Right around August of last year I started getting this overwhelming and odd feeling that I needed to start looking for a house. I was living at home with my parents at the time which was such a blessing. I was able to save so much money and I don’t think I would have been able to afford to buy a house by myself if I hadn’t lived with them for 2 years after J died. The reason this feeling was so odd though was because for the longest I had been telling myself (and everyone else) that I’d start looking for a house around March of 2021. I’d go for my daily walks and visualize the place I was going to buy but didn’t realize it’d be a lot sooner than I was anticipating.
The feeling that I needed to start looking now vs later started to feel overwhelming around August. I made it up in my mind that I’d start looking towards the end of August and that I’d find my dream home by my birthday in late September.
There’s A LOT of woo-woo stuff I could get into about manifestation, visualization, and putting yourself in a position to get everything you want out of life, but I’m going to try to keep this super tactical and get into more of the process side of my home buying experience, like finding the right realtor, the timing of it all, and determining your non-negotiables for your perfect home.
Finding the Right Realtor
The realtor that I ended up going through the home buying process was not the realtor that I had initially started with. I could see pretty early on that my initial guy was not going to be the right fit for me. The #1 red flag was that he was not listening to my needs. Sir, if I tell you a garden tub is a non-negotiable, let’s not waste each other’s time with homes that don’t have garden tubs. He also never checked his email lol.
The truth is, everyone has an aunt or friend or family member who works in real estate. Ask around and find someone who either you trust or is trusted by someone you trust. I quickly realized that the initial person I was referred to was not going to be able to understand my needs, negotiate on my behalf, and help me the way that I needed so I had to pivot and I’m glad I trusted my gut with that.
The realtor you go with is helping you in the process of one of, if not the largest investment you will make in your lifetime. Do not trust that responsibility with just anyone. My realtor I ended up going with was my sister’s future mother-in-law and has been doing this for decades. She also had a lender she’s been working with for over 10 years so that also made the entire process easier.
This is my first home, so even with research there’s so much that I just don’t know. I was thankful that she was patient, listened to me, let me make decisions but also gave me an *aht-ahtI * when I was not making the right decisions lol. She negotiated the hell out of everything. Example: the previous owners were planning on taking their fridge with them. I really wanted the fridge because there was a shortage and long delivery times for appliances during covid. Long story short, I got the refrigerator.
The Timing of it All
Funny enough, my mom actually found my house. She had been searching on Zillow daily and was really excited for me to find my first home. The house was listed at 12pm, by 4pm I had a tour scheduled with my realtor. This is more of the woo-woo, but when I walked in I knew it was my home. My friend told me not to get my hopes up, but I knew it was mine.
Timing can be FAST! So if you’re thinking of buying a home, make sure you’re ready. It only took me 6 days from the day I started looking to the day I put an offer in on the house. Six. Days. Go in with a plan and have your coins ready, because when it’s time to buy, it’s time to buy. My credit and savings were not an issue so my process moved really quickly after my offer was accepted.
My Timeline – 2020:
- August 29 – Started looking at houses on
- September 4 – Found my DREAM home
- September 4 – Put an offer down
- September 6 – Offer was accepted
- A lot of conversations like loans, inspections, and some slight drama with the previous owners all throughout September lol
- October 9 – Closed on house
- October 10 – Celebrated in Mexico WOO!
My Perfect Home
I post about my walks almost daily, especially during lockdown. Walking was one of the only things that kept me sane. One thing I hadn’t shared on Instagram though was what I was doing on those walks. I’m a big believer in the power of manifestation and visualization so I would go on my daily walk, put on my favorite playlist, and start to speak life into my future. Some days I’d walk 1 mile, some days I’d walk 10, but I knew exactly the type of house I wanted, what was important to me, and most importantly, I knew it was all possible.
Some of my non-negotiables were having a master bath with a garden tub and walk-in shower. They had to be separate. Everyone in my life was like WHY is this so important to you and I was like I don’t know it just is lol. I needed an open kitchen and open floor plan, great lighting, and plenty of space to not feel crowded. I live alone, but space and the right amount of square footage was also non-negotiable. Below is my complete list of what I needed out of a house and I was also sure to share this with my realtor so we were both on the same page.
- Open floor plan/kitchen, I did not want the kitchen to be separate from the rest of the house
- Large master bath with garden tub and walk in shower, I been about my baths and I’m still about my baths
- Safe and quiet neighborhood, obviously crime can happen anywhere, but I never want to be scared for my safety in my own home
- Garage attached to the house and a true house or townhome, not an apartment building feeling
- Pool was a MUST, hot tub was a nice to have (spoiler: I didn’t get the hot tub)
- Bright and natural lighting, I really wanted a lot of windows, bright walls and open space
- “Move-in ready”, sure minor adjustments and house projects are normal, but I didn’t want to move in and also have to replace cabinets, demo a bathroom, etc.
This is most of what I was visualizing and pretty close to my complete manifestation list, at least the practical side. I also visualized what I’d be wearing to my house warming and things like that. It’s almost like fantasizing but with a lot more intention and belief that this is going to undoubtedly happen for me. Having a list of non-negotiables really helped to tailor my search and to know exactly what I was looking for so I wasn’t wasting my time or my realtor’s time.
Tip: Even though things happen fast, be patient. There were some houses we looked at that I liked, checked most of the boxes, but it felt like I was settling. If it’s not your house, it’s not your house. Example: I found a house that was great but the location was off. Not my house. Again, this is the biggest investment of your life — don’t rush it.
There was a lot I didn’t know going into it like which type of loan to choose, 15 or 30 year mortgage, how much to put down, etc. My brother in law was a huge help so I’ll let him speak to that process so I don’t butcher it lol. My only tip here is to have all of this figured out for yourself when you start looking. Check out his podcast linked here. He has a lot of episodes about amortization and loans.
I can’t believe it’s been 10 months since I moved in. I chatted more about my home buying experience on the Girlfunds Housing Wire Podcast so be sure to tune into that episode linked here.
PS: If you’re curious about what this dream home looks like, check out my home tour on Instagram. And if this is helpful, I’ll be following up with a step by step of the home buying process.