Anyone else just look at houses all the time???? I am not actively looking to buy a house, but I think it’s fun. Let’s talk about all the first time home buying things, people! Buying your first home is no joke, from saving money to figuring out what kind of house you want. People don’t just decide one day they are going to buy a house and that’s it, this process takes time. I want to talk about the things I wish I would have known before buying my first home in hopes that maybe they can help you and remind me of my mistakes so I don’t make them again!
I bought my first home in February 2019 when I was 3 months pregnant. This is the biggest reason I bought a house because I didn’t want to come home to an apartment. Jokes on me, we now live in an apartment and love it, but I think I had to go through the experience of buying a home to be in this current position. Also, let me say that there is nothing wrong with raising kids in an apartment, it was my personal preference.
My (now) husband was kind of on board with buying a house. I basically told him that I am going to buy a house and you can come or stay at the apartment. As you can see, he did come and we moved into our first home. He actually didn’t see the house in person until the day we closed on the house. Looking back, I wish I would have included him in the process more, but we were not married at the time so I basically did it all by myself. The money, tours, closing, communication, all of it. It all worked out 🙂
Little did we know we basically moved into a bad weather alley and an unknown fixer upper. I bought the house for $139,900 and it was a cute 2 bed 1 bath home built in the 1950’s. With that price tag and year built comes some outdated things, if you know you know. The house looked put together and move-in ready and it was, but we did have to put some elbow grease into it. I will call this luck because we really disliked the exterior of the house and we got hit with hail about 3 months after we moved in. From that hail storm we got a whole new roof, gutters, downspouts, siding, and storage shed. THANK GOODNESS!!!!!! It looked like we had a whole new house. Among that we put more work into it to make it look and feel like a great house.
Okay enough of the stories, time to get into the five things I wish I would have known before buying my first home…
#1: DO NOT RUSH
If I could go back and tell myself this over and over again I would. This process takes so much time. I was just trying to find a house to get out of an apartment and I wish I would have taken more time to look and know what I really want. Don’t make this mistake like me!!!!
#2: Get pre-approved
You’re wasting everyone’s time if you do not get pre-approved, so before going to any open houses know what you can afford and what you’re approved for.
#3: Forever home or short term?
Going into house hunting you kind of want to know if you want a house where you can grow a family or just for a couple years for your current situation. The wants and needs change based on this thought process. Going into my home search I knew I wanted my first home to be short term, mainly because of my budget. My needs definitely changed with this mindset.
#4: Know what you need in a house and what can give a little
Like I mentioned earlier, the home I bought was kind of an unknown fixer upper. We are not handy people and I did not want to do projects. The rush factor definitely played a role in buying the house I did. After buying a home, I now know what I need in my next home like a big kitchen and 2 car garage and laundry room to name a few. I feel like because I didn’t really know what I was doing in my process I gave up a lot of things that would have been necessary. I encourage you to write a list of wants and needs that fit your budget.
#5: Fixer upper or move in ready?
Are you a handy man and like to dabble in some projects? Well maybe a fixer is for you. If you are like me and my husband and you’re not handy and not crafty (just being honest) then look for something more move-in ready. This is also good to know if you want to build some equity off your home. Also, you won’t be wasting time looking at houses that don’t fit your description.
I am no expert and I am certainly not a realtor. These are my experiences only and what I wish I would have known prior to purchasing my first home. The process is long and stressful so knowing these things may make it a bit easier on you. Always consult a realtor when making this type of decision!
If you are in the Des Moines area, I used Kari Stone with Sarah Hopkins Real Estate team to sell our house and she is amazing. I can’t say enough things about how great she was in that process!
Happy house hunting 🙂
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