True Confessions of a First Time Home Buyer

My fiancé and I were living in a tiny 2 bedroom townhouse with one other room mate for almost three years when we decided it was time to stop wasting our money and put it towards something we could invest in. So the adventure of first time home buying began. Purchasing my first home was some of the most stressful, scary, yet exciting times in my life. I had absolutely no idea exactly what I was getting in to so I thought I’d share some of my experiences that I wish someone would have told me when I started out. Now I’m not saying that every person in the world has had the same experience but I will share what it was like for me.

The process of buying a home almost feels like taking on a full time job. Between finding a realtor, getting approved for a loan, hiring an attorney, finding the right home, doing inspections, buying insurance, and closing on the house, your head starts to feel like it’s spinning in circles. You may even become obsessed (like I did) and sit online every night looking up houses. Some times I felt like the process was never going to end. You always need to be readily available so each person that is a part of the puzzle can continue doing his or her job and keep the process moving along.

The best tip I can give is to choose the right realtor. My realtor was the absolute best! Since I had no idea what I was doing she took the time to explain each step we needed to take and gave me recommendations on things like which bank to get a loan from, what attorney to hire, and insurance options. I must say I did have a lot of help from my parents as well when it came to advice. If I ever wasn’t sure of what my realtor was suggesting I would turn to my parents to make sure I could follow her advice. I really felt like my realtor had my best interests at heart and not just trying to make a sale. She was very flexible working around our schedules and I could call, text, email her at any point and she would always respond. I have a friend who just recently bought her first home and one of the things she said was I wish I took my time when finding a realtor. She felt as though he wasn’t mentally present for her during the process and felt like she was going through it alone. After hearing that I realized how lucky I was to end up with my realtor.

My next word of advice is: don’t get your hopes up every time you think you have found THE ONE. The first day that I went to look at houses there was one that I fell completely in love with. We put in an offer and I thought it would be as simple as that but I was way wrong. Another person put an offer in on the same day and ours didn’t get accepted. I was completely crushed. And then it happened again, and again, and again. Each time hurt less and less but I was starting to feel like I would settle for anything at that point. We were about to put an offer on a house we didn’t love but the price was right and it didn’t need much work. My realtor could tell we weren’t really in it so she convinced us to look at one last house and that was when we found THE ONE. It hit every check mark and more on our list and it was a foreclosure so it was listed at a great price. Our offer ended up getting accepted! Looking back now I’d like to think there was a reason it didn’t work out the first couple times because we would have never found the house that we have now. Every time an offer would fall through my mom would tell me if it was meant to be it would have happened and I wish I had listened all along.

So now we found a house, our offer was accepted, and we go through the whole closing process; which took a couple months (longer than usual). One would think you would finally start to feel some relief…nope! It turns out moving into our house was just as stressful as the buying process. Our house was built in 1960 and I don’t think it has been updated ever since. We chose it for the spacious layout, garage, and large fenced in yard but other than that it was not pretty. I don’t regret buying a fixer upper but I wish I had been more prepared for what we were taking on. Sometimes I felt like I was living in a nightmare! We were going to work by day and staying up ‘til all hours of the night remodeling the entire house. Thankfully, my dad and fiancé are extremely handy so we were able to save a lot of money. However, this added a ton of stress on everyone. For over two weeks we had no kitchen because we had to rip the floor out down to the dirt. Our refrigerator was plugged in in our living room and we lived off of microwavable dinners and take out. Even after everything we went through with this house I still would not have changed my decision. We have been here for three years now and every day I am more impressed with what we have accomplished so far. What I took away from this experience is that if your going to buy a fixer upper it is not going to be easy. Just because you finally closed on the house does not mean it is going to be over. It is actually just the beginning.

From this experience I learned that it is not always going to be rainbows and butterflies. It will be long, hard, and stressful but it also should be one of the most exciting times in your life. So long story short try not to start obsessing, stressing, or get discouraged. Instead be patient and try to enjoy this exciting time!

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