Q&A: Buying Your First House

So, you want to a buy a house. Well, my friend, you’re in luck! In December, I bought my very first house. Even though it’s only been 6 weeks, I have loved every minute of it except for painting. I did not love that one bit. Anyway, since sharing the news, I’ve had lots of interested buyers ask me about the process. In response, I thought I would do a quick Q&A about the ins-and-outs of buying your first house!

Photo Dec 03, 1 57 00 PM

Me entering the astroturf threshold of my new house for the first time!

Am I an expert on home buying? LOL No. But I am 24 years old and (still) mostly clueless about the world, so I feel that makes me pretty relatable. Fair warning, dear reader: the home-buying process is hard. You will cry and yell and curse your piddly bank account on the regular. But in the end you will literally own property, and that’s pretty cool. So, let’s get started!

Q: What are the pros and cons to buying a house?

giphy1

A: On the plus side, a mortgage payment will typically be cheaper than renting an apartment of the same square footage. Unlike renting, you can own pretty much any pet, make major renovations, and potentially use the property for profit as a rental unit.

However, owning a house means paying for all repairs, entering a long-term contract, and paying a billion deposits for things like garbage, water, and so on. It also means routine maintenance, like mowing the grass.

Q: Can you afford to buy a house?

tumblr_m9ubverfmt1rw5mafo1_500

A: The answer might surprise you! Mortgages are actually very affordable, but the tricky part is clearing the down payment. As a first time homebuyer, you’ll be expected to pay 5% of the sale price upfront. If you can afford the down payment, chances are you will no problem once the house is actually purchased.

Q: Should you get a realtor?

excited

A: Depends. I had a realtor, and I thought it made the process way easier. A realtor is basically like a spirit guide with really organized binders. However, it’s possible you may not get as good of a deal on your house as the seller will pay your realtor fees. For a first-time buyer, I’d use a realtor. But remember! They will probably advocate a quick bidding process and/or discourage you from negotiating when you absolutely should. As long as you go in prepared, you’ll be fine!

Q: How much should you spend on a house?

giphy

A: While you can always take on roommates to help pay the mortgage, it’s critical that you are able to afford the house on your own if you’re the only one on the deed. For help with the specifics, check out Zillow’s mortgage calculator. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great place to start!

To speed up the process, you can apply for preapproval at your bank. Basically, this is just your bank’s way of saying, “Yeah, as long as you find a house in this price range we’ll spot you.” Remember: Your bank will approve you for a number MUCH higher than what you can afford because they profit from your inability to pay through interest. That being said, look for houses BELOW your preapproval price unless you just like being broke.

Q: What can you expect while touring homes?

funny-fashion-gifs-about-shopping

A: It’s best to establish a few deal-breakers to save yourself from touring 600 homes any given weekend. My must-haves were a bathtub, garage, and a fireplace. You’d be surprised how many options that eliminated!

After you tour one or two homes, they will slowly begin to blend together. For that reason, takes notes at each house on the things you love and hate. You may spend a little longer at each house, but you will thank yourself later. Trust me.

Q: You found a house, now what?

Ticket

A: You did some shopping and found a home you’d like to bid on. When entering negotiations for the price of a home, there is one guiding question to ask yourself: Would you rather have a lower monthly payment or more money upfront?

If the answer is a lower monthly payment, you will want to lower the sale price of the house. If you’d rather have more money upfront for repairs and/or to help with the down payment, you will ask the buyer to contribute more in closing costs instead of reducing the sale price. In the end, it’s all the same money. But do you want it now or later?

Q: Is it a good time to buy?

tumblr_mxrjjtumkf1rhn7p3o2_250

 

A: Winter is typically the best season for buying a house because the majority of homes are bought in the spring/summer. This means you are competing with fewer potential buyers for your house. However, purchasing a house in the winter means you could be juggling the holidays with packing (which totally sucks) and/or doing all of your decorating in the dark because the sun basically sets at noon. Also it’s really cold.

Q: What happens after a seller accepts my offer?

michael-scott-no

A: Paperwork. So. Much. Paperwork. You can try to read everything thoroughly, but if you don’t understand it don’t feel dumb because literally no one does. Not even your dad. The most important thing to do is make sure your closing costs, repair cap, and sale price match on ALL documents. If these numbers align, you’re (probably) in the clear.

Q: What should I expect at my closing?

1eoj6sp

A: Once all negotiations are through and your bank approves the loan, your loan officer will set up a meeting with the title company. There, you will sign more papers until your hand literally stops. If you have a cool realtor, you might also get a goody basket.

Some people say that you should expect to spend a few hours at your closing, but mine only took about 45 minutes. I brought my mom along for good measure since I am buying the house alone, and it never hurts to have a second pair of eyes!

Q: What if I don’t like my house after I buy it?

giphy2

A: Sell it, rent it, and re-evaluate your decision-making skills.

Hopefully this has been a helpful start to your home-buying journey! I know how crazy and confusing the process can be, so if you have additional questions please feel free to ask away below! Good luck, and happy hunting!

12 Things No One Tells You About Owning a Cat

Last week, I celebrated my first anniversary as a co-cat owner. Hooray! As I reflect upon my year with Oliver, I am reminded of a time when I knew absolutely nothing about cats. I mean, zilch. I’ve learned in our 53 weeks together, and here are a few highlights for your enlightenment and education.

1. Cats are not dogs.

Drop some food? Don’t worry. Your cat will bat it into some impossible-to-reach place, where it will inevitably rot into a liquid pile of fermented gross.

2. Underwear = Hammock 

Last week my cat tried to nap in my underpants while I was getting dressed for work. True story.

3. Spray bottles are everything. 

God forbid a single drop of water land near your cat, and you’ve got an impromptu exorcism on your hands.

4. Cats LOVE parkour. 

Nothing says “Good morning, my gracious and loving owner” like a parkour stunt over the breakfast table.

 

5. Boxes.

This pretty much sums it up.

6. Faces are for sleeping.

Thanks for the outrageously expensive designer cat bed, Dad. Too bad it’s not your face.

7. Walks are no.

You’ve got a better shot at finding the lost city of Atlantis than walking your cat to the front door.

8. Cats have no shame. 

Me: Oliver, do not scratch my new Bassett Hound sofa. Oliver. OLIVER. Do you hear me?

Oliver: Stares right into my eyes and drags his Edward Scissorclaws across my precious white linen furniture.

9. Purrs.

Eleven years ago, Hilary Duff asked us what dreams are made of. I think we know now.

10. Cats are all the laughs.

Both Internet and real.

 

11. Head butts mean “I love you”.

Apparently the clashing of skulls is a foreign feline sign of affection. Try to be tolerant of this painful ritual like a cultured human being.

12. It only takes one.

Cats. Clawing into hearts across the world since since 7486 BCE.

Review: Renegade (The Renegade Series #1)

Love getting all of these amazing book reviews for Renegade! Interested in doing a review for me? Hit me up!

The Dragon Reader

L A Wilcox - Renegade

There are just three rules to being a time traveler. 

1. Do not, under any circumstance, interfere with your environment during travel. 
2. Do not attempt to carry other persons or large articles during travel. 
3. Keep your talisman on your person at all times. 

When time traveler Andrew Simmons loses his talisman in pre-revolutionary Boston, he must race against the clock to retrieve his only way home. Everything is on the line – family, love, freedom, honor, and quite possibly the future. But as time reveals a long line of dark secrets, Andrew realizes he must save more than just his skin. He must also save his kind.

I received this book for review from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I love time travel, and I’m always looking for more books about time travel because there don’t seem to be that many around. So when the author contacted…

View original post 287 more words

{101 in 1001} What I’ve Been Reading

Ruth Anne from Walking in My Shoes gives a shout-out to Renegade and seven other must-reads! Why not check it out?

Walking in My Shoes

My best friend Jackie is really good about posting about the books she’s reading and I wanted to share I’ve been reading since #5 on my list is read 101 books and I’ve now seven books plus the Harry Potter series.

Books

1. When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert

This book was one that been on my list for a while and when I got to choose my book for Missions classes it was obvious choice. I was so glad when it got approved and I enjoyed it and learned a lot. It is a book about how to help poverty-stricken people without making their situation worst. It is very practical with great lessons, you have interest in missions or deal with the poverty-stricken, this book is a great one for you.

2. The Roman, The Twelve, and The King by Jenny L. Cote

I started reading Jenny Cote’s…

View original post 722 more words

Review: Renegade by L.A. Wilcox

Have you seen this amazing review of Renegade by the Book Nanny? Check it out!

The Book Nanny

Renegade
L.A. Wilcox
Published: April, 2014

21875675

Description of this book on Goodreads:

There are just three rules to being a time traveler. 

1. Do not, under any circumstance, interfere with your environment during travel. 
2. Do not attempt to carry other persons or large articles during travel. 
3. Keep your talisman on your person at all times. 

When time traveler Andrew Simmons loses his talisman in pre-revolutionary Boston, he must race against the clock to retrieve his only way home. Everything is on the line – family, love, freedom, honor, and quite possibly the future. But as time reveals a long line of dark secrets, Andrew realizes he must save more than just his skin. He must also save his kind.

***I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review***

View original post 392 more words

12 Pictures That Perfectly Describe Your HIMYM Finale Depression

Whoa. Hold up, yo. You mean the series finale is tonight?

Hoooooooly crap. Siri just confirmed this devastating news. Tonight will be the last episode. Ever. I feel so…so numb.

Just kidding. I’M TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.

Uhhh…I think I dropped something under my desk. Excuse me.

I mean, how am I  even supposed to get through the rest of today?

Wait. What do you mean why are you getting so upset?

Okay. I’m sorry for yelling at you and accidentally spitting on your cheek. Could we just hug it out? I need to feel again.

Also, do you have any ice cream? Hit me, Linus, and make it a double.

I’m not overreacting. Right? The world is just as devastated as I am. Right? I’m not overly attached to five fictional characters inside my television. RIGHT?

Okay. Don’t answer that. Honestly, I don’t mean to be such a basketcase. But you see…

But I will contain all the feels by asking myself just one thing. WWSD: What would Swarley do?

Challenge accepted. So despite the crippling pain, I’m choosing to be CRAZY excited for tonight’s episode. Why? Because if it’s anything like the past nine years, then I know it’s going to be…

Surviving Monday with Cute Emergency

Just as the Lord declared the Sabbath for himself, so Satan claimed Mondays. Fortunately, there are ways of coping with this devilish day. In fact, despite all evidence, it is actually possible to have a good Monday, but first we’re going to need some advice from a highly-skilled team of sad-fighting joy-bringers. Luckily, I just know the group. Let’s see what our cheeky baby animal friends from @CuteEmergency have to say about surviving Monday:

So, Monday’s got you down?

Bird

Then listen up! I bear good news.

bears

Mondays aren’t so bad, if you know just what to do.

Puppy

Don’t worry about class or work – Mondays are perfectly good days for sleeping in with a snuggly friend.

Foal

Or just napping by yourself.

Fox

Once you’re up, why not grab a cup or two from your favorite coffee joint?

Hipster

Or spend a little time just roaming around town. Who knows what you might find!

Pandas

If the weather is nice, you could always take a dip with a friend or two.

Pigs

Or even spend some time in the great outdoors.

Baby Mouse

You could even try your hand at a new sport!

Tennis

Too cold to be outside? That’s okay! Chilly, fall days are perfect for catching up on baking.

porcupine

And they’re also great for long bubble baths!

PorcupineBath

Or maybe it’s a lazy, rainy day. What a perfect excuse for dodging obligation and curling up with your favorite flick!

"Part of youuuur woooooooooorld!"

“Part of youuuur woooooooooorld!”

Once the sky clears, you can even practice your mud-pie skills!

Elephant

If you start getting a little stir crazy, why not catch up on some grocery shopping?

Rabbit

It’s perfectly okay to start snacking before you’ve left the store. I won’t tell.

Red Panda

It’s been a pretty busy day. You’ll definitely want to unwind with that special someone, preferably in a hot tub.

Tigers

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? You’ve just had a perfectly enjoyable Monday!

Sloth

Hooray!