After having numerous “stress attacks” while Connor and I were house-hunting, everything of course worked itself out perfectly and here we are, exactly two weeks away, from moving in. There were so many times I was soo worried about making the right decision, but when the time came, the decision was easy. I couldn’t be more excited, and believe me, I already have almost a whole spiral notebook full of lists and ideas. I can’t wait to begin! But it all starts with step one, which is finding a house, which is why I want to first share some tips from Connor and I that helped us through the process.
1. Go With Your Gut: Connor and I made a “scoring” sheet that had all of our wish list items. When we looked at different properties, we would grade them on a scale according to our score sheet. It helped for some things, but sometimes everything added up to our standards on paper, but didn’t seem like the right fit. Overall, we would tend to walk into a house and almost always know right away if it was even an option for us. You get different feelings from different houses, and when it’s the right one, you will just know.
2. Don’t Compromise: There were many times I started to run out of patience, get frustrated, and either considered houses I didn’t like or giving up all together. But then, a few days would pass and 20 new houses would show up on the market. The right house will come, so don’t settle for less, and you will be glad you waited.
3. There Are Reasons: There are reasons that the house you thought was “the one” didn’t work out. Try not to get overly attached to the properties you see. Keep in mind if it doesn’t work out, there is a reason for it, and it mostly has to do with the fact that something equally as good or something you like better will come.
4. Look At Your Options: It is probably best to look at many different properties, and not just buy the first one you see and like. Consider what different neighborhoods, home types, and prices have to offer. Should you buy something cheaper and renovate? Or, do you want something move-in ready? Know what is important to you in a home, but also don’t be afraid to keep an open mind. When Connor and I got a revised budget, we said that we wanted a single-family house. But, all of the properties we looked at that were single-family just didn’t meet our needs in other aspects that were important to us. We checked out a townhouse, and it offered much more than the single-family homes, but it still felt like a home to us, inside and out. Needless to say, we bought it.
5. Ask Questions: Ask questions to yourself, to your realtor, to your lender, and any others involved in this adventure with you. They understand the process and are great resources for many of the questions you will face along the way. If they are good, they will have no problem answering the same question over and over (this happens!). Sometimes, I got overwhelmed with the logistics of things, especially with the financing, and I started to let things just go over my head. Then, I realized how important of a decision this is to make and that I needed to have my head in the game for something as serious as this. I got more involved, and when I got confused, I asked questions until I understood.
6. Work As A Team: One of the best choices we made was after our original company choice for home mortgages got a little flaky. They were taking forever and never answering our phone calls, so we asked our realtor for suggestions for lenders. It turns out they usually have several options for people they work with. She set us up with one she often worked side by side with, which made it so easy for us to all be in the communication loop. The process went so much smoother, faster, and it was great to have them contact each other directly when they needed answers. Also, don’t hesitate to get opinions from several lenders, in case one of them falls through. Find the people that work together best, including the people who best match your personality. You will be spending plenty of time with them, and you will want to spend it with someone you get along with.
7. Try To Have Fun: I say “try” because for me, it was a long and often stressful process. I was always excited to house-hunt, until I saw way too many dirty nasty properties that made me want to be a life-long apartment renter. Just kidding. But it was close enough for me to feel like we needed to wait. The fun didn’t really start until we began seeing properties we really liked. So, as I said, try to have fun!