Life has been hectic lately. We are moved out of our old place, which has been a relief. I loved it, but I was ready to move on. Given what happened we didn’t want to rent again. So we have started shopping for real estate. From the outside the process seems daunting, almost unattainable. Even though it has been difficult, progress has been made. We have obtained a realtor, and have financing lined up. It didn’t work out, but we made an offer on a property. There have been setbacks, but the experience has taught me so much. Reflecting on that, I wanted share some wisdom I found along the way.
Take it one step at a time.
Looking for real estate is a daunting task with many moving parts. When I first started, I had no idea where to begin. The idea of buying a house seemed like it was something I couldn’t attain. There was so much that needed to be done. To help conquer it, I made a list. I would put the most important tasks near the top and go down. This helped me focus, and avoid getting overwhelmed by the process. You are not going to get everything done in a day. Yet if you compartmentalize, you can see that you are making progress.
This seems trivial, but it is so important. To complete pre approval, you need to present many documents. To get my pre-approval, I needed bank statements, tax documents, employment history and more. Luckily I was able to find all of it and get it into the bank. Yet the experience made me realize two things. First, that it is important to hold onto all of your important documents. Second, that I was woefully bad record keeping. It is important to keep everything together and have it at the ready. Get everything together before you go to apply. Setup and email folders for your emails from the bank. Get everything organized, it will make your life much easier in the long run.
Save your damn money.
One of my biggest regrets is that I did not save my money. There were years where I was making good money, with few financial responsibilities. Instead of putting that well earned money away, I spent it frivolously. I should have put that money away for later. A down payment can me between 3 to 20 percent depending on the type of loan. Do yourself a service and save your money. Make a plan, put the money away and don’t touch it. Even if you are only putting away 50-100 every paycheck that add adds up. It takes discipline, but you will thank yourself later.
Obtain credit and use it wisely.
A big challenge has been the limited scope of my credit. I pay for most things outright, and I have not carried enough debt. No student loans, no car payments,etc. What saved me was my credit cards. It seems mind boggling, but paying for everything outright does nothing for credit. Check on your credit, and manage it. You have to show the banks you can carry debt, and pay it off successfully.
Do your research.
Being well informed gives you an edge while hunting for property. Gather as much information as you can. Ask question about everything, confirm and takes notes. Remember this is going to be your home! Property may be for sale, but that does not guarantee it’s buildable. A house may have problems you can’t see. It is better to ask a ton of questions, and find issues early than to end up with a bad property. Knowledge helps you make better choices, and avoid headaches later.
Find a good realtor.
Realtors can make a huge difference to your buying experience. We have been lucky to have a great realtor. We are working with a buyer’s agent to find a property. The agent has been there to help guide us through every step of the process. She has been there to offer property, clarify terms and make suggestions. She has thrown out some awesome ideas, that have helped us immensely. She have also saved us from some undesirable properties. A well educated realtor can be a great resource. Make sure you pick someone who will make you a priority.
For now we are still looking. I can’t wait until we find a home, and can share it with you. The search has been stressful, but I am enjoying the ride. This entire process has taught me so much. You are looking for a home, but you learn invaluable life skills along the way. If you are looking for a home best of luck. I hope that these tips help you. Let me know what you think! Share your tips in the comments.
If you are looking to buy, have fun and enjoy the ride!