When we found our home, we had no intention of actually buying one. We had our goals for 2020, but originally, we wanted to start small and get a condo, but that was the spark that initiated our roughly four-month house hunt.
Buying a house is one of the most stressful and expensive purchases you’ll make in your adult life. When my girlfriend and I decided in favor of homeownership, we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. I read advice articles and books from my father while my lady scrolled through Zolo obsessively, but at the end of the day, only the experience of buying a home could teach us all the mistakes we were making.
I’m not an expert by any means. But after going through the process of finding, purchasing, and soon to be living in our first house, I’ve discovered a few important things I learned after we signed our names on the dotted line. These are the five things of advice I’d give to any first-time homebuyer.
Online House Pictures Are Fake
Although they may have looked nice, just like IG models most of the images we saw were smoke and mirrors. A wide-angle lens and lots of contrived presentation shots *almost* had me fooled.
Get A Mortgage Pre-Approval First
We were so grateful to have a great realtor and mortgage specialist who were long-time friends that walked us through the process seamlessly. We didn’t waste our time or get our hopes up looking for houses out of our budget. This is the first step of a serious buyer.
Don’t Accept Unsolicited Advice
Friends and sometimes family mean well, but there’s a lot they don’t know. We knew what we wanted (and what we did not want) so we didn’t bother really telling anyone until our mission was complete. Here's the thing - most of the time, friends share what worked for them or “heard” worked for someone else. The thing is, that may have been fine in their particular situation, but it’s not necessarily applicable in your situation. Click To Tweet Take non-professional advice with a grain of salt.
Find a Good Realtor
I really lucked out on our realtor.
Our realtor is still my girlfriend’s family friend. She was really laid back and incredibly patient. She advised us to take a step back and chill out when I tried to pounce on every semi-decent house in our price range in the early stages. She told us what to avoid, expect and even recommended we take a break because of the crazy market COVID birthed. When we returned to the market in November the house we ended up purchasing – we didn’t even see, we submitted an offer within the hour it was posted online. I knew to believe and trust her sense of urgency.
There’s Always a Trade-off
I don’t have Jeff Bezos money (I’m off to a slow start) but when that happens, I won’t have as many concessions on my wish lists. In a perfect world, I’d fancy an older character home approximately 3500 square-feet, with a detached garage and a grandiose backyard with a large deck to entertain our guests. Top it off by being situated in a diverse affluent neighbourhood/community with a phenomenal school district. Sound like a pipe dream? Not really. I understand there isn’t a perfect home and to work with what I have.
What other home buying lessons do you have?