with the lender for money.”

Reason No. 3: It's their top priority

Your own interests and priorities will very likely always be split—because of those pesky little things like, say, job and family—but a Realtor® can be laser-focused on getting the deal done. “A Realtor has a singular aim: to sell houses,” Reiss says.

Simply put, having a real estate agent can make your life easier. Tomasul found himself in a frustrating position when he tried to sell his apartment in Manhattan without an agent. “Showing it was so tough with my schedule, and it was hard having a full-time job and keeping up in a timely matter with potential buyers,” he recalls.

That means the less you make time for buyers, the longer your place will stay on the market—and that’s not good for your bottom line.

Reason No. 4: They know the market, and the players, better than you

“The agent knows the market intimately, even more than a pretty informed resident,” Reiss says. And all that knowledge saves time. “Tracking sales, knowing listings, spending a lot of shoe leather on houses already for sale—right off the bat, they know more than the ordinary Joe and Jane. They understand condo boards and title companies. As a player in the game, they know what the other players are looking for and how to deliver.”

Reason No. 5: They're objective

Without an agent showing your house for you, you have no shield from criticisms that can—and will—be made about your house from prospective buyers. Your favorite room in the home might be described as “tacky,” “needing a renovation,” or much worse. Sometimes such comments are negotiating tactics. Sometimes they are heartfelt, off-the-cuff opinions. But either way, they can lead to problems.

“It impacts objectivity for a seller to hear negative things about their own place,” Reiss explains. “Realtors aren’t emotionally invested. They don’t take comments personally. It’s not ‘Oh, you don’t like my chandelier? Then get out of my house.’”

Reason No. 6: The cost is worth it

We’re not saying a 6% commission is chump change. It can be a good amount of money when you’re selling your house. But using an agent saves a ton of time. Even with a 6% commission, time is money—for many people, time saved negates the cost. Plus, given that home buying and selling is a negotiation where you can save big if you bargain right, skilled real estate agents can step in to fight on your behalf, saving you major money. In other words, typically the money you pay an agent will come right backatcha.

Feeling a bit more confident than ever that you should have a real estate agent watching your back? Then Find a Realtor now and get moving.

With the legislative session coming to a close, there are a couple of NC REALTORS® Legislative Priorities which need to be accomplished. One of the most important priorities pending is legislation dealing with private roads maintenance.

House Bill 457 “Performance Guarantee/Subdivision Streets” seeks to protect homeowners by addressing this issue going forward by establishing a new standard for construction using performance guarantees for developers. As well, the bill requires that NCDOT develop a comprehensive database of the state’s public and private roads system. House Bill 457 is the result of significant work over the past two years between NC REALTORS® and numerous stakeholders to address the issues faced by property owners.

Want your place to look like those home design website images you drool over? Of course you do! Problem is, your budget may not match your design aspirations. Fear not! Making your home look high-end isn't always about spending tons of cash.

It's a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way—and making small, inexpensive updates that have a big impact. In other words, it's about being sneaky.

Here are a few tricks to pull if you want to add the illusion of luxury.

People took part in the unveiling of the 2017 Bearfootin’ Bears on Main Street Hendersonville at First Citizens Bank Plaza Monday. The Bears are a tradition in Downtown Hendersonville. Bring the family and come see them!

2017 Bear photo gallery