Thursday, January 16, 2014

The first-time home buyer - finding "the one"

So I can lament about how I fell off the blogging wagon, but instead, let's just catch up from last year, shall we?

2013 overall was a great year. Around January last year, we decided to take the plunge into home ownership. We knew our credit was good, we had some money saved up, and although I often daydream about moving (oh I wish I could be with you more), we knew that Kansas is where we were going to stay for the foreseeable future. So off we went, starting our first-time home buying process.

The first step we took was shopping for a Realtor via  After chatting with a couple, we finally decided on one who then recommended us to a couple of banks. The first bank we delt with was amazing and gave us a breakdown for a house at the low, mid, and high-end of our budget range so we would know what kind of monthly costs we would be incurring depending on the purchase price of the home. We then sat down and made our list of "must haves" - aspects of the home that were non-negotiable and "nice to haves" - what our dream home would have.

Must haves:
1. 3 + bedrooms and 2 + baths
2. 2 car garage (Nate has tools. Lots and lots of tools)
3. Basement (because tornadoes, y'all)
4. Good neighborhood
5. Decent sized-back yard
6. Space for family dinners (with Nate's family in town, that's about 15 people around the holidays!)

Nice to haves:
1. En-suite
2. Updated kitchen, and overall, just updated
3. Fenced in back yard (for the pugs, aka the pigs)

I'm not going to lie, our list was a pretty hefty one considering our budget, and we did a LOT of searching. Once we scoured what was already on the market, we waited for new houses to be listed. And we saw those, and waited. And saw more, and waited some more. Out of the two of us, I was definitely the pickier one. It seemed like every house we'd see, Nate would say "looks good" and then I would pick it apart until it was apparent that this would NOT be the house we'd be buying. Well, fast forward about 4 months, winter turned into spring, and one April day I see this beauty on the listings page.

I have to say, I thought it was cute from the pictures online, but after seeing it in person, I was not convinced. The backyard was beautiful (and fenced in!), the layout was great, and hey, it even had 4 bedrooms and was on a dead-end street, but dear lord, everything in the house was brown. As in brown walls, brown trim, brown carpet.

I think the owners had a favorite color. And it was brown.

It wasn't love at first sight, and we almost walked out of this house, feeling defeated again by another dud listing. But then we didn't. We didn't leave. I keep walking around the house, getting a feel for it, and then realized something different about this house more than any other house we had seen: it had potential.. Was it my dream house? No. Was it 100% updated or new like the others we saw? No. But it had everything we'd ever need for the next 10+ years, if only we could spend a little sweat-equity in updating it. The big things you can't change about a house, like the neighborhood, or the size of the yard, or the overall structure were already perfect in my mind.

And that was the day we finally decided to go for it. That night we put in an offer (the house was on the market for a whopping 2 days), and 2 days after that the sellers officially accepted the offer.

 More to come on our home-buying process (as well as lots and lots of renovations, decorating, bank drama, and tips and tricks for first-time home buying).

How did you know your first home was "the one"?

No comments:

Post a Comment