A Lesson Learned

>> 9.28.2009

A couple of weeks ago, I watched HGTV’s special: My First Place Lessons Learned . Having recently signed my life away to a loan on my house, I felt a little nervous watching the episode in which first time homebuyers previously featured on My First Place come back and share their “I wish I knew” moments. I knew I couldn’t go back and change anything about my process, but I was still interested to see what they slipped up on. One man lost a home (bid) due to his lacking of bank approval, another woman ended up having roofing issues when the “new roof” description on the sales flyer didn’t actually end up applying to her home, and a young couple became stuck in a home at the top of their budget with a dysfunctional bathroom. Luckily, I haven’t found any giant issues (yet) with my home, and although there are cosmetic issues, I was aware of them when I purchased the place.

Well, since watching the show, I found one of my lessons learned: look into the neighbors before moving in. So far, the only snag I’ve come across with my neighbors has been the noise level... specifically the engine of my next-door neighbor’s racing car as he tunes it up on Saturday mornings (we’re talking loud). I suppose this one thing wouldn’t have been a deal breaker, but it sure would have been smart of me to look at who I would have been living around- I can just imagine what it would have been like to move in next to a frat-like house and deal with wild weekend parties instead. I guess, for now, I’ll just have to stay thankful for the engine and move thicker-paned windows up in priority on the list.

Yes, please!

Have any home-buying lessons learned? Has anyone given you any great tips you're glad you knew about?


Kate September 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM  

The best advice we got was to buy LESS than what we could "afford". We were pre-approved for much more than we were comfortable with spending and I'm so glad we didn't get so caught up in the buying frenzy that we let our budget slip away.

That, and I wish I had known how hard it would be put up a fence in January when snow was on the ground. Not fun!

chacha September 28, 2009 at 11:55 AM  

Well, hmmm..., the only lesson learned I guess for me is don't be afraid to rent for a while in between houses. Had we done that, we would have gotten the same house for 100K cheaper. Of course, I didn't know the market was going to tank, but I was also dead against renting and just stashing the equity from the last house in a bank account and waiting. Oh well. At least the market here is picking up again.

And who knows, maybe your loud neighbor will move eventually. We've had three houses sell around us, one of them our direct neighbors who had a 20-something son who would have pool parties on weeknights until like 1am! The whole neighborhood would yell out their bedroom windows to their yard about how they had to work. It was ridiculous. Definitely glad they're gone.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno September 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

I think the biggest lesson I learned is don't buy your house from the listing agent. Unfortunately, we didn't have a choice since we fell in love with the house and our (buyer's)realtor was the listing agent. I know we could've gotten the place for less if she hadn't influenced us. She also scared us into buying a home warranty for $420 bucks (she got a commission from the sale) that we never used. Bottom line, get your own agent and if you are in the situation we got into, bargain without fear! There is always another house you will like just as much, if not more if you lose it. ps - she also never mentioned that almost the whole house was painted over wallpaper. UGH!!!

Danielle and Clint September 28, 2009 at 1:59 PM  

My lesson learned don't buy furniture until you are actually in the house. My mom wanted to buy me a couch as a house warming gift. Now that I see it, I wish I would of gotten a bigger, much more pet friendly couch. If I knew what my living room would of been like, I would of looked for something to fit it better.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 28, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

@Danielle and Clint- I feel ya on that one! I'm in the process of trying to use some really nice pieces that I have because I know they won't sell for what they're worth. I wish I held out for nicer bedroom furniture until after I owned a place.

Marcy Tate September 29, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

Great post. Just posted your blog here: http://networx.com/group/newprospective-homeowners/discussion/biggest-dont-buy-signs

Thanks for the info.

Anonymous,  December 25, 2009 at 11:50 PM  

Oh is it ever smart to check things out multiple times of the day prior to buying any home
We forgot this rule as we house shopped. Early in the process we ruled a home out based upon the Aura of the street after 6 p.m. (Cars lined the streets.)

Then we fell kettle over tea bucket for this neighborhood and did not visit during the day except on Sundays.

Our home plan has no windows on the main floor at the front of the house. Thank Heaven. We bought a home near a "walking" neighborhood school. A word for the wise... No one let's their children walk to school. I am amazed by the close neighbors that drive their children and the constant steam of traffic by out home before and after school. The second story of the house does have 4 windows, but the stream of cars does not seem to bother me when I am up there.

So, the last issue is don't look up when you are gardening unless you feel like waving. ;o)

Like you said this may have not been a deal breaker, but we learn as we go.

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