Actually, I'm selling homes to folks just like yourselves. The last home I sold, the buyers put $1K down in earnest money and got $995 back at closing. These were first time home buyers, and there are programs available to help young families. Are you a first time home buyer? Often sellers will help a buyer by providing some or all of the closing costs. If they need to sell and you 're in a position to buy, you need less cash than you think. Everything is negotiable, especially in this market.
As far as saving to buy a house in this area, I'd say the minimum you need is $2K. Of course, more is better. If you have $8K or more, you're in fine shape.
Just as an aside, I like to run an extensive market analysis of a property whether I'm the listing agent or the buyers agent. I think like an investor and I especially want my buyers to be in a great position if they need to sell at some future point. (Plus the analysis I do helps sellers set a price that gets interest from buyers. I've actually had bidding wars on some of my listed properties.) That market analysis, with graphs and charts to show trends, takes me a little time to prepare and some skill in pulling the data from the multiple listing service, but I think it's worth it.
So saving for your home is a great idea. But remember, you'll also save with the low interest rates we're seeing now, and it's till cheaper in Raleigh/Cary to buy than to rent.
Hope this helps!
*Linda Rohrbough, Broker, Strategic Pricing Specialist*
"Every home has a story. Let me write yours."
Coldwell Banker HPW
100 Connemara Dr (off Hwy 55 north of High House Rd in Cary)
Cary, NC 27519
office: (919) 573-0710
fax: (919) 653-4856