A blog for 40-something women navigating married life and working from home. All while rediscovering who they are in a new decade of life. 

What I learned buying our first home

Buying our first home: 7 lessons learned

If you’ve read my past few posts you know that Cap and I bought our first home! It was a hectic time though I feel like the whole process of actually buying the house went pretty smoothly. We knew almost immediately that this home was the one for us! When we walked in, I knew that our house was well our house! We both saw the potential to make into exactly what we wanted.

And as usual, I want to tell you all about what I learned when we bought our first home.

Research a lot!

When we first started looking for a home, I started looking at home buying tips online and I’m so glad that I did! This helped prepare us for unexpected expenses like closing costs and a home inspection.

It also taught me a little about real estate – like that there is an agent for the seller and one for the buyer. We completely lucked out with our agent. When I sent an inquiry about a house on Zillow Marie was the first to contact us. She really knew her stuff and she looked out for our best interests. Marie did things like including in the contract that the seller couldn’t turn off the utilities until 24 hours after closing. This gave us time to get everything transferred into our names so that we wouldn’t have to pay a fee to have everything turned back on.

Because of my research, I also thought to ask for comparison prices of other houses in our market. This helped Cap and me make a decision on what to offer for our house. This is one of the hardest decisions to make and everyone will tell you different things, so this helped take some stress off of us.

We also did drive bys of the houses we were interested in before we even contacted the real estate agent. This saved us and the agent a lot of time. There were several houses we thought we would like but when we saw it in person we hated the area because it was on narrow roads or was really far out of town.

The Home inspection is worth it

So many people skip this, but Cap and I didn’t want to take any chances with the home we were buying. It looked to be in great shape, but we wanted to be certain that it was!

We both walked with the home inspector while he inspected the house. He was very thorough and even gave us some home maintenance tips as we went along. We were very lucky that there was nothing seriously wrong with the house. Just a few minor plumbing and electrical issues that we asked the seller to take care of.

Also, from my research online I knew that we shouldn’t ask for everything the home inspector points out as wrong to be fixed. Especially if those things are cosmetic. Which in our case were things like the walls needing new paint and the stucco looking like a mess. Though honestly, I’m not sure I would’ve noticed the stucco if the inspector hadn’t pointed it out.

Instead, we asked for the things that were most important and that we wouldn’t be able to fix ourselves – those minor plumbing and electrical issues.

We are both glad that we got the home inspection. Not only did we learn a lot, but it gave us peace of mind knowing that our house was great shape!

No home is perfect

This is something our real estate agent and the home inspector both said. And while I know that they were referring to issues a home might have, for me it also meant something else.

No home, unless you build it yourself, is going to have exactly everything that you want. I had a laundry room and walk-in closets on my wish list. I didn’t get those. But the three bedrooms and two bathrooms? We got that! The big yard for the dogs? Got that! The workshop for Cap? Got that too! We even got a huge basement and a sunroom that weren’t on our wish lists!

Oh! And the roof is green! I always wanted a green roof!

So, know what is most important to you and when you find that be willing to sacrifice a few things on your wish list. Besides, having smaller closets is a good excuse to get rid of even more things that I don’t really need!

Packing takes longer than you will think

Start packing as soon as you know your closing date! I so wish that I had! Instead, I left almost all of it until we closed and it caused a ton of stress! There were so many times that I was almost in tears because it seemed to be never ending.

My thinking was that it would only take a day or two to move my stuff! HA! It took over a week! What I should’ve done was start packing right away and packed up things that I wouldn’t be using. Things like books, pictures, knick knacks, and seasonal items. This would’ve made the move so much less stressful.

Also, if I had started packing sooner, I would’ve had time to thoroughly go through my stuff and get rid of things that I wouldn’t need or didn’t want anymore. Instead, I was just throwing everything in boxes and hoping that I would have time later to go through it. Learn from my mistakes, people!

Hire movers

If you can afford it, hire movers for the big stuff! If one of my co-workers hadn’t suggested this I never would’ve thought of it. He had hired movers just for his big furniture and moved all his small stuff himself. So, I decided to do the same thing.

This was a huge stress relief! I didn’t have to worry about asking anyone to help move the furniture, or worry about them getting hurt carrying things down the apartment steps!

Know your notice date

I thought that I only needed to give a thirty-day notice at my apartment building. I was so wrong! I needed to give a sixty-day notice. This meant that I had to pay an extra month of rent. Which sucked! So, if you rent be sure to find out how much of a notice you need to give.

Everyone will give you advice

Everyone! They’ll tell you how much to offer on the house. That they wouldn’t take down the cabinets that you think need to go. When you excitedly tell them about changes you want to make to your new home they’ll say, “Oh I wouldn’t do that!”

And they wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean Cap and I shouldn’t!

In the end, it’s up to us to make the calls for better or for worse. It’s our home after all.

So, tell me about your home buying experience? Any words of wisdom? Let me know in the comments!

7 tips for buying your first home

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7 responses to “Buying our first home: 7 lessons learned

  1. Man, that packing tip is awesome. We’re currently in the market for a house, and I may just start downsizing and packing so it’ll be so much easier when it’s time to move.

  2. We had a house inspection – they didn’t notice the missing window in the kitchen, but we did after we moved in and we found frost in the kitchen one morning! Fortunately, it was waiting in the shed.

    Enjoy your new home! Sometimes I think about moving, just to clear the junk out!

  3. Great tips for buying home! A home is usually a lifelong investment that needs routine preventative maintenance to have its systems running safely and efficiently. Therefore, a home inspection is a vital phase of your home buying or purchasing journey. Thanks for sharing