Recently I bought my
first house ever.This was an extremely stressful, heart-wrenching, exciting,
overwhelming, and fun experience. I am by no means an expert on buying homes….
I have, however, created this small list of things I wish I knew before I
started the home buying process. Hopefully, this list helps you too!
1. You will need all
important documents from the last 3 years.
This may sound like an
exaggeration… it’s not. I needed SO much information about our taxes and our
job history. I suggest buying a file box if you haven’t already bought one. You
should have everything neatly in order so that your documents are easy to pull
when needed. Also, buy a small portable accordion file that you can carry your
documents in when you need to bring them to meetings. I had to re-scan the same
docs and send them to 3,000,000 different people throughout the entire process.
Speaking of scanning….. you will be doing a lot of that. If you are on the go
during the day, or if you don’t own a scanner, I suggest using an app on your
phone. I used the ‘Tiny Scanner’ app for Iphone.
2. Zillow is not a good
When I first started
looking at housing lists I got REALLY into it. I would see the listing and burn
through it in under an hour. I felt as though I needed to be looking for houses
24/7. So, I downloaded the Zillow and Trulia app. I had comprised an enormous
list, for my realtor, of houses we loved from Zillow. Only to find out that
Zillow is not frequently updated. Most of the houses I found on the app were
either sold, pending, or more expensive then Zillow listed it for. With that
being said….. Zillow is still fun to look at, but take it with a grain of salt.
If you see a home on Zillow you like, try to find the MLS number in the
listings from your realtor… before falling in love.
3. Even though you put
an offer on a house you like… you might not get it.
This was a tough lesson
to learn. Sometimes a better offer is made on the house you love. Or the
dreaded ‘Cash Offer Buyer’ sneaks in above your offer. It started to feel like
it was impossible to actually close on a house. Like somehow I wasn't going to
be able to catch the perfect one. NOT TRUE…. leading into #4
4. New houses come on
the market every day.
Never ever forget that
new houses come on the market every day. For every house you don’t get, another
one you love will show up. Stay strong and stay vigilant. Check listings as
often as possible. Don’t wait to have a walk through, if you see a house you like,
call your realtor and get in to see the place that same day. No matter what
happens, just know …. there’s more where that came from.
5. Pro/Con lists will
help you make logical decisions… even when your brain feels numb.
When you are feeling
overwhelmed and tired, it can be hard to make important logical decisions.
Pro/Con lists really helped me through those tough times. Nothing is worse then
being in-between two houses and unable to choose which one is the best choice,
quickly. Sit down and write down realistic pros and cons. Don’t let little
things like paint color, ugly appliances, or holes in the drywall turn you off.
Little things can be fixed. Focus on issues like… Are there a lot of stairs?
Will the space fit your furniture desires comfortably? Is there a public
laundry? Or is there a private laundry? Are these amenities really worth the
cost? Is the foundation solid?
6. The home buying
process can take a long time.
My entire home buying
experience took from November 2015 until March 2016. I was lucky that it didn’t
take a complete year. Because I was organized and dead serious, I found my
place within 5 months. The closing process alone took 45 days. Keep that in
mind if you are considering buying a home in the next year. It’s better to get
the ball rolling now.
7. You will know it’s
“The House” when you see it.
Don’t worry to much! I
survived and so can you. Never lose hope and never settle for a house just
because it’s a house. Keep going until you find the perfect one for you and your
family… and fight for it.