If you’re following me on Instagram, you know I’ve been documenting my long painful journey of looking for a home. And when I say long, I mean it’s been about 6 weeks and I’m just being a whiny little brat.With that said, it feels like it’s been FOREVERRRR (cue “Sandlot” voice). Either way, I’ve learned a TON along the way, and I thought I’d share with you guys. So, you ready? Here we go.
1. Be Patient
Patience is not my strong suit guys. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll say it again, I have the patience of a toddler waiting for a piece of cake at a birthday party. And look, finding a home takes time. Like, A LOT of time. So be patient, and don’t get emotional about it.
2. You probably won’t get the first house you fall in love with
A few weeks in, I found a house I LOVED! I was like HA! Everyone that told me it wouldn’t happen this fast had NO IDEA what they were talking about! Wrong. We didn’t get it. And then we didn’t get the second house we loved either.
3. Looking for a home is time consuming
All you have to do is put a smile on your face and head out to some open houses for about an hour, right? WRONG. I’m talking hours and hours a week of home searches, open houses, and so much more. Between the pre-approval process, and everything in between, this has really been time consuming.
4. If you’re serious about home buying, don’t even bother looking at homes before you have a pre-approval letter
You guys, we lost the first house we wanted because we didn’t have our pre-approval letter ready. I got so excited, and by the time we were ready to put in an offer, someone else already did. I. Was. Devastated. Not to mention, you need that letter to give you an idea of what price range you should be looking at.
5. Ignore the pre-approval numbers
Now that you have that approval, ignore that number, and create your own number within that range. Meaning, look at your monthly expenses and figure out the number you are comfortable with spending. Just because you may have been approved for a million dollar house, it doesn’t mean you can AFFORD a million dollar house. You get me?
6. Widen your range of homes that you’re looking at
I don’t care what other people tell you, look at all the homes you can in your neighborhood. Yes, even the ones you can’t afford. Get a sense of the market, the prices, what’s out there, all that good stuff. And hey, sometimes if a house that’s a little out of your price range has been on the market for awhile, they may be more willing to lower the price.
7. Drive around the neighborhoods for extra listings
I’ve learned that not everything is listed on popular sites like Zillow and Realtor.com, sometimes there are homes sold by the owner, and you can drive by neighborhoods and see signs that way. It may not be common, but it’s worth a shot.
8. Study the neighborhood
Yes, we all hear the “drive by the house at night,” advice. But, in addition to that, you should definitely check out other information that may be important to you like the schools, potential crime or sex offenders in that area. Just recently, we found out one of the homes we loved had a crazy neighbor that had multiple police reports. Ya, um, no thank you. Next.
9. Heartfelt letter
Ok, my friend Maya has mentioned this a lot. There are a few things you should have ready with your pre-approval letter, and one of them is your “about us” letter. It’s basically a letter to submit with all the “numbers” to show you are a human being. This is especially helpful when a seller is getting multiple offers that all share the same financials. It could be that letter that will get you the house. A simple google search will give you a ton of templates. It’s well worth your time.
10. Get the most out of your open house
I know most homes have a ton of pictures online, but I would strongly recommend taking a video when you see it. Sometimes we’d see a ton of homes in one day and I would forget little details–especially important ones like, how many closets did that house have again? Oh wait, was the bathroom INSIDE the room, or across the hall? I can’t stress how helpful that is. Also, I always keep measuring tape in my purse!
Alright guys, I hope that was helpful. Do you have other things you’ve learned that you can share? Leave me a message on Instagram or let me know in the comments below. Would love to hear from you!
Photo Credit: Taft Alexander