Hey y’all! Hope everyone is having a great “springtime” even though it’s still cold out. It may be cold outside but I am all warm and fuzzy because Ryan and I have closed on our first home! It was quite the adventure so I’m going to share our story and some tips we learned along the way.
Ryan and I have been saving for our first home for almost four years. We decided very early that renting was not for us. So we both lived with our parents while we worked and saved up, and waited for Ryan to propose. We started looking officially in 2018, even though I was definitely looking, and dreaming, and pinning for years.
We started looking and we were dead set on looking at town homes and condos, until we starting looking at some town homes and condos. We found that a lot of condos are really just apartments that now you can buy. They weren’t really the home that we were looking for. We were also open to living in a few different cities until we started looking into those cities. So we leaned pretty quickly that we needed to keep an open mind but also get pretty decisive about what we wanted.
Home Buying Tip #1: Always go look at the house and drive the area. You’re never going to be able to see if it will work for you if you don’t step foot in the house. In regards to safety, our realtor told us a good way to tell if you think a neighborhood is safe is to ask if we would be comfortable with me taking a dog out at night alone in the area.
We looked at a few houses and then we put in our first offer. We were so excited – it was a townhouse but it was huge and the location really couldn’t have been any better for us. So after some steep negotiations and not a lot of wiggle room we finally made it official. Then from there we were writing checks and scheduling our inspection.
Home Buying Tip #2: ALWAYS, ALWAYS , ALWAYS GET YOUR OWN INSPECTION! I cannot stress this one enough! Also, your inspection will come back and you will feel that you are buying a disaster. But our inspector and our realtors assured us that even new homes have huge inspection reports. So don’t freak out but take everything in it very seriously.
This home that we thought was everything we ever wanted ended up needing a lot of work. Luckily playing Chip and Joanna Gaines doesn’t scare Ryan and I however, $15,000.00 to make the house structurally sound did. So after trying to negotiate with the seller and getting nowhere we opted out. So in the end we were out a little under $600.00 but that was a lot better than the alternative.
After saying goodbye to what we thought was our dream home to say I was a little discouraged was an understatement.
Home Buying Tip #3: Don’t get discouraged. The market is currently changing so if you found one you love odds are you’ll be able to find another. Plus taking a negative attitude into home buying really sucks the fun out of it.
We found some other homes that we really liked pretty quickly. We put offers in on a few and unfortunately we got outbid on them. But again, we really tried not to get discouraged. But, everything happens for a reason and things have a funny way of falling into place. We put offers in on two houses that were in the same townhouse development – our first house with all the work to be done and one we got outbid on – and they ended up raising the HOA fees astronomically and so in the end it all worked out in our favor.
And then it happened, we walked into our dream home. My mother had been trying to get me to look at this house for over a month. But because I hasn’t fully learned my lessons I’m sharing with you here I was upset over another house when we drove through the area and I made a snap judgement and decided I didn’t want to see the inside.
Home Buying Tip #4: Sometimes, usually every time, mom is right.
We stepped into this townhouse, yes we ended up in a town home, and I really wanted to find things wrong with it because I had fought it for so long. I walked down the stairs and I saw Ryan standing in the living room and something came over me and I knew this was where we were meant to be. I knew that we had found our home. It does need some TLC but it was nothing we couldn’t handle.
So we got the process started all over again. We put in our offer, we negotiated, we scheduled our inspection and nothing scared us away this time. After that we had to schedule the appraisal, which is very important because a bank will not loan you more money than the house is worth so you hope that your home appraises for more or at what you pay for it. We did have one extra step because we did have to get an engineer out to double check the foundation work that had been previously done.
Now that we have signed all the papers the home is ours! We owe a huge thank you to our realtors!
Home Buying Tip #5: Get to know your realtor, they are helping you make one of the most important decisions of your life so you need to trust them.
We actually got really lucky because our realtors, Natalie and Josh, happen to be two of our best friends. I was one of Natalie’s bridesmaids when she married Josh and she is actually going to be one of my bridesmaids when I marry Ryan. So we knew that we could trust them and that they weren’t going to steer us in the wrong direction which I think really made the process so much better for us. I would highly recommend finding a realtor that you can trust.
Now all that’s left to do is move in and make it a home. Stay tuned for updates on our renovation experience! Follow me on insta to see before and after pictures and updates!
Do you have any other home buying tips? Renovation tip? Leave me a comment and let me know! I’m always open to more advice.