What I Learned As a First-time Homebuyer
Words by Kelly Maia Agnew
There are key moments in your life when you are reminded how old you are. Then you start to panic - do I even know how to be an adult? Over the past decade I’ve had my fair share of these moments, and recently I’ve been going through a pretty big one. In true adult fashion, my partner and I decided we were ready to play the game of home ownership.
Not going to lie, I was also a little terrified. Now I have real responsibilities and will be expected to make grown-up decisions, am I ready for it? But amidst the panic, there was just as real and even more powerful excitement. We were about to build our perfect home. Here’s how we did it:
Before doing anything else, we sat down together and figured out what we wanted. We wanted a big enough place to raise a family. We wanted an open-concept floor plan with lots of natural light, and I wanted a beautiful bright kitchen. We didn’t need the big fancy house - we wanted the practical, perfect-for-us home. Then we created our own budget to determine what we could afford on our salaries. When we met with our mortgage broker to get pre-approved, she gave us the green light to start shopping.
Shopping for the house was the fun part. We toured all of the model homes, but it wasn’t hard to choose. The moment we walked into what would be our future home, we both looked at each other. I started laughing, because it was just so perfect. It had everything I wanted, and even things that I didn’t know I wanted! Plus, it fit into our budget.
Everything was pretty much perfect.
We involved a realtor in our purchase, and I’m very happy that we did. As first time homebuyers, we didn’t want to miss anything that would cost us down the road. Our realtors helped us isolate the area that we wanted to live in and helped us in our negotiations with the sales center. They also helped us understand which lots within the subdivision would have the highest resale value, and reminded us to ask questions about fire-hydrants, electrical boxes, catch-basin locations, sidewalks and more. We would never have considered half of these things as first-time homebuyers.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and we were sitting in the sales office signing the papers for our brand new home. Since we bought the house early in development, we had full ability to customize the home to our liking. This was our favorite part about buying a new build. Within two weeks, we were at the design center for the first time. My partner and I had already identified a set budget for upgrades, so we plugged our quotes into a spreadsheet to determine which upgrades were worth the money. Who knew it’d be so expensive to add an extra outlet, or move a light switch?! I could have gone on a shopping spree with that money.
But there were no shopping sprees, only intense savings for a down payment. And you know what? It was totally worth it. Building the house we wanted was an amazing expression of us as a couple. We came together to choose every single detail and made sure it was what we both really wanted. We chose classic, simple options that would last through the years. While we splurged on some things, like beautiful quartz countertops in the kitchen, we knew this was going to be a long-term home for us. It was worth it.
As you read this, we’re in the process of getting settled in our brand new, perfect-for-us home. Hands down, the best part of this journey has been watching the house be built and making this home truly ours with every little decision. I can’t wait to make even more memories in this new chapter of our lives.
Now that I have a mortgage, and my perfect home, I think it’s safe to say that I’m undeniably an adult. Oh well, I guess being an adult isn’t all bad!
Nutritionist to-be. Yoga enthusiast. Health & wellness expert. Kelly works in marketing by day, and pursues her passion of nutrition and holistic health by night.