Adjusting Expectations

I started the process honestly believing that I was financially and emotionally ready to buy a house. I wasn’t expecting a mansion in Northwest Arkansas for the price I could afford, nor did I think my expectations were unreasonable. Yet that still did not prepare me for the rollercoaster ride ahead. It’s hard to stay level headed when you are making such a large investment towards something that is going to be a huge part of your life for at least the next several years. I must admit, there were just as many moments of panic and disappointment as there were instances of excitement and joy, but my real estate agent helped me to avoid getting buried by all emotions I was experiencing.

The number one advice I will give to first-time homebuyers is this: do your best to set realistic expectations, but be prepared to adjust them anyways.

This is only a short list of some of the speed bumps I encountered on my journey towards home ownership:

  • Early on in my search, my real estate agent showed me a home that checked off many of the requirements on my list. After viewing it, I still felt undecided because it wasn’t perfect, and I thought I could find something better. I looked at two more houses that week before deciding to make an offer. By that time, I had missed my window of opportunity – the seller had already accepted another offer.
  • Trying to find a home that was better than the one I missed out on, I started looking outside of my budget. Needless to say, that led to many disappointments. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you can just negotiate everything down into your price range – tens of thousands of dollars is still a huge difference.
  • I found myself nitpicking at minor details that I could easily change once I took ownership. Things like window treatments, paint color, or choice of décor made me rule out many homes without taking a closer look. It took me a while to look past that and at the house itself.
  • On another offer I made, the seller wanted to speed things along by removing the home inspection contingency. At this point I was starting to get desperate and would have all too readily agreed if it wasn’t for the counsel of my real estate agent.

Buying your first home is definitely a learning experience no matter how prepared you think you are. You need to be ready to adjust and adapt. So here are a few tips for a smoother experience:

  • Enlist the help of a Realtor
  • Do your research – look into different neighborhoods and communities, familiarize yourself with what types of homes are available within your budget, etc.
  • Trust the advice of your real estate agent
  • Make a list of your wants and needs; prioritize the things that are most important to you and focus on those

Home Inspection Expectations

Well, the home inspection was today and I am happy to say that the inspector did not find any serious problems. That means that I am one step closer to moving into my new house! This is a big relief. Even though I wasn’t expecting to uncover a horrible flaw or defect, it is still something that you can’t help but be worried about because it could potentially throw a gigantic wrench into things and delay the closing or destroy the deal. Since the house was already listed at a fantastic price, I don’t feel it is worth it to negotiate over the few small fixes that are necessary. The main thing is the house is safe and habitable, and should require minimal work once I move in. I couldn’t be happier about today’s result!

For those looking into buying their first home and are curious as to what happens at a home inspection, here is a short summary:

Prior To The Home Inspection

  • It is the buyer’s responsibility to arrange and pay for a licensed home inspector to come take a look at the house before the deal is finalized. This ensures that you are aware of any major problems before signing off on the purchase.
  • Buyers should do some homework before the inspection. Read over the seller’s property disclosure and think of any questions you may want to ask the inspector.
  • Set aside at least a few hours for the inspection.

At The Home Inspection

  • Typically parties present at a home inspection include: the buyer, the buyer’s agent, the listing agent, and the home inspector.
  • The home inspector will walk around the home and check various systems and areas of the property including basements, crawlspaces, and rooftops. They will provide you with a detailed home inspection report upon completion advising you of any problems, concerns, or future maintenance that will be required.
  • During this process, your real estate agent should be there to assist you and shed more light on things if you are unclear about what is happening.

After The Inspection

  • If all goes well, you are ready to release the inspection contingency and proceed to the closing table.
  • If problems are uncovered, you have the option to renegotiate with the seller. You can request that repairs be completed by the seller before your move-in date, for the seller to credit you for any necessary repairs, or to simply assume complete responsibility for all repairs yourself once you move in. If an agreement cannot be reached, the buyer can choose to walk away with minimal losses.
  • Discuss privately with your real estate agent what your next steps should be.

Other Tips

  • Do not bring along a friend, relative, or contractor to the home inspection. It will make it more difficult for the home inspector to thoroughly do his/her job. You can discuss the details of the home inspection with other parties after it is done.
  • Follow the inspector when possible so that you can see for yourself exactly what they are talking about. It will help you to better understand what and where the problems are.


Comfort of Home

Whenever my friends come over for dinner, they would joke that they’re going to my little Indian Restaurant. I always took pride in the fact that they thought so highly of my cooking, but even I couldn’t have guessed at how much everyone loved gathering at my place for meals together. I recently decided to upgrade from a condo to a house, and everyone genuinely seemed upset that their favorite restaurant would be relocating further away. I try to comfort them with the fact that my restaurant will no longer be a hole-in-the-wall but that doesn’t seem to have stop the protests.

I, for one, am excited to have more space and a yard of my own. The only reason I didn’t move sooner was because I needed time to get my finances in order. My dog will be much happier getting out of the city and moving to a nice suburb, as well. I think this arrangement works out well for everyone except my hungry friends. Maybe this will be the motivation they need to finally take me up on my offer of teaching them how to cook their own food. Then again, I doubt it. My “loyal customers” will probably follow me to the ends of the Earth if that’s what it takes, and I love them for it.

So far, I have found the perfect home for me – small but has a spacious kitchen and fenced-in yard – and it is currently under agreement pending the approval of my loan and an inspection. I’m not particularly worried because I’m confident there should be no issues on either front. I expect the sale to be closed by the end of the month barring any unexpected events. I’ve already begun packing my things, and my landlord has a new tenant set to move in the month after next.

I can’t begin to describe what an adventure it’s been going from thinking about buying my first home to actively searching for one, and finally putting in an offer after a month and a half of house hunting. My real estate agent was superb and I’m so glad of all people, I found her. While this is only my personal opinion, I have no hesitation saying she is the best. An absolute professional – friendly, knowledgeable, and always working in my best interest. But that’s enough of me gushing over how amazing she is – the reason I’ve decided to start a blog was to keep a record of my transition from renter to first-time homeowner.

I’m beyond excited. I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of months and I’d love to share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired with you all. I think this has been one of the most momentous and rewarding events in my life, and I know there are still many wonderful things awaiting me as a homeowner.