Are you ready to nail down some roots and purchase your first house? Making that decision is exciting and terrifying. Seriously, a 30 year mortgage. Whoa. Talk about a commitment! Ease that crazy fear with thoughts of all the family memories that will be made in that home. The end result is exciting but you have to be ready for the emotional roller coaster you will ride from the moment you save a search on a real estate site, to the day you get handed a set of keys. The ride doesn’t stop there though; home ownership will be a separate ride that you hop onto immediately with said keys in hand. But let’s deal with one ride at a time.
“It’s a seller’s market.”
I can’t tell you how many times we heard this as we started the process to home ownership. There just isn’t a ton of inventory out there, and when something does come out on the market, woo-wee you better act FAST. There were a handful of houses we liked, told our realtor, and he’d give us the news it was off the market because the sellers accepted an offer!
One great and easy piece of advice is to be flexible. So once you make a list of all the necessities you want in a house from price, size, amenities, and more, I suggest making note of the things you are willing to compromise. That opens up the pool a little bit more! And you might be surprised at what you will find that you might not have originally considered! For me, that was bi-level houses. Who knew?! I was locked in hard about wanting a ranch, then I came across bi-level/split-level homes, and I found my middle ground. You won’t feel like you are settling, promise. You are going to find out so much about your likes and dislikes during the process and that continues to evolve with each home you see. So make your list and get started on your search!
Step 1: Find the Perfect House online
Listing price is in your range, good schools, plenty of square footage, and you see all the possibilities! IT’S THE ONE! You fall more in love with every click through the pictures. You channel your interior designer spirit animal and starts decorating every room, think about the get-togethers in the backyard, and picture yourself cooking in the kitchen.
Step 2: Tell your Realtor you want to see Perfect House
As soon as you get your head out of the clouds, tell your Realtor that you need to schedule a time to get in the house. I am wishing you all the luck with this step! Like I said, houses go fast! People are making their offers at lightning fast speeds. Try to get to the house as soon as your schedule allows. Even if you see that there is an upcoming open house for it, try to see it on your own before then.
Step 3: Play pretend
This is a bit emotionally exhausting to do! When you go see the house, it could be empty because the sellers moved already, or it could be fully decorated because they are still living there. The still lived in houses were probably my favorite to see! It’s nice to see how other people decorate so you can get ideas, and it is so much easier to play pretend. The blank canvas of an empty house is also great because then you can picture your things in there a little more easily.
Either way, you want to walk around the place and imagine what it would be like to cook in that kitchen, have friends over to hang out in that backyard, having family dinners in that dining room, telling your kid(s) to go to their room…you get the idea. Really try to immerse yourself in all the potential of the home. I said this was emotionally exhausting because you can go through all of that imagining, and then you might not get the house. Which brings me to…
Step 4: Be ready for disappointment and shock
The process is a roller coaster for a reason: so many ups and downs! Disappointments come in many forms during the searching stage: the house goes off the market before you can see it, you make an offer and get outbid, the house isn’t as great in person as it was online, or maybe your offer is accepted and then the inspection shows way too many things wrong with the house. All of those scenarios are equally shocking as they are disappointing.
Another shock? Getting your offer ACCEPTED! Seriously, it’s great news but the realness of it all is shocking. You are on the road to being a homeowner! It is all coming together and it’s to hard to believe.
I wish you all the luck in finding and purchasing a home! Now on to the task of moving in! If you are looking for more advice on the process, check out first time home buyer tips and 10 tips for moving with kids.