AT HOME: 10 Tips for PROPERTY VIRGINS


top ten tips for property virgins, first time home buyers

I have only sparingly talked about home decor and interior design on King & Kind mostly because we were renting near the beach and our condo was pretty outdated. See posts from the condo here, here and here and yes, two of them are Christmas posts. I pretty much gave up trying despite lots of articles online encouraging me to "do more with my small space" and "revamp my rental". While I do believe in these concepts, I had my heart set on a bigger prize. Home ownership. I didn't know when, I didn't know how, (starting to sound like Ariel here), I didn't even know where for sure. For the longest time home ownership just seemed like this elusive concept. I just knew that when the time came I would be elated to be able to focus my efforts and creativity on my first home. For several years we saved and saved and finally decided to pull the trigger and go for it.

Let me just say, being a property virgin, the whole buying a house process is mostly terrifying. Maybe it's my anxious inclination, but because I felt both scared and nervous about such a monumental decision/purchase I really tried not to let myself get very excited about anything until the day we closed on the house. I tried to treat it like a business transaction but of course there were bouts of heart palpitations at the thought of remodeling the kitchen into my dream kitchen (all white please!) and sitting outside in my very own yard. Escrow is a very long month of confusing agreements, research, inspections, and watching your hard earned savings disappear before your very eyes! It's really quite incredible how over it all you are by day 30. And I'm not even addressing the whole offer process which in itself is quite the adventure.

So we sold most of our furniture on either craigslist or via our garage sale and moved into what is now a pretty empty house. As in the only livingroom furniture we have are two lawn chairs and have zero dining room chairs, no dressers, no bed frames you get the point. The reason we decided to do this was to have a clean slate. We only want to add furniture we want for the new house. Plus, I've come to learn it's really not that bad sitting in lawn chairs, life could be much worse ;) . We do have things on order and I will talk about all of that along the way. 

The point of this post is not to just share my excitement over finally diving into real estate but to introduce a new topic on King & Kind that I hope you can relate to, or at least enjoy my take on the experience. 

I am not planning to do tons of renovations right off the bat although I have a list a mile long and I do not see me departing from my love of sharing beauty and fashion ideas with you, but I am really excited to start talking about this new part of my life with you. 

So here are my Top 10 tips for Property Virgins: 

1) Get a great Realtor who will hold your hand and guide you through the whole process. Ask for referrals from friends, family, and colleagues. He/she should go to bat for you, answer all of your "stupid" questions, and have a great attitude all along the way. They should never pressure you to make an offer on a house and should not be all sales-ey on you when going through the houses. They should also be extremely knowledgeable about the market and houses in the areas you are interested in. My Realtor was great at pointing out flaws to us and brainstorming solutions/remodeling ideas in addition to knowing the market and up and coming neighborhoods. I felt comfortable asking him lots of questions and he was always super quick to respond whether it was a late night text about a contract or trying to find out where something was in the house once we moved in. 

2) Don't get too emotionally invested in a house, lots can happen even after your offer is accepted that could break the deal. 

3) Double check that the house has what the listing says it has. If it says it has a water softening system, find out where it is and verify it is there and working. 

4) Read everything and ask questions or do research. If you don't know what it means to remove a contingency then find out! Don't just sign documents without having a basic understanding of what you are doing and why. 

5) Get an insurance agent and mortgage broker to do the hard work for you as far as shopping for the best rates and packages. 

6) Try to get the painting done before you move in. We couldn't do this due to timing but every time I walk into that lime colored room I just cringe. So do it if you can, just get it out of the way so that you have a fresh palette. 

7) Check your documents carefully for errors before you sign. Chances are there will be something that needs to be corrected along the way and it would be a shame for you to overlook this. 

8) Get your locks re-keyed right away. It doesn't cost that much and it's worth the peace of mind. You won't know who or how many people have access to your new house whether it be house keepers, neighbors, baby sitters, etc. 

9) Prioritize your plans for remodeling and making big purchases for your new home. You have just likely drained your life savings getting your first home so your budget will be tight for a while as you get used to your new fiduciary responsibilities and build your savings back up. Prioritize what you need right away and what can wait until later and take your time. I You will want to do everything right away but reign it in sister! A home isn't built in a day and you do not want to go into debt over your impatience. 

10) Go with your instincts. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. 


I would love to hear your advice on buying a first house, so leave us a comment!


PS If you think you know where we live please do not call it out online. I don't want any creepers! 

5 comments:

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