Lessons from a First Time Home Buyer
If you’ve been reading or following me for the past few months you’ll know that at the end of December my husband and I purchased our first home. It’s been a learning process (both on the construction and relationship front) but ultimately we are so happy with the choice we made and look forward to creating so many memories together here. I cannot wait to share more photos with you all as we begin to wrap up on projects and entertain family and friends in the upcoming warmer seasons but before I get to those (well….I actually need to finish them first) I wanted to share with you the experiences that got us here today hence, my lessons from me to you.
I originally created this article for Forsyth Woman magazines, a local publication in my area. When I was approached and asked to begin writing for their monthly magazine we were two weeks out from closing and so nothing but house was on the brain. You can find this content in their February issue here. (P.S. my meal planning post is featured as well!)
I hope that if you, or someone you know, is going through the house hunting process that you find these useful and insightful. Trust me when I say everything will turn out the way it is intended!
LESSONS FROM A FIRST TIME HOME BUYER
We did it! My husband and I successfully purchased our very first home! And while it may not be perfect, it is 1,700 square feet of memories to be made, and we are over the moon with excitement!
When we started the house hunting process, we had no idea what to expect. We thought we knew what we wanted, we thought this process would be easy and simple, we thought we would be moving out of our cramped apartment into a bigger and better living situation in 3 weeks’ time – and while some of that may have turned out to be true, I can’t be honest without saying purchasing a home has quite a few twists and turns for something commonly seen as a normal step in the progression of life.
We searched for months (six to be exact), we went to showings and open houses and even looked at the updated internet listings several times a day. We were determined. And while it may have taken a little longer than anticipated or desired, I am confident in saying everything worked out the way it was intended. I feel quite fortunate that our experience was overall positive and want to share the lessons we learned along the way.
Chapter One: Find a rock star buyer’s agent. My husband and I highly recommend Chrystal Yates of Allen Tate Realtors (if you’re in the Triad area!). Chrystal was honest, yet encouraging; eager, yet patient. She was everything we needed and looked for in someone to navigate us through the complex and overwhelming world of real estate transactions. I stress to any first time home buyer that you should select an agent that you enjoy being with, that you feel comfortable posing questions to and that you can confide any concerns to. A good agent will always have your best interests in mind!
Chapter Two: Find an even more of a rock star mortgage lender. The process took various amounts of paperwork, quite a few answers to questions and piles of bank statements, but I recommend using a company that is responsive, forthcoming and is there to help you. Keep in mind that these companies are wanting your business and not vice versa. Remember – they are there to work for you. You should feel comfortable asking those ‘silly’ questions, giving them a quick phone call, or doing whatever you need to do to make this uncomfortable process as comfortable as possible.
Chapter Three: Thoroughly understand your needs versus wants and what is important to you. Although we searched for nearly six months, we had a clear understanding of the items that were absolute must-haves and those that we could forgo. Could you do without granite countertops? More than likely yes, but do you have to have at least two bedrooms to hold your furnishings? Stay true to must-haves while being clear about the items you can remain flexible on.
Chapter Four: Keep calm and carry on. Patience is a virtue and, frankly, isn’t one of my strong suits. But patience and persistence will ultimately lead you to the perfect fit. Stick to your gut!
I hope that if you, too, find yourself on the hunt for your first home, that you will keep these thoughts and considerations in mind. There is always a light at the end of the dark tunnel, and that tunnel may just lead you home.