Guest Post: Buying Your First Home

Buying my first home was a difficult process for me, as I expect is for a lot of people.  First, it was difficult for me to decide I even wanted to start looking for a house.  I rented an apartment for 71/2 after I graduated college.  I had always pictured myself purchasing my first home with my husband.  I always thought I would rent my own apartment until that time.  I didn’t know it was going to take me until my late thirties until I found someone I might be interested in spending the rest of my life with.  I finally decided it was time to make a move, make a change, and make an investment.  Over the 7.5 years I had rented I was able to save enough for 20% down on a nice home.  It was time.

I first thought I might want to buy a townhouse.  I started looking in May of 2007.  Found a realtor and searched online and found places I was interested in having him show me.  After looking at half a dozen or more and deciding that even though there was nothing wrong with them, they just weren’t for me, I began looking at single-family homes.  Every night I would get online and hope to find something that I was interested enough in going to look at (if I wasn’t doing that, I was longingly watching whatever was on HGTV).  Most of the time there was nothing.  Other times I would think I had found a great place and then be very disappointed when I actually saw it.  On a couple of occasions I would set up an appointment with my realtor, only to get a call back a short while later to inform me the place had already sold.  I saw one that was really, really nice but also out in the middle of nowhere.  Luckily I had the luxury of staying where I was until I was able to find he perfect place.

At the end of September my sister went with me to check out another house.  It was a Saturday.  I really loved the place, and my sister liked it too.  The next day they were scheduled to have an open house so I called my parents and asked them to take the hour and half trip to come see the house with me.  Sunday they came and we looked at that house and one other one.  One was in a great location and was a great place but needed lots of updating.  The other was move-in ready, in an even better location, but more expensive.

I essentially had a few hours to decide which, if either, house I wanted to buy.  I was informed that the house I was most interested in already had an offer put in.  I really had no idea what I was doing but I had a number in my head that I thought was low but we would be in the middle.  I then upped that number a bit, guessing the other offer would be around what I had come up with.  Turns out I picked the right number and they had decided to negotiate my offer.  They didn’t accept, but came back with a counter.  Again, I had no idea what I was doing, but decided I was still unwilling to pay the asking price and offered as high as I was willing to go.  I didn’t want to pay too much, but I also didn’t want to feel remorse either if I lost the house.

On September 25th, my 29th birthday, I got the call that my offer was accepted.  The current owners of the home weren’t ready to close until November 30th, though, so it was a long 2 months surviving in my apartment.  I wanted to move in right then.

Finally closing day arrived.  My parents accompanied me.  Everything went smoothly, except one thing.  They forgot to bring the keys!  I don’t recall exactly how it all got sorted out.  I remember calling my realtor and he left the key to the realtor box on the door in the garage under one of those styrofoam things some people use to cover outdoor faucets in the winter. I had to open that to get the key to my house.

Moving day was December 7th.  The only thing I did before moving in was paint the master bedroom.  The color was the same color as the tape painters use so that had to go.  I love blue, but it was just too bold for my taste.

I hired movers to move me and all went well.  A little over a year later I’ve had many new experiences with the house and done many home-improvement projects, but that is a separate, and never-ending, story.

What is your story of your first home-buying experience?