My husband and I have spent about 2 years in our current home. We are renters, renting a beautiful townhouse in a great location… but about 6 months ago we decided that when our lease was up on June 30th we would need a home to call our own. What sparked this decision? Well her name is Halle, the stray pup that won our hearts. Halle is a beautiful (giant, energetic) black lab puppy and she needs to run, so she needs a real yard. So acquiring a dog, coupled with some lousy landlords and my husband’s need to be not attached to another house and we were off on our search for a single family home.
As soon as we uttered the words out loud “We are looking to buy a house” our friends and family can out of the woodwork with good and not-so-good advice. As total novices we were very realistic about our lack of knowledge, so we tried to take in as much as we could from anyone who seemed to have an ounce of sense. Of course, when you do anything for the first time you are bound to make some mistakes. So after looking at 75+ houses, here are a couple of the pieces of advice were really good, and, for fun, I gave us a grade on how we did.
1. “Be patient, wait for your house.” Grade: B
We tried really hard on this one, but with our lease expiring June 30th and too many animals to fit into a temporary apartment, we did a little bit of panicking. In total, so far, we have put offers on four homes. I stand by those decisions, but there were two or three more houses that we ALMOST put offers on that I now look back and say “OMG what were we thinking!?”
2. “Don’t get emotionally attached to any house.” Grade: C
How are you supposed to like a house enough to offer to buy it, and yet not be too attached? If you are willing to spend several hundred thousand dollars on something you aren’t attached to… well you just aren’t like me. Only once did we get so attached to home and that not getting it was absolutely heart breaking. It was a tough, necessary lesson.
3. “If you want to buy around here you have to raise your budget” Grade: B
I was ready to spend more the whole time. Luckily, my frugal husband couldn’t stomach the idea of spending the amount of money I had in mind. We started with a budget in mind and yes, to stay in our area and get what we wanted we have had to go up a bit. But we didn’t concede until we had exhausted all possibilities in our budget. I’m pretty proud of us on this one.
4. “Don’t pay attention to cosmetic things.” Grade: A
My dear husband and I have stuck with the mantra “you can change anything except lot size and location.” That has helped us overlook some very weird things, including a mural of an old man watching some kids skinny dipping in a bathroom, a refrigerator that was set into a wall… about 10 inches above the floor… and a house with a room for each Rainbow Bright character.
Remember: you can change ALMOST anything about a house.
So, overall we’ve done okay but we are still working at the home buying process, so I will keep you posted.
Anyone have any great closing advice?