As you all know, I recently purchased my first home back in July. Even though we just recently moved back home to Maine, we knew we we’re ready to plant our roots. That’s not to say we may not move in the years to come, but we had been more than ready for a more permanent spot for the next 5+ years. Dustin and I had been to probably 10+ showings of houses, and we learned A LOT in the process. We had been shopping for a house for what felt like an eternity… (3 months, max ha!) so I feel as if it’s time to give you all a little insight on what we’ve learned. To be honest, house shopping was down right hard, emotionally draining, and full of ups and downs, but it was worth every second. Read on to hear 5 Hard Truths I Learned While Shopping for My First Home
Lets get humble people. Your first home MAY not have your dream kitchen countertops (any marble fans out there?) or your dream step in shower. It may not even be as big as you want, and that’s OK. Peoples first homes are typically not their last, which is why your first home is a big learning experience. With us, we knew we wouldn’t have our “dream home” right of the bat-we just simply couldn’t afford it. But that doesn’t mean we won’t have that, eventually. And while it’s super important for your first home to meet the needs of the “here and now” be sure to talk with your spouse, and make sure you’re being practical. You may WANT 2,000+Sqft, but do you really need it? Unless you have several children running around, even so, you might not need as much house as you’d like to think. Remember, your first home, may not be your dream home, and that’s typical, and more than okay.
Just remember: you don’t want to go house broke.
So many couples jump to buying a big home, straight out of the gate. What’s important to remember is, you don’t want to purchase something you are going to STRUGGLE to afford. It’s crucial to create and stick to a budget…no matter how tough. If you don’t need a 4 bedroom house, don’t buy it. Just, don’t. Make sure your first home suits your needs of the here and now. I’m not saying don’t plan, but make sure it can accommodate your needs, and has as many bedrooms as you truly need. If you’re a single couple who is thinking of having a child, get a two bedroom (it’s better for resale anyway) But just make sure you don’t jump the gun and buy too much or too big of a house, when you truly don’t need to. Sticking to your budget… is everything. Even if you find your “dream home” and it’s much higher, don’t raise your budget, especially if you can’t afford it. That is how people lose their house. Be practical, and meet with a financial advisor or your mortgage company to build a solid budget, before you begin shopping.
If your ideal location matches your budget, please just go ahead and skip this section all together. Not everyone can find their first home in their ideal location. And that’s perfectly okay. It can be hard to peruse Zillow, and find that all the houses in your dream location doesn’t really match your budget. However, if you live in a state where they offer great loan programs for more rural areas, explore those options. Lets be real: explore EVERY option. With us, we knew we wanted to be slightly closer to the city, and the closer you come to it, the more expensive it gets (and I mean really expensive) It took me a long time to accept the fact we probably wouldn’t find our first home in our ideal location. I was initially crushed…. but then quickly realized it would be much more affordable to live in a more rural setting, where we could enjoy more peace and quiet (and save a ton in taxes) Also, if you live in a state where living near the city is super expensive, chances are, if you move to a more rural setting, over time, those areas will become more saturated, and up your property value in the process. Make sure you’re looking at several different locations, and try not to get your heart dead set on a particular place.
Prepare yourself… and I do not say that lightly. The whole process is a bumpy rollercoaster of emotions. I highly suggest doing research, and learning about the process of purchasing a home before you jump right into it. Talk to those around you who have been through it before. Mentally preparing yourself before you start the process WILL pay off. I can not stress it enough, home buying is such an emotional process, and it’s a tough one. You have to jump through so many hoops, and examine your wants/needs very carefully. You have to begin to question your plans for the next few years. It’s important to ask yourself: “Will I have kids in the next few years?” “How many bedrooms do I REALLY need?” Buying a house is such an emotional process, and if you’re not emotionally prepared from the start, you’re bound to have a few moments along the way.
Repeat after me “I will not fall in love with a house before purchasing it” you do not want to get your heart set on a home, before making moves to purchase it. You never know what might happen. You could go to an open house, fall in love, and realize there are already 10+ offers on the house. Or you could even make an offer on a house, get under contract, and go through the inspections only to realize the home you already can picture yourself in, needs way too much work. There are so many possibilities in this house buying process, so it’s crucial not to fall in love with a house, too soon. Being emotionally prepared, is going to help save so much heartbreak in this entire process, so it’s important to stay neutral while shopping for a house.
Have you bought your first home? What did you learn while house hunting? Share with me in the comments below!