Chronicles of a First Time Home Buyer Series: 1

Inspired Living Real Estate Collective April 6, 2022

Most first-time home buyers are worried about making a mistake when taking on a huge financial and life-changing decision such as buying a house. We have put together this series on the Chronicles of a First-Time Home Buyer to provide guidance, tools, and insider tips to make your experience as smooth and memorable as this amazing accomplishment and experience should be! In this first installment, we asked a first-time buyer about her experience, what challenges she faced, and what lessons she learned through the process of buying her first home.
When you first made the decision that you wanted to buy a house, what kind of emotions were going through your mind about the process? Did you feel overwhelmed? Scared? Excited?
All of the emotions! Buying your first house is very overwhelming especially since you do not know what to expect. You dream about the day when you buy your first house, and when the day finally comes, reality hits and excitement kicks in. I was never scared because I had a great team around me guiding me in the right direction. Who you decide to work with (real estate agent, loan officer, etc.) makes a HUGE difference in how you feel throughout the process.
After you got your loan pre-approval, what was it like as you started to look at homes? Were you surprised by what you could or couldn't get for what you were approved for versus what you were expecting or looking for in a home?
We were surprised by what we could afford and the quality of homes we could purchase. Going into it, our number in mind was far lower than what we could afford according to our pre-approval. This made us excited to start our home search. We also had to keep in mind that just because we could qualify for “x” amount for a house, doesn’t necessarily mean it was the best option to max our budget. 
What compromises did you have to make as a result of this?
As a result of this, we had to widen our search. We were dead set on being in Cave Creek and in reality, would be sacrificing our quality of life by maxing our budget to do this. Looking in different cities, allowed us to get more houses for our money and in return to be a better fit overall.
What was something that surprised you about the home-buying process?
For us, the home-buying process was incredibly smooth. We were always on our toes waiting to hear bad news or be disappointed. We had great communication with everyone in the transaction and always knew what was going on. Again, this goes back to ensuring that you have the right team assisting you from the start!
What sort of emotions did you have after you were beat out on a few offers? What did you learn through this process and how did you change your mindset and strategy?
After getting outbid several times, we were starting to feel defeated and thought we could never buy a house in this crazy market. Being a first-time homebuyer, the cards were stacked against us as we had no leverage. Our Realtor always encouraged us to not give up and told us that everything happens for a reason and encouraged us to be more aggressive with our next offer and to be open to utilizing a few other strategies she had used that had been effective at getting an offer accepted in a multiple offer situation. After this discussion with our agent about options we could make to increase our chances of getting our offer accepted, we did it! And we ultimately ended up with the house that worked better for us than all the others we had been outbid on!
What was one of the biggest assets that you had in finally securing a home? How did it feel when you got your offer accepted?
The biggest asset that we had in securing our home was realizing it was our dream home. Once we walked through the doors of our house, we immediately knew it was the house for us. That being the case, we were willing to do whatever it took to get the deal done. Our agent and loan officer were instrumental in getting our offer accepted and they were in constant communication with the listing agent throughout the entire process. It takes a dedicated team to make the transaction happen. We were over the moon when we found out that our offer was accepted! All of the stars aligned and we knew we made the right decision.
You ended up canceling an offer that you initially had gotten accepted. What did you learn from this process? What advice can you give to others about what you learned from this process?
We learned not to settle! Our first offer that was accepted was in the city that we loved and really wanted to be in. We were very quick to put in an offer, overlooking the house's flaws. Once we had our inspection, we had a terrible gut feeling about the house. It needed a TON of work that we simply could not afford. We had to make the difficult decision of canceling the transaction which was a very hard decision for us. We felt very defeated. My advice to others would be to NEVER SETTLE! It took us a while to come to this realization and in hindsight, we are so incredibly blessed that we didn't settle on that first house.
As is common in our market right now, the seller had a post-possession. What was it like closing on your home but having to delay the excitement of actually moving in?
We had mixed emotions. On closing day you are so excited to sign the papers and make everything official but you do not have the keys. The emotions that you go through is a rollercoaster as you are excited to move but the anticipation is agonizing. We originally had a one-month leaseback but were ultimately able to get it reduced to only one week - which was amazing as we were able to get into our new home before the holidays!
There is generally always something out of the ordinary that happens during a transaction. What was peculiar about that day that you got to move in?
Move-In day was the best day of our lives. We had a sense of accomplishment in that we are proud homeowners. All of the stars were aligning and this house was truly meant to be ours. We are happier than ever in our new house and welcomed a new puppy to the family in helping us make our home complete! 
On move-in, we were so excited to get the keys! We rushed over to the house as soon as we got the clearance to move in. The listing agent said that the keys will be in the lockbox on the side of the house. We pulled up to the house and there was no lockbox, I searched high and low to see if they moved it. I started to panic as I couldn't find the key. I called my agent to see if she had any suggestions and she said to check the backdoor. Of course the sellers were great and locked every single door and window, trust me, I checked! Everyone was in a frenzy to try and find our house keys, my agent, the listing agent, everyone. Lo and behold, the keys were under the front door mat. I was in such a fog that it didn't occur to me to look in the most obvious spot. Now that I made my presence known in the neighborhood, they quickly learned that I was not trying to break into the house and I in turn was the new homeowner!
Welcome to the neighborhood!
It’s easy to see the underlying theme here of how crucial having a good team on your side is both to your success and enjoyment of the process. It is important to set the foundation with a Realtor that understands the market, has a high level of professionalism and a proven track record, as well as a team to support you through every aspect of the transaction, to ensure your real estate goals will be realized. In all of the excitement of starting your first home search, the importance of this step is often overlooked. Do your research, talk with several agents, and ask lots of questions. You should feel good about who you are working with and trust that they have your back and will work diligently to find you your perfect first home. But in turn, once you have selected an agent, dedicate yourselves to them as well as it is definitely a team effort! Buying a home comes with lots of emotions, potential challenges, exciting moments and milestones. Make sure that you are working with a team that will ensure you enjoy the journey as well as the destination!

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