I have lived my life with a bit of a “gypsy” flair and let the wind take me where it will for so many years. That’s right, I have never actually put roots down anywhere longer than a year or two. To be very clear, the longest I have ever lived in one place is between 2009 and 2012. I was renting an apartment on the beach. That’s right, just barely three years is the longest I have ever stayed in one place until now (and I am 40!). My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a house and the word process is an understatement!
I have been so fortunate in my life to be able to move from here to there and just pack up and go wherever the wind blows. I have had so many wonderful experiences and some not so wonderful. If I am being honest, part of not settling down was probably due to fear of getting older, fear of responsibility, fear of losing my “free-spirit”. I am here to tell you, there is also something wonderful about this part of life. I feel very stressed, this is true, but I also feel very proud of myself and of my husband. I feel like we will now have a home-base and a foundation. I may not be communicating this feeling very well, but if you have that free-spirit in you as I do, then maybe you can understand where I am coming from.
I wanted to share with you a bit about the home-buying process from someone who has never done it before and is doing it at a bit of and older age. First of all, I am an extremely organized person. I have gone so far as to create a spreadsheet for all tasks to be completed as far as paperwork to be signed, deadlines, inspections, etc. I am treating this as though I am the project manager and this is any other work related entity that has a beginning, middle, and end. I have found it is the best way to stay on top of the vast amount of documents, uploads, and e-mails that seem to occur almost daily!
Between my husband and I, we have one point of contact for the lender, realtor, title agency, and any other contact and that is my husband. I do the paperwork, he does the talking. It works best for our schedules and cuts down on the “he said, she said”. That way, at the end of the day when he and I come together we can have a pow-wow on my progress and his and meet in the middle.
We close on our home April 10th if all things go well and the stars align. (I say that because I have learned that until you sign on the dotted line, there is always room for something to go wrong). I am usually a glass half full kind of gal, but with the home-buying process, this is one place where you can never afford to put the cart before the horse. It can literally leave you homeless! Yikes!
We all know I love a good list, so in following with all of my other blogs, here is a list of the top ten things I’ve learned so far in the home-buying process.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try about 100 more times! (We have had to put offers in on several homes. Just because we fell in love with a home didn’t mean the seller fell in love with our terms or our offer price or our conditions or maybe a higher offer came in, there were a multitude of reasons!)
- Be patient. (The whole world is not on our time schedule and that has to be alright, but it is also ok to be on top of things and follow-up if inspections or appraisals are not happening in a timely manner. This is a fine line. Be polite, but not a doormat)
- Over-budget! (This is the time where you should not be spending money on anything extra and you should be planning on money to be needed in areas you never considered! Binder Check, Inspection, WDO, Appraisal, and the list goes on all the way to closing and beyond! Don’t forget about moving costs, cleaning your current home, packing supplies!)
- Think long term (if you are like me and have been renting you place(s) forever than it is time to think long term. Do you LOVE the house, can you see changes you want to make, and can you see your family growing here? If you don’t love it than this isn’t the place)
- Life Insurance (Once you purchase your home, it’s time to think longer life planning. Make sure you have insurance in place should something happen to yourself or your significant other you will still be able to afford your new home).
- Schedule the best you can! (This isn’t always easy to do if you are selling a home and buying one at the same time, but if you are renting like us, it is a little easier to manage. Make sure you don’t leave yourself without a place to stay. Schedule your closing on your new home BEFORE you have to be out of your current home. If this is not an option, you may need to utilize storage PODS for your moving expedition or get creative and hopefully have friends you can stay with).
- Once you close, clean! (Before you move in and get boxes in the new home, you have a blank slate in front of you. Take a few days to paint, clean, make alterations to the home prior to having boxes and furniture in your way.)
- Keep good records. (You will sign tons of documents and have a ton of papers at the end of your home-buying experience. Create a file for your new home and put all of those papers neatly into your file cabinet. You will need to address your home purchase when you do taxes, should there be an emergency, should there be an insurance claim, etc. Stay organized.)
- Make a contacts list (Through this process you will have gained a lender, a realtor, a title agency, an insurance agent, security system, company, and many more contacts. Generate a contact sheet that is a quick reference guide for your home. My husband and I live in Florida and this past year experienced a very difficult storm season. We have an “important papers” file that we use during evacuations and keep handy during any emergency situation. This contact sheet should be included in that file in case any damage is done to your home.)
- Have fun! (This is the most important part of the whole list. I can tell you that my husband and I have bickered and gotten on each other’s nerves from time to time during this process but at the end of the day, we have enjoyed finding our dream home together and planning our future together. Day-dreaming about each room and how we will decorate and what we want for years to come. These are memories we are making together and this is how our house will become a home.)
If you are like me, than letting the grass grow beneath your feet is a very big step to take and I can tell you, there is no one in the world I would rather take it with than my fabulous husband. When you find the right one, you just know. The world becomes a brighter place and troubles become less. If you are bold enough to buy a home on your own, than you have my greatest admiration as well. No matter how you find yourself letting roots sink into the ground, just make sure they are solid and in the right place. I hope this list helps someone on the same path or made someone feel like they are normal for having the same stress level as we have. As always my friends, have a happy day.