Adulting 101: 9 tips for buying your first house.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Adam and I recently bought out first house together! So recent that we close this week! It's so exciting because it's our first home. We lived together for about two years and we've shared an apartment, a duplex, but never a home.

This will be the first house we really decorate together. The first house we fix up together. The house we bring our future children home too. In this house we will celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations and all the day-to-day events. We will do life together in this house.

I'm so excited. 

House hunting was cool, but boy oh boy, it was hard, frustrating and time consuming.

This whole adulting thing is not always what it's cracked up to be. There is so much stuff people don't tell you.  Buy a house, they said. It'll be fun, they said. No-one told us about hidden fees, pre-qual letters or back-up offers. No-one told me I would actually come to hate house hunting before we found the one.

9 Tips for Buying a House:
  1. Get your financials in order. This is huge people. (a) Start saving. (b) Run a credit check. See what's going on and correct anything that might be going on. You never know really whats on your credit until you pull it. (c) get your money in your bank account. 
  2. Talk to your spouse or yourself about what you want. Make a checklist. Talk about what you really want. It's time to get honest with yourself. Set a budget. It's super easy when you're looking to say, oh it's just a little more expensive. No. Set a budget and stick to it. 
  3. Be realistic. When we started looking I thought we were going to buy this big ole house in the best neighborhood in Denver, walking distance to the best schools, next to our church and down the street from Trader Joes. Well, it turns out only Peyton Manning and Vonn Miller can afford those types of houses. Be realistic with your goals. This goes along with #2 in setting your budget. 
  4. Pick a realtor who makes you feel comfortable. We picked a realtor based on some familial and friendly connections and boy am I glad we did. Our first meeting was over cocktails and appetizers. She made us feel relaxed, excited and laid it all out on the table. A big part of this relationship is honesty. There were times we hated a house and we were comfortable to tell her that. She walked us through disappointment, disgust and a multitude of other feelings during this process. She also had our best interest at heart. She helped us with a back up offer that actually secured us getting our dream house.
  5. Find a great lender. The lending process is the biggest part of this process. (a) Shop around. Some lenders can offer you certain rates and benefits that are different from others. Once you find a lender, (b) talk money. (d) ask about all the fees that go into a loan. origination fees, inspection fees, taxes, appraisal fees. There's more than just the loan amount, make sure you know the entire picture (e) get pre-qualified. this way you know exactly what you can and cannot afford. 
  6. Be open minded. I had my mind set on exactly what I thought I wanted. I wanted a 5 mile by 5 mile radius and I HAD to have certain things. Welp, the house I fell in love with was outside that radius, totally different than I pictured and everything I never knew I wanted. Be open minded. Look at houses. Explore.
  7. Always be ready. We had this timeline set out. December 1 we will start looking. Well due to Thanksgiving we met with our realtor right before and she set us up with an MLS portal. Two days later we found a dream home, we looked at and the next day we put an offer in. Sometimes the perfect house comes along at the perfect time and you have to be ready. Wanna know the irony? Our dream house offer fell through. Our great realtor suggested a back up offer which we did. A month later, our backup offer was accepted and in a matter of 3 seconds we were under contract. Be ready.
  8. Do all the inspections. Luckily for us we had friends purchase a house a few months before us and they gave us great suggestions. Do all the inspections. (a) whole house inspection (b) sewer inspection and if you live in Colorado (c) radon. I've even heard people do (d) pest inspections. Spend the money upfront. 
  9. Close the deal. Pay the money, read the documents, sign the documents and take your picture with the sale sign. Now go and enjoy your house! 

Have you bought a house? What tips do you have? 
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  1. Such great tips for first time home buyers! Having your financials in order is one of the biggest things that people don't always remember! And yes to being realistic about what you can afford and what you absolutely must have in your house! There's nothing worse than being house poor!

  2. You nailed it! We've bought twice now.. and it was a pain both times.. but worth it in the end!! I think being open-minded is #1... there are so many tweaks and updates you can do to a house to make it yours... it's hard though sometimes to see past bad paint, or wallpaper, etc... that was the hardest part for me!

  3. Great information Kristen! Have fun in your new HOME! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. This blog would have been a Godsend for us 25 years ago!! We learned the HARD way with our 1st home - every inch of that "roller coaster ride" had a horror story tied to it! An ethical realtor (one you can trust and who REALLY works for you) is definitely as important as the financials. Nicely done Kristen - Congrats!!

  5. Congrats on buying your house! This came at a great time - my boyfriend and I literally viewed a flat we like today ;) I agree on being open-minded, it's a few stops further than I intended but it turns out, I love it.


  6. Such a great round up of information! I'll be entering the house-hunting world soon and found this really helpful! Thanks for sharing!
    xo Amanda -

  7. I'm not in the market to buying a house right now. Appreciate you sharing your knowledge.

  8. Congratulations! That's definitely exciting! I've been considering buying a house and it makes me so nervous since I'm single and it would be all decisions up to me. Fortunately, my parents moved a ton when we were kids so they are experts when it comes to buying a home. I love your tips and definitely saving them!

    Penn&Quill || Robin

  9. Bookmarking this for when our condo lease is soon to be up. Great tips! ๐Ÿ˜Š

  10. These are great tips. My boyfriend and I are hoping to buy something (something small and very expensive since we live in LA) in the next year. We have been working on #1 A LOT!

  11. How exciting for you!
    We were going to buy a house this year but decided to go into one final apartment before getting married and finding a house. We have to be out of our apartment by April 8th so there wouldn't have been enough time anyway but I am still a little bummed about it.
    I can't wait to hear more about your new place.

    xoxo, Jenny

  12. These are some really great tips. We're in the process of building our first home. I had no idea that building our first home would be a possibility. I mean, could we even afford that!? It turned out to be much more affordable than we thought, we're getting the house we want, and we stopped having to go through the stress of viewing houses.

    Isn't it crazy how fun it is to go house shopping?... until it isn't? lol Congrats on finding yours - especially so quickly! Our timeline was similar. We planned to get serious about looking at the end of 2015 when the money became available for a down payment. But just for fun... we met up with our realtor in August (a family friend... and I totally agree on choice of realtors!). We got hooked up with MLS, started looking around to see what was available and it was quickly frustrating. I knew that every house I loved would be long gone by the time we were ready.

    We're only weeks away from our house being finished. I'm so excited to be in there already!

  13. These are great tips! I'll keep these in mind when we start looking at houses soon!

  14. Congrats on your first home! When we bought our house it was so stressful. We were in the middle of wedding planning and I felt like they wanted an arm and a leg in the process. I totally agree on managing your expectations. Your first home is usually not your last!

  15. And check everything!!!! We didn't realize til after moving in that we never would use our front door.

  16. These are awesome tips! All really important for when you're buying a home for the first time.

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  22. I appreciate your tips for buying a home. My wife and I want to buy a home, so this is great for us to learn. I really want to find a realtor who will be honest with us, like you said.

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I love hearing from all of you and greatly appreciate all your feedback and comments! xx Kristen

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