Buy My Own House? I've Never Done That Before...

    Buy My Own House? I've Never Done That Before...

    Sep 09, 2019

    Even before I started working with Dad at ERA TEAM Real Estate in June of 2017, I was planning to buy a house of my own. I was convinced that it made financial sense and I already knew a great Realtor; so all I needed was a steady source of income and I could find a place and move out of my parents' house! I was more informed than most first-time home buyers, so I knew that the process does not have to be incredibly daunting like some make it out to be. But still... was I really ready to make a purchase of well over $100,000? The most money I had ever spent was on my riding mower for my lawn care business in high school, and even then Dad paid the $2400 to Lowes and let me pay him back over the next couple summers. Buying a house would be by FAR the biggest financial move of my life to that point.

    It is important to know that I was not only approaching my first house as a place for me to live, but also as an investment. You see, I had no intentions of selling this house. Instead, whenever it is time to move on to another place, I will keep my house and use it as a rental. There are many, many reasons why this is a good idea (which I may go into some other time on this blog), but as far as this story is concerned, it simply means that I needed to find a house that would not only be a good place for me, but would also be a productive rental unit a few years down the road. For the most part, this meant that I needed to be in a particular price range.

    So there I was, not even two months out of college, armed with a single paycheck and facing a blazing fast real estate market that was heavily weighted in favor of sellers. Fortunately for me, I also had Richard Henley and the other agents of ERA TEAM Real Estate backing me up. We started watching out for potential houses in July, and quite quickly found my first option. It was a house For Sale By Owner, asking right at the top of my price range. It had nearly everything I wanted. No carpet, a fairly modern design, plenty of space, and a great location! It would be easy to rent later. I was excited, and we wrote an offer for an amount that I was more comfortable with. The seller countered, and this was when I learned my first real lesson of this process: money matters.

    When I was younger, I would watch Dad negotiate deals where one or both parties would get very, very tense about a couple thousand dollars one way or the other. From the outside looking in, I never really understood it. After all, is there really THAT much of a difference between $135,000 and $137,000? Sure, two thousand dollars is a lot, but when comparing it in hundreds of thousands, it seems insignificant.... until it is your own money that you are talking about. I agonized about that seller's counter all evening. I wanted this house, but I knew that at the price he was asking, it would not be a sound financial move. I could make it work, but it was not anything like a great deal. I had nearly reached my decision to reject it and move on when a new opportunity came crashing in and confirmed that I should drop this current offer.

    It is situations like THIS when is becomes very beneficial to have a great Realtor working for you. There was a house on the north side of Conway (listed with another company) that my dad had shown to several investors of his. His clients liked the house, but the seller received several offers and accepted a higher one. No big deal, he found another one for his clients and they were happy. Since then, however, that accepted contract fell through. As soon as Dad heard that the house would be coming back on the market he got excited. "Will, this could be very good. These sellers are going to be irritated and ready to get rid of this house. You need to go look at it, NOW."

    So I did. Dad and I went over and saw it, then we came back that afternoon with Mom. Everybody approved, and we wrote an offer. And wow, what a brilliant offer it was. Dad crafted it to be as clean as it could possibly be. No strings attached, with a quick closing. This apparently appealed to the sellers, and they accepted! I was buying a house!

    The next few weeks could have been a bit hectic, but since I was well aware of what each step of the process would be and about how long they would take, I was not terribly stressed. The time between contract to close taught me another lesson first-time buyers should know: if you are worried about something, ASK YOUR AGENT! There is no sense in staying awake at night fretting about an issue that may not be an issue at all. One of the primary goals of any good real estate agent should be to reduce your stress as much as possible. If you are worried that the appraisal has not come back yet, check with your agent before you go into panic mode. Sure, it is possible that something is wrong, but it is just as likely that there is nothing to worry about at all.

    We went through the standard inspection process, had a smooth closing, and just like that, I was ready to move in. In all honesty, the biggest bump in the road was having to explain to my girlfriend (who shortly thereafter became my fiance, and then my wife) that I had bought this house before she had a chance to see it for herself and decide if SHE liked it or not. Not to worry, though; after the wedding, she moved in, redecorated and has enjoyed living there just as much as I do!

    The experience of buying my own home has been absolutely invaluable to me as a Realtor. More that ever, I can relate to others in my generation who are considering making a similar move. I can anticipate their concerns, and hopefully I can help answer questions before they arise. Since then, Dad and I have helped several different people buy their first home, and those are some of the most fun transactions I have been a part of.

    Yes, buying a house CAN be scary, but it doesn't have to be. Link up with a Realtor that you can trust, do your research, and keep in mind that thousands of people do this every year. If they can do it, so can you!


    Will Henley, REALTOR

    ERA TEAM Real Estate