Happy Friendor Friday everyone!
This week I am excited to give you a little info on making your first home purchase!! It’s just a natural step for both engaged and newly married couples to start the conversation about purchasing a new home. Buying a home is super exciting, but taking those first steps towards purchasing a home can sometimes be a little daunting. Soooo-today I have for you one our bestest pals here to give you the scoop on getting started, Realtor Chris Sapp.
Before we get to the tips, let me brag on Chris for just a second. Chris is the most badass realtor I know. He specializes in selling ridiculously amazing homes in the Windermere and surrounding areas, so it is always fun going to his page (which you can find HERE) to look at what dream homes he is selling this week and to calculate how much money I need to make before I can buy one! His experience with high-end clients makes him such a great asset to someone who is a newby in the Home Purchasing game. Not only does he know the ins and outs of what to look for in a house (weird things that I would never think of) ,but he is incredibly detail oriented and knowledgeable when it comes to everything that goes into helping you pick the perfect home-even down to helping you choose a location that is best for you. He has seamlessly sold 2 of our homes and helped us buy 2 homes, so I know first hand how nice and stress-free he can make the process and he comes highly, highly, highly recommended by me. You can email him at Chris@ChrisSapp.com or give him a call at 407.574.1002 if you want to talk more about buying or selling a home! You can find a couple of pictures of him at the end of this post-but you have to click on it to see his whole head 😉
Now, we turn it over to Chris to see what he thinks you should do to help plan for your first home purchase!
Buying a home is one of the biggest-if not THE biggest financial decision you will make as a couple. Here are a handful of steps you can take to have a great experience when planning to buy your first home!
For myself, this is the most dreadful time of the month. Sitting down with your spouse going over what spending limits are for groceries, bills, restaurants, etc. As tedious as it may be, this is probably the single most important thing that you do. Not only does this speed up the process of clearing out loans and credit card bills, but prepares you as a couple for the future, including retirement. Writing a budget will also give you an idea of what you can afford for housing. A general rule of thumb is to have mortgage payment (including taxes and insurance) no more than 30% of your monthly income. But also consider utilities and maintenance fees (pool, lawn, etc) when budgeting for the future home.
Interruption from Jamie: It is very easy to think that you can cut from your budget to make more room for a house (ex. “I’m sure we can cut our grocery budget a bit, we can have less date nights, I won’t spend $200 each month on StitchFix boxes…) At the end of the day, cuts that could lend to a larger budget for a home, but don’t stretch yourself so thin that you are left with no wiggle room for fun or unexpected purchases (and let’s be real, cutting stitchfix out of your life just ain’t gonna happen). Also…do the budget BEFORE you get knee deep in zillow listings-you are going to be disappointed when you realize the house with a wine cellar and 4 dryers in the laundry room isn’t in budget. Trust me.
Knowing what is on your credit report and of course your score is important to have before you speak to a mortgage consultant. This gives you the capabilities to discuss your situation with a potential lender to receive options. For example, different scores can affect the amount of money that needs to be put down on a purchase or the interest rate. If there something that needs to be cleaned up on your report, you can avoid disappointments of a declined loan after you have already chosen your dream home.
Once you have a grasp of your scores and potential loan terms required, get a pre-approval before you look at the first house. The median price point for your area is likely extremely competitive which includes multiple offers. As a representative for a seller, I personally would never encourage a seller to respond to or accept an offer that did not have a pre-approval letter attached to it. In a multiple offer situation, not having a pre-approval letter can cost you your next home.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Do you want to be close to shopping or away from it all? Are you having children in the future? This is likely a home that you will be in for at least five years. Consider school districts, parks, shopping, lifestyle, etc. You can change paint and knock down walls, but you cannot change the location.
Interruption from Jamie: The first house Wes and I bought together, we bought because we got a lot of house for the price, though we did intend for it to be our forever house and not just a starter home. It didn’t take us long to realize that even though we loved the house, it was not a place where we wanted to raise our kids. We were in our “forever” house for a little over 3 years before we decided move to a better area. Do your research-they mean it when they say location is key!
This is important to sit down as a couple and discuss what is important to each other. Rank the importance level of the items. For example, do you need his and her closets? A pool or a large backyard? Do you want formal rooms? How many baths? Will Mom need a place to stay on her visit? Will you work from home and need a separate office? This will save a lot of time of being in the car and seeing home after home that just is not checking agreeable boxes.
Interruption from Jamie: You better have a space for mom, because she’s coming…whether you have the space or not! (Love ya Karen and Kathye)
This circles back around to the intro. This is likely the biggest purchase you will make as a couple to date. Would you go to trial without an attorney? Would you prescribe yourself medication for an ailment without seeing a doctor? Why would you do this alone then? Before, during and after the home buying process you develop a team between mortgage brokers, title agents, insurance agents and other vendors. An agent should be the quarterback of your team to insure a smooth transaction that can otherwise be daunting. Be sure to choose an agent that is experienced, full-time and knowledgeable about your targeted area.
If you have any questions for Chris, please leave them in the comments below and we will be sure to get you an answer!!