There’s a saying in my family that routinely brings a chuckle (or three) out of everyone except my mother. The reason is that those chuckles are at her expense but deep down she knows that my father, sister and I do it out of love. Definitely not out of amusement.
While the latter half of the saying varies depending on time, date and season, it always begins with “It’s hard to imagine …”
For instance, we could be driving along, staring at the snow-covered landscape and my mom would chirp up and say, “It’s hard to imagine that in six months time these trees will be covered in leaves.” Like clockwork, we can depend on her uttering some variation of those words and so, the “it’s hard to imagine” phrase has become a part of our family.
Now, as Amy and I sit here typing up our takeaways from our Homebuying Adventures, I have to sit back, think of my mother and say, “It’s hard to imagine that a few months ago we were just beginning this adventure.”
As I started this Homebuying Adventure, I’ll have to admit I was a little nervous about the mortgage process (check out my video here!). Hidden in my credit closet were several credit cards with more debt than I would like to admit. So when Mollie Bergstrom from Allen Tate Mortgage said something about pulling my credit score, I prepared myself for the worst.
I’ve been working on paying down my credit cards (yes, I was one who fell into the credit trap right after college) and I’ve heard mixed comments about closing those cards after they are paid off. In talking about this dilemma with Mollie, she told me that closing paid-off cards erases the “good credit” that you’ve built up. What? This is good to know! I have good credit on the cards with no balance! I tucked away this information and tried to ease my nerves on my pending credit score.
After meeting with my Realtor®, Maggie Redmond, and diving through the information packet, I realized this Homebuying Adventure was going to be about more than just buying a house! Lucky for me, Maggie came to my rescue. No more overloading on information by myself. She made everything simple.
As I digested the step by step buying guide, commonly used terms and my property wish list, I came away with the following:
Why should I buy? Why now?
Now that I knew it was a great time to buy, what’s next? Could I start searching and picking out my perfect home? As I began filling out the wish list I realized that I didn’t even know what I could afford. I knew I wanted to keep the payments close to what I was already paying in rent. Wait! There was a paper in the information packet all about mortgages!
I’m a girl who has rented apartment after apartment (oh the stories I could tell…). From the good, to the bad, to the ugly I’ve seen and lived in it all, trust me. Overall, renting is fine but everytime I write that rent check I stop and think about the money I’m essentially throwing away. It pains me that this monthly allotment doesn’t go towards anything of true value (I’m sure the receiver of said check would disagree with me on that point).
I’ve done the research and the last survey showed that homeowner net worth exceed renters by 46%. Awesome.
So, while I have a place to call home, I don’t have a place to call “my own.” A place where I can paint the walls any color I choose, make remodeling changes if I’m feeling “Tim the Toolman Tailor-ish”, or landscape to my hearts content. I want that. I’ve been wanting that for a while now.
Many of my friends recently took the next big adult step and bought places of their own. Those Facebook status updates were more brutal for me than the “I just got engaged!” updates (ok, that’s not entirely true but they come a close second). Update after update got me thinking. Why couldn’t I at least figure out what my options were?
At the Allen Tate Companies we take pride in helping people achieve the goal of homeownership. As homeowners ourselves, we understand real estate on a personal level. One day, several of us in the office were sharing our experiences about buying our first home. When the conversation turned to “I wish someone had told me ___,” it occurred to us that our “lessons learned” could be helpful to others.
Our new first-time homebuyer website and Homebuying Adventures were born from that conversation. Designed to help make the home buying process easier, the new first-time Homebuyer Guide includes interactive tools and great resources for beginners – as well as experienced – buyers.
Homebuying Adventures is the flagship of our new first-time homebuyer website. The video series tells the story of first-time buyers Amy and Genevieve. They are friends, co-workers at Allen Tate Company and renters, who are thinking about buying their first homes. By inviting other first-time homebuyers to share their journey, our goal is to help take the mystery (and fear) out of the process of buying a home.