We did it! My boyfriend and I finally closed on our home last month. For those of you who’ve been following our adventures, you know the journey was not always smooth, but we found the house that works for us – and it checked almost all our boxes, including a flat driveway and nearby QT.
As with most adventures, I learned a few things the hard way. Here are the biggest takeaways and what you can do to save yourself some grief (and money).
The Paperwork – Be prepared to submit more financial documentation than you ever thought possible. Most lenders will lend you money. A reputable lender will ensure you can afford the home you are purchasing. Part of that means opening up your financial life to scrutiny.
Although it may seem intrusive at times, know that the lender has your best interest at heart. Be organized and keep copies of everything you submit. This will save you time should you need to refer back to something.
The Inspections – A home inspection is never a bad idea! However, a standard home inspection doesn’t always go deep enough. Consider having additional inspections done, such as foundation or fireplace inspections.
One of the biggest selling points of our new home is the gorgeous rock fireplace. Imagine our surprise when we found out we needed a new chimney cap. Had we known before we closed, we could have potentially negotiated the replacement cost with the seller.
The Shopping Sprees – It’s exciting to buy a home! Believe me, I get it! And you want it to look nice. And maybe that sofa you’ve had since college isn’t up to snuff anymore. But hold off on buying that new leather sectional until you have keys in hand. Why? Your lender may request financial documents up until the day you close. And any large transactions may require additional explanations. You don’t want to delay your closing any longer than necessary because you couldn’t wait an extra day or two for a new sofa.
The New Digs – Don’t forget to set aside money for all the incidentals you suddenly need. It had been 10 years since my last home purchase, and quite honestly, I forgot how expensive it is to get a house up and running. In the first week of owning our home, I’ve probably spent $600 on stuff. Things such as shelf paper, trash cans, curtains, and the list goes on. Fortunately, I had set aside money just for this occasion. Had I not, I would have had to rely on credit cards or dip into savings – neither of which would have made me happy.
Whether you’re buying your first or fiftieth home, it’s a major life event! To help alleviate some potential stress, make sure your lender meets your needs, understands your financial picture and has your best interest at heart. And before you know it, you’ll be making your new house a home.