What I wish I would have known before I bought my first home
Uh oh! Here it comes: that dreaded feeling of buyer’s remorse—that coulda, shoulda, woulda moment when you realize if you woulda done your homework like you shoulda, you coulda been outta this mess, right?!
And because it’s best to learn from others’ mistakes rather than your own, here’s what I wish someone would have told me before I purchased my first home.
I wish I would have known where to begin
When you don’t know where to start, buying your first home can be overwhelming. Do you meet with a Realtor®, look at homes online or set up an appointment with a mortgage lender first?
“Meeting with your mortgage lender first gives you a clear picture of what you qualify for so that you’re not shopping for homes outside your budget,” says Lisa Green, vice president of loan origination at Allen Tate Mortgage.
Once you sit down with your lender, you have the opportunity to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a loan. “The pre-approval process is much more in-depth than getting pre-qualified, and positions you to close faster and potentially win a bidding war in a tight inventory market,” says Green.
I wish I would have understood the cost of purchasing a fixer-upper
Darn those exceptionally cute, shiplap-loving husband and wife duo and their quest to make fixing up a house look like something a mere mortal can do. I’m here to tell you that despite what you’ve seen on “Fixer Upper,” purchasing a true fixer-upper is not that easy.
There’s a huge difference between a house with less than optimal curb appeal and a house that has foundation, structural, roofing or gasp!, even mold issues.
“Hire a home inspector first. If the inspector indicates there is a structural issue, hire a structural engineer to get a clear picture of what’s truly going on under the roof,” says Green. Then you can accurately assess if the repairs fall within your budget.
I wish I would have chosen a different Realtor
With all the information available to us via the internet, you’re probably wondering why you even need a Realtor, let alone a good one.
But before you enter into one of the largest purchases of your life without the help of an expert, take my advice and don’t go it alone.
You don’t just need any Realtor; you need an expert who can help you navigate through the home buying process with ease. It’s a good idea to interview several candidates before making your decision.
I wish I wouldn’t have overspent
Yes, the charming bungalow with top-of-the-line everything might truly speak to you, but with a list price way over your budget, you’d better pretend like you don’t hear it calling your name.
“When deciding on your budget, keep your end goal in mind. Most first-time home buyers typically stay in a home less than five years. So don’t max out your budget by picking a house with high-end fixtures, appliances and finishes if you’re not planning to stay too long,” says Phyllis Brookshire, president of Allen Tate Realtors. “Pick good quality solutions that are not trendy so when you are ready to sell, your home will appeal to a large range of buyers. In other words, in the good, better, best scenario, pick better, not best.”
Learn from my missteps to prevent those coulda, shoulda, woulda feelings from creeping in after you buy.