This post is sponsored by Opendoor.
I can’t believe that our two year anniversary of owning our first home is already here! It seems the last two years have absolutely flown by, which is great for our mortgage payment since it’ll decrease in just a few short years. 😉 In the spirit of celebrating 24 wonderful months in my (just about) dream house, I put together a list of tips for the first time home-buying process that we learned along the way.
Finding Your Home
We searched high and low, every day, almost every hour, to find the perfect home for us. I’m pretty sure I was on all the real estate sites at all times of the day just hoping to find a new listing within our budget so we could make an appointment to see it that day. Homes were getting scooped up within days (because of our price range) so we had to act fast. With most sites you can set alerts to know when homes are listed which is helpful.
Make sure that you are strict with setting your budget search. You don’t want to look at homes that are over budget because it’ll just break your heart, I promise. But a good tip is to look at homes just outside the boundaries of where you want to be. Your dream home might pop up just .5 mile away from where you’re looking, so it’s best to have a wider net on the location search.
Go to open houses. This is how we found our home! We had just given up on the search, made our way up to our apartment complex to resign another 2 years and the open house notification popped up. Our apartment building was closed that day unexpectedly, so we decided to go to the open house since we were out already. Turns out it was fate!
Preparing to Go Under Contract
While you should know your budget and pre-approval numbers prior to looking at houses, once you’ve decided to go under contract, having your financials and records for the contract ready at any moment will help speed up the process once you’ve decided on the one. You’ll need a lot of information and paperwork, which your mortgage advisor will help guide you through. Some examples of paperwork we submitted: pay stubs from the last 2 months, tax returns for the last 2 years, W2s, full bank statements and any debt accounts like student loans or other mortgages. Trust me when I say, it’s easier to collect these beforehand than to be rushing around the night of when you’re trying to fight a crowd of other interested parties.
If you already own a property and will need to sell it before closing on the next one, you’ll want to have it listed. There have been a couple times that my family has moved and the transition was not so seamless. At one point, we had a house in Texas and a house in Georgia, and not because we wanted to. Worrying about selling a house and buying a house at the same time would put me over the edge! Especially when you’re paying mortgages on both. Opendoor is one easy solution. They’ll buy your home directly so you don’t have to worry about double mortgages and let you choose your own closing so you’re not stuck in between. Not only is it an easier way to sell your existing home, but having a cash offer in hand from Opendoor can make you a more compelling buyer on your next home, and the entire process is so much quicker.
Between the Contract and Closing
The whole homebuying process is extremely daunting, I’m not going to lie. I’m a worrier, so throughout the entire process I was losing sleep wondering if something was going to fall through, if we had filled out paperwork wrong, or the sellers were going to back out. Luckily, nothing (big) happened, and everything went rather smoothly. The process just took forever; did I mention I’m also super impatient?! The only advice I can give here is to trust the process, be optimistic and distract yourself with a lot of activities that take your mind off the in between.
Selling Your Home
When we decide to sell and/or buy our next home, Opendoor would be an awesome service for us. We’ve seen so many homes in our neighborhood come on the market and go under contract within days. The market is crazy around here! Which makes it tempting to list our home and make some good money in the process.
With Opendoor, you don’t have to worry about showings. This would be super helpful to us; with our busy schedules, it’s so hard to keep our home completely clean and organized, we’ve got two crazy dogs running around at all times and I work from home, so it would definitely interrupt my work day.
Opendoor aims to give you a competitive cash offer within 48 hours, and once you decide to sell, they purchase your home directly and you’re done! I love that there’s no uncertainty involved. I have a teeny bit of a control issue when I can’t predict the outcome. This eliminates that!
They also offer an ‘All Day Open House’ meaning you can tour any of Opendoor’s for-sale homes any day of the week between 6am and 9pm, again super convenient with our busy schedules. No more losing our precious weekends to open houses again, we could go any time that works for us. If you’re considering selling your home in one of the 10 markets where Opendoor operates, including Atlanta, visit Opendoor.com and simply enter your address. There’s truly no downside to getting a free, no obligation offer. And for more information on Opendoor, check out their FAQs and happy house hunting!