Your First Home

You’ve rented all your adult life to this point and you’re finding yourself thinking: What now? It sounds like you’re looking to buy your first house in FL. Diving into homeownership looks different for everyone. Maybe you’re just thinking about thinking about it or maybe you’ve already contacted an agent — either way, the journey starts here. The trickiest part is that there is no formula for perfection and definitely not for ease. The path of least resistance rarely leads you to the mountaintop and it certainly won’t lead you to the hallowed grounds of homeownership. The qualms surrounding the leap from renting to owning are enough to scare anyone away. Waiting for the electric or cable company to show up between 4-8 PM is even less enthusing when you’re footing the bill. When you don’t get to call your landlord anymore to fix the leaky faucet or the running toilet — you’ll grumble your way through calling a plumber and searching for a wrench. These are realities of owning any home; not just your first. It just so happens your first home is where you learn the ropes and learning curves.

According to an article on Bloomberg.com, at the end of 2019, the median age of first-time homebuyers was 33 and on the rise. The phantom of affordable housing in FL is surely a contributing factor of this statistic, not to mention the overall burden of saving tens of thousands of dollars while paying thousands of dollars in rent. Buying a home for the first time is harder than ever and coupled with the fact of the responsibility it brings. That’s enough to stress anyone out. Growth in any form is often scary, but why? Is it unknown? Is it the discomfort? Is it the mortgage payment in FL that makes you want to run and hide? Or how about the median price of homes in FL? Probably a little bit of all of the above plus your own personal circumstances, if we had to guess.

Buying your first home is electrifying in the best and the worst way for a myriad of reasons. It is the unknown and the discomfort. It’s also the mortgage payment. Buying your first home in FL induces fear long before you’re handed the keys — it starts with the wishing. Whether you’re single or in a partnership; at some point you say “I think I’m done renting” and then your phone magically downloads for sale apps. The next thing you know, your search history is all address names and questions like “how much house can I afford in FL?” and “what is the average down payment in FL?”. Maybe you’re even listening to podcasts and peppering your friends and families with questions about equity and the pro’s and con’s of homeownership. The rabbit hole of information and conflicting opinions and statistics surrounding buying a house in FL is hard to navigate, and that’s why you need a great team to help guide you.

First of all; information is good! Keep it coming! The more you know; the more you can ease your qualms. Research! Use your tools! The internet, homeowners you know, social media — go wild! Most importantly, get yourself a great team of professionals who can tell you what’s what. It’s important to know what’s realistic and what’s not and also what homes are worth and what they’re not. A great network of those who’ve made real estate their field of expertise can help you differentiate between what’s a smart investment and what’s sure to haunt you for years to come.
Seeking the counsel of professionals yields more value than those of your peers. Odds are, you’re in a different place in your home buying journey than others around you. Depending on your profession, your rate of savings, your current living situation, if you’re purchasing your home alone or with a partner, etc. — the variables are endless and they all make your own home buying journey unique to you. The good news is Core Financial Inc NMLS 252580 is there to help guide you and ease your fears.

Positives

Having a home that’s all yours is something to be proud of! Take solace in that accomplishment; even on the days your home seems to be swallowing you whole with its needs. Think of the relationship you have with your home as transactional; it shields you from the elements (or it should) and offers you shelter and you offer it the occasional nail, hammer, and new shiny appliance. The trade off, most of the time, seems more than fair. As you hang new pictures on the wall, add ticks to the height measurements of your children behind the laundry room door, and add new magnets to the fridge from your experiences and adventures — your house begins to look more and more like a collage of your and your loved one’s lives. Then one day, out of the blue, you realize you’ve made yourself a home.

If the homebuying process was relatively easy, the joy you feel when purchasing your first home can feel a tad eerie. It’s all going so seamlessly, the timing was so great and now you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop? Don’t worry, it will. It’s the nature of the game! Go into buying your first home, and all homes for that matter, with the mentality that things will break and that life is expensive. Twist your perspective a bit — each time you need or want to fix something is a chance to both invest sweat equity and customize your home. Some homeowner’s favorite memories are the times they stood on the bottom of a ladder holding a flashlight while their partner fixed a wiring issue and they had a great conversation. Some homeowners love to look at the paint they laboriously coated each wall in. Some even love to relish the time they just hired a fantastic handyman to fix the issue and enjoyed their Saturday. House projects are never ending it seems, so if you can find this to be an opportunity to always be customizing and learning — you’re set up for success in more ways than one. Whatever method you choose to work on house projects with; chances are you’ll get your fair share of them all and even when you thought you fixed the leak under the kitchen sink only to come home to a flooded kitchen — it’s all a memory and it’s all a lesson.

While your house definitely cost you a pretty penny; the value in the memories it will give back — that’s priceless. Your first Halloween — all the entertaining trick or treaters and spooky decorations (in our dream world, COVID-19 has not robbed us of our holiday traditions). Carving pumpkins to set on your very own entryway! Putting the turkey in your oven to host your first Thanksgiving. Stringing up lights during the holiday season, perhaps pretending Santa shimmied down your chimney, and ringing in the New Year — they’re all that much more special when it’s in your own home.
Buying a home is no place for “maybes” and “what-ifs,” please throw your passivism to the wind! This is a house that you’re going to shift into a home and you’ll come back to that place day in and day out — you need to feel committed to the cause. Why? Because home ownership is not for the faint of heart. It’s a place for passion and dedication. The good news? It’s relatively easy to feel connected to the place you lay your head each night. The memories you create in your first home are as sweet as they come. There’s nothing quite like the rose-covered glasses that pervade the lens of a new home, especially when it’s your very first. The weird twist you have to do with the faucet to get the hot water to come out? Charming. Revel in this inherent loveliness and use your excitement to motivate you to fix the not-so-desirable aspects of your new abode — those rose colored glasses have about a ninety day expiration date before you’re cursing the upside-down light switch that was a previously delightful nuance.

A Few Negatives

We’re sorry to say that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows in “New Homeowner Land”. There are some cons worth mentioning, but remember it’s all about perspective and there’s very little that time or money can’t fix!

The process of purchasing the actual home is reported to be the most stressful part of actually owning a home in FL. This is great because it means that you get the heaviest lifting over with first; but it also means the beginning can make you want to run for the hills — so buckle up! Getting together all your paperwork with your personal information on it, figuring out what down payment you can truly afford, seeing where your credit score lines up in regards to the loan process — all daunting. If buying a house with your spouse; you have to actually agree on a location and layout and down payment and all. the. details. Once you agree, you are not guaranteed to get accepted on any offers you put in. The process of buying a home is grueling for many individuals and couples. It’s a relentless practice of handling rejection, adjusting expectations, and staying updated with each listing. Throw closing costs in and various last minute hiccups and many become disheartened and frustrated — but then you’re handed your keys!
When the rose-colored glasses begin to fade and suddenly the “fun” way your A/C only sporadically works is no longer tolerable because the late summer heatwave has hit — it’s a killjoy. When you bought the house with all of the electrical wiring passing inspection but now your lights are flickering and a new bulb didn’t solve it; it’s not ideal. These things aren’t fun or glamorous. They often occur at the worst possible time in your personal and professional lives but they’re just a part of the gig and the sooner you make peace with that, the better. Your neighbors may not be all they were cracked-up to be. Or someone forgot to tell you about the teenagers who drive by at 50 mph, blaring rap music, at 11 PM every weeknight. You might find yourself wondering when you got old and grumpy. These are common symptoms of “Overwhelmed Homeowner Syndrome” but it does pass!
When it comes down to it, the reality of the situation is and always will be this: when you own a home there are times where it feels like you bit off more than you can chew. That’s the net downside to owning anything really — it doesn’t always work. Sometimes homeowners simply run out of bandwidth to continue chipping away at projects while appliances continue to randomly break. This brings us back to the other two golden pillars of life: time and money. If you don’t have the time — you need to find some money. If you don’t have the money — it’s best to get real comfortable with practicing patience. A balance of both is always great.

It’s nerve-racking to realize you need to save enough for a downpayment, any immediate renovations, and then some for the emergency fund of appliances, windows, and other household necessities that just give out occasionally. The calmest individual can still feel overwhelmed by all of these sudden needs but the good news is that it is temporary!

Realities

The wonderful thing about owning your first home is also what makes it so frightening — but isn’t that always the way? It’s the finality of it all and the true ownership. That ownership means that your home is yours to create memories with, to build the foundation of your life within — there’s nothing more magic than that. Maybe you’re one of the lucky few and your first home will be brand new and practically perfect in every way. In that case, this too is magic by the very nature of the hard work and opportunity that has come together for you to be in your fantastic new dream home. Of course, the levels of fear vary from situation to situation. The responsibility of it all causes a knot in your stomach. All of the decisions: floors, paint, doorknobs, oh my! The water leak that makes your new luxury vinyl plank floors bubble? Far from ideal, but these are risks you must be willing to take.

Many homeowners share that the concept of not being able to “get out of their lease” sends them into a panic. Owning a home means either you’re living in it, renting it out, or selling it. All options require a good amount of effort on the homeowners part. Thankfully, a quality home inspection can ease buyer’s minds on any concerns that might make or break the deal.

If you’re like most homebuyers; your first home is not your forever home. Once you move in and fall in love with your new home and you’ve fixed and updated every last baseboard to your heart’s desire — you’ll never want to leave. This is both sad and wonderful — how wonderful it is to feel so much gratitude towards something that caused you more than a few gray hairs and how sad it is to say goodbye or to rent it out to others who may not love it the way you do. This juxtaposition of feelings is homeownership in a nutshell. You loathe your creaky doors but you don’t want to open any new ones. You complain about your reclusive neighbors but you love that you don’t have to attend weekly block parties. You dream of a bigger house but don’t know how you’d clean anything an inch larger than the one you already have.

Maybe the scariest thing of all about buying your first home is that you don’t know the definite answer to any of the questions you’ve had or we’ve pondered until you’ve made yourself a homeowner. The wondering itself isn’t enough — you’ve got to make the leap, despite all of the questions you still have. You want to own a home? You’ve got to bite the proverbial bullet. Good luck and happy house hunting!

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