First Time Homebuyers: 4 Things no one tells you...
Being a first time homebuyer can be overwhelming, exhausting, confusing, and nerve-racking simultaneously. If buying a home for the first time wasn’t a gargantuan task in the first place (financially), it usually comes paired with a big life shift, whether you’re newlywed, advancing in a relationship or career, or settling down for the first time. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the hushed up side of being a first time homebuyer: goals for your home, location, emotions, and adaptability.
What Everyone Else is Telling You
Money, Finances, Mortgages, Down Payments, etc… If you’re a first time homebuyer you need to know about them. However, there is an abundance of information regarding these topics in great depth. If you search as a first time home buyer for info, you’re likely to only come across financial advice (which is important, but not the be-all and end-all when buying your first home). Here’s a brief overview…
- First, get prequalified for a loan- Unless you’re one of the few who can pay in cash, you’ll need a loan. Get prequalified, then do your home searching.
- Understand the payments- Know about your loan payments, down payments, utilities, homeowner’s association fees, and home improvement costs.
- Mortgages- There are different mortgages. Find the best one for you and your situation.
- Professionals- Seek trusted professionals, such as brokers and real estate agents, to help you through this process.
Keep the Goal the Goal (and make it S.M.A.R.T.)
Keep the goal the goal. I repeat…Keep the goal the goal. This little 5-word phrase has so much meaning packed into it; it could almost be a whole post on its own. In order to utilize this phrase, you must first have a goal.
S- Specific. As a first time homebuyer, you might think the goal is straightforward: buy a house. Yet that’s not too specific. In goal setting, the more specific the goal, the better. Find a picture in your mind, specifically, of your ideal first home, and write it down. Also, write down why you desire those things in your first home.
M-Measurable. Having a measurable goal means measuring your progress towards reaching your goal. This is the part where the process of achieving your goal is laid out and measured. Are you saving the appropriate amount of money? Are you prequalified for a loan? These are things that can be measured and need to be accomplished in order to purchase your first home.
A-Attainable. This step also involves the process. Write down a list of actions that need to be achieved in order to reach your specific goal. These are short-term goals that lead to the ultimate goal. (The biggest difference between Measurable and Attainable, is making sure you can measure your steps in the process)
R-Realistic. Only you know if your goal is realistic. The most important thing about this step is coming to a conclusion about how important your goal is to you. A goal with a higher importance to you, you will do more to achieve. Are you searching for a home that you will live in for the rest of your life, or a home that will allow you to live frugally, so you can save for your next home?
T-Timely. Setting a time limit can be a great catalyst. If you decide you want to be fully prepared to purchase a home in 6 months, you’ll make sure you complete your measurable and attainable steps in a timely fashion. For some first time homebuyers this piece of goal setting is already in place due to a lifestyle change (e.g. a new job, marriage, etc…) If you fall into this category, make sure you put a high importance on the realistic and measurable aspects in order to achieve your specific goal.
Yes…Location, Location, Location
It’s the old adage, “location, location, location,” and it holds as true for first time homebuyers as ever before. The location of your home should be highly connected to why you’re purchasing the home and your goal for your first home. Here are a few things to consider:
- Neighbors- Wonderful neighbors can create a sense of safety and happiness. Get to know the people around your prospective home before purchasing. A great set of neighbors can help you in more ways than you can imagine.
- Schools- If you’re planning on raising children or already have children, it’s important to know where the schools are located. While students aren’t locked into their home school, the farther they have to commute, the more the hassle for you and your kids.
- Place of Worship- If having a place of worship is important to you, know where they are in relation to your prospective homes. Could you see yourself attending one that’s close? If you already have a place of worship that you plan on attending, again, make sure it’s not too long of a commute, which might prevent you from going or just make it more of a struggle to attend.
- Pets- Is your prospective neighborhood pet friendly? What about your prospective home? Find out before diving head first! (Not a pet person??? Check out our blog, "Home Happenings 2: The Most Important Aspect of Raising a Family...Pets", to find out how they impact you and your family!)
- Essentials- Are there essentials near your new home? Making sure a gas station, grocery store, and some restaurants near by can be extremely convenient and stress relieving.
Listen to your Emotions
“Control your emotions! Discipline your mind!” While Severus Snape was an excellent wizard, he lived in his parents’ home his whole life. He was no first time homebuyer! Instead, listen to your emotions when home searching. Sometimes you can step into a house, and know it will be your home for the next 30 plus years! If this feeling strikes you, embrace the moment, and act upon that feeling. That might be the magic moment that is the first step of the rest of your life!
Be willing to transform your home into your dream home, instead of searching for your dream home. This step is the toughest, but also the most encouraging and uplifting. Remember when we talked about “keeping the goal the goal”? Well, if you’re in a situation where you need to buy a house, maybe because of a job or any other life event, you might not have enough time to find your dream home. Instead, you can make it your dream home. The spark is in a home, not a house (Not sure of the difference? Check out the blog, "A House vs. A Home:Why the Difference is the Key to Your Family's Happiness!) As a first time homebuyer, understand that the magic we crave in a home is in the people and moments we make with our loved ones, not the structure or location of a house. You have the ability to create the home you’ve been yearning for, as long as you make the choice to consciously act!
Remember that being a first time home buyer is something unique and will only happen once. Goals can make the process easier, quicker, and more fruitful. Yet even if you commit to following every step to a T, it might not go as planned. Be adaptable. Decide that, no matter what, you will create the future you desire. It’s up to you, a first time homebuyer!
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A Cool Link to Share
For a more traditional article about buying your first home, check out this article!
Fun Fact about Louisville Kentucky
Legendary author F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed at a camp near Louisville as a young Army Officer. Parts of the city served as inspiration for his novel, “The Great Gatsby,” like the Seelbach Hotel.