I’m talking about the most expensive choice in most of our lives and I’m starting from the beginning so have no fear! This will be part of my new LOVELY HOME SERIES. I can now say I’ve experienced the grand combination of motherhood + home-buying. I have so much I want to share about how we’ve ended up where we are now in the process. So without further ado, I have to start somewhere so why not start with how to begin new home buying as a family.
My hubs and I purchased our first home in December of 2007 which was shortly before we got married in 2008. Everything seemed so expensive (which is pretty common in Northern VA) but when we found out about a brand new community under construction, we got really excited. The community was in a prime location with a new town center across the street and the neighborhood had many perks like a beautiful community center with many amenities. So, we decided to buy a two-story condo in this community. Honestly, we kinda had in mind that we would be there for about 5 years or so and then figure out where we would settle.
Well, that wasn’t the case. Our home value plummetted in 2008 and we tried not to worry too much about it because we were happy living in the community and we were busy in our working lives so our space was ample. Fast forward to the present and two baby boys later, we’re still living here. Our home value started climbing again and considering the hit we took, this community has rebounded well.
We started to toss around the idea of moving about 6 months ago. We started with lots of questions. I guess my recommendation when beginning the home buying process is to sit down and start the conversation. When I first casually mentioned the idea to my husband, his response was a pretty big, fat “are you crazy? how will we pull that off?” And, his response wasn’t because he didn’t want to move but we genuinely didn’t think it was possible for us to move.
So you find yourself checking out the real-estate every week “just for fun.” You fantasize about watching your kids running around the backyard and having a family room big enough for all their toys. And just maybe you’ve even envisioned your dreamy kitchen and that perfect play area for the kids. But before you start attending any open houses, keep in mind that it’s a process.
Beginning the new home buying conversation
You have to start somewhere. Here is a basic process to give you some direction.
We talked about our why.
My hubs and I talked about why we wanted to move. When deciding to move as a family, it’s a different decision than it was when we were newlyweds. Our why was that we really wanted a yard for the boys and more space. This why is what keeps us motivated on the rest of our journey especially through the stressful times.
Where will we move?
Totally important, right? For some, it’s probably a no-brainer, for us it took weighing the pros and cons to decide. We’ve been in our current city most of our lives. We are in fairly close proximity to most of our immediate family which is super important to us. Convenience would’ve kept us in the same city because we are familiar with the area and it’s closer to my husband’s job. The reality is if we moved away from the major “city” (which is Washington, D.C. for us), we had more choice with houses that fit our lifestyle better in our price range. And then we had to consider the dreaded commute because let’s face it, traffic is no joke in this area.
Figuring out all the financials is essential in the home-buying process. Some of the questions we had to consider are – How much do we owe on our current loan? How much are homes in our area selling for? In our case, we had to decide if we could afford it because we aren’t making any profit off the sale of our home. So here is where the WHY is very important again and we have come back to this a million times. We decided our WHY outweighed the frustrating (disheartening) financial side.
Find the right realtor who is trustworthy. You want someone who understands your needs and who will work hard to find the property you want at a price you can afford. It’s been reassuring since we really trust our realtor and value his guidance since he really understands us and our family needs.
We spent some time online searching the areas we would like to live to see what type of home we could afford and if that home would meet our needs. We looked at the schools in the areas. This home is a long-term deal for us. So our boys will go to school wherever we purchased our new home. Before we ever went out with the realtor, we spent a few of my husband’s days off just driving by homes for sale and checking out neighborhoods. Of course, driving by homes is different than going inside but honestly, it was helpful just to get a feel for different neighborhoods that might become home.
Visit homes with the realtor that we really liked. This gave us a good idea of what we could expect for homes in our price range. It was necessary to see if there was even anything that interested us (in our target price range) before deciding if we would want to move from our current home.
Be realistic not idealistic
Of course, having that idealistic picture in our heads is fun and inspires those big dreams but it’s totally necessary to check ourselves so we don’t wreck ourselves financially. Put the realistic picture at the forefront and use that to drive your decisions.
- Did you find a house you might want?
- Can you comfortably afford it?
- Is the timing right on selling your current home?
- Do you feel secure about your income?
I hope this gives some insight to how to begin new home buying as a family. Trust me, I am excited to share so much more about my home selling and home buying journey! Going through this home process as a family is very different since our priorities and needs have changed over the years.
Stay tuned for more of the LOVELY HOME SERIES. If you don’t want to miss any future posts, be sure to sign up below!