Saturday, May 11, 2013

You know that time when you bought your first home....

I don't know about you,
but I always have these big dreams and ideas of how my life is going to go.
And then Life happens.
I either have to get mad and through a temper tantrum,
Or throw my arms up and go with the flow.
Usually I go with option A,
And it can get really ugly.
And then I starting house hunting.
If nothing else in life has shown me how little control I have,
House Hunting slapped me in the face with it.
See, the Mr and I were dead set that we just HAD to have this house....
It was in the perfect location,
It had the acreage we wanted,
It only needed about $10,000+ in work done to it,
and the neighbors were that crazy...
It only had minor property line issues...
We put an offer in on it,
They Rejected.
We put another offer in on it,
They chose another offer.
We were really disappointed.
That offer fell through.
So we put another offer in on it,
They chose another offer.
*Insert Sovereignty of God ALLLL over that!*
So we went and look at some other houses.
There was the major fixer-upper,
kind of in the ghetto,
but was SUPER cheap.
I'm so thankful we didn't end up putting an offer in on it!!!
We were going to,
But it went to Auction before we could!
*Insert Sovereignty of God ALLLL over that!*
There was the HUGE crazy cat lady house,
There had to have been 20 cats in that house.
I loved it.
The Mr. hated it.
There was the quiet little country house.
It would have been perfect for now,
but 5 years down the road when Little N's arrive....
Not so much.
Then it happened.
We had been looking at house's over by where my Bestie's Dad lives,
and she text me saying that there was this really nice house for sale.
So me, being the google queen that I am,
instantly googled it,
Like it.
Text'd my amazing realtor,
Set up an appointment to go see it.
And then I found it.
It had literally just been posted AS I was scouring the listings.
We went to see it,
and put in an offer that night.
They countered,
We countered,
They accepted.
Everything has fallen into place perfectly.
This time next week you'll see me driving down the road with a trailer of boxes to unpack.
*Insert Sovereignty of God ALLLL over that!*
Thinking about Buying a house?
Here are some tips I learned!

1. Get a Good realtor. 

This is HUGE!  They will make your break your experience.
We found our realtor when we wanted to look at a house last fall.  I called the listing agent to go look at it.  He was bluntly honest with me and told me that the banks would never sell me that house because it needed SO much work.
But, me being the stubborn person I am still wanted to go see it.
And He let me.
And He was right.
And he told me to call him when we got ready to really start looking for a house.
Seriously this man is a great realtor.
He knows his stuff!
He knows all of the ins and outs,
He's as honest as honest can be.
He answered any and all questions I had,
whenever I needed answers.
I can not stress it enough,
Make sure your realtor is legit.
Ask how many houses they sell a year.
If they only sell about 10 a year,
you might want to look for another Realtor!
If you're looking at a short sale house,
make sure they know what they are doing!
If you realize you don't like your realtor,
Get one that you like!
 And while we didn't have to worry about it,
When at all possible,
Don't have a dual agent!
You want someone who is going to be partial to you and only you!
If your realtor is selling the house you want to buy,
there is NO way they can have your best interests and the best interest of the seller at the same time.
It's just not a good idea,
You can't represent the best interests of both parties effectively!

2. Get your finances straight first.

This probably should have been number 1.
Have debt?
Get out of it.
Save up as much money as you can!
We were so blessed by being able to live rent free for our first year of marriage.
We got out of debt, lived frugally, and saved up our pennies.
We could have stayed were we were at for a while longer,
but we were beyond ready to have our own space in this world,
and interest rates are SO low right now that it seemed foolish to not look!
Buying a house costs several pennies up front.
You have your down payment.
You know you are going to want to paint.
We needed furniture!
You'll have inspections,
And there will be potential repairs you have to fix before the appraiser will sign off on it!
If you get a foreclosure like we did the bank isn't going to shell out a lot of money to fix it up!

3. How is your Credit?

Bad Credit? 
You might want to consider waiting and raising your credit score.
Bad Credit = higher interest rates.
High Interest Rates = More Pennies.

3. Know what your limit is & what you can really afford.

We had Zero debt.
We have NO kids.
We have GREAT credit.
We aren't rich by any stretch of the imagination.
We are just your typical middle class American.
And the bank approved us for almost DOUBLE what we were comfortable paying for!
Make yourself a budget up.
Know what you can afford for a mortgage.
Don't forget about Home Owners Insurance.
Don't forget about taxes.
Bigger house = more utilities!
You better have an emergency fund cushion for repairs!!!
Can you afford it on 1 income?
Just because the bank says you can doesn't mean you really can afford it!

4. Get a good banker.

This is right up there with getting a good realtor.
And you actually need to do this before you find a realtor.
We went with the bank that the Mr. has been with for years. 
We already had a relationship built.
I also used to work for that bank,
So I trusted them,
And I had already contacted or mortgage lender almost a year before we started looking to get tips on how to get all our ducks in a row before we started looking.
Our Lender has been just as instrumental as our realtor.
He was quick and very thorough in getting everything together for us.
He answered my e-mails, usually within 30 minutes of me hitting send.
He answered any questions I had,
and when I didn't understand he explained it again...and again until I understood them.
He has been phenomenal.
With the hours the Mr. and I work,
We were not in the position to drive to the bank and sign all the papers,
so we scanned and e-mailed everything back and forth.
With my job it's hard for me to be on the phone during work,
I have too much going on that makes it difficult to multi-task with a phone call.
He understood that,
and we e-mailed as much as possible, unless it was necessary for him to get me on the phone.
Then He e-mailed me and asked me to call when I get a free minute.
I never felt like a nuisance,
I never felt like I was bothering him,
I never felt like He didn't have time for us.
He made us feel like we were a priority to him,
and that He was delighted to help us.
On the other hand.....
When we were trying to get a different kind of loan, with a different lender, for the fixer-upper I mentioned,
I did not have a good experience.
The lender was  extremely short and border line rude with both the Mr. & I.
I was very quick in getting our application and any paperwork to him,
Time was of the essence.
And he was VERY slow in processing it.
I would leave a voicemail,
He wouldn't return my call.
I would e-mail,
He wouldn't respond.
It was Terrible.
We were not a priority to him.
He made us feel like a nuisance.
He made it known he didn't have time for us.
Maybe He was stressed out,
Maybe He was having a bad week.
He literally asked me,
"can you afford this house"?
(The house was 15% of what we had already been approved for, and 30% of the house that we are buying, just to show you how belittling he was to us.)
I don't know what his deal was.
But it was NOT ok.
We didn't end up pursuing the house that we needed the loan for,
But the whole process was SO frustrating!
It made me super thankful to go back to dealing with our Mortgage Lender!

5. Don't Settle

If you don't really like the house.
Don't you DARE settle.
This isn't buying a shirt that's on sale that you are just whatever about.
This is a HOUSE.
This is a HUGE investment.
You will probably be paying for this house for the next 30 years.
There are more houses.
This one isn't the last one.
Keep Looking.

6. Have Vision

While you shouldn't settle,
You need to have vision.
You need to see what the house will look like with YOUR touches.
Especially if it is currently being lived it!
Especially if you are buying a fixer-upper!
If you don't have vision,
Take someone with you who does!
The next few weeks are going to be slightly crazy in the N household!  On top of working 50+ hours a week, we are now packing, moving, unpacking & settling a house.
For the first time in my life I am excited about decorating a house!
Hopefully I'll be able to get some pictures up as we progress!


  1. Would love to see the inside... So very happy for both of you. Maybe some day we will visit :)

    1. I will FB Msg you a link to see the inside :) They aren't great since they were done on my phone, but you'll get the idea!

    2. And you are welcome to visit any time!!! We'd love to have you!

  2. Congratulations Hillary!!! I'm just now realizing that I may not have replied to your e-mail response haha, I'll get to that this week! So happy for y'all!!


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