Recently my fiance and I bought our 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 we 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. We 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. We 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 resource.
When we 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. We had put offers on 3 different places and didn’t end up getting any of them. This resulted in sleep lost and a break down cry in a mall parking lot. It started to feel like it was impossible to actually close on a house. Like somehow we weren’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 everyday. 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 us through those tough times. Nothing is worse then being in-between two houses and unable to choose which one is the best choice, quickly. Trust your instinct. Listen to the little voice screaming the logical solution, even if you don’t want to hear it. Sit down and write 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.
Our entire home buying experience took from November 2015 until March 2016. We were lucky that it didn’t take a complete year. Because we were organized and dead serious, we found our 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! We 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.
Click the follow button, on your right, to see what happens next xoxo. -Kate