Expert Tips For The First-Time Home Buyer

Jenni McCauley, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and executive sales vice president at Sibcy Cline Realtors


“Buying a home for the first time can be overwhelming,” says Jenni McCauley, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and executive sales vice president at Sibcy Cline Realtors.  “Finding a credible real estate agent whose primary concern is the client – not the commission – is the most important initial step. Find someone you can trust.” 

Most first-time homebuyers begin their search online,  McCauley says. She cautions, however, that the Internet often offers more advertising than solid, helpful information.

 “Start with the Internet, perhaps, but don’t stay there,” she says.  “Learn the basics of first-time home buying with the help of an experienced real estate agent who asks about your needs and desires, and who knows the lowdown on the local market.”

She adds that the Cincinnati housing market is fabulous, with low interest rates right now, and describes Cincinnati’s economy as “vibrant.”

An image on the Internet, or even a tour, does not give the full picture of what buying a home is about, says McCauley, who began her real estate career 25 years ago. 

 “Buying a home is an evolving process. You are buying more than a house. You are buying a lifestyle,” she says. “Drive and walk the neighborhood, go to the local grocery store, dine at the nearby restaurants, consider your commute to and from school and work. My philosophy is I want to make sure my clients have no regrets a year after their purchase.”

McCauley is a fifth-generation Cincinnatian who was named Realtor of the Year by the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors (CABR) in 2005 (a once-in-a-lifetime award recognizing professionalism and achievement). She emphasizes that it takes cooperation between buyer and agent to ensure the process goes smoothly.  

She thoroughly reviews the home-buying process, financing, inspections and market background with buyers, and discusses every clause in the seven-page Sibcy Cline purchase contract to ensure that all concerns are addressed and the buyers’ best interests are protected. 

McCauley encourages first-time homebuyers to be as prepared as possible, and offers a loan application checklist to ensure a smooth financing process.

“Have all your financial ducks in a row,” she says.

Pertinent information includes bank account numbers, address of your bank and copies of statements for the past three months; pay stubs and W-2 forms for two years; a complete list of debts, including loan and credit card numbers and names and addresses of all creditors; and documentation for any other sources of income, assets or liabilities.

“Buy a ‘right for you’ property,” McCauley says. “Then move in and celebrate!”

You can reach Jenni McCauley at 513.543.6969, email her at or you can check her listings at