So one day I packed up the car with my 4 month old and my 3 year old and we drove across the country! We drove all the way to Indiana and started our home-hunting experience! We found a great realtor and after looking at 40 homes in 4 days, I finally found my dream home!
Although everything wasn't perfect, I knew that it was the perfect place to start our adventure in Indiana and I knew our family would be happy in this home for a long time! With my sweet husband still in training, and having only seen the home in photos, we decided to buy the home! It was a scary and exciting experience!
Being an interior designer, there are many things I looked for when looking at homes and I wanted to share my:
Top 5 Tips for Buying a Home!
Location, Location, Location
When looking for a home, try to narrow down the location where you want to live. Take into account average home price, schools, crime rates, distance from work and stores etc.
Many people buy their first home in an area they are familiar with. We bought a home across the country in a state we had never set foot in! But we did a lot of asking and researching and narrowed it down to a few cities we wanted to look at homes in based on many factors including schools, crime rates, distance from work and shopping etc.
Know what you can afford BEFORE you start home hunting! Remember that unless you are paying cash, your monthly payment estimate needs to include your mortgage, interest, HOA fees, possibly PMI, and property tax. If you are paying cash for your home, you will still need to remember that you may have HOA fees and property tax to pay. Save as much as you can for a down payment, and compare loan options before home hunting (see more on that below). It is important to know what you can afford before you fall in love with a home that is out of your price range!
Find a GOOD realtor. He or she needs to understand what you are looking for and your price range. They need to be respectful of your price range and not try to oversell you into a home you can't afford.
Our realtor was amazing! Because she knew I was coming out for a week to home hunt, she blocked out the entire week just to look with me! She was incredible. But, it took time to find her. The first realtor we contacted was not helpful at all! So if the first realtor you find isn't a good fit, find a new one!
And if you are looking to purchase a spec home or a build new home, a realtor can still help you negotiate the process!
Before you spend a lot of time looking at homes, get your financing in place! Save for a down payment, know what you can afford and then talk with multiple financial institutions! I had half a dozen banks give me loan information prior to ever stepping foot into a home. And it was amazing how different they all were! From fees to finance charges and interest rates, every single bank was different and some were vastly less expensive then others. So it is important to shop around for the best financing!
Having our financing in place before I started home hunting allowed me to be armed with the knowledge of exactly what I could afford and what my monthly payment would be.
Know What You Need, What you Want and What Can Be Changed
As an interior designer, I spent many hours space planning and designing. So when looking at homes, I always paid attention to structural elements that I couldn't easily change vs superficial elements that I could easily change myself.
For example, an open layout versus having enclosed rooms is something structural that may or may not be able to be changed. And if you can change it, it may be very expensive. So it is important to love the overall layout of the house unless you have lots of cash to drop on a remodel.
One thing I love about my home is all of the closets! I have so many closets! This is a structural element that are hard to add after the fact.
My floors however were mainly linoleum. I did not love that. But I knew we could easily DIY new flooring! And over the last year we have been working on Installing new Laminate Flooring, Herringbone Tile Flooring, Bathroom Tile and Hexagon Laundry Room Tile Flooring.
Lennar is one of the nation's largest builders of affordable homes. And Lennar's Everything's Included homes include many upgrades and make the process of customizing your home simple and straight forward. And their Next Gen homes offer wonderful options for families that have live-in family members or long-term guests.
So I want to hear from you, what tips do you have for first time home buyers?
This is the conversation starter to get the discussion going. Update this text to use.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Lennar Homes. The opinions and text are all mine.