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.