Buying Our First Home – 4 Lessons Learned

Lesson 1) You pay for location

So living in Southern California is basically living the dream.  Except for those pesky earthquakes. And fires.  Otherwise – it’s paradise.  And who wants to live in paradise?!  Why…EVERYONE!

So what our money would buy us in Idaho or Texas…let’s just say it does not go nearly as far here. Not even close.

Now, of course we did know this before we started the home-buying process. BUT. Like any dedicated newbie home-shopper I watched a lot of lovely HGTV.  And may I recommend that you avoid this if you are also home shopping in a high-demand local?  It is so DEPRESSING seeing all the huge and amazing things you could do with your money in, say, Wyoming.

So, don’t do it.


Lesson 2) DIY is your new best friend

There are so many – easy – ways to spend gobs of money decorating and updating and repairing your new home.  But you must RESIST!

Part of why I began this blog was to begin my own exploration of how to create our nest in a way that was homey and inviting but did not entail having to pick up an extra job or three to pay for it.

On that note – there are also a lot of DIY projects where you can end up spending a lot of $$$ without realizing it.  So, my advice is look for those projects that require supplies you already have or will likely use for other things.

I’m very excited to explore fun projects with you!

Lesson 3) Be patient and kind to all the players helping you with this scary purchase.  

Namely, your real estate agent, your lending agent, your loan processor, your escrow agent….and on and on.  Remember that they are rooting for you to close the sale.

The unexpectedly frustrating part for me was the constant request by the lender for new documents for the underwriter…every few days they needed something different.  And immediately! So, be aware of all transactions in all your accounts – even if related to funds you won’t be using for your home purchase.  Everything has to be traced and understood by the underwriters.  If any family members are gifting you funds, know that those monies will also have to be sourced – so plan ahead.  And for heaven’s sake, keep all statements and receipts of big ticket items. If you do not use the online banking of your various accounts – make sure you get that set up now as that is the quickest way to get info. to the underwriters – log in and print stuff off online.

Whew.  I better buy several bottles of wine for all the thank-yous I owe.

Lesson 4) Don’t stress out your spouse!

I learned quickly that my husband would feed off my stress and that takes some of the fun out of the process.  Your spouse is also on your side.  And, just like being pregnant caused waves of anxiety in each of us (usually at different times – thank God!), the home-buying process is the same. One day it will hit home how LONG you are committing to being in this place.  Later you realize how BROKE you will be for…well…forever! But, the reasons for wanting our own nest far exceed the scary side (room for a garden! a garage! a family!).  And ultimately, we will learn a LOT in the process and have an amazing time…..gardening, painting, decorating, hanging out, having visitors, hosting parties, investing our money, and expanding our family in our very own NEST.

Now, off to gather twigs and branches to build that nest.