After sharing our home purchasing experience yesterday, it only felt natural to follow-up with a few tips for first time homebuyers. (If you missed yesterday’s blog post, I’ll link it here.)
Let’s jump straight into them!
- Create a savings plan.
- I cannot reiterate this enough – please, please learn how to budget and stick to it. To bump up our savings account, we opened a high yield savings account. (I talk about high yield savings accounts here.) This helped us a bit and it was a nice feeling having a monthly compounding interest! It was extra money nobody was going to give us.
- Strategize to pay off debt.
- This will help position you to receive a better mortgage rate and monthly payments. We ensured all of our debt was paid off, well, except for our vehicles.
- Attend a seminar/class to get educated about the home purchasing process.
- We attended a workshop in Feb. 2018 to familiarize ourselves with the process. We truly had no idea what it consisted of so it was important for us to get somewhat educated. Our realtor co-hosted the workshop along with a mortgage company and we took away valuable nuggets. For example, we learned “fun facts” about what you can or cannot do when you are in the middle of buying a home – e.g. don’t get a new job, don’t buy a new car, the list goes on and on.
- Hire your own realtor.
- Did you know you don’t have to go through the realtor listed on the property listing? I didn’t know this until we asked. The listing agent is the realtor the seller hired to sell his/her property. However, you have the option to hire your own realtor 😉 We actually knew who our realtor was going to be BEFORE knowing which home we would purchase. We asked to meet with her about one year before we closed on the home. I think it’s important to form a relationship first. This will not be the first time I say this…hire people based on trust.
- Interview everyone involved, if time allows it.
- Guys – I know, I know. I sound like a psycho but I interviewed everyone who was involved in the process. It was time and energy consuming, but I wanted to make sure I did my part. Make a list of the top three companies and ask if it’s ok to go down your list of questions. After that, you decide which company best meets your needs.
- Hire an inspection company.
- Be present during the inspection. If they say you’re not allowed to be present, I would probably hire a different company. Nothing exciting happens during the inspection but had I not been present during ours, I could have missed out on my inspector’s insight about his thoughts on the smell of the mold. That was huge for me.
- Ask questions.
- If you are wondering, ask.
- Do your own research on the companies you are giving business to.
- One thing I learned REALLY fast was, everyone has connections and they all want to refer you to their business contact and/or friend. There is nothing wrong with this at all, however, if I sensed their contact was truly not interested in building a relationship (aka all they cared about was their numbers), I was not interested in working with them. This is obviously a personal choice but I am not sure who would want to work with someone who isn’t genuine at all.
- Be prepared to negotiate and get everything in writing.
- Need I say much? Don’t be afraid to ask but be prepared to justify.
- Make a list of must haves.
- We had a CLEAR vision of our future home. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know how big I am about manifesting the future. Every aspect of our home, we envisioned. We had a list of non-negotiables, and guess what? We saved a lot of time. We didn’t waste time going to open houses or none of that stuff. We knew what we wanted and weren’t planning on settling.
- Drive around your future neighborhood at different times of the day.
- We drove through ours day and night. Several times per week, lol! Like wayyyy more than we should have! We were obsessed with our future home.
- Consider the surrounding area.
- Is the area underdeveloped? Is it pretty established? Are nearby businesses prone to get bought out? Are future developments happening in the nearby future? Ask your realtor about these questions, they should have an idea.
- Be aware of the numbers.
- There are so many costs that come with homeownership. And yes, it’s a blessing to own a home, however, it’s also expensive. (This is why I waited so long.) It’s a huge commitment and I hope anyone looking to owning a home is very aware of this. Not only did we have to save for the downpayment BUT also for furniture. If you follow along on IG stories, and read other blog posts regarding #sojohome, you know I am also a huge proponent of taking your time on furnishing, decorating, etc. Doing things right the first time is worth every effort.
Well, that’s a wrap for tonight! Thank YOU SO MUCH for tuning in. I truly appreciate your time and hope you found these tips to be of value. I will definitely touch on these tips through IG stories later this week and address any questions you may have. As always, never hesitate on reaching out. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.