I was living with my future in-laws and pretty much having a huge case of the bridal blues when I decided that enough was enough. I had to convince my future spouse that we could afford a house NOW. We’d been living with my in-laws for eight months when one day at work I found an online listing for a three bedroom house. It had all of our requirements: two bathrooms, gas heat, three bedroom, less than a mile from the commuter rail, and a backyard. I called the realtor and made an appointment to see it the next evening after work. It was early December and we were the first to wade through the unmarked snow to get inside and see it. It was perfect, but to make sure, we discussed it over dinner down the street before calling our realtor after his band practice.
BAD NEWS: An offer has already been accepted on the house. “It wasn’t meant to be,” my partner said. Maybe it wasn’t, so after getting hopes up and down, we went back to normal life.
A few days later I talked to my realtor about setting up appointments to see a few other houses that we liked (but didn’t immediately love like the first).
“OH SHIT,” our realtor exclaimed. He told me THE HOUSE was listed as available again and he would call me after talking to the selling agent. THE HOUSE was available and we immediately emailed and scanned the paperwork to put in our offer late on a Friday night.
After some heavy back-and-forth about loans, on Martin Luther King Day 2010 my dream came true, and my partner and I closed on our very first home. But wait… we only saw one house during our search.
We may have only seen one house in person, but we saw many houses online, and went through them with a fine tooth comb. If it didn’t look good on the internet then we weren’t going to waste our time. We knew when the right house would come along — and it did.
What did we learn from this experience?
- Knowing what you want before you start looking is the key to our success. It saves time and emotional stress.
- Write a list of MUSTS, and don’t look at places that don’t fit the bill.
- Know how much money you have and how much you are willing to spend.
- Get pre-approved and find a broker who will watch the rates and lock you in when it’s the lowest possible rate. Locking in doesn’t last forever but if you know you are going to buy soon, it doesn’t hurt.
- Don’t be bullied and let someone else tell you where you have to get your loan. They can’t force you to use their bank but they can refuse to sell to you, and those probably aren’t the best people to be doing business with.
- Last but not least, go with your gut. If you heart is telling you this is it, believe it.
I bought the first wedding dress I tried on, I bought the first house I saw, and I bought the first used car I test drove. It’s not really because of my gut instinct, but because I did days and days of online research on the subjects beforehand. I prepared myself for anything and if I had a question or didn’t understand what something meant, I looked it up. Being a well-informed consumer is probably the best way you can save yourself from buyer’s remorse.