Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Confessions of a first time homeowner - Tia
I BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!! That actually happened!!!
Aside from the fact that I've spent the last 3 weeks on the road full time (No, seriously, 3 weeks in a row I left on Sunday and got home on Thursday or Friday.) the main reason, I haven't had time to blog is because I was too busy becoming a homeowner. YAY!!!
It has been one of the most exciting and somewhat overwhelming things in my life. I'm so happy that I did it. And although it is by far the biggest thing I've ever purchased in my entire life, I'm not too stressed about it. Yeah, there are things that are bothersome. HOAs are a bit ridiculous even though there's a pool and a dog park. (I don't have a dog!) And there seems to be a small but bothersome leak that although covered by the aforementioned HOAs still needs to be fixed pronto. And those loud kids need to find somewhere else to play...But all in all, I'm super excited about this new phase in my life.
If you're thinking about buying a house, I would say do it. And here are a couple of helpful hints that may make the whole thing a bit more bearable.
- Make sure you have a good realtor.
My realtor was AWESOMESAUCE!!!! I looked at this house with my previous realtor and not only was he NOT helpful, but he told me that the offer that I wanted to put in wouldn't be accepted. Fast forward a few months to the same house with a different realtor and the same offer that I originally wanted to put in was accepted. Why..Because my realtor actually cared about me and was willing to go to bat for me. So make sure that whoever you're working with knows your requests and is willing to listen and help you every step of the way.
- Know your lending options.
I went the FHA route. It meant a lower down payment but higher mortgage insurance. Make sure that when it comes to financing you read the small print. Don't finance more house than you can comfortably afford. And don't finance more than you're comfortable with.
On paper, I look fantastic. I was approved for way more money than I needed. But even though the bank crunched the numbers and told me what I could afford, I knew what my long term financial goals were and so I chose less house and lower payments. Set your financial goals BEFORE you start house hunting. Because you will get your feelings hurt by all of the bright, shiny, fun houses the realtor will show you. I guarantee you will fall in love with a house the bank says you can afford but you know in your heart you can't. I'm not saying you won't love what you buy. (I LOVE my place.) But don't fall in love with house that's so pricey that all you can afford to furnish it with is blow up furniture.
- Buyer's remorse is inevitable.
I swore I was going to stop moving around and put down some roots. Nothing says roots like a mortgage. And yet, last night, I found myself wondering if I'd made the right choice. I began to wonder if I should have just kept renting so that I could move to/back to London/LA/Arizona/Rio. A bit of sadness washed over me when I realized that I can't move anywhere any time soon. And I found myself overwhelmed by the thought of mortgage payments, home upkeep, HOA fees and the like.
I had to calm myself down and talk myself off of the ledge. After settling my nerves, I realized that this house is the first step to attaining something that resembles normalcy. It's bad enough that I travel so much for work. But now, for the first time, I have a home base that's contingent on no one but ME!! I have a place to call my own. Somewhere I can walk freely in my underwear without a care in the world. A place I can call home. That is remarkable to me. So every time I find myself wondering if I made the right choice, I'll look around at all of the things that I've placed, I'll turn the stereo up, and I may even strip down my skivvies and I will do a dance of happiness and thankfulness because this place is mine. This place is home.