Earlier this year I purchased my first house. Woah. I can’t believe I just fixed my fingers to type that previous sentence. I think it’s safe to say I’m officially adulting. The process was assuredly a roller coaster of a ride, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. They say the best teacher is experience, and I’m grateful for some of the roadblocks I encountered along the way. I entered the process with very little knowledge on what it takes to acquire and maintain a property. While I cannot boast to be a real estate acquisition guru (yet), I can say the knowledge I gained through the process has started me on what I hope will be a fruitful journey in the world of real estate.
While experience may be the best teacher, sometimes learning from others’ experiences can be equally as telling. Whether you’re on the road to to purchasing your first home or simply interested in understanding the process, I want you to learn from my experience. So here are the top 5 lessons I learned while purchasing my first property.
1. Hire Your Dream Team – The primary players on your team, at least this early in the game, will be your real estate agent and your lender. Consult with your network to receive recommendations on reliable realtors and lenders. They should be responsive, flexible and knowledge – we don’t need no Sways! They should have all the answers, or have the available resources to get them for you. At the first sign of an unreliable team member, trade them in for another player. Trust me – it’s not worth the stress they will cause you in the end. If your agent is unable to advise you on the best areas to purchase or your lender consistently shows inaccurate calculations, chances are they may not be the one for the job.
2. Learn The Language – Purchasing a house is like learning a completely new language. Escrows, disclosures, underwriters – it can all get a little confusing. So, in addition to leveraging your team’s expertise to become acclimated with this new language, proactively seek information for yourself. My best friend Google, a few New York Times Best Seller real estate books, a local (and FREE!) first time homebuyer’s class, and friends who previously went through the process helped me grasp the terminology and navigate through the process more seamlessly.
3. Listen To Your Gut – It’s as simple as that. Friends an family will come along on the journey with you – and willingly provide their perspective on what they believe you should purchase. However, this is an important decision, and one that only you will have to live with. So do what feels right to you. You will know when you’ve found the house that was meant for you.
4. You Snooze, You Lose – The prices of houses are on the rise, and competition is fierce. So check for new listings every morning – I became a bit obsessed and checked around 6am everyday. Once you find a listing that peaks your interest even slightly, be sure to view the property the same day or the next. If it’s a good deal, chances are it won’t stay on the market long. Also, don’t be afraid to put in an offer. You’ll have a 10 day due diligence period, otherwise known as a grace period, to decide if you truly want to move forward with the deal. You have nothing to lose… but your dream home.
5. Don’t Panic (French Montana voice) – As I said before, the process can be stressful. Your first time purchasing a house is sure to be accompanied by a steep learning curve and a outflow of money like you’ve never seen before. But in the end, this is an investment. An asset that will appreciate in value. Before you know it your house will be making money for you.
Sweater – H&M (Last Season) / Denim – Ann Taylor LOFT (Old) / Bracelets (Line Coming Soon)