Lessons from a First-Time Homebuyer


Being a first-time home buyer can be intimidating and challenging, especially in the HOT market the Dallas-Fort Worth area has been experiencing the last few years. However, as it is with most challenges in life, there are many lessons to be learned. Aaron Gann recently contacted Sister Sell Realty looking to buy his first home! Aaron wanted a property in the 1,000-1,800 square foot range with 3 bedrooms that would accomodate him and, eventually, his parents. We greatly enjoyed working with him and admired his conscientiousness about his parent's future comfort. After a few weeks of searching and showing, we were able to get Aaron's desired property under contract! As realtors, we often learn something new with each of the clients we get to work with, and we hope that our clients leave closing, not only with their dream home, but also with an operating knowledge of real estate transactions and the market as a whole! Take a look at what Aaron learned:

"A big thank you to Sister Sell Realty for helping me find and buy the right house for me. What I learned: As a first time home buyer, everything was new. I set a budget and started discovering my style (lesson #1: my initial budget was too low for what I wanted). I planned to start my hunt during the winter months in the hope that the DFW market would cool down (lesson #2: it's still very hot). I think every house I liked was a multi-bid situation. And as someone who likes to get deals, it's hard to pay full price (much less offer over the asking price). However to even get to the house under contact and start the option period right now (lesson #3: bidding over asking price bids is common and generally necessary in this current market).

The search: one evening Charlotte had set up several different showings for houses I had sent her (lesson #4: help your realtor by sending them houses that fit your dream and go see them in person). One house I looked at was literally across the street from an elementary school (lesson #5: check out the closest school on Google maps). We went thru about five houses and none of them were particularly feeling like the house I was looking for. I had seen a really nice one the night before, so Charlotte checked and we were able to check it out that same evening. That house was by far my favorite of the bunch. It had already been nicely redone with tile throughout, the foundation had been repaired, and it had a great flow with little wasted space. I really felt excited about it and that evening I put in an offer for $5,000 over the list price. However, the seller was making some minor repairs and wasn't going to accept an offer until the repairs had been completed and other offers came in.

The wait: Thinking I had found the "one", we waited to hear back from the seller. Unfortunately, he received a cash offer that was higher than mine. (Lesson #6: don't stop looking till you have a house under contract and try not to get attached to a home that isn't yours).

Back to square one: Sarah helped me get out of my small case of home dreamer's blues and I dutifully started the search again the next day. We found a couple of houses that looked good and put in bids. I got a house under contact and started getting ready for the inspection period. Hold the presses: within 24 hours, Charlotte called to let me know that the current contract on the house that I had liked so much was falling apart and that while I shouldn't get my hopes up, there might be a chance that I would able to buy the home. (Although, it was good of Charlotte to tell me not to get my hopes up, it was very hard to not be excited).

The rush: the next day Charlotte calls to tell me that the contract on the other house fell thru! We terminate the contact on the house that I wasn't too fond of and got in contact with the seller of the home. Within a day, I was under contract for the house I wanted.

Option period and inspections: One thing that most first time home buyers don't expect is all of the craziness during the option period and the cost. You should schedule your inspection (about $300) as soon as possible so you can get specialists out if necessary. My home inspector found a whole host of things (some important, some less important, and minor things that sounded like a good weekend project). He noted some of the evidence from the foundation problems and suggested a second opinion. Since the house had just undergone foundation repairs, I wondered if it would be worth getting a foundational engineer (they cost $500-600). I bit the bullet (lesson #7: any inspection cost is really a drop in the bucket for a $150k purchase).

At first the structural engineer said everything looked fine, but he did notice a small depression at the front. We walked around the house and he thought about what could be the cause. He concluded it was possibly the tree and the yard was . However, the official report the next day suggested there could be a leak below the master bathroom. That really freaked me out. Thankfully, Sarah and Charlotte calmed me down and it became a negotiating point to the addendum we agreed to before the end of the closing period. Wait part 2: after that, it was very calm. I paid my earnest money and signed my bank papers.

Closing: the morning before closing, I had Sarah and Charlotte show me the repaired house one more time. The yard was dry and everything was still there. Charlotte and Sarah also gave me a very thoughtful, moving-in present. If I could do it all over again, I'd still choose Sister Sell Realty."

We are so glad Aaron's experience with us was a successful and educational one! Have any real estate needs? Give us at Sister Sell a call!

#firsttimehomebuyer #closing #lessons #perspective #realestate

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