Our continuing series with real life tips from the experiences of our resident recent first-time homebuyer.
I remember the very first place I went to look at. I was so super excited to finally start taking the first steps to moving out. I did my research, looked at what I could afford, the area(s) where I wanted to live, and understood better what was going to be expected when it came to finances. I thought I was ready. Sure I didn’t know everything but I felt like I had a good enough understanding that I would be able to wing it along the way.
With my parents by my side, I met up with Jake who brought along, what I didn’t know at the time would be my savior, Beth Lucht. 😉 So there we were right outside the first place I was ever going to look at. It was a very hot and sticky summer day but that didn’t matter. I remember thinking to myself “wouldn’t it be amazing if the first place was THE PLACE?” How simple would that be? As Jake knocked at the door and started to turn the key, someone opened the door.
Wait, what?! I thought that the owners weren’t supposed to be home when you were househunting?!
Which brings me to…
Tip 2: Expect the unexpected.
Okay, so the seller is at home, maybe he will just step out while we looked around, right? Wrong. Instead he decided he would show us around himself. Because who better knows the place than the owner? Seems logical. HA! Oh boy, if I only knew how awkward things were about to get. First, he tried to show us his “mineral collection”. No I don’t mean anything dirty by that; I am talking about his actual rock collection that I am pretty sure he gathered from the ground right outside his condo. I did the polite thing and just nodded and smiled and hoped that would be the extent of it. Of course, it wasn’t.
I started to get a really weird feeling when I realized that this guy was watching every move I made. Living room, kitchen, bath, and patio all seemed nice but I wasn’t really concentrating. Next, we went upstairs to look at the bedrooms and as we are going up the stairs the owner runs right after us and closes his bedroom door. He stood, looked Jake in the eye and stated, “This is my private space. I don’t want anyone to see it.”
Ha-ha what!? Come on, is this really happening right now? What the hell did I get my self into? At that point I was uncomfortable and had seen enough. I am pretty sure I was only in there for about 5 minutes but it felt like an eternity. Here I am thinking, “This isn’t normal right?” It was only day 1 and about 5 minutes in but I knew right then that this wasn’t going to be a short and simple process. If you know me then you know that in my world, I wouldn’t expect anything less.
As time went on, it felt like these crazy things only happened to me. There were many places I saw and I think every time I went out, there was something entertaining that happened. There was a time when it was so freezing cold out that we couldn’t get the lock box open. After 5 solid minutes of fumbling in the dark, it was simply frozen shut. Another time the place I looked at was COMPLETELY tiled. Every single room in the condo had a blue tile floor running through it, including the bedrooms. One time in the middle of the day, a bat flew out from the porch where it was living. We decided to call him “Wing-Nut”. That was actually the place I was going to purchase before I got laid off but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There was also the time when we had a confirmed appointment to look at a place. We rang the doorbell and after several minutes a guy in his mid-twenties answered the door. He wouldn’t let us in because his mom was still sleeping and they absolutely no idea people were coming by, their agent never told them. He seemed a little like Norman Bates and we had to wonder if mom was really “sleeping”.
Just a few examples of why I say to expect the unexpected. You really can’t go into this thinking that everything is going to be easy and magical like they show on HGTV. This is the real world and real (often weird) things happen. At the time it might seem so frustrating but when you look back at it, they will make a good story. That’s all you can do at the end is look back at the moments that you wanted to pull out your hair and just chuckle about it. Because honestly it’s not going to be a smooth ride. There are going to be things along the way that trip you up. Take it from me, just when you think things are going great, you had better be ready for what’s behind the next door.