As you might know, Dave and I finished the process of buying our first home last month! It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least. Overall, it’s been a great experience and we’ve learned a ton. Hopefully the tips we learned from buying our first home will be helpful for you as well!
You’re Going to Make Compromises
You know that huge wish list you made when you started house hunting? Yeah, you’re probably not going to get all of those things. That’s why it’s important to not only write your wish list but to write it in order of priority. We didn’t get everything that was on our wish list (we said goodbye to a master bathroom and a kitchen island) but if we were to make a list of the top 5 things we wanted in a house, we absolutely got all of those. You just have to know what’s most important to you, so know ahead of time what you’re willing to compromise on and what you aren’t.
Budget More Than You Think
We knew exactly how much we would need for a downpayment on a home in our budget, but you better believe we spent way more than! Yes, there’s the down payment, Then there’s the fees for the inspection and appraisal, the random fees for the mortgage and title, along with the unlimited number of things you’ll have to buy for your new house. Set aside way more money than you think you’ll need, because you’ll be super glad you did!
It’s easy to get caught up in the “pretty” parts of the house, but it’s important to be realistic and critical of everything isn’t so perfect. The curated photo gallery you see online doesn’t tell the whole story. Be extra critical of things that bother you because if it bothers you now, it’s really going to bother you in the future. The first house Dave and I looked like, we loved. The set-up of the house was awesome, and we had zero complaints about the inside of the house. However, the yard was super tiny. Like, I can’t even explain to you how small this yard is. Leia wouldn’t have been able to run around at all. I tried to justify the yard, and convince myself that I loved the rest of the house enough to make up for it. Boy would it have been a mistake to go forward on that one! Now that we actually have a big fenced yard with a deck that we’re obsessed with, I know I would have been furious with myself if I had compromised on that.
Brace Yourself For Disappointment
I hate to say it, but house-shopping comes with its fair share of disappointment. Here’s the thing. You aren’t the only one in town shopping for a house. Whatever house you fall in love with, someone else is probably falling in love with it too. The real estate market has been rough for buyers in Madison this year. Every house we looked at had an accepted offer within about 24 hours while we were looking, so there was no time to wait! And unfortunately, there were multiple offers on every house we looked at. Someone outbid us for the first house we put in an offer on, and it was so disappointing. Luckily we found a house we love even more, but it felt awful at the time!
Get to Know Your Home
I’m talking about the inspection. First of all, find a great inspector. Your realtor can probably recommend a few. Second of all, be engaged during the inspection! Dave and I have never owned a home before, so we wanted to learn as much as possible during our inspection about the different aspects of our home, along with regular maintenance tasks that we would have to do and any repairs that would be needed. Our inspector knew we were rookies, and he was amazing about talking through everything with us. He gave me a ton of notes about products and hardware he recommends, and even emailed me a maintenance calendar for everything in our home!
Look Past Cosmetics
When you’re looking at homes, it’s easy to get caught up in things like paint color, flooring, or even the furniture! But it’s so important to remember that those things are fixable. When you’re choosing a house, look past cosmetics. If you hate the paint color, it literally doesn’t matter (it’s one of my biggest pet peeves when the couples on House Hunters bypass a house because of paint color!) Try to visualize what you would do with the house! My office in our new home was previously a nursery, so it had Winnie the Pooh characters painted on the walls! You better believe that didn’t stop me from wanting that room for my office. Why? Because paint color is fixable!
What tips would you share with someone buying their first home?
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