Closing day on my first ever home buying experience is coming this Friday, and what an experience it was.
With the pandemic still in effect, many people are flocking to the banks to get a loan cause they are at a historical low, leading people to drop the apartments go the home route instead. It’s why I did, and with a kid on the way? Made all the sense to me.
So maybe you’re in the same boat, maybe you are starting to look for your first house and wondering what the experience is going to be like. I mean, it’s the biggest purchase you will probably make in your lifetime…that $3 cup of coffee you thought was pretty expensive is nothing compared to taking out a loan of $160,000 for a house. So what did I learn from all this and maybe make it easier for you somehow? Have a look below.
- Get a realtor.
You may think you know everything about buying your house, but let’s face it…you don’t. You can watch all the YouTube videos on the internet hearing from experts, but there are things I would NEVER know to think about when buying a house. A realtor will do the work for you while you try to balance your life out. Realtor will listen to what you want in a house and find that for you, instead of you going through a Facebook listing and seeing pictures of what looks good, but in reality, it’s a dump. It’s just easier, and trust me…what the realtor will do for you is stuff you really don’t care to deal with. Mountains of paperwork, searching listings, negotiations, etc…there is A LOT your realtor will do. Remember though, they are there to make money…that’s why they do the job, but they also want to make sure you get into a house that you love…cause if you don’t? They lose your referral, and most realtors live on referrals.
- You are gonna see A LOT of garbage homes.
No really, you are….we saw about 12 different homes before we found the one that hit the nail on the head. I seemingly have seen everything when it comes to bad homes….massive foundation issues, huge radon levels, holes in walls, outdated appliances, leaky roofs, gross carpet, DIY homes, water in basements…and the list goes on. You then start to think, ‘My god, is this all there is? Am I gonna have to buy a fixer upper?’….short answer? No. You are gonna be SO discouraged after 7 bad homes, and hope is gonna be quickly dashed, but you gotta stay the course. When they say you’ll find one, you will. People buy and sell homes every single day….stick to sites like Zillow, ReMax, and just keep searching. Something is bound to pop up and will be just the right house for you. Speaking of Zillow…
- Zillow’s ‘Zestimates’ are unrealistic.
Zillow is great, that’s how I found the house we are getting into…but that Zestimate thing on the bottom? Is full of s&^%. There are SO many factors coming into what you’re actually going to be paying monthly for the house you are purchasing. Insurance, Principle, Interest Rate, Taxes…it could be much higher? Or much lower….it all depends on the rate you get and where you are buying. For example, my Zestimate was about $150-200 off….that is a BIG difference in payment. So before you start making calls to setup an offer, get with your loan company first and figure out what you can actually afford before you start tossing out money you THINK you can afford.
- It’s gonna take awhile.
So you found the house you want, you made an offer and it’s been accepted! Congrats, woo hoo! Now the true waiting experience has begun…you gotta submit this and that, negotiate potential fixes with the seller, sign your name nearly 100 times, and wait….wait….and wait some more. For a time table? We submitted our offer sometime in May of this year, our closing date (where we can actually move in) is July 17th, just about a month and half. Your realtor and loan officer is gonna send you endless paperwork, then you gotta call your insurance agent to work that out. It takes time, and a lot of it. Bright side, this gives you plenty of time to pack and go through crap you don’t need from your previous residence….which is something that I am almost done with.
- For the love of god….DON’T…..SETTLE, but compromise.
Remember the 12 bad homes I mentioned earlier? There was a time that I was getting so discouraged that I nearly threw in the towel and said ‘F&^% it man, just give me something to move into, I’ll deal with the fixes.’
NO….NO….and NOOOOOOOOOOOO……DO NOT SETTLE.
You’ve seen the 12th house, but it has $10,000 in foundation issues, bad water heater, and has radon issues. If there is a MASSIVE repair needing to be done? Run the other way and move on, unless you can afford to embody that cost, but your first house though? Just don’t. Cosmetic things like appliances, paint, can be negotiated or purchased by you later on. You’ve already gotten approved for a major loan, you are just gonna want to move in and call it good and do some fixes here and there….but imagine moving into your first house, then paying to fix someone else’s issue they didn’t want to fix. Think of it like a car…you wouldn’t buy a car with massive issues right? The same can be said for a house. However, also remember that you have to compromise. Maybe you want a LARGE living room, 2 stall garage. finished basement, and just an amazing beautiful house! Well, this is your first house….don’t live outside your means. If it’s just you and your significant other…are you REALLY needing a finished basement? Do you REALLY need 5 bedrooms? Probably not…and remember, you gotta heat all that space during the winter, all that space you spend no time in…so you’re just tossing money out the door for a house you only use 45% of.
- In closing…
Buying my first house has been an experience, a learning experience, and can be stressful, but just hang in there…there is a house out there for you. The words I lived by during this whole thing?
Patience is perseverance.
And whoa boy….I had to learn real quick to be patient.