5 Best and Worst Things We Did Buying Our First Home
Can you believe we bought our first home a year ago!? I feels like just yesterday my girlfriend, Sasha, and I were about to give up the home search due to the market during the pandemic. Luckily, our realtor found us our dream home and somehow we survived the closing process which I refer to as "the most stressful month of our lives".
Looking back at the last year of fixing up & figuring out this home owner life, we have learned a few things I thought may be helpful to share for other new home owners or those looking to buy! I know how scary it can be to make this big jump, but I promise you figure it out as you go and hopefully these tips make it a little easier for you!
So let's get into it - the 5 best and worst things we did buying a home!
THE 5 BEST TIPS!
1. If you can pay rent, you can buy a home! Sasha and I thought it would be years before we could afford to buy a home and then our dog Nala got attacked at our apartment complex. The bite was inches away from her losing her eye and after that I made it my mission to buy a home with a yard for her to play without fear of her getting attacked. Six months later we were touring homes!
The truth is you don't need a 20% down payment, although that does make your monthly payment less. Some loans only require 3.5% down! And if you have good credit as well as proof of paying rent on time, you may be able to get a pre-approval letter to start searching. (btw another tip, don't get pre-approved by Rocket Mortgage. Most people near us won't accept a letter from them and every time they check your credit score it goes down by a few points so go to a broker first! Your realtor can recommend one!) We actually pay LESS on our mortgage now then we did renting our two bedroom apartment!
2. Finding a realtor we loved! DO NOT just go with anyone especially the ones recommended on home search sites like Zillow. When we first started our search, I naively clicked on the agent provided and waited days for an answer which in this market means the home I wanted to tour was already sold by the time I got an email back. Instead, ask your friends if they have anyone they would recommend. Our realtor and now friend, Heather at Green Tree Realty, made it SO FUN to home shop! Almost every day she would text us a listing or we would send her one and on the weekends we would tour the homes. Luckily, Heather has a background in architecture and isn't afraid to tell you the truth about the house. She never tried to talk us into a house for the commission and actually talked us out of a few which I am so grateful for today. Find a realtor that isn't in it for the money and actually cares about what you want! It will make the experience so much more fun.
3. If you plan to renovate, don't unpack! Sasha and I knew we had lots of home projects we wanted to do mainly the kitchen. The day after we moved in, we started painting the cabinets and lived out of boxes until we finished them two weeks later. It may have been a hassle, but made it so much easier to paint. We also found that doing the big