(Closed) First time home buyer. Tell me about YOUR home buying experience.

posted 5 years ago in Home
Post # 3
1638 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Commenting to follow! My husband and I are looking to purchase a home in 2014!

Post # 4
589 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Scottish Rite Cathedral (New Castle, PA)

We are currently living on our first home! Hooray! But our home buying experience was definitely eye opening. We also expanded our budget to see things we could actually consider and it was definitely worth it. We also learned that pictures online can be very deceiving!! It was super frustrating looking at houses that looked totally different than their pictures. It was also frustrating to see houses that we couldn’t believe were priced at what they were!!! We ended up actually buying a house that was for sale by owner and it’s definitely one of the best decisions we made. We also weren’t prepared for how much closing costs are! Ouch! We had a couple of houses slip out from under us, we didn’t move fast enough and other people purchased them. 

Overall I would definitely say not to get discouraged and to just keep looking. You really don’t want to settle, you’re probably going to be stuck there for awhile. The other thing that was hard for me was not to look at the carpet or wall colors or furniture in a house and to just look at it for the house part. My Fiance had to keep reminding me to only look at things that we couldn’t change easily. Such good advice!! I’d also try to set a list of your “must-haves”, don’t be extreme but decide on a few things you’re not willing to sacrifice. For example, we needed a garage, a sizeable yard, and a big kitchen. When we looked at places we would consistently remind ourselves that there are a lot of houses out there and not take the temptation to sacrifice our must-haves out of frustration. Home buying can be a long process!! I think they say the average is 3-6 months of looking before you find one. Good luck!! 🙂

Post # 5
1480 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

@SoCalLove:  I bought a condo on my own and closed escrow the month I started dating my SO. My dad is a general contractor so I knew getting a fixer upper was the best option for me, since I could get deals on any renovations I wanted to do. I probably saw 20-30 houses and condos in person and passed on more that my realtor wanted to show me because they didn’t meet my basic criteria.

I found a forclosed condo on zillow.com and told my realtor I wanted to go see it. I liked it and saw the potential, so I put in an offer. I got lucky because it was a Bank of America forclosure and they made me get loan approval through them to just put an offer on the place (even though I was already approved with my own lender) and it tooks me over two weeks for someone from B of A to call me back! Because I was persistant, I finally got my loan approval through them and put in a reasonable offer – they over priced it a bit in their original listing price IMO. Literally the day after I put in an offer, they lowered the price to exactly what I offered. They accepted my offer within a week even though after they lowered the price they got over 2 dozen other offers. 

After escrow closed, I set one month aside for renovations after which I moved in. It was a stressful process every step of the way but SO worth it! Feel free to ask me any questions since we might be in the same area.

For what it’s worth, there are rumors going around that the housing market is going to crash again in 2015…so if you can’t find a good deal now, maybe wait it out?

Post # 6
7311 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast

It sucked. LOL We were looking for our forever home, I am picky, and our budget was $100k less than the average sale price in our target area. 18 months. 3 failed contracts before closing on the 4th. Raised our budget by $50k, re-worked our target area, re-workd our “must have” list. It was a learning process. Fortunately it was worth it.

Post # 7
12247 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2013

My first home was purchased with no lawyers involved!

It was basically a ramshackle hut I owned with my ex. It was 17K when we bought it. That’s how run-down it was!

The buying process was a mess! The town clerk’s papers showed that there was a lien on the place, and the seller swore there wasn’t! Luckily, we got everything cleared up and were able to purchase it.

When I left him I bought my second place. Both of us had lawyers to smooth along that purchase! Unfortunately, I had a relative do my home inspection, and he missed water damage! So when I sold the place this past September, I took a financial hit.

Which sucked. But it still sold at enough of a profit to pay off all but one of my student loans!

Post # 8
3276 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

We started looking in Summer 2012, we saw at least 20 houses, thousands online. We put in three offers and didn’t not get them. Eventually we put in offer on a house in May after being on the market for 3 days. We got it for a steal and took 3 weeks to close on May 31st this year! It was a long process but it was worth it. My best advice is there will ALWAYS be another house. There will be so many times you think this is perfect, but trust me there will be another “perfect” house. Good luck!

Post # 9
14656 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Our buying experience was stressful and sucked!  We were focused only on 5 towns in the area based on location and school district.  2 of the towns, we were basically priced out of.  The other 3, we went to open houses just about every weekend for about 3 months and saw literally every house that fit our price range and #bed/baths.  We ended up loving 1 that we saw one evening, went to make an offer the next morning, and found out they accepted an offer just an hour after we had visited.  So 2 days later, we decided to just go for the next best house since there was nothing else and we couldn’t wait since DH’s lease was ending and we didn’t want to renew.  We found out AGAIN, that just the night before, they’d accepted an offer too.  We were left with nothing and ended up increasing the budget 100k from our original target to get the house we have now.  In the end, I think it worked out.  This house location and layout and everything is much better for us.

Post # 10
869 posts
Busy bee

I have bought and sold five houses – I have relocated a lot for work.  Thank god my company paid all relocation and closing costs.  The houses have ranged from starter homes to custom built 6,000 square foot monstrosities priced at $1M+. Pretty much, I have seen it all from both a buyers and sellers perspective – the good, the bad and the ugly. My best advice is have a list of things that you “must have” in a potential house that you and Darling Husband agree upon and be willing to compromise on some of the other things. I think it’s true that location is most important, you can re-model some cosmetic drawbacks in an ugly duckling with potential but be honest with yourselves how much you are willing to undertake in terms of re-modeling funding, effort, energy and timing. When I was younger and had a more limited budget I was more willing to compromise on things that needed to be re-modeled and enjoyed putting my own sweat equity and personal touches in.  Now that my time is more limited and my funding more available, I want move in ready, high end finishing touches that have already been done for me.  This is a really exciting time for you, take your time and enjoy it! Best wishes!

Post # 11
6573 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012


We bought our house 5 years ago, before we were even engaged/married. We were living in another state (from where we are from/currently live) and started looking a few months before moving back in anticipation of coming back to our hometown. On a trip back home, we came across a house while riding around that was FSBO and on a whim called them to go see it. We really liked the house, so we took my dad back to see it, as well as DH’s aunt who is a realtor (to get their perspective). We had to head back out of town, and told them we were very interested and to please let us know if they had any other interested people.

A week later we called to tell them we wanted to move forward with making an offer. We then found out they had already accepted an offer to sell to friends of theirs. At the time we were SO upset we’d lost out and they didn’t even give us a chance. Looking back, they probably thought we were young and not serious – although we were.

A couple months later we moved home, and in with family while we continued to look. We went to look at several places, but nothing seemed right. There was one house on the market that we thought was WAY out of our budget, but we went to see it anyway just to compare. We loved it but it was so expensive we just put it out of our minds. Well, a perk of being in a small town is that everyone knows everyone. Friends of ours knew the owners of that house, and found out that their listing had expired with their realtor and they were still interested in selling.

Long story short, we met with them, they had lowered the price *considerably*. We were thinking it was still at the old price becuase even though their listing with their agent had expired, he kept entering it into the MLS. We ended up making an offer and buying it FSBO.

It was SUPER painless for us. The sellers were great people, we worked with a lawyer to handle the sale/closing, and we even purchased a bunch of their furniture too. 


The best advice I can give, is not to get too upset when you miss out on something. We were really upset when the first house fell through. It ended up being a blessing in disguise. We purchased our current home, for the same price as the first house sold for – and our house is over 1000sqft *more* and nicer. 

Post # 12
10589 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

It went well.  We mostly agreed on stuff, but when it came to the early houses we had different ones we would consider putting an offer in, so we decided to keep looking.  One of the more expensive communities was a bit hot at the time and most of the houses in it that we were interested in seeing were pending.  One we went to see was comfree though, and had been on the market quite a while.  We’re behind the US on comfree and many realtors don’t even have them show up in online searches, let alone take you to them.  I think that helped in avoiding getting into a bidding war or just stress about wondering if another offer would come it.

The most stressful part was hearing from our lender because of a natural disaster.  We went ahead with removing our financing condition even though things weren’t 100% confirmed by them.

Post # 13
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

We bought our house 2 years ago now. We had $230k downpayment and decided we’d cap our search at $600ish. We looked at a ton online, and saw about 20-30 houses over a month or two in person. We ended up meeting the sellers in the middle between our initial offer ($20k below asking) and the asking price, so we got it for $10k off list price. We bought it when it had been on the market 4 days and I would have been perfectly happy paying full price. We got a very good deal! Then of course we had a home inspection which was perfect, the house was only 4 years old and built by a really good company (my parents know houses well also so before we even made the offer they came to the showing and checked things out) so we knew there wouldn’t be issues. We had a two month closing period just because that’s what the sellers wanted, and it didn’t matter to us since we weren’t in a time crunch to get out of where we were living. 

The one major annoyance we had was the alarm system… the seller claimed they had forgotten the code, and lost the key fobs to turn it off. We only found that out after 2 months of calling their realtor trying to get that from them. We never did, so now we have an alarm system which is armed and we can’t shut it off. So we just had to unplug the main box in the basement. If we want to ever use it, we need to get a whole new system since it can’t be reprogrammed while it’s armed. Stupid stupid stupid!

Post # 14
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

we’re in the process of buying a house now (as in actually paying for it, we found it already)

we had up to 100,000 dollars (which is enough to buy a house outright here in mexico) so we started the hunt online. first came up with our criteria – 3 bedroom, space for a grill, no further outside the city than we are already (we live in the suburbs), covered laundry. able to move in asap

we looked at a million ads online, narrowed it down to 25 and started visiting. after the first few we knew what our size requirements are so could knock off a few smaller ones off the list.  we came to the conclusion for same price we could have a bigger house further out or a small house closer to the city. we decided that we’d rather have more space than a more central location

we found the perfect place which was under budget, paid a 1000 dollar deposit and signed a contract giving us 14 days to pay. i had to get a special govt permit to buy the house (as im a foreigner in mexico) which takes 5 days and we’ll be paying the certified cheque and getting the keys on the 18th december!!

think its a bit slower if a mortgage is involved

most new houses here come without kitchens or bathrooms…just a empty shell. the one we bought was new but *did* included bathrooms and a kitchen so that was important to me. now we need to add taps, boiler, aircon, fans, furniture etc

its quite straight forward here luckily!

Post # 15
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

It was a long, painful process and we’re not done yet. Our offer was accepted two days ago! WOO HOO!

Things we learned along the way:

1. Make sure your credit is in order and pay off your credit cards IN FULL every single month. There is nothing more devastating than finding out 5 months into your house hunt that you no longer qualify for a loan.

2. get pre-approved. Not just pre-qualified & get your finances in order. Find out how much cash you’re going to need to close!

3. Don’t go look at houses that you can not afford

4. Learn to compromise on things that can be changed

5. Don’t compromise on location

6. Treat it as an investment. It’s not just a place to live, if you buy the right neighborhood you are investing wisely in your future

7. educate yourself on the home buying process. Talk to your realestate agent, have them EXPLAIN the process to you before you go out and look

8. Ask your agent to set you up with automatic emails straight form the MLS ‘Matrix’ That way when a house get’s listed you are the FIRST to see it. 


10. Make sure your realestate agent is familiar with the areas you want to live in

11. Be patient and have faith that your house WILL come. It’s tough and can be SUPER discouraging when you make offers and they don’t get accepted.

Post # 16
244 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

One more thing to consider:

Every $10,000 that you increase your loan ammount you pay about $60 extra per month.


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