Buying Our First Home: A Personal Story

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This is not our house

A girl can dream...

There are certain milestones in a person’s life….learning to walk, having your first kiss (we swear to each other we’ve never kissed anyone else…#jokes), or getting your first car! Buying your first home happens to be one of those unforgettable milestones. However, every real estate transaction is unique and there are a lot of moving pieces to keep track of. We thought a great way to kick things off would be to share a few challenges and tips from our own house purchase!

Challenges:

Finding a new home in a hot market

Even brokers in the business are not immune to a fast-paced competitive market like Denver. Our home, like so many others in Denver and other hot markets around the country came out of the blue and forced a quick decision. After looking unsuccessfully in the neighborhood where we were attempting to purchase for months, the home we ended up buying actually came back on the market after falling through due to a buyer with cold feet. Had we not been checking for properties coming back to market, we may have missed it. The lesson here: make sure your broker is looking at new properties and also those coming back to the market. Your perfect property may just fall right in your lap if you know where to look!

Qualifying as a contract worker

Working in a business that does not offer a W2 income (bi-weekly paychecks) can often create additional hurdles for qualifying with a lender. As opposed to simply providing my most recent pay stub, which is often all that is required as a W2 employee, we had to provide 2 full years of taxes and take the average of those two years worth of income. If you are self-employed, take extra vigilance when preparing to purchase and don’t think you will qualify based on what you make today. If you are thinking about buying you should talk with a lender well before you plan to purchase. If you are self-employed, you should think about talking to them even sooner. See more tips to talk with lenders in THIS post.

New build timing

Buying new and buying a resale home are two entirely different animals. Especially when it comes to timing. Unlike a resale purchase which typically occurs over 30-45 days, buying new can take upwards of a year until you are in your new home depending on when you purchase in the construction process. We purchased our home approximately 2 months from the estimated completion. Low and behold, a full 4 months passed before we actually closed on the home and were able to move-in. Builders are notorious for overpromising and under delivering on timing. A general rule of thumb when purchasing new-add 2 full months from when they say the home will be completed.

This may not be the same experience everyone has during their first purchase but as a Broker myself it's the perfect commentary on the uniqueness of every transaction. Even in our own transaction, there were challenges and hurdles that none of my other clients may have faced. The biggest take-away from our transaction is that experience matters when talking Real Estate.