Do's and Dont's of First-Time Homebuying
I did a thing, but it took me forever.
My first homebuying experience during the Summer of 2022 was NOT your momma’s home-buying experience, so get ready for some REAL tips from a lady who just wanted to make lots of holes in the walls (cavewoman instincts, activate!). But first, WHY did I do this to myself? Low interest rates sucked me and the rest of America into real estate during the pandemic (goodbye low rates in 2022!). Like many, my rent went up inexplicably and I wasn’t seeing my wages increase (what the heck, America?). It made sense to try and “get more for my dollar” to finally KEEP the money I make, at least for the most part. Honestly, I should have done that before. While searching in 2021 and 2022, a potential recession was a concern, but I boldly decided that if I was going to cry about it, I’d do it in MY HOUSE. Crying is just a normal part of house shopping anyway!
DO - Trust your emotions.
House shopping is a VERY taxing and emotional process. Maybe your partner disagrees with a house you love, maybe your first offer to purchase wasn’t accepted, maybe it was rejected 7 times on 7 homes in a year and you’re TIRED of offering more money for the same square footage (me).
DON'T - Rush.
You literally can’t. The housing market is like the sea, but the sea is filled with lots of coral exclusively reserved for people raking in $1M annually. Occasionally, a $400k hermit crab shell will open up. But the hermit crab shells are also being purchased by Zillow, and your cousin wants it too, annnnd it has mold (Florida life, amiright?).
DO - Love your realtor.
My realtor was NOT the first one I contacted on my journey. I needed someone with experience, willing to teach, and easy to communicate with because you need to be honest about your needs and limitations. I was lucky to find one that had experience with my online-only mortgage company, but she also always wanted to be a teacher. Win-win!
DO - Tell the truth about your income and expenses.
Things get dicey when interest suddenly shoots up cause Uncle Sam said so, and your mortgage company starts talking about DTI. Is that like a UTI? Nope, but it will feel like it. It’s your debt-to-income ratio. A high DTI could mean that the cute $200k apartment you were looking at is suddenly COMPLETELY out of your reach, even though a week ago you could afford it. Cry it out.
DON’T - Give up.
Your next potential home will always be better because you KNOW better, and you’ve seen a lot more homes than when you started! It was house offer #8, 13 months into searching before anyone accepted mine; that was just to be ALLOWED to buy a home. Keep crying it out. No inspections, appraisals, negotiations- that was still ahead. But step one? Complete.
Let me know if you want to see part 2 of what to do AFTER your offer is accepted!