The Road to Buying My First Home: Part 1
The series of blogs I am about to write is something I’ve been planning for approximately six months. When 2017 started, I had no idea that my wife and I were about to embark on one of the most emotional and fulfilling journeys of our life together. Especially from my point of view. I have been looking forward to being a homeowner for more years than I’ve been living away from home. Years ago, I pretty much figured I’d land a good paying job, move up the ladder, and be able to buy my first home after a few years. Unfortunately, especially considering the world we live in today, things don’t always work out the way you plan them. Years of self exploration and fighting the grind of the corporate world lead me to a place where I wound up staying in the rut of apartment living for so long that college kids started moving in at my apartment complex. As my wife and I ventured into our first full year of marriage, we looked around and knew that we needed to make home ownership one of our top priorities in 2017.
Using Applications to Research Homes in the Area
I have to admit, although I was totally united in my wife and I’s plan to buy a home, I can’t sit here and say I was equally as motivated to find the perfect home as she was. My wife spent a lot of her time search and searching and searching on apps such as Zillow in order to find the right fit for us. I don’t know if my lack of enthusiasm was due to my tendency to live a pretty simple life or if I just knew that I would get excited when the right opportunity would present itself. Either way, you will find as we go through this series that although my wife and I are a great team, she was truly the leader of this entire journey. We wouldn’t have found the ideal home without her tireless effort. But, before I get into more on what she really contributed to the process, I need to talk a little more about why this is blog needs to be more than one or two parts.
Open Houses & finding a Realator
After months of discussion, debate, and dozens of for sale links sent to my phone from my wife, the time had come when we were ready to take the next steps. Other than a vague idea of what we wanted a lot of money saved up, we weren’t very prepared to take the next steps. We didn’t have a Real Estate Agent to represent us, we didn’t have pre approvals on a mortgage, etc. All we knew is that we didn’t want to live in apartments with random people and college kids anymore.
In the spring of 2017, my wife and I finally got up the courage to go out there and dip our toes in the waters of open houses. At this point, I don’t think either one of us knew what our home buying potential really was. Considering the fact that both of us had endured our share of obstacles, I don’t think either one of us knew how far we could take this search. For that reason, we started our journey by looking at mostly suburban row/attached homes. We wound up spending a few weekends looking at places that were mostly within this category of homes. Through this part of the process, I just couldn’t get very excited about the process. To me, the homes we were looking at felt too much like a bigger version of the apartments we had been living in for the past few years. Without really knowing what our true buying potential was, I knew I wanted something a little better than that. Even if it meant living in an apartment for a few more years.
After we looked at a few row/attached homes and talked things over a little bit, my wife and I decided it might be time to extend our search into bigger homes. At this point, our main goal was to find out what the potential really was for us. Our initial searches felt a little unfulfilling as I personally wanted more than what we were looking at. This part of our search lead us to meeting pushy agents and browsing around smelly homes we couldn’t wait to get out of. A discouraging start to a process we were hoping to find a lot of joy in. Thankfully, this wouldn’t last too long as fate brought us into an open home that really changed our entire search.
Way out in the suburbs of Maryland, my wife and I stumbled across a big, gorgeous home that captured our imaginations. Although the home was a little out of our price range, It was the first one we both went through, looked at each other, and said “this feels like home”. Unlike all of the other homes we’d looked at, this house smelled amazing, was very well maintained, and was spacious in ever which way we wanted our first home to be. Not only that, but this particular open house brought us into contact with two people who wound up being a huge part of our home buying experience moving forward. Upon entering the house, we were greeted by a real estate agent by the name of Laura who was very engaging and seemed genuinely interested in helping us. The same sentiments were echoed by Brandon, Mortgage Loan Originator on site. Both of them were very friendly, engaging, and seemed genuinely interested in helping us accomplish our goals. After having a few strange experiences elsewhere, this was the first time both of us were truly excited about the process. After leaving this house, we both knew that this was the type of home and the level of service we were looking for.
Coming up in Part 2
In part 2 of this series I will talk about the process of working with Laura and Brandon and how their help, along with my wife’s determination to find the right house, lead us to a home buying situation that went way beyond our highest expectations.