You know those, heart pumping, butterflies in the stomach, I’m so excited and terrified kind of moments? That is the only way I can describe the entire first time home buying experience for my husband and I.
I mean realizing you are about to spend the largest amount of money you’ve spent in your life thus far, is stomach turning enough, but add-in the trials and tribulations involved in buying a house, well it’s a recipe for a lifetime on xanex.
If you have read my ’10 questions to ask when buying a new build house’ you will know that john and I did a great deal of research about the type of house we wanted, the things that were important to us, and the area we wanted to live in. However, that did not prepare us for the logistical aspects of getting on the property ladder. Looking back on the ordeal there are a few things I wish I had known, things I would have done differently if I were to do it again.
I’ve comprised a list of things I wish I had known as a first time buyer, some may seem really obvious and others a little ridiculous, but just hear me out.
- Get Pre-approved – I cannot stress this enough – getting pre-approved will give you an idea as to what you can afford, the size house you can get. There is nothing more disheartening than setting you heart on a property, and then realizing you cannot afford it. Save yourself time and tears, get pre-approved.
- Get all your finances in order – it may seem obvious, but having all your credit card statements, car payment statements and pay slips ready will make the initial pre-approval conversation a lot quicker.
- Deposit – if you are buying a new home you will be required to put at least 5% down to secure the plot, this is on top of any down payments,
- Just because one mortgage lender says no, it does not mean they will all say no. Some lenders have stricter policies, so try a few out. We had this issue because I do not have 2 years of work history in the USA.
- Think Long term – reinvestment, rental value, big constriction projects planned for the near future. We went to a few realtors and asked about the best floor plan for our area in regards to rental and resale.
- Property tax – Sure you may be able to afford the mortgage, but sometimes the property tax/ council tax can make a huge difference. Sometimes moving less that 1 mile from your desired neighborhood can reduce the cost
- Check out statistics on area you want to buy – crime rates, re-sale prices etc.
- If you are buying in a new complex make sure you ask these questions
- Dress appropriately – the day you plan to go and talk serious business, make sure you don’t turn up dressed like a 16 year old that’s just come from track training. Its true – you get taken a lot more serious.
- Make sure you have good bottle/ case of wine for the days you have stressful phone calls, un-resolved/ ongoing situations, and of course the celebratory drinks.
It took us about 4 months to get everything finalized, it was an absolute roller coaster of emotions, one minute it was a yes, and then the next it was a no. Every first time buyer has a unique situation, with its own struggles; I am suggesting it would have been a walk in the park if I knew the above beforehand, but it wouldn’t have been as distressing. Stick with it, and remember take it, one breath at a time, Good Luck !!
Cariad Mawr, Jordanna xxx