My husband and I spent around a year and a half house hunting. We went through two realtors before finding one that fit our personality, spent most Sundays at open houses, and were full on addicted to Zillow. It was frustrating at the time, but I am so glad that we waited until we found the house that was right for us and checked off most of our “must have this” boxes. We’ve been in the house for seven months now and still have a ton of projects we want to do, walls to paint, and furniture to pick out, but we’re taking it slow and trying not to overwhelm ourselves by doing too much too fast.
Here is some advice from one house hunter to another that helped us to keep our stress level low and end up in a house that we love:
- Stick to your budget! We were approved for a mortgage $50k+ more than we were willing to spend or knew that we could afford. The mortgage lenders job is to get you pre-approved. They will tell you that by looking at your finances they’ve determined that you can afford to spend up to “x” amount on your house. The problem is you are the only one that truly knows your finances. Don’t get swept up and end up in a house that will have you living above your means.
- It’s okay to realtor shop. The first realtor we went to was a little pushy. The second realtor was awful! He wore shorts, brought his three small kids to one showing (yes, THREE), and went on frequent political rants. The third realtor was a perfect fit for us. She was super knowledgeable, had been in the field for years, and had a great sense of humor. Don’t sign a contract to work exclusively with one realtor unless you’re positive that’s the person you want to spend your weekends with for the foreseeable future.
- Know what you’re willing to sacrifice in a home and what you won’t compromise on. For me I refused to compromise on closet space. I grew up in a small Cape, shared a bedroom with my sister, and we never had enough closets! I was however willing to compromise on having a formal dining room as long as the kitchen was big enough for an eat-in. It’ll be easier to evaluate houses if you know what you absolutely need vs. what you can live without.
What helped you to get through your first house hunting experience?
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