When Yury and I decided that we wanted to move out of our apartment and purchase a home we had no idea where to start. We had just moved to Dallas a year and a half before and were living the DINK (Dual income no kids) life which meant spending an absurd amount of money on renting a swanky one bedroom apartment in uptown. Although we loved the location and living right in the middle of all of the action. I felt terrible that we were "throwing" so much money away every month. We had agreed in the upcoming year we would start looking at options to buy. Once we found out that we were pregnant I was really about moving out of the city. I wanted to have a home that our son could grow up in, I wanted him to have a beautiful nursery and a yard. So the search was on.
The first step was speaking to a couple of banks to see how much we would be approved for. That was the easy part. The application process wasn't as scary as my mom made it sound. This could have been because both my husband I had great credit and pretty good jobs. Our debt to income ratio was low and we had saved up enough to put a nice downpayment. Once we leaned our approval amount we quickly saw that the type of home we wanted we couldn't afford in Dallas proper. We would have to either purchase a fixer-upper and renovate or move to the burbs.
Honestly, I liked the idea of a fixer-upper. It could have been all of the HGTV that I watched but I felt like after a couple of months we would have our dream home. My husband on the other hand, did not want to do any renovations. I find that ironic because he's always doing some type of project around our house now. He event mentioned not wanting to live in a home that anyone else had lived in before (I told y'all he's the boujee one). Y'all, that threw me through a loop. All my life I had lived in homes that other people owned before. I honestly never knew people lived in NEW homes. But, with that being said we knew we scrapped the idea of a fixer upper and started researching new developments in the burbs. Which brings me to my first point.
Read the reviews for your builder: I can't stress this enough. If you are not building then be sure to get a good home inspection and even read the reviews on your inspector. We had fallen in love with this home in an up-in coming city in North Dallas. The builder had a beautiful model home. WE LOVED IT. The price was right, it had just the right amount of space. I mean it was almost perfect. We went out for our final visit to look at the lot and paid our earnest money. While touring the lot I noticed a slop in the back yard. I mentioned it to Yury but he didn't make a huge deal about it so I didn't think anything of it.
We got home that night and I just didn't feel at ease. I kept thinking that the lot wasn't what I wanted. We went to the website of the builder and what we found terrified me. There were terrible reviews for the builder on their website. Reviews about customer service, how the homes that they had built were falling apart in the first couple of years and there was even a review about someone not feeling comfortable with them but continuing to buy. This person expressed their regret and that was enough for me. The next day we went back to the builder and asked about flattening the lot. The sales man was very rude about it and basically told me they couldn't flatten the land and we paid our money so we were stuck. I still had that uneasy feeling and we decided that we would not proceeded with the process. Luckily we did get the earnest money back but that was the first lesson learned. Read the reviews and follow your gut.
New builds are low maintenance not NO maintenance: We ended up choosing a new build townhome. There were a couple of factors that came into play with our purchase. Our townhome requires no outside maintenance. All of the landscaping, outside maintenance on the house and amenities are all included in our HOA. This was a selling feature for my husband. He didn't want to be responsible for yard work and ain't no way I was doing it. Although our townhome was a new build we purchased the model. This meant that all of the finishes were already chosen for us. It was great because the builder had chosen the higher-end finishes however, now that we've been here for 2 years we are ready to switch things up to go for a more modern look. Which means there will be maintenance. Ultimately a townhome was the perfect fit for us. I always says it the perfect introduction to home ownership especially after moving from an apartment. We have more square footage and the mortgage is only 100 dollars more (excluding the HOA). The best part is that the homeowners insurance is less than $1000 a year. Obviously a townhome isn't ideal for everyone. But, whether you decide on a single family home or a townhome you should really consider my next point.
Location Matters: Do we wish we were in Dallas proper? Yeah kind of, my husband more so than me. However, super modern in Uptown ain't cheap. In the last couple of years it's become less affordable.
Anytime you purchase in a major city you're going to spend the big bucks. PERIOD! This is the only reason why we moved out to the burbs. When searching for a suburb I wanted a safe community first, then I wanted the best school district. That was a MAJOR deciding factor for us. Not only is the public school system in our city amazing but the local elementary, middle and high school are super close. Plus the mom community in our city is like no other. We've been here for two years now and I've met so many great moms. It really makes it a win-win.
Fully Furnishing can cost a small fortune: Especially if you love home decor like we do. Over the years our taste in home decor has changed and so has the price range. When we first moved into our home we had all of the furniture that we used in our previous apartments. Mostly everything was from Ikea. Don't get me wrong Ikea makes some great pieces but we wanted to make our home more homey and grown up. So after months of searching then months of saving. We finally started to furnish our home room by room. We started with nursery. Since our son was coming I wanted everything to be perfect. Nesting is real. After he arrived we didn't make changes for another 6 months. We eventually started to purchase pieces of furniture for the common areas. And when I say pieces, I do mean a piece here and a piece there. Y'all West Elm and Restoration Hardware are not cheap. As I mentioned we've been in our home for two years and we recently purchased our "adult" bed room furniture (blog on home decor to follow).
All in all home ownership has been a blessing. We've created our haven and our son is growing up in a home that his parents worked so hard for. Plus we absolutely love our neighbors which is always good.
If you are considering purchasing a home and you need more information or just have questions let me know. I'll do my best to help.
Thanks for reading.