Buying our first home
Three years ago when we moved to the Bay Area, we didn't know how crazy the housing market really was. We had a perfect place in San Jose with a ridiculous rent, but our friends told us that it was okay. We lived there for a year, then moved to San Bruno to a less than perfect place with a higher rent but closer to San Francisco.
In March, J and I decided to start looking for a home, to be honest, I wasn't loving the city. I had serious wanderlust from our trip to the East Coast. I wanted to move to Boston; houses were beautiful and more affordable schools are fantastic, and I could pursue my dream of getting a Ph.D.
Things changed when we came to Dublin, CA. We came to check out some developments and new homes (which was on the top of our wishlist, new houses) and we found a great location, new homes within our price range.
We made the decision on the spot, start researching to move forward with getting our new home:
1. Research, do the math, compromise: you love the area but don't love the house, keep looking. Do you need a great kitchen or are you willing to DIY some stuff? Do you have the down payment (we're talking 20% of the total) and the mortgage payments will be covered? Also, keep an eye on your credit score, it will affect your interest rate.
2. Assess your lifestyle: there's some compromises and sacrifices when it comes to buying your first home, it might be location, like us that we need to be close to public transportation or a big kitchen or even good schools. Check out the things that are indispensable for you, act accordingly. Don't underestimate the stress of doing something so permanent. We've moved seven times in 6 years, I understand the fear of change.
3. Prepare for the unknown: our home buying process was super smoothly, but things got ugly in less than 24 hours. We were ready to move, and PG&E didn't set up our gas or electricity, we had signed the papers we needed to do the closing, and we had to cancel it and start over. PG&E was super irresponsible and unresponsive. That was stressful, it took an enormous toll and did make our experience so much complicated.
4. If you're buying a new home make sure you check everything: I picked out the floors, rugs, padding, cabinets, appliances (We recommend to get these with your builder, they'll fix whatever they'll break! And, it goes towards your mortgage payments instead of another significant expense)
Also, use the blue tape, check out the details, floors, crown moldings, countertops, etc. Human errors are there, and you need to be picky. Don't be afraid to deal with these tiny details.
5. Don't give up your apartment until you have the keys to your home: one of the builder's biggest mistakes during our closing was telling us that everything was ready, so we gave notice to vacate the apartment. When the PG&Egate happened, we had to move out and go to a hotel. (Where I'm living right now, not cool PG&E)
6. You'll feel overwhelmed, and that's OK: when everything happened, I freaked out, cried and had a hard time. My husband has been so patient with me lately, though, but this is a HUGE step, so it's okay to be stressed and scared, but know that you got this!
I'll share more soon; I'm unpacking!