The Neighborhood Experts at Platinum Real Estate offers this advice for buyers entering the market

First Time Buyers 1 No Headline 62

By Patricia Nugent

For first-time home buyers, today’s headlines are rife with red flags…elevated interest rates, seller’s market conditions, rising home values. It’s enough to make anyone leery of taking the plunge.

I caught up with Denise and Mark Zervos, who’ve spent decades successfully running The Neighborhood Experts at Platinum Real Estate, for advice.

“Today’s younger, first-time buyers are actually quite savvy when it comes to their hard-earned dollars,” she says. “They appreciate that stocks and bonds can be risky, but real estate holds its value.”

One of the biggest factors currently nudging people to invest in a home is the sharp increase in rental rates.

“When you buy a home, you’re no longer at the mercy of a landlord,” she says. “You’re taking control of your personal net worth and equity position.”

She offers three suggestions to those entering the market:

1. Investigate first-time buyer lending programs, which offer lower interest rates and credits toward closing costs. “We have relationships in place with CrossCountry Mortgage and Synergy One Lending that help us investigate lender programs that significantly lower your costs,” she says. “Some are low- to no-money down.”

2. Open your mind to options. Consider a condo or townhome as a stepping-stone to home ownership. “Less maintenance is appealing to people in their 20s and 30s,” she says. “You may have to deal with an association fee, but a Realtor will be able to help get you the association documents to properly evaluate your decisions.”

3. Be flexible about your choice of neighborhood. Partnering with an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with opportunities in the Greater Cleveland area opens doors of opportunities you may not have considered. “We have experts on our team who are plugged into different communities that fit what you’re looking for,” she says.

The bottom line? “Now is actually a wonderful time to buy your first home,” Denise says.

Headquartered within The Platinum Center at 7200 Mentor Street in Mentor, Platinum Real Estate has offices in Northeast Ohio, Columbus, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee. To get more information, call 216-990-2100 or 440-974-SALE or visit

*Terms and Conditions: Estimated monthly payments above are based on an interest rate of 6.99% / APR 7.65%. Scenario based on 3% down payment for a borrower who has a credit score of 760 or higher, who meets all underwriting criteria. Not all applicants will qualify. Estimated monthly payment includes for illustrational purposes property taxes of $3,600 per year, hazard insurance of $1,000 per year, and required private mortgage insurance. Interest rate is subject to change. CrossCountry MortgageLLC 7200 Center Street Suite 201 Mentor, OH 44060 Company NMLS #3029 / Branch NMLS #2544945. Not a firm offer of credit. Interest rate effective as of 2/23/2024.

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