I recently purchased my very first home (all on my own. Yikes.) Once I got past the nerve racking “Oh my God I can barely remember to put pants on in the morning, how on Earth am I going to pull off being a complete adult?!” feeling, it was one of the best and most exciting experiences that I have had. Meeting with my 2016 couples, I’ve realized more and more of you are also hunting for your very first homes. I have absolutely loved oogling over houses and sharing my experiences with my brides, so I decided to put together a little post full of tips for those of you joining on the home-owner journey.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: buying a house is effing exhausting. It’s stressful, but more than that, it’s emotional. I cried. I gave up hope. I threw myself on my bed in frustration, convinced that I was going to be living in my parent’s house for the rest of my life. And then one day you step onto your future front porch and it hits you like a ton of bricks. You fall in love. Head over heels for four walls, some antique molding, and a funky stained glass window, and before you know it you’re curled up on your new couch with your dog and a Christmas tree lighting up your living room. (Swoon.)
Six tips for buying your first home
1. Find a lender that you trust. I know it sounds ironic (who trusts a bank?!), but you really need to know that the questions you’re asking are being answered honestly, and you need someone in your corner who isn’t just trying to hit the sales goal that they were handed for the week. Your local Credit Union is always a good place to start.
2. Find a real estate agent you can depend on. Make sure they know the area that you’re hoping to purchase a home in. They’ll be able to guide you to good school districts, away from terrible rush hour traffic routes, and away from noisy hidden highways. I can’t tell you how reassuring it was to walk into a potential house and to have my agent say “I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this home, unless you really love it.” Find someone who is able to help you find the home of your dreams AND that it’s a good investment.
3. Trulia has crime statistics. Enough said. Nothing beats finding the home of your dreams in the shadiest part of town.
4. Look at the current owner’s monthly upkeep/ utility fees. Don’t max out your budget on your mortgage, only to realize you also have a $320 monthly HOA fee and electric heating. Ouch.
5. Don’t let little cosmetic things change your mind. 70’s carpet? Terrible bright paint colours? That awesome 70’s pink bathroom sink? Yep. It’s all changeable. Unless the entire bathroom is pink tile… you’re definitely going to want to work that into your budget for an immediate change.
6. Enjoy the ride! You know how many times you get to buy your first home? Exactly one. Take the time to find something just a little quirky that’s totally you. No matter how long it takes, you’ll be glad that you did.
And because I love you: six more things you should know before you buy your first home.
Have a tip you’d like to add? Need a great real estate agent in the Harrisburg area? Send me a message, I’d love to hear from you!
Coming soon: tips on decorating. (: (Hands down, the BEST part of home ownership.)