This has been a pretty eventful year. Last year at this time I had just had my last day at work in Austin. Life was all going away parties and packing boxes. We arrived in Wilmington on December 17th. It didn’t slow down after that. I was employed full time by the end of January and soon after that started making friends and finding my way around town. In late summer we started looking at purchasing a house and by the end of September we were moved in to a place of our very own.
The process of buying a house was, frankly, terrifying. To begin with I do not part easily with money. (That is an understatement.) Despite reading lots of “Buying Your First Home” articles online, we seemed to be taking things one step at a time, never able to see the long plan. With each new step we learned something new. Here are the takeaways that I didn’t understand ahead of time.
Ask an insane amount of questions. Tell them you know nothing. They’re going to ask you what kind of loan you want and for how much and all sorts of things that it’s hard to know about until you’re really in it. After being pushed in a couple different directions by lenders, I finally called one (on a recommendation- also key) and said “I don’t know anything you’re saying. Please start from the very beginning.” He did.
You’re going to spend a lot of time with this person so it’s important that you like the way they communicate. You don’t need to be best friends with them, but you need to understand one another very well and very plainly. This was the key to our success in buying a home.
What we lacked in this step and would have benefited from are:
How long has this person been in real estate? They should be very confident and knowledgeable about each step. This will help you in being informed.
How familiar is this person with the area? Your realtor should have a good feel for the neighborhood. You’re not just investing in a home but the neighborhood. It’s important to understand how it is (or is not) evolving.
Be there. If something is happening with the house you should be there. Your realtor should also be there. Be a part of the process.
It’s not over until the lawyer congratulates you. There are a million things that could happen that prevent you from buying this house. Don’t go buying the champagne too early.
Also, houses are like ex-boyfriends. You thought your ex-boyfriend was “the one” and you’ll never love another until you find someone who loves you the way you deserve to be loved. (I did not make this boyfriend analogy up, but it’s fantastic and I’m using it like crazy.)
Then suddenly it’s closing day and you have keys in your hand! And they go to a house that you own! No one can tell you not to paint the walls or that you can’t have pets.
So, that’s why we got Clara. She’s pretty cute but she’d be a lot cuter if she’d stop digging holes in my brand new yard.
Now we’re just soaking it all in. And spending all our money on our house. Apparently this is being a homeowner…