Christine here! For a change of pace, I'm not going to just share a cute dress that I just bought but I wanted to share a very big thing that Ry and I are attempting to go through right now-- buying our first home!
While it's definitely a daunting process, he and I are trying to enjoy every little bit of it that we can because if we're going to be eating ramen for the next four years, that home better be worth it!
I will say, before about a month ago, neither Ryan and I had NO IDEA where to start. I kid you not, like didn't know how a mortgage worked, what was normal for a down payment and frankly, totally underestimated the fact that we don't pay HOAs right now. But, that's why I'm writing this! I'm hoping that our few tips will help you when you go through the process one day.
I wanted to share a pre-home buying list on this post. I'm hoping that as we see more homes I can do another post on what to look for, things to pay attention to and keep in mind while looking at showings and of course (hopefully!) the entire closing process!
We are at the very beginning of this adventure (we've seen one property and boy that was a whirlwind) so you guys know how this will end as well as we do- we hope you follow along on our journey to find our first little (yes, it will be little- don't know if you're aware but we live in South Florida) home!
- BUILD A BUDGET: If you don't already, build a budget! I built ours in excel -- I have a love affair with that program -- and it definitely took some tweaks the first few months, but it's seriously so helpful. (Read: we spend HOW MUCH on coffee?!) I googled and googled for how to build ours but basically I started with our biggest expenses- obviously rent, groceries, gas, phone bill, etc. and then kinda adjusted as we went on. We realized we spent a lot of money going out so that got it's own section. For a while, we had weddings ALL THE TIME- so that had it's own section. You just have to get a feel for everything.
- FIND PEOPLE YOU TRUST: This was a huge stress point for Ry and I. I was scared to even start the process because I didn't want to end up with a real estate agent we didn't feel 100% comfortable with. Enter: Matt Brannon. Matt is a friend of the family and even though we have just started, he's already been such a huge stress-reliever and totally understands where we're coming from. Because we have so much confidence in Matt, he pointed us in the right direction for a mortgage broker- which is a huge deal because you hand over literally every piece of financial paperwork of your LIFE to these people. Finding people you trust is so incredibly important! Don't have a family friend? Ask around! People buy homes all the time so definitely reach within your own little network and go from there.
- HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM: Ry and I realize how incredibly lucky we are to have family so close. My parents have actually been coming to the showings with us and while some people are probably saying woah calm down, Ry and I know ourselves well-enough that we need outside, unbiased opinions. My mom has taken my phone calls from "We're going to go bankrupt" to "This is my dream home" (that hasn't happened yet but hopefully will soon!) Now, I understand that not everybody has this but your spouse can be your support system! Which brings me to the next point...
- BE ON THE SAME PAGE: This is HUGE! Ry and I already had our difference of opinions on the first home and I honestly thought to myself, this is going to be miserable isn't it?... But we took a step back and realized it wasn't the home for us. He lowered expectations, I saw the property for what it was, and together, we realized it wasn't meant to be. We have had COUNTLESS conversations about what we want, what's non-negotiable, where we want to be, what we're willing to sacrifice, talked in circles all before we even reached out to Matt. I know it seems obvious, but your marriage comes first (Matt told me that on the phone yesterday-- see, he's amazing).
I hope this little tidbit helps and stay tuned on updates!