I never realized how unprepared I was going to be when we started looking for our first home. (I also never knew I would be on such a time crunch when it happened, but here we are.) I always thought my background in leasing homes with the family business and selling manufactured homes would give me enough to go off on when starting the house hunting process, but boy was I wrong. Being a first time home buyer is not an easy task; there is so much that I didn’t know when we started this process.
I knew nothing about loans, down payments, or the fees that come with buying a house. It is such a more in depth process to buy a real house over buying a manufactured home/trailer. I will forever say this is my first house even though I bought a trailer years ago. It wasn’t the same- it never felt like it was my house. Now, let me tell you what I’ve learned these past few weeks.
1. Buying a home is a slow process.
I never realized just how slow of a process it is. Don’t expect to be able to buy a house in a month or two unless you have a buttload of money laying around. It has taken us approximately two months to even really start getting ready to get a pre-approval for a home loan. It has been a lot of work and we still have a long way to go before we get our pre-approval.
Remember that after getting the pre-approval then you have to find the perfect house and closing after that takes another 32-45 days. It is such a slow process and not fun when you are on a time crunch.
2. Get your financials in order.
Before you even get started get your financials in order. This means getting your down payment and first months mortgage saved up. You will also want to look at your debt to income ratio because you might need to get rid of some debt in order to get approved for a loan. We got stuck in that boat and had to pay off debt before we could move forward. That also means that we have to save up half of our down payment all over again. Try to think ahead if you can; it will really help in the long run.
3. Don’t take no for an answer.
Everyone told me to just go with what our real estate agent and broker were telling us, but we quickly learned that isn’t always the case. We ended up finding a second agent and a second broker and were able to get the help that we needed. Our first broker wouldn’t attempt to run my credit so that I could be on the mortgage, but the second was more than willing and it actually helped us to get a better loan option! Our second real estate agent was also better suited for us because she is highly responsive and is willing to answer all of our crazy first time home buyer questions that pop into our heads! It is very important to find the right broker and real estate agent for you and your family. Shop around if you have to before picking the perfect ones for you. Don’t be afraid to move on to another company or agent if you aren’t getting the service that you need from your first choice.
4. Go through your possessions.
This isn’t mandatory, but you don’t really want to move crap you don’t use so while you wait for this slow process to work it’s magic go through all your stuff and start to clear out everything that you don’t use or won’t use at your new home. We started doing this by going through everything in the attic. It has been great to clear out things that we haven’t used in years and don’t plan to use in the future.
What tips do you have for new home buyers?
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