Buying Our First Home - What We Learned And What We Should Have Known
Here's what we did right. The first thing we did was take stock of our financial situation. This included determining how much money we could come up with for a down payment on a home. Having a budget to work with kept us focused on the homes we could afford and not wasting our time on houses we wish we could afford. Along the same lines, we knew exactly what area of town we wanted to live in. Again, a significant time saver as our focus was on a small neighborhood with easy access to a good elementary school. The second thing we did right was get pre-approved for a mortgage. Keep in mind that pre-approved is different from pre-qualified. Pre-approved means that a lender is willing to let you borrow money, pre-qualified mean a lender might lend you money. There is a big difference and a seller is more interested in having you pre-approved. Regarding getting pre-approved, at the very last minute we asked to get pre-approved for about ten thousand dollars more than we planned on spending. We figured that we wouldn't be using those funds; we just wanted to have the money available just in case something came up that we absolutely had to have. This is important as it figures into the lucky portion of our home buying experience.
And now for the not so good part of buying our first home. We borrowed from our children's college education fund. Yes, we dipped into the money set aside for their education and planned on using it for the down payment. We ended up selling number of stock shares to get the money. The good news, if you can call it that, is that the value of the stock declined considerably after we sold. We have since then replaced the money borrowed. Probably even more important in terms of having a home buying experience that we were happy with is the real estate agent we choose. Let me just say that you should interview a number of agents before deciding on who you want. You will be spending a number of hours / days / weeks with this person so make sure you have the right person. The broker we used was the result of a family member's recommendation.
Finally, the lucky part of the home purchase is this. Remember that we were pre-approved for a loan that was ten thousand dollars more than we figured we would need? Guess what, we used that money. The house we bought had a asking price, which by the way, we paid in full, that was exactly ten thousand dollars more than what we planned on paying. The only reason I found this house is because I took a different way to work than what I normally did that day. I found our first home on the very day it went on the market. I immediately went around the block to make another pass and pick up a flyer posted with the for sale sign. Once I arrived at work around 8 AM, I called my wife and told her to get the real estate agent on the phone and ask her if she could show us the house right now. My wife was telling me I was crazy, but I wasn't having any of that - this was the house, our house. We met at the house at 9AM, my wife absolutely loved it, and we had an offer in writing by 10:30AM that requested a reply on receipt. The owners accepted and we moved in within two months.
This home purchase worked out because we lined up our financing in advance, we knew what we could afford, and we knew where we wanted to live. We were lucky enough to spot the right house at the right time.
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Becky Hancock Realty
2915 Rucker Blvd., Enterprise, Alabama 36330
PO Box 311030, Enterprise, AL 36331