(Lol, if you have never seen that YouTube show it is definitely worth watching. I feel in love with it right around the time that I started looking for a home.)
I purchased my first home more than a month ago, and I still have not fully accepted the fact that I am a homeowner. OMG!
I have learned so much since closing on my home, and I wanted to share some with y’all.
- A budget is very important. I have been living by a budget for years now. Over ten years ago, one of my mentors (Shoutout to Ms. V) begin explaining to me how important it was to be able to support myself in case anything happened. She sparked my initial interest in budgets and through her guidance, I began working on my credit score and increasing my savings account. I now live by a mixture of Dave Ramsey and The Budgetnista guidelines. When I made the decision to purchase a home, the very first thing I did was open up my budget and start moving money around (on paper). I wanted to make sure that even before I spoke to the lender, I knew exactly how much I wanted to pay for my mortgage. If I could not feel comfortable with my mortgage, I had already decided to continue to rent. While trying to see how much I wanted to pay for the mortgage, I also factored in utilities, and other reoccurring expenses. I also reached out to a financial planner and asked for additional advice. Once I was happy with the new budget and my “comfortable mortgage” payment I called the lender.
- Your Lender should be on your speed dial list. Over the course of the home buying process I became very close with my lender, Stephen. We spoke every day if not sometimes twice a day. Sometimes it was just to check on the loan application or just to say hi. Stephen was very encouraging, especially since this was my first home. Our initial phone call lasted a few hours (I may be exaggerating, but we talked for a long time). I had a ton of questions about purchasing my first home and the home buying process. What would happen if I found a home and put in an offer and then changed my mind, what were my options to help cover closing, what if the seller walked away a few days before closing, what was earnest money. Stephen answered all these questions and more. I told him what my comfortable mortgage was and he explained to me how to see what my target cost for a home was. I am not ashamed to say that I sometimes sent him text messages after hours with questions that came to me right before bedtime. Buying a home is a really huge deal and I wanted to feel more than comfortable with it. I have told Stephen this numerous times, I am forever grateful to him for his patience during my home buying process. Yes, even after closing on a home, I still have Stephen on speed dial.
- Buying a car credit and buying a home credit are two different things. I learned this when they pulled my credit score. So apparently the credit report that the lender pulls is so different from the credit report that everyone else pulls. I am not a lender, or a financial advisor, I can not explain to you the why’s of it. I will say that before you decide to purchase a home, and after you do your budget, talk to a trusted lender or financial advisor. My lender has definitely won me over to lenders. Find you a good lender that will help you purchase a home that you can afford comfortably and love at the same time. If your credit score is too low, don’t worry. Just ask your lender for ways to help boost your score. If you find a good lender, they will help you step by step in finding your new home.
- Realtors work for you. When I first started looking for a home, I didn’t love my realtor. I thought it was all in my head, until I talked to my ever wise baby Sister, and when I told her my concerns, she was like fire her now! My first realtor had an awesome personality, but I was a first time home buyer and I did have a lot of questions. I needed one on one attention and I needed coaching through the home buying process. My second realtor was ok, an improvement from the first realtor. I didn’t realize until after I closed that there was a lot she hadn’t told me about home buying from a realtors perspective. Lesson learned, do your research when looking for a realtor. Shop around, ask questions. Don’t settle for someone just because they come highly recommended. The realtor gets a really big check at closing, make sure they earn it.
- Things will break in the first few months, make sure you get a home owners warranty. Even with the home inspection and the home assessment, things happen. Shoot I broke something that worked perfectly fine before I closed. Things will happen. If the seller doesn’t agree to pay for the warranty, it is definitely worth it for you to cover that cost. Thankfully, my seller agreed to cover the cost of my warranty for the first year. Hopefully, I won’t have to use it (what I broke wasn’t covered by the warranty, go figure), but if I do need it it is there.
- Don’t blow all your money decorating in the first few weeks. A home is a place that you intend to live in for awhile. Take your time and decorate. As you begin to live in a home, it will begin to become the place that you are most comfortable at. I am grateful to say that I did not have to learn this lesson the hard way. Most of my apartment furniture fit perfectly in my new home. I have purchased one arm chair to go in my bedroom and that was it. Everything else was either given to me or carried over from my life as a renter. I did purchase a few items, all under $20 to add to the decor, but I don’t like a lot of stuff so I don’t see myself making any more huge purchases in the new future.
As of right now thats it. I have learned a lot more, I just think six is a good number to stop at. No need to cram all that knowledge into one post.
If you have any advice to share, please do so below. Thanks 🙂