We’ve all been there – the first time home buyer anxiously waiting to feel the rush of emotion, of absolute certainty that we have found our new home. But is it always that simple? The simple answer, no. Does it get any easier? Maybe. I have had the privilege to work with several first time home buyers in addition to first time investors and for each and every individual, their story and their initial reaction to the home varies.
When I bought my first home it took me nearly 18 months (eighteen real months) to find the right home. My realtor (shout out to Patrick Sullivan) was patient as he was all knowing that eventually I would find the right home. With three dogs (nothing has changed there) and one cat (okay, that has definitely changed) my search was dependent on green space and a walkable neighborhood to keep up with these creatures. It is important to know what you are looking for and how it relates to your goals as a homeowner or investor. Are you looking for space for yourself or for you and your pack of wild animals?
As easy as it is to date online, it is just as simple to shop online for homes. The photographs, descriptions and sense of “this could be it” can be intoxicating when there are hundreds of choices available. My advice? Don’t fall for it. If you see a home you like, call your agent and ask for a showing before you have too much time to think where your couch or new loveseat might go. What might look good on paper might not stack up when you see it in person so it is always best to be as objective as possible when viewing a home for the first time.
It can be easy to fall in love with the right home but for some, it might take a bit of creativity to see just what can be with the right amount of work. Ugly wallpaper, an outdated kitchen, and a pink bathroom are all things you can change down the line. Depending on your budget and ability, it might be easier than you think. For some, painting might be easy but for folks like myself – it was daunting and terrible and I hated it. But I got it done and the home went from all shades of beige to 50 shades of grey. It made a world of difference when finished.
It is an exciting adventure to be shopping for the first time. My favorite thing to tell my clients as we embark on the journey is that ‘this is the fun part!’ Once an offer is accepted, we are off to the races so I always try to enjoy the initial showings and open houses. But my advice to every first time home buyer remains the same – don’t fall for the gimmicks, the gorgeous photos or the idea of something. Home is where you want to be so make sure that it works for your goals and what you are looking for in your first home.