Grab your cup of *insert preferred beverage here* Lets get back on this grind.
I started writing this post over 3 weeks ago and life literally flew by and I wasn’t able to get it up for you guys – I’m so sorry. I have two more posts coming soon after this too! But now that I’m sitting on my deck taking in our undone backyard, there is nothing that should stop me from getting this post up. No our place isn’t ready, but we’re settled enough to finally be able to call this place home ❤ and we’re more than ready to get back to a normal routine, of cooking dinner and catching up on all our favorite shows.
Buying our first home together was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. With boxes covering our entire apartment and then our house, it felt extremely overwhelming. I sit here trying to gather all the sweet memories we’ve created in our apartment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m super excited to grow into our knew home and start a new phase in our lives, but I’m an emotional/get-attached-to-everything type of person… so you know I was crying on my last day there & happy tears on our first night in our new bed. Since I announced the big move on Instagram, I was surprised to hear how many of you had terrible home-buying experiences that you gave up or the number of those that didn’t even want to shop around because the process was so daunting. We definitely hit some obstacles along the way as well… As a first-time-home-buyer we walked into the process so spontaneously and it probably wasn’t the smartest idea – so here are a few pieces of advice for those in the process or one-day-hoping to be…
1. Do your research.
A. Know your housing market – are homes selling for over or under asking price? In our case it was well over! And after putting down our first offer, we were shocked. Offering $20K over asking – we thought we were doing well but the property sold for $65K over asking. This gave us a reality check – are we really ready to buy a house? Fast forward 6 months and we were in a bidding war – we got lucky and settled on $40K over asking.
B. Seriously look at your finances – if you have a pre-approval for $600K – it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should necessarily go buy a house for that price. Work backwards – figure out what your ideal monthly payment would be and then look at homes in that price range. If you’re married look at your combined income vs. expenses look like, with room for contingencies. Also, take a look at all your mortgage options and first time home-buyer credits. If you had a hiccup along the way with your credit score, talk to a mortgage officer – they can guide you and break down numbers for you so you know exactly what you’re monthly payment will be with a conventional vs. FHA mortgage.
C. Have trusted resources – are your parents’ home-owners? They were my biggest resource – my dad was able to give us a solid idea of what kinds of things we’d have to do once we bought the house. I had no clue there was a difference between home-owners insurance and a home warranty… how often do ducts need to be cleaned, but really though, what are ducts? We relied on our trusted family to give us referrals to their landscapers, contractors, and other services. We’re so grateful! However if you don’t have access to these resources – become friendly with your neighbors quickly they may be able to give you list of their contacts, (i.e.- landscapers that visit the neighborhood biweekly) Home Advisor was our other handy tool for all questions left unanswered!
D. Buying a house is EXPENSIVE. Know what kind of funds you’ll be left with at the end of the move and what kind of costs you’re looking at for either renovations, additions, or in-home décor. We were extremely lucky and only had minor updates and some larger purchases – PC Richard was extremely helpful and the most budget friendly! While the mortgage process was having its ups and downs – I spent my time online shopping comparing washer/dryer models so I knew exactly what I wanted lol #adulting Don’t’ worry a separate post on a home tour will follow soon – I’m so excited to share that with you!
2. Before you move…
Reality honestly didn’t hit us until the night before closing. I packed a couple of seasonal boxes in the very beginning of being in escrow and then was so overwhelmed with all my clutter that I stopped. Flash forward a week after closing day and I’m still not packed – because I just didn’t know where to start.. Renovations are about to be over and its crunch time. My honest desire was to leave the apartment and few personal belongings and start brand new but we had invested 4 years of our lives in making our apartment our home, how could I part with these things? This honestly was the hardest part for me. One of the biggest recommendations given to me was the Marie Kondo book. De-clutter your life before you get into the place and leave the junk behind. We made 2 piles of our stuff initially – take/discard. Once our “take” boxes arrived at our new home, we went back to the apartment and went through the discard pile – either gave it away or threw it away.
3. Moving/moved in.
a. We had a months’ time to move out of our apartment, luckily that was plenty of time to get everything out of the old place and into the
new. We decided against hiring movers, because the new place was only a quick 10 minute ride away. And, instead of rushing the move – it was important for me to declutter and rid of the all stuff.
b. Don’t feel pressured to furnish your place because X,Y, and Z were settled in a few weeks. We really wanted to love our place and not get bored 6 months in. I felt the anxiety of everyone wanting to come over and check out our new place, which came from all the right places of genuine love and excitement but to me it felt like I was displaying something incomplete… and realized later that – that’s okay.
c. This checklist really helped me get organized and make my first few trips to the grocery store and put together some quick home-made meals. We were extremely sick of eating takeout.
I hope this helped some of you organize your thoughts and prepare for this wonderful yet HUGE decision in your life. Have any other specific questions – let me know in the comments below. I can’t wait to share the decor process with you guys.
Stay Blessed & Happy Lovies.