When Mark and I bought out first house, we never thought it would end up such a disaster. When you’re going through the process for the first time, you’re sooo excited about all the things that come with your first “home” together. You have hopes of having kids there, what you’ll do to fix it up, how it will all come together. We never planned to move 10 months after we bought the house. So many “would-a” “could-a” “should-a”….but what good does that do?
Mistake #1: We bought a house before carefully considering the location. I would recommend anyone moving to a new location to do their research first and spend enough time in that area to know it’s the right place. Location is everything with a house. Whether you want nice, friendly neighbors or restaurants within walking distance, you spend more time in your home than anywhere else.
Mistake #2: We tried to predict the future. Yes, you hope you will love it and stay there forever, but you never know what tomorrow will bring and you will be surprised how many things take higher priority than your house. 5 years? Probable. 20 years? Doubtful you can plan that far in advance.
Mistake #3: We didn’t plan for the worst case scenario. Going into the biggest purchase of your life, it’s crucial to have that conversation – what if? We were newlyweds looking to make a nest anywhere we could find. We were ignoring the 800 lb. gorilla in the room. Chances were high we would eventually move, if we had been taken our blinders off. What would you do if one of you lost your job? What would you do if one of you were offerred an amazing job in another location? Big questions you have to ask. I know because we didn’t.
Mistake #4: We didn’t have a support system. Don’t be fools (we were). House upkeep is HUGE. You want to fix things, change things, renovate things. It’s a lot harder to take care your first house on your own. We didn’t have great friends of family around to call for a hand. Never underestimate the value of having family to rush over and help when something goes array.
Mistake #5: Assume renovations are easy. When buying our first house, we looked at very “surface” changes we wanted to make, but what you don’t realize is A) how expensive it is, and B) it might seem simple at first glance, but sometimes you can’t make changes you want. Figure out whether the changes are feasible and how important they are to your re-sale value before you offer.
We bought our first home 1/1/2008. We moved out 10/2008. We just sold it last week. We have learned the most valuable lessons through this absolutely stressful, annoying and expensive experience. Life isn’t a fairy tale. I like to look on the bright side of life, but even I ran out of possible positives in this situation. It was like a roller coaster of emotions: optimism, denial, anger, sadness, desperation…. *sigh*
The day we were to close on our new house in Lexington, literally minutes before I left to go to closing, we got an offer on our house. Tears literally filled my eyes. We took it. At this point, we had accepted this house wasn’t going to have a fairy tale ending. It was all business at this point – cut our losses and move on. I had so many emotions. I wanted to cry, laugh, scream, break something, cheer. My emotions at that moment were overwhelming.
I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels to not have to worry about renting our house, shudder when the tenants called to tell us that a contractor had fallen through our roof, that the fridge went out, that there was a leak. Not to have to worry about winterizing our house, getting a letter from the HOA that our grass was too high, paying utilities (money you never get back), dealing with negative feedback after negative feedback from showings and now being able to change it. Paying taxes on a house you don’t live in. Dreading every time someone asked about our “NC house” and trying not to yell at them because I don’t know! What do you want me to tell you? It stinks. We can’t sell it. I hate that house, I wish we had never bought it and I don’t want to talk about it. Instead, you manage as best as you can.
Finally, it is done.