5 Unexpected Lessons When Buying A Home

Dated: 04/12/2016

Views: 345

I thought I’d minimize some of those surprises and take advantage of my home-owning experience. I share these personal anecdotes of surprises as many have encountered on the road to homeownership. I hope this will help prepare you—and me—for what lies ahead:

Mortgage meltdown

“I thought our mortgage loan was approved and ready to go, but at the last minute the originating bank balked at the purchase price of our home—they thought it was too high. We thought we were getting a bargain! The bank was based somewhere in the Midwest, though. They assigned an assessor to come check it out, but fortunately the assessment supported our purchase price. It was a suspenseful few days, though.” 

Takeaway: Don’t count on your mortgage until it’s completely signed. And make sure you double-check your property assessment with the county tax assessor.

Count your costs

“I might have experienced short-term memory loss during my loan approval process. All the closing costs were a mystery to me, and my loan officer or Realtor had to explain each expense every single time I saw them 

Takeaway: Go over the closing costs with your real estate agent and take notes on what to expect that's what your agent is for. You’ll see these costs itemized again and again, so best to get familiar fast with all charges.

Budget time and money for repairs

“I was surprised and worried about the problems that the home inspector found. How serious are termites? How about mold? Can these things be fixed and will the house be safe? 

“And how much money will it cost for us to do roof repairs ourselves when the seller is selling “as-is” and it’s a competitive market where we lost out on two previous houses we bid on? 

Takeaway: There is no way to foresee problems that might arise during the inspection. You might be able to negotiate with the sellers, but you’ll want to have enough money left over after closing for any unexpected repairs. Be prepared to walk away from your dream home if needed.

Multiple visits are OK!


“When we were buying our first house, I didn’t know I could go back to look at the house again before we placed a bid. 

“We saw the house on a Saturday and bids were due on Monday.  I hadn’t spent enough time really seeing the entire house. Our agent arranged for us to go see the house one more time.

Takeaway: Look as many times as you need. This is the place you’ll call home, after all. Even in a competitive market, a second look could end up giving you the edge. (And while you certainly don’t want to harass the seller, don’t be afraid to personalize your offer with a letter describing any details about you, your family, and why you love their home. 

Learn (and love) thy neighbors


“Maybe this is a very urban issue, but I didn’t realize how neighbors can make—or break—a home. 

It’s what people always say about “community”—you really do want to be in a place that not only welcomes but embraces you, that you look forward to being a part of.  

Takeaway: Your community is often as important as the home you’re living in. Take a good look at the neighborhood, and don’t be afraid to ask the neighbors questions. These people could become your babysitters, your carpool buddies, and your closest friends over the years.

Published by Kimberly Kilgore with Realty Executives Advantage

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