It's been two weeks since we've moved into our new home and I'm still pinching myself!
I wanted to document the whole home buying process while it was fresh in my mind because there is a LOT that goes on behind-the-scenes.
Just a forewarning: this post will be quite lengthy due to all of details in the process of home buying. We are not experts by any means, this is just our personal experience with buying a home.
The Research Process
Patrick and I always knew buying a house was something we wanted to do, but set it off as a long-term plan. This was mainly because we are both self-employed so there were some rules that kept us from buying in the immediate future. Then a few months ago, Pat was doing some research and found that rule had changed and it was in fact, possible for us to buy a house!
So naturally, we downloaded every app we could (Redfin, Zillow, etc) and looked around to see what was out there. Since we weren't prequalified yet, we didn't know what our price range would be so we just window shopped. This was great to do because it helped both us better understand what we liked and disliked. After some research, we started to go out to open houses last December. Going to these homes in-person made me realize that photos don't do justice and you can't get the overall feel until you go and see them. I learned that location was the most important factor to consider. I had never thought about it before but I learned that having a good neighborhood was more important than how the house looked. You can change the paint color of the house but you can't change where it's built.
After seeing about a dozen open houses, we narrowed down some of the things we absolutely had to have. Some of the things included:
- Not being too close to freeways or major streets
- Having a park nearby (for Rylie, naturally)
- Nice natural lighting
- Open floor plan / good flow
- Close to Sprouts :p
We had a lot more listed in our "want" list, but we've narrowed it down to those five must-haves.
Along with research, we also had a meeting with our CPA so that we could file our taxes early to get prequalified. This is where things got messy for us. Patrick and I are both 1099/self employed, which meant buying a house was a lot trickier for us. We'll perhaps cover this more in detail in another post but ultimately, we couldn't expense majority of our business purchases in order to qualify for the loan we wanted. Although it was painful, it was a sacrifice we were willing to make because we knew we were ready to homeowners.
After doing our taxes, we got prequalified for a loan amount and we started to look around within that number. By this point, it was early February and all of the prospective houses we were looking at back in December had sold. We were definitely bummed but now we knew that we had to be ready and alert with what was out on the market. As of now, the inventory of houses are low and there are more people looking to buy. This meant it was competitive for buyers and we knew we would have to be assertive if we found a house we loved. Now that we were pre-approved, we kept our eyes wide open for all the houses out on market.
Making Our First Offer
On the 5th of February, we went to go see an open house that was newly listed. We had seen it before but it was taken off because it got sold. Luckily, the house got re-listed so we immediately called our agent and scheduled a walk-in. I'm not going to lie, I wasn't really excited to see this house when I saw the listing on Redfin. All of the photos had terrible lighting and it looked like it had ugly yellow walls with a giant rock fireplace.
When we pulled up to the house, I was shocked at how different it looked! The yellow walls from the photos were actually a cute light gray and there was a ton of natural light coming through. The first thing I noticed was how open it was when you walked in and I immediately fell in love. Walking around, there were details I loved like old vintage doors, an adorable built-in shelf, double paned windows and a large backyard. There were also things I didn’t love but they were minor things we could fix overtime. We looked at the house for 15 minutes then drove around to observe the neighborhood. We loved how quiet the street was and we saw children riding bikes and people walking their dogs, which are always good signs. On our drive home, we texted our agent and told her we wanted to make an offer…!
The very next day, we went into her office and she thoroughly went over all of the details we needed to know about the house. There were so much I didn't know about, but it was really good to be informed about the history of the house. We then spent the next 3 hours reading and signing the documents and made our first offer ever! Our agent also had us write a “love letter” to the seller for a personal touch to our offer.
The day we made the offer happened to be on Patrick's birthday so we had his family over for dinner. After our meal, Pat looked up at us and said, "I just received an email and our offer got accepted!" We all jumped out of our seats and hugged. We were so excited that we drove over to the house that night and just stared at it from outside. It was such an emotional moment just standing in front of what was going to be our first house! I'm sure the neighbors thought we were creeping but I didn't care because we were so excited :)
The next day, our agent told us that it is extremely rare that the first offer gets accepted, especially as-is. Normally, the seller comes back with a counter offer but we were incredibly lucky that it was accepted right away. I also love that our offer was accepted on Patrick’s birthday! It was like a sweet birthday present from God :)
Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey, whether it was on Instagram stories, comment or text messages! It was so fun documenting the process from start to finish and I can’t wait to share more home related posts.
I definitely want to cover the escrow process as well as buying a house as a self-employed couple more in depth in a separate post. We are also going to lots of small to big renovations so stay tuned for those as well! <3