Buying a house for the first time is very exciting. I remember feeling like I had finally reached “real” adulthood. I also remember feeling overwhelmed, confused and slightly freaked out!
At the time my husband was working in the corporate world. We were being relocated from one state to another. We were given a 5-day house-hunting trip. This is where the slightly freaked out part happened! 5 days to find the most expensive item I had ever purchased. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? It can take me longer than that to pick out my outfit for the day. Adding to the fun; I was 5 months pregnant with our second son.
So many choices: what style of home, how many bedrooms/baths, size of garage, what community, what school district, how big of yard, old/new, updated, fixer-upper????? The options were overwhelming.
The confusion came after looking at 12 homes in one day. Which one had the kitchen that I liked? Was it the blue one with vinyl siding or the yellow one with wood siding that had the yard of my dreams. One smelled like a cat but I think that was the one with great finished basement. How do I choose!!
DON’T LET FOREVER FREAK YOU OUT
Here is what I learned from that experience.
- Find a real estate agent you trust and who really listens to your needs/wants. Even if you have more time than I did, you don’t want to waste precious time looking at homes that don’t match your criteria.
- Find a lender you trust as well. He/She is going to be one of your best friends during this process. They will be able to provide a pre-approval letter with minimal information. After that they will need to know more about your financial life than you could even imagine. Ask them what they will need from you once you have an accepted offer and start to gather that information NOW!
- You don’t always get what you want…but you usually get what you need! My husband and I started out thinking we wanted a fixer upper character home. We purchased a 1970’s bi-level. As we discussed our life with our Realtor, he suggested a fixer-upper might not be the answer for that season. We had a 2 year old with another on the way, demanding career and we were moving to a new community.
- This is most likely not your forever home. Think of what’s important to you over the next 5 years. How do you live? Are you a gardener or do you want to be close to the farmer’s market downtown. Do you want to maintain a soccer size yard or spend time at your kid’s soccer games? Am I a handy person or do I need move-in ready? Do I like to entertain or rather be alone reading a book?
- Remember no matter if it’s your first home, or the 5th home you have purchased, it is always a little stressful and overwhelming, but also exciting and fun!