(Closed) First time house buyers FAQ

posted 3 years ago in Home
Post # 2
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2012


$10k/$120k mortgage

no obstacles, but this was pre-mortgage crisis, so it was easy to get mortgages then.

no real regrets, since it ended up being a great investment, but I wish I had put more thought into buying a house so young. The associated expenses and the commitment meant I was stuck in an area (and in a marriage) longer than I should have been.

did not really plan for this. Maybe about a month or two of thinking about it? It was a new build, so I waited 6 months or so before I closed.

Post # 4
222 posts
Helper bee

Age: 20

Around $200k downpayment plus $80k to decorate house/new kitchen and bathroom/rewiring etc.

No regrets. I decorated in a more classic way rather than ultra modern as it will last longer. Too modern and you are apt to go out of fashion very quickly. I Bought solid wood and antique furniture built to last, nothing from Ikea that will fall to bits in 5 minutes.

Obstacles: took ages to get it done, thankfully I wasn’t living there until it was all finished.

The house has increased in value 100% in 5 years. But we don’t want to move so it’s immaterial. However if you buy in a good area  property can make you money like no other investment can.

Post # 5
209 posts
Helper bee


Age? We bought when I was 30 and he was 28

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house? Probably around $310k after down payment, fees and taxes, 900k mortgage.

Regrets/Wish you had known: No regrets, but we had a seriously hard time getting our construction permits and it would have been nice to know that in advance so we could plan better where we would live during that time.

Obstacles? Buying a home in NYC is a blood sport. The bidding process wasn’t too bad, but we lost on another property before we settled on this one.

How long you waited/planned? We looked for about a year before we ended up purchasing.

Post # 6
7098 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Age? 23/26

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc). We did an FHA loan, which allowed us to put less down. I think we put $10,000 down  ($340,000 purchase price) and paid another $3,000 cash to the owners to purchase some of their furniture. That did not include what we spent on a home inspection or appraisal.

Regrets/Wish you had known: The downside to an FHA loan is having PMI. Basically a mortgage insurance for those who put less than 20% down. It can be incredibly hard to get rid of, as you have to pay it down. That being said homes in our area can be expensive and saving up 20% would have been very very difficult.

Obstacles? We didn’t really have any major obstables. We purchased FSBO and it was a pretty smooth transition for us. We had really sweet and honest sellers (the husband was the youth pastor at a local church) and we actually let them stay an additional 2 weeks after closing rent free while they waited for their new house to be finished as we weren’t in a rush to move in.

How long you waited/planned? We started looking about 6 months before we were officially moving back to our hometown after college. We weren’t in a huge rush, so we weren’t willing to settle for the sake of getting into a house. I think we looked for about a year total before we purchased. We looked at several homes, but not as many as some people, because at the time (8 years ago) the inventory in our town for the style of home we wanted was pretty slim.


We had moved a couple of times prior to buying, and I was pretty set that I wanted to purchase a house we could stay in for quite a while. We bought much larger than the early 20’s couple rather than the typical starter home. Even still we intended to be here around 5 years and here we are 8 years later still here!

Post # 7
4231 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom


I was 27, Darling Husband was 29. We had been married about three months.

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc).

We had WAY more downpayment than we needed! We had $85k (about 37%) and another $15k for fees and moving expenses.

Regrets/Wish you had known:

We bought our condo from flippers, but they used way more ‘lipstick’ than we thought. Knowing what I know now, I would have looked A LOT closer at some things. Nothing major is wrong with out condo, but stupid stuff like no fan or electrical outlet in the half bathroom, the kitchen light is wired weird and the switch is in an inconvenient spot, the soundproofing between bedrooms isn’t great etc.


Our move out date was the same as our move in date, and we couldn’t get the keys to our new condo until 6pm. The people moving into our place showed up at 5:30pm (half an hour earlier than agreed) so we had to stand around awkwardly and talk to them. Then we were moving into our new condo (after a HARD and emotional day of packing our moving truck) until 1am. Looking back, even if we would have to stay in a hotel overnight and pay for an extra day for the moving truck…don’t have your closing date and moving date on the same day!

How long you waited/planned?

We saved up for about four years. to be honest, I would have loved to save longer and buy a house instead of a condo…but we were in a position where we HAD to move anyways, so we made it happen….which is why our downpayment was really large for a condo, but would have been too small for a house.

Anthing else!

Buying your first home isn’t the ‘magical’ experience people make it out to be. Darling Husband and I fought A LOT over stuff I didn’t think was possible. The bank gave us a bit of a hard time. We were both tired, emtional wrecks by the end of it….oh yeah…we moved FOUR DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS….don’t do that! Moving in the winter (while it was necessary for us due to situation) I would NOT reccomend it….especially during the holiday season!

Post # 8
1999 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

We bought our home this year.

I am 30. He is 33. 

We didn’t have a down payment as we did a VA Loan. He’s was a Marine, so that was the best option for us. We had inspection fees, a small fee for the realtor that the closing didn’t cover. We eneed up making money back in closing. We were told that is rare, but It happens. 

We bought a home that was owned by a relocation company. That process takes longer then normal and has a lot more paperwork on top of a VA loan. But it was still about a 60 day closing.

I had been keeping an eye out for houses for about a year, then one day we just took the plunge to see what kind of loan we could get. It happened really fast. I think 3 months for everything. The house we bought was the first house we looked at, then came back to it and just knew it was ours. 


Post # 9
5095 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

Age? 27/32

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc): ~$6000. We have a VA loan so we could put 0% down without having to pay monthly PMI. We did have to pay our closing costs and for the inspection and appraisal. 

Regrets/Wish you had known: No regrets at all. Luckily we were able to afford our dream house as our first house, we really didn’t have to compromise anything that was important to us. 

Obstacles? Our house was overpriced by the sellers. It appraised for about $16k less than our offer price. You can’t get a mortgage for more than a house appraises for so we had to go into renegotiations on the price. The sellers came way down on the price and we kicked in $2500 to make up the difference. Otherwise, the inspection went well, we knew we’d have to replace the AC and we did that within a couple months of moving in ($8k). Darling Husband also had some credit issues that needed to be fixed before we applied. 

How long you waited/planned? We had already moved together three times before we bought, so we had an idea of what we wanted. Our last rental was a house in the same area where we wanted to buy. It was the year we lived there when we seriously started thinking about buying a house. We were also waiting for me to finish my PhD and get a real job so that we had more income. Once we started looking, it was over quickly. We actually bought the only house we looked at in person. 

Post # 10
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Age: I was 23, Fiance was 25.

Initial expenses: $25k down for a $200k mortgage, around another $25k in renovations before we moved in since it was a very dated home.

Regrets: We purchased a home from my family, so we never really looked around. Although I love the house and location, we probably could have found a comparable house that we didn’t feel the need to update. We’re also now spending a ton to replace the roof and garage door since they’re in disrepair, but fortunately those expenses are being covered by insurance for the most part. I think a newer home wouldn’t have these issues to begin with, though.

Obstacles: Since our mortgage is with my family instead of the bank, there weren’t any financial obstacles. We’re very fortunate in that respect. There was some reservation and judgement about us buying a house as a young unmarried couple (even though we had been together 7 years and lived together for over a year at that point), but that has faded now that we’re engaged.

How long you waited: Frankly, it was a rather quick decision that we should have put more thought into for the reasons I stated before. We wanted to start putting money into an investment instead of wasting money on rent, so we jumped when my family showed us our house.

Anything else: Look into homestead exemption and similar first time home buyer benefits. Costs add up fast, so make sure to plan for unexpected expenses for repairs and the like. 

Post # 11
7477 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Age? 25

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc).

20% down payments so $48k and about $3k on closing costs and moving expenses, however, we had worked into our contract that the seller would pay for a bunch of the closing costs.

Regrets/Wish you had known:

Like snowflake8, we noticed a lot of little things after we moved in. The people before were big DIY people and they took a few shortcuts that we wouldn’t have taken. Nothing huge, just little cosmetic things that we would have done differently.

Also, this is going to sound so stupid but it took us way too long to realize that a couple of rooms didn’t have overhead lights/ceiling fans. We always visited in the afternoon when everything was well lit so we just didn’t think of it/notice. It wouldn’t have affected our decision to purchase the house I suppose but just something to consider if it’s important to you.

Another thing I wish we had paid more attention to is the landscaping. We bought at the end of winter so we didn’t notice the shape of the gardens. At one point they must have paid a ton to have the yard landscaped but they clearly hadn’t touched it in years. We spent a ton of time and money that first year cleaning it all up. We might have knocked a little bit off our offer if we had thought about this before hand.


We didn’t run into any major obstacles. We didn’t particularly love our buying agent but he did an okay job. There were 3 other offers in on our house (within 2 days of being listed) which seemed to be the norm for our picky standards so we had to be quick to make decisions and were rather aggressive with our offer.

How long you waited/planned?

We purchased 3 years out of college with the only real planning happening a few months before. We were steadily saving money over those 3 years but hadn’t decided if we wanted to stay in the area. If we had decided to stay earlier we probably could have purchased sooner but I was glad we took the time to determine we wanted to stay before jumping into a home purchase.

Anything else!

Not sure how your area is but houses that met our “must have” list moved fast around here. We had one “heart break” that made us step back for a few weeks so be prepared for that if you live in a seller’s market. Good luck!


Post # 12
253 posts
Helper bee

lillybug93 :  

Age? I was 24, Darling Husband (BF at the time) was 28 but I bought the house and it was all my money

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc).  $58,000

Regrets/Wish you had known: How long the process would take. When we bought the market was picking up again and we were in constant bidding wars with other first time buyers. Anything under $300K was swept up in 2-3 days. It took us from start to finish, 10 months for house hunting and eventually buying. Regrets would have been to request the seller to do more to the house. We are still trying to fix up the house but we bought it because it was the crappiest house in a fantastic neighborhood that we would have otherwise been unable to afford. Additionally, I would have googled the neighbors becuase we have an absolutly crazy nightmare next door that we have gotten the cops involved several times. If I had looked them up ahead of time, I would have learned about the headache we may have gotten into. 

Also, wish I hadn’t chosen a conventional mortgage because we would have had far more cash to fix up the house right away vs. saving from each pay check and slowly crossing things off and leaving things unfinished which is frustrating. 

Obstacles? Just bidding wars and not settling for a house that didn’t feel “right” or wasn’t what we wanted. We wanted a specific type of house (2 story, 1+acres, 3+ bedrooms, hardwood floors, garage, basement, good neighborhood) and we didn’t settle on houses that didn’t make the criteria just because they were less likely to get swept up. Also, many of the ideal houses in our price range were short sales or foreclosures. However, we got lucky with a tradtitional sale. 

How long you waited/planned? 10 months start to finish.

Post # 13
384 posts
Helper bee

Age? Fiance and I were both 24 

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house? We got an FHA loan so we only put down $6k. Our house had a partially finished basement so we wanted the money to finish the basement. 

Regrets/Wish you had known: My only regret is not looking up all the residents in the home. It turned out the seller’s boyfriend was one of those contractors that charged people for projects and didn’t finish them. So we have people coming to our house all the time looking for him. One person even recognized the stone on the outside of our house as the stone they used…but he didn’t finish that job either. It’s also a scary thought to think he may have half-assed projects in the house. 

Obstacles? We live in an area where there aren’t many nice homes for less than $170k so we had a hard time finding one with most of what we wanted. We lost a lot of houses because we wouldn’t put an offer in right when we saw a house. Financing wasn’t an issue for us.

How long you waited/planned? We seriously looked for about aout 10 months. But we had been vaguely looking at hosues for almost a year and a half by the time we put the offer in. 

Post # 14
384 posts
Helper bee

My one tip is that I suggest is looking at all your loan options. Our FHA interest rate was 1% less than our conventional option. Even with the PMI, our payments were lower than the conventional. Right now that was important to us with planning our wedding and wanting to do small home projects as we want to. We didn’t want to have to save for months to re-do the landscaping. Once we have most everything done, we’ll look into refinancing. 

Post # 15
203 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

lillybug93 :  

lillybug93 :  Age? Me 20, now Darling Husband 23

Amount of total cash spent to actually get the house (Downpayment plus fees, etc).

$80,000 cash down payment, $125,000 loan for the rest and then we paid $150k cash to build a house on the acreage we bought. 

Regrets/Wish you had known: How much closing was going to end up being and wish we had pushed for the seller to cover closing. 

Obstacles? We bought from a divorced couple and their fights kept causing closing to get pushed back – the day we signed for it took many hours because of their issues. 

How long you waited/planned? We looked for a year. 



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