Good advice is hard to come by these days. We are so inundated with mass quantities of information that it’s difficult to distinguish good facts from bad. So if you are like me & find yourself at the crossroads of a life-altering event, like say… buying a home, you ask the people you trust for advice.
I interviewed ten seasoned homeowners from all different ages & walks of life.
These are people who ventured into the world of home buying & came out on the other side as more knowledgeable homeowners.
Every single person I spoke to learned something in the process of buying a home that they wish they would have known before going into the process.
Luckily they agreed to share the insight & advice they wish that they would have gotten standing in your shoes.
I wish I bought my first house sooner!
“I wish I started sooner from a financial perspective. Big chunks of money in my life have come from home ownership…from the appreciation. Just seeing the mortgage paid down & tax savings has been phenomenal. I pay less in monthly mortgage than I would in rent.”
“It’s not nearly as scary as people think; a down payment doesn’t need to be 20%. I’ve never done that. Down payments can be 3.5%, 5%, or even less thanks to grants now available that help you out. Later, if the house increases in value, you can refinance & get to that 20% level. People always say if you rent, you don’t have to worry about fixing the home. But that cost is already built into your rent. Doing repairs has never really been hard or expensive. Also, treat the house well! Neglect can destroy the value of your home. Do the basics like keeping it clean, keeping up with the yard, etc… Set aside some money for maintenance, just like you would for your car.” — Justin Gesso
Get pre-approved before you shop
“First, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin shopping. You’ll know your price range & can make an offer with confidence. Second, interview several Realtors to see who can help you the best. Third, buy less than you can afford (or have been approved for). There will be many additional expenses once you’ve moved into the house & you don’t want to be house rich and cash poor. Fourth, if you don’t have the 20% down payment, do keep track of when you’ve paid 20% of the loan balance & request that the PMI fee be discontinued.”
Seek advice on the home from an experienced family member or friend
“When you find something you like, ask an older family member or friend to go through it with you as an impartial observer. Buying a new home is often a gut reaction &, like falling in love, it can sometimes blind us to issues that will need to be worked out. Lastly, remember to think about form over function. Granite countertops & wood flooring may look nice, but a high-efficiency furnace & hail resistant roof is more important to your comfort & energy use in the long run.” — Nancy Murray & Janet Willams
Oscar Wilde said it best when he said, “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself.” Knowledge & guidance in the home buying process is essential!
Homebuying is easier when you’re informed–talk to a mortgage lender early!
“Something my boyfriend & I wish we knew then would be the actual purchasing process; ways to not have to pay mortgage insurance, or leaving a paper trail of proof that you’ve previously paid rent. Plus all of the initial costs that you have to come up with at closing. I am fortunate enough to have a boyfriend and family that knows all about fixing up houses, so that part wasn’t bad. But my advice to new homeowners & buyers is to take a new homeowner class & have three months of bills in savings at all times. Also talk to a bank advisor that will give you tips on how to pay less interest & pay off your loan faster by simply just paying one extra mortgage payment a year!” — Allyson Cook
“Ask all questions! No matter how small or insignificant, they seem & don’t be pressured into something you KNOW you can’t afford! Pay for a thorough inspection, don’t take “their word” for it, find out for yourself. But most importantly: TRUST YOUR GUT! If it’s too good to be true..it usually is!”— Ruth Hall
The neighborhood for your first home matters
“I think the advice I have is to evaluate the neighborhood. The neighborhood we lived in was in a steady, residential area. It began to change when older couples moved out & landlords were buying up any open properties due to proximity to UNC. Our neighborhood went from this sweet, quaint area to party & gang central. Also, to research the homes school that is assigned to the property region. Make sure the school is one you feel matches your educational beliefs & desires for your children.” — Kacy Littleowl
“First, buy a home that is less than 20 years old. We had issues/expenses with things wearing out. Make sure the floor plan you buy is conducive to the family that you’re buying for. Aka, we have a split level home with four levels. The bedrooms are on the top floor, while the laundry room is in the basement. Make sure the kitchen is big enough for two people to cook at the same time. Our kitchen was built for the “old fashion housewife setting.” Not good when a husband and wife like to cook together.” — Ryan Alles
Have the house professionally inspected
“My experience was pretty easy financially because I bought my home with cash. I think what I would say to first time home buyers is to ask questions & do their research on the home and property itself. Make sure they look at every inch of the home. Not the cosmetic features, but the electrical, the heating, etc. Make sure if there is something they want to change or fix, that it something they will be able to afford. Property taxes is another thing to check, make sure you can afford the taxes”. —Randi Haught
I was curious to see what advice my grandmother would give regarding buying homes. When I asked, she shrugged her shoulders and said, “Well we bought our first family home for $8,000 in 1962. It was a three bedroom, one bath Victorian style home. We loved it.”
As you can imagine, I was shocked to hear the price of the home when they bought it. So after that, I did what anyone would do. I got on Zillow & looked up the value of it now, & what it last sold for. Let’s just say it was well above the original price my grandparents paid for it in 1962.
Don’t max out your home buying budget
“We wish we would have taken into account how long our family would live there. When we first started out I also wish that we had known that you could purchase home warranties. I think that we would tell new homeowners not to max yourself out when you buy a home. If you can borrow 200,000, then look for a home around 180,000. Give yourself breathing room. When you’re starting out find something with a little equity because you probably won’t have money to buy new appliances.” — Ron & Korie Glover
Obviously there is a lot to know when you are first buying a home. Lots of questions arise! The Ferguson Team is always more than happy to answer any questions you may have and give some advice of their own!
Just give us a call at 970-573-6441 or use the contact form below to send us an email.