Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting yet daunting process. Location, size, and price range barely scratches the surface of all the factors to consider when buying a home. Our Client Engagement Specialist, Julia DeBruler, became a first time home buyer this summer with her husband Dan with the purchase of a single-family home in West Midtown. We asked them about their experience navigating the home buying process.
What tools did you use and which did you find most helpful during your home search? We started where I think a lot of people start- the internet. Our first stop was Zillow and Trulia, which ended up being exhausting and a little confusing. Who knew that people could just take photos and "list" homes?! Not us. A few weeks into our general step towards house hunting we were put in touch with an agent. Once we told her what we were looking for she began to send us stuff that was officially on the market & within our guidelines so we stopped even searching on our own. Our agent’s knowledge was a game changer for us & really solidified our decision to move forward with our search.
What one piece of advice would you give any of your friends looking to buy a house? Talk to an agent! And then ask them for a preferred lender and speak to them as well. Going into our house search, we assumed you needed 40k down and it would be years before we could buy a house. Once we spoke with a lender and budgeted out what it would take monthly and what our down payment really needed to look like it was easier to figure out which homes were realistic.
What was the worst part of the process? Personally, the hardest part was feeling like I needed to be taught everything! As someone who considers herself informed, I hated having to ask so many questions because I felt like I was a little kid. Again, once we really started talking to our agent we realized that our questions were normal, they had simple, concise answers and that it wasn’t our job to know the answers, she knew enough for all of us.
Why did you decide to buy? We decided to buy instead of continue renting because we realized that it just wasn’t worth it to spend the money on rent when it could be going towards a mortgage. It felt like we were throwing money away each month.
How many homes did you look at before you found "the one"? We probably looked at 100 or more online, set appointments to see 20 over two months, and then actually viewed eight to ten. Several went under contract before we could even get inside them!
Tell us a little different about the house you bought and why it was "the one". There were several reasons why we fell in love with our house, but the top two reasons were floor plan & neighborhood. Our house is unique in its layout & it's something that we wouldn't have been able to say we wanted until we saw it in person. It’s set up like it may have been a duplex at one point, with a shallow entry way, all the living spaces to the right & bedrooms to the left. We have a three-year-old and it was especially important to us to be able to make certain spaces for sleeping and the others for living. Secondly, we fell in love with the neighborhood and our neighbors after our first visit. My husband went to Georgia Tech and had always wanted to live on the Westside and the Riverside neighborhood is right there. There are also around ten kids on our street that are under the age of seven and we love knowing that our daughter can grow up with neighborhood friends so close by. Our house was also a foreclosure and we knew that a deal like this wasn’t going to come around again so we went ahead & put in an offer, fast.