Common Misconceptions of First Time Home Buyers

Daunting, overwhelming and terrifying. Exciting, thrilling and blood-tingling! That’s exactly what home buying can feel like for a first time home buyer. It can be a roller coaster of emotions throughout the process of purchasing or even thinking to purchase. I’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt to live and tell the tale. I’ve also help a LOT of first time home buyers in this process as well and I have heard all the questions and misconceptions of home buying. One thing I always try to emphasize to my buyers is that no questions is stupid. Not one!

As always, I want to be a resource for my sweet first time home buyers, but I also think it’s important for anyone thinking about buying to know what is even possible!  I’ve pulled together common misconceptions that first time home buyers to help you or even a close friend or family member to see what’s possible with first time buyers.

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Common Misconceptions for First Time Home Buyers

I can’t afford to buy a house!

You don’t know that yet! This is why it’s great to meet with a mortgage loan officer or your local bank to explore ALL options. You may actually be ready or they can help create a timeline and program to get you on track whether it’s increasing cash flow/assets or building credit.

I’ll save more money if I rent. 

Want to hear something W I L D? ! A lot of first time homebuyers end up having mortgages that are LESS than what their rent was costing them. Crazy! While you’re thinking you save on repairs and upkeep on the home, you’re still toward someone else home and not you own. Why not pay toward your own dream? I need to have a 20% in cash for a downpayment! 

No one is asking you to liquidate all your cash monayyy! There are so many great loan programs like FHA and USDA loans that require very little (like 3.5% down) or zero down if you’re in a rural area. FHA loans are fantastic for first time home buyers and great lenders can also find grants to help assist in closing costs.

If you’re in the military or a veteran, you can also look into VA loans where they will take 0 down. There are programs for E V E R Y O N E!

I need to have perfect credit! 

Your credit needs to be good, yes. But it doesn’t have to be PERFECT! While credit scores can effect your interest rate, there are many ways that lenders can find the right loan program or ways to build up your credit quickly to prepare you to purchase YOUR own home.

I need to have a job for 2 years before I can buy a home! 

Not going to lie, I always thought this as well. While this does pertain for self-employed people to show a complete history, salaried people have a different set of rules. Sometimes all you need is a letter from your workplace with your salary and some pay stubs.

I can’t afford repairs. 

Ever heard of a home warranty? I try to always get my buyers a home warranty that covers repairs on AC units and other appliances in their home. While home warranties don’t cover everything, they do help pay toward some larger expenses. All you have to do with a home warranty with pay an upfront fee that could range from $60-75 per visit from contractor sent to repair items. These home warranties can basically pay for themselves over time.

I don’t bring in enough money. 

You don’t have to be raking in the dough to buy a home, you just need to be consistently making money! You Realtor and lender will help guide you on budgeting and staying within your limits on what you can afford, but never assume what you cannot do.

I need to find the home before I get approved for a loan. 

WRONG!!! I typically won’t even show a client a home until they’re approved for their loan. Here’s why: I hate to take a client into a home, they fall in love and then come to find out… they can’t get approved for a loan to purchase the property. That’s a bummer and then the buyer is stuck on that one home and it really sours the rest of the house hunting experience. Getting with a Realtor first is a great game plan and we can then guide you to the right lender for what you’re needing. After you get all your ducks in a row with the lender, it is then time to find the home!

I need to purchase a price at the high end of what I am approved for.

Not quite. You need to purchase a property that keeps you living within your means! This is why it’s important to start the home buying process with a budget in mind – you need to know what you can afford in a mortgage and utility payments. Just because you’re told you’re approved for a $400,000 loan, it doesn’t mean you have to go near there. No one wants to be house poor.


Buying a home has enough what ifs, so don’t let all of these misconceptions scare you away from pushing toward your dream of home ownership. As always, a handy perfect Realtor like me is a great FIRST STEP in the home buying process. I help guide you on all of the next steps and how we make YOU a HOME OWNER!

Progress Is…. Progress!

I’m going to say the understatement of the year and it’s that my family has been just a littttttle busy this fall! From having the most beautiful Yamboree Queen (my little sister) at our hometown festival and then running all over for events with our Hereford Association to Fighting Texas Aggie football games, my weekends that are typically my open time to work on my home have been BOOKED! 

Since the last time you had an opportunity to look at my little Dollhouse, it was just vacant and ready for DEMO!! Now we’ve completely gutted the place, changed my ideas here and there and have gotten moving with lots of different things! It was so fun to tear down all the fabric wallpaper and old walls to find all of the wood planks hidden behind. I know a TON of people would leave those wood planks raw and show them to the world but they’re just too wide for my taste and I promise the end result with be worth it! Ya girl over here needs her home to have some insulation and that has to go behind those planks.

So what have we done since the gut job? Here’s a little lowdown:

Foundation: When I bought this cutie of a home I knew that it wasn’t the most level space so getting my pier and beam foundation leveled was priority numero uno before I had any big work done. Luckily, this was an easy fix and Benchmark Foundation came in while I was booked during Yamboree to get it DONE! 

Carpentry: A little carpentry work has made its way in. After the wall between the kitchen and dining was destroyed we waited for the carpenters to come in to install a beam between those rooms and frame up my master closet and the refrigerator area. It was my lucky day when they came because I didn’t need a beam so now it feels like one OPEN space!! The carpenters still came in, though, to frame up room in my closet, close in one of my FIVE exterior doors that was in my master bedroom and more.

Plumbing: Plumbers came in and replaced cast iron and have moved my lines for my refrigerator  (was in where the original kitchen wall was and is now on a separate wall) and washer/dryer combo (was in the kitchen and is now in my master closet). They’ve also been busy, busy taking out all o the cast iron plumbing and replacing it throughout my kitchen and bathroom area.

Electricity: My electrician’s crew is in the works on putting some updates throughout my home – I am very lucky and a majority of the electrical work was updated before I moved in which is not typical for most 1930s homes… that’s what I thought. They actually had to come in and replace just about everything due to it not being correct with different sized wires. People – this is why you do it right from the beginning and hire the professionals! Since it is an older home, I’m also moving around some light switches (they’re in the oddest places) and plugs throughout the home. Most of the plugs are in my baseboards and we are replacing all of those, so the plugs are being pushed up a little and some will even have the USB capability.

Cabinetry: With what seems like it’s been an eternity, we have FINALIZED my cabinetry. I mean I knew I was picky, but WOW! Since I’m working with such a small space, I wanted to ensure I was utilizing every space I could with the cabinetry I am putting in my kitchen. After quite a bit of back and forth we are done and it will be built in the next 2-3 weeks. I’ve realized that what I thought was necessary in cabinetry sometimes isn’t, but I’m still getting room for my wine fridge and trash compartment because those are the little things that make me happy!

Insulation: Once the electrical was complete, insulation was inserted between the wooden boards and brick on all the the exterior walls and throughout my attic area. This will ensure I am warm in the winter and cool in the summers and is SO WORTH IT to get done while I’m down with the bare bones of the house.

Drywall: After insulation was put in, my drywall came in and now I have walls!! It was such an odd experience to walk in the house from being used to the wooden walls to having actual walls and seeing my vision of the home come to life. Big fan!!

A lot has already been completed, but here’s whats next on my list for December: 

  • Tape, bed and texture: I’ll have some guys come in to tape, bed and texture the walls in the home. Once this is complete, it will be paint time!
  • Base boards: The carpenter will add in my new baseboard (trying to keep the original sizes).
  • Paint: Planning to paint the interior of the home with a light gray on the walls and white on all of my trim and the exterior of the home white.
  • Cabinetry: Installation of cabinetry for my kitchen, pantry and bathroom will be put into place. They will then be painted a super fun and funky green color. I promise it’s going to look GREAT!
  • Refinishing hardwoods: My original hardwoods are BEAUTIFUL and I could not be more excited to have them in my home. Unfortunately, they’re all a semi-different color in each room so we plan to refinish those as well to make it uniform. I mean – might as well while we’re working on it!

Hope you’re enjoying following along! A lot of work has been done but there’s still more to come!

An Insider’s Look at Being A First Time Home Buyer

Being a first time home buyer is stressful, overwhelming, exciting, emotional and about a million other things bundled together! It can be a simple process or difficult depending on what type of shopper you are, REALTOR you have and lender you’re working with. Being a REALTOR, I’ve been through this process many a times but it’s a little different when looking for your own home.

I’ve never minded picky buyers that wanted to see a little bit of everything to help them make up their minds because… hey, ya never know! With me and my thought process though, I was all over the place. It’s tough because I help people all the time and I go from luxury home to smaller townhouses to everything in between. I mean I went from wanting one specific location to wanting older homes to think well the market is so hot and things are moving so quickly that maybe I should just build a home. Talk about hot mess express! With my Dad in tow, I had us all over town looking at polar opposite homes not knowing quite what I was feeling and vibing yet. I even told my dad that I would have fired myself as a client as a REALTOR. I was wearing myself OUT!

One day when I was fed up with my own crazy process, I decided to make a drive down the neighborhood I grew up in and low and behold there was a sign in front of the CUTEST 1930s Dollhouse. I mean I was in love! I got in the house before the house hit the market, made an offer and got it accepted! This home was about as far from everything I thought I wanted but it just felt right! My Dad kept telling me that when I walk in a home it’ll just hit me and I’ll know it’s the one and it did! It makes me think of the show Say Yes to the Dress and how the bride has that good feeling when she finds the ONE! Now I get it when I tell my clients the same thing!

The process after finding the home was pretty straight forward… get all paperwork to my lender, choose an insurance agent, schedule my inspection and start working with the title company. With a clear to close in 21 days thanks to my amazing lender Jordan Johnson with GUILD Mortgage, we were moving and grooving! I could have gone with a local bank or offered different types of loans but I really wanted to go through the whole mortgage process with the lender since I always refer them to my clients. It was easy breezy but only because I did my homework like your REALTOR typically tells you to – have all tax documents, bank statements and sign/review items as SOON as the lender sent it because time is of the essence. I was also patient – I waited two year to have two tax returns because I’m self-employed and really pulled numbers together to see what type of monthly payment made the most sense for me. I’m self-employed and commission-based so it’s difficult to sit down and think of what I make each month when it ebbs and flows. Really makes ya think!

The week of closing was exciting and a little stressful because you’ve got to remember to get those utilities switched over – some can’t be switched over like water and sewer until you close. Final walkthroughs ensue as you make sure the home wasn’t left in shambles and you’re ready to take it over and then I mean it’s time to sign your name away to 30 years on a mortgage! The to-do lists start piling and honestly I don’t think they really stop after – but HEY that’s okay!

Closing day a fun one, though! Now I’ve gone to quite a few closings with clients, but I legit think I lost my head that day – literally a REALTOR’s worst nightmare. I may or may not have LEFT, yes I said left my wallet in my workout bag and showed up to my closing without my driver’s license. Here I am the REALTOR that always reminds her clients to bring their cashier’s check and driver’s license and I don’t even have mine! Odd enough, though, I had my passport in my work bag (because I guess I’m just ready to jet off just in case?) and that thankfully works as an ID. Do as I say, not as I do sometimes, people!

Im thankful, though, to have the sweetest group of ladies at Central Title Company in Longview that made closing day so special and fun and acted like it was their own closing day! They all gave me big hugs, champagne and took all the stress away!

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My amazing Central Title Ladies – Shannon, Lindsay and Christina! 

 

My Dad and mortgage lender were there in tow to make sure everything went smoothly (sweet momma was there in spirit as she was at work). I cut a big ole hefty check and then I was CLOSED on my first home!

I have to admit, it’s kind of fun and empowering buying a home on your own. Not that it officially made me feel like an adult but it’s something I have on my own and in MY name! There’s a lot of work that goes toward being a home owner – saving money, building credit and on and on – and it makes you feel excited and proud to make this new property your home! 

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In front of my little 1930s Dollhouse on Closing Day! 

I’m so appreciative of EVERYONE that helped me become a home owner from my super supportive parents to my encouraging friends that built me up when I was ready to give up to my sweet sisters that are already decorating their rooms in their heads. I won’t be moving in immediately because this 1930s Dollhouse is getting a facelift, but get ready because you can follow along with the whole process on my Instagram and some upcoming blog posts!

Here’s what I learned from being a First Time Home Buyer:

  • Patience, young grasshopper. Don’t rush it and you’ll know when it’s the right house. Looks at all areas and do drive-bys to ensure you like the location before dragging your REALTOR out there, like seriously just check it out.
  • Pull yourself together! Seriously, get it together! Check that credit score, shop for lenders and insurance agents and know your budget and what you want that monthly payment to be close to. You may need to wait another year to buy and that’s okay!
  • Listen carefully. Everyone is going to share their two cents with you and that’s family, friends, colleagues, your teller at the bank and everyone in between. Remember that they ALL want what’s best for you and are on your team – remember that! BUT, this is YOUR home so do what is going to bring you happiness at the end of the day because you’re coming home to this and they may visit once or twice.
  • Celebrate the little things. Did your offer get accepted? Inspection went well? Just feeling excited that you found a home?! Celebrate that! Go out or cheers to yourself at home. This is a big step and you should be SO PROUD of that so acknowledge this accomplishment and moment in your life! BE EXCITED and don’t downgrade such a big thing!

Thanks for listening in and I truly hope this helps! I enjoyed the process and know that it all led me to my cute little dollhouse! There’s a process and gut feeling and you have to trust it!

Preparing Your Home During The Stormy Season

April showers were supposed to bring May flowers, right? But all we feel like we’re getting are scary tornado watch calls from Mark Scirto from our local news station.

WINDOWLESS INTERIOR

In the grand scheme of things, you truly need to worry about finding a small, windowless interior room in the home. Duh! But we also need to think about how you can protect your home during this stormy weather from hail damage and more. Here are a couple of things you can do to protect and prep your home.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO

Trim those trees. Look at the limbs close to your roof, where you park your vehicle or near any lines. While I always recommend hiring a professional, if it looks like a smaller job these tree trimmers can help lighten the load and stress. This can help prevent much larger issues after storms.

Cover or move your outdoor items. Do an inventory of your outdoor items like patio furniture, planters, firewood, grills, etc. Either cover those items or bring  them inside to a garage or shop area. You can use patio furniture covers, grill covers and more to protect your outdoor favorites. Securing them to the ground is also very helpful.

Check those gutters and downspouts. Ensure that they’re not logged with leaves or full of miscellaneous items by using gutter cleaners. Clear them out to prepare for proper flow of water during the storms.

Follow local news. Be informed. Pay attention to the weather either on your local weather radars, sign up for texts, calls or email alerts from your local weather station to be in the know on upcoming weather.

Inspect your roof. Hail storms and high winds are not your roof’s best friend. Keep an eye on the condition of your roof and if you see any significant damage, be sure to get in touch with your insurance adjustor to see what they can help cover repair costs.

Do you have an emergency kit? Grab the basics: first aid kit (bandaids, ointments, etc.), food (water and non-perishable snacks – put in those granola bars), flashlight with extra batteries, radio and fully charged phones or portable chargers. Have those ready just in case. 

Lastly…

FIND THAT SAFE ROOM! Be prepared and have a cleared and clean windowless, interior room or area identified for storms.  Stay safe!

Stay safe out there, my friends.