In the Bosin household, it was house hunting time. The crazy market ahead of us, we decided before becoming a family of five, we were really hoping to have made our first home purchase. Because of how quickly decisions have to be made and sellers are accepting offers, Jordan didn’t even get a chance to see our new home until we were already under contract with it (talk about marital trust)! We absolutely love our new house and can’t wait to incorporate our personal touches to make it our first home together. After all, it’s where we will raise our babies, where we will bring our third child, where our girls will learn to share a room, and the first place we’ve lived together where we can comfortably have guests come visit!
The house hunt doesn’t come without curve balls, unknowns, and a bit of a gamble. The market right now, speaking from the end of 2021 when we began looking, is absolutely, well, insane. Houses are not even hitting the market before sellers are accepting deals well over asking price, and the variants brought on by what is so far the pandemic are making interest rates jump up and down across the board. So much of the process is exactly what we envisioned it would be. From looking at houses together as a family at any hour the sellers were available to show, to how quickly decisions had to be made as others before us informed us was all relatively expected. What we weren’t expecting in the process, however, are these five things.
1. No one actually tells you how much money you need up front. I’m sure you are already anticipating the usual terms – down payment, principal and interest, taxes, home insurance, maybe PMI, and perhaps even an HOA. What we didn’t expect is how much money outside of closing costs and the down payment we needed to be ready to hand over. Appraisal fees, inspections, opening escrow with a title company. In a roundabout way you could budget for these items with your closing cost estimations but at the end of the day, we learned it was better to count this money separately from closing costs because these payments occur at a totally different time. I’d recommend having $5,000 to 10,000 ready as soon you submit your contract and the dotted lines are signed.
2. You can’t anticipate how quickly houses will no longer be available until you experience it. It’s very true that we were anticipating houses to go quickly off the market, but the number of houses that were going over asking price from investor companies was insane at the time we were looking.
3. Ditch the littles when the option is available to you. Having littles is absolutely a treasure and a gift – we love our girls so much, but they definitely experienced house hunting fatigue, especially when showing times were catered to serve the sellers’ schedules and happened right before nap time, so usually their lunch time. I loved watching MJ explore new homes and watch Hayden crawling around but concentrating was certainly harder trying to keep eyes fully on two things.
4. Invest in the area you want to be. We thought by broadening our search of different areas, it would make us so much happier but it just didn’t. We’ve established so much life in the area, and surrounding areas, as a married couple that it was extremely important for us to stay close to that. While we did move a little further north than initially anticipated, we know it is still within 17 minutes of our family, and that was good enough for us. The new-ish area we’re headed is also booming, with so many new fun places going in!
5. House hunting creates fatigue. Just like your littles will fatigue being dragged in and out of carseats and in new homes where they can only “look with their eyes”, it also puts strain on you, the adult. Because Jordan and I were primarily looking at houses while he was at work or sacrificing our weekends to go, he spent a lot of time Facetiming into the tours and not seeing them in person. This is also how we ended up in the house we purchased because we needed to get our contract in asap to stay relevant and he wasn’t going to make it to a showing appointment before we felt the house would sell. Luckily we followed our guts on this and the advice of our realtor because the house received two offers higher than ours after our agreement was signed!
All in all, house hunting can be an extremely enjoyable (yet sometimes fatiguing) and incredibly fast-paced! These were five things I have organized in my brain for next time but it would have been nice to know before purchasing our first home. If you are in the middle of a house hunt yourself, I commend you. It’s nuts out there. Take breaks as you need, schedule around your priorities, and everything will fall in place. It’s true what they say: the right house really does just work out. You got this.