The before you start to start looking at houses – The Home-Buying Process Pt 1.
So you want to start the home-buying process! Yay. This is huge. Most likely one of the largest purchases you’ll every make, so just a bit of pressure… But I’m here to help! We are in the process (very. slow. process) of buying a house. We have been looking since August and have put in two offers.
The first offer, the sellers just said no. Flat out no. No counter off or anything. Our realtor said she had never seen that. Fine. We didn’t want your house any ways. The second was a short sale. The seller accepted and the approval was waiting on third party (aka the bank). In the end, the bank didn’t feel that they were making enough money off the sale so they declined our offer and relisted the house for the new appraisal value. Let me just say one thing- THAT DAMN HOUSE IS STILL FOR SALE.
And back to the drawing board we went.
I am honestly feeling a little burnt out. In the midst of all of that we had to move out of our apartment quickly as the owner sold it and the buyers were going to occupy it, so when our lease came to an end- we had to be out. Fun. Yes, just what we wanted to do. Move. Again. To another temporary situation.
As any of the other homeowners out there know- house hunting/home-buying is not only a financially stressful time but also, just a stressful time in general. We are living in an apartment with a six month lease with half of our stuff, while the other half lives in storage. I am living out of a suitcase. It’s deja vu to a year ago when the boys and I were at my mom’s for two months, while dad was down here scoping out the area.
Too be honest, buying- well excuse me, searching for a house to call our own has put more stress on our relationship than having kids did/does.
Don’t be like Katie. Don’t get burned out before you get started.
Here are some tips to help alleviate the burn
OK so you think you’re ready to start the home-buying process. Sit down and find the house that has everything that you want. Aww so pretty. Now take a peek at that price tag. Woahzers. Write down everything that house has that makes it what you want. Now look at that list. Throw it in the trash. No I’m kidding. Start going line by line and ask yourself (or with your partner if you’re doing this whole house buying thing together) is this a want or a need? Be honest and cross of the things that are wants. Unless you’re a gourmet chef, or baker, I don’t think a gourmet kitchen is really a need. OK i know it’s not, I’m talking to myself. OK!?
You really need to narrow this list down. So keep whittling away at it. While second story laundry may make your life easier, it’s not a need. Having an eat-in kitchen that is big enough to fit a table to fit your family at, is. Balance folks. Give and take. Your first home doesn’t have to be your forever home.
two. Use multiple resources.
Zillow is great, but let’s be honest, it’s a hot mess. It is not reliable enough to be your sole source of searching. There were countless times I would find a house listed for sale on Zillow and our agent would come back and say it’s no longer for sale, or that’s not actually zoned for those schools.
So like any great researcher, I use multiple sources. Zillow, Realtor.com and turlia – the trifecta for home-buying. I search area on Zillow because I like their draw feature the best. I’ll pull up houses on there that interest us. Then I will search them on Realtor.com to check schools (not always 100% accurate but I find it the most accurate without going to the county site). Realtor.com also usually has better property descriptions.
Then when it comes time for pictures, It’s a tie between the three. Sometimes one will have more and others will have none. So for those it’s user preference.
three. Keep Notes.
You can either go to target and get yourself a cute little notebook from the dollar section. This is now your home-buying note book.
Or download my free printable here, which lays out everything you need to keep tabs on!
Keep track of every house you go a look at. Write down what you did and didn’t like about the house, or in some cases why it was just a big ol’ NO. You’re going to be doing more drive bys and walk throughs than you ever probably thought and sometimes the address just won’t resonate with you and then you pull up and realize, you’ve already seen this house.
Yes, this is something your realtor will track too once you get to that point. But while you’re still on your own doing those drive bys, you have to keep track. Which brings me to my next tip…
four. Do drive bys.
Gather the addresses of a few house you like online, write them down in your home-buying notebook, and use google maps to map out a route and take yourself, or crew, who ever and go on a house tour. Drive through the neighborhood, a bunch of times. We would always go on the weekends in the mid morning. We really want to be in a neighborhood where all the kids play, so we would drive through when we thought the most kids would be out playing. Pick your time.
Also make sure to try your drive from work, at least once before you look at the house. We were originally set on this one area of town. A perfect 20-30 minute drive to work and AMAZING schools. SOLD. Well everyone else also signed on the dotted line so the traffic turns those 20-30 minute drives into 45-60 minute drives. NO THANK YOU. I don’t want to be in traffic with three hangry kids. NOPE. So we stopped looking for houses in that area before we even started.
five. Get a good realtor.
We went off of the first recommendation we got from a family member. NOPE. Both my husband and I are very A-type personality folks, so we spend a lot of time scouring zillow, realtor.com, and any other site we could find. We did all the work. She just showed up to open the doors. While she did help us put together two offers, she just didn’t do much besides that.
You’re shopping for a house, so shop for the person who is going to make money when you get that house. Do your research. Ask around and if you can, see a few house with a few different folks before you make a choice. Find someone who speaks your language and you don’t have to tell them a thousand times what type of neighborhood you’re looking for.
Want to know what comes next? Go check out Part 2 – here!