Almost two years ago, Addison and I bought our house! This house holds so many memories for us and buying it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It was also a huge goal of ours that we were so proud of reaching!
I’ve been asked by a few people to write this blog, and I thought it was a great idea for anyone who is thinking about buying a house or actively in the process of buying a house! I’ll be taking you in-depth through our home buying process so that you know what to expect. If you guys like this blog, I’ll also be writing a “things I wish I knew BEFORE buying a house” blog for the smaller details that don’t fit into this one. Without further ado, here’s exactly what the home buying process looked like for us!
Step 1: Meet With a Mortgage Lender
So I decided in January of 2020 that I was ready to buy a house. Honestly, Addison wasn’t very convinced or interested in it… he loved the apartment we were in and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to live in Colorado long term. So he was… hesitant. But I told him that we might as well talk to someone about it just in case it was something we could actually do. So, Addison asked his friend who had recently bought a house for his mortgage lender’s information and set up a meeting with him for the following week!
At that meeting, we told him both of our incomes and he calculated our budget range for a home. We told him the budget we wanted to stay within, and he told us what the minimum down payment would be (did you know you only need to have 1% down when you’re a first time home owner?!) and what our expected mortgage would be.
Meeting with the mortgage lender first was SUPER helpful because it allowed us to look at the financials of everything. We went into the house hunt knowing EXACTLY what range to stay in, what our down payment would be, and what our monthly mortgage would look like. It helped me feel extra prepared while touring houses which I liked!
Step 2: Look at Homes
This was my favorite step. We found a realtor (Google is your friend! I looked for someone with really good reviews) and we started looking at houses! I looked at every house that seemed like it could MAYBE work for us. Looking at a variety of houses led me to have a better idea of what I liked, what I hated, and what my must-haves were.
Step 3: Decide on the ONE
After about 2 months of looking, we found our house! I toured it and instantly knew I wanted to put an offer in. So, that’s what we did! Your realtor can work QUICKLY, and since we were already pre-approved for our loan (another good reason to meet with a lender before you start looking! It makes your offer more enticing to a seller because they know you’re already approved for this house price) we had our offer sent on the same day I looked at the house.
Two days later we got the news that our offer was accepted, we had to send the Earnest Money (money that you give them to basically put a ‘hold’ on the house, and that will go towards your down payment once it’s closing day), and then we were officially “under contract”!
Step 4: Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork + Why We Almost Lost Our House
Before buying our house, I thought the house buying process would be quick. I mean, we had been pre-approved for our loan already, our offer had been accepted, so I thought we’d officially own the house in a week or two. I was very, very wrong. This step was by far the longest (about a month long) and the most stressful.
Our situation was unique because RIGHT after our offer was accepted, COVID hit. Which put a huge damper and delay on our mortgage loan. Why? Well, Addison was still working at the Nuggets, and being in a sales position, his income was ~80% commission and ~20% salary. COVID of course shut down all Nuggets games, meaning his commission payments had come to a halt and the bank couldn’t deem him as a reliable source of income anymore. Which was a huge issue because we were going to only use his income on the loan since my business wasn’t two years old yet, which the mortgage lender told us made it an inadmissible form of income.
However, I wasn’t going down without a fight. I wanted this house SO badly and I wasn’t going to lose it because of COVID. So, when they were unable to use Addison’s income, I had to REALLY advocate for myself in an attempt to get them to use my income instead. I explained that even though my business wasn’t two years old yet, I had a very reliable stream of income that I could prove was increasing year over year. And they were extremelyyyyyy skeptical of me, and probably thought I was crazy because I countered every point they tried to make about why they couldn’t use my income. But after a few days of arguing with them, they said, “Fine, we’ll take a look at your income to see if we can make an exception to use it. But it’ll be a lot of work for you.”
For the next two weeks, I spent pretty much every hour of every day gathering documents, statements, and files to prove I was still making money during COVID. I had to write three freaking essays for them – one explaining how COVID was going to impact my business, one explaining why I couldn’t provide three years of tax returns (I was in college three years prior), and one explaining what my business was, what our growth was looking like, and what made it feasible long-term.
I honestly thought all hope was gone. I did all of this paperwork, talked to the lender every single day, and each day I felt less hopeful that we’d still get this house. I remember crying as I was writing in my journal one day saying we were going to lose this house and how upset I was over it. But, in life’s funny way of working, I got a call from our lender the next morning. The very first thing she said was “congratulations” and I was in SHOCK. I couldn’t believe that all of the extra work I had put in ended up paying off!!! Even wilder was that they didn’t approve my income until TWO days before closing. So, yeah, stress levels were through the roof.
Of course, this is NOT usual for most home buyers! If you’re not self-employed, it’s very easy to prove your income and you probably won’t have to argue and write essays to get a mortgage. Ours was just extra stressful with COVID uncertainties at the time and my unique job! The paperwork aspect will still be stressful, just probably not as time consuming and stressful as it was for me. So that’s a good thing!
Step 5: Down Payment and Closing
After what felt like an eternity, we were to our closing day! Before going to the mortgage lender’s office, we did a final walkthrough of the house to make sure the seller was completely moved out, had left all of the appliances they told us they would, and had fixed the things we agreed on. Once we confirmed that all was what it should be, we went to sign the papers.
It’s been awhile but I’m pretty sure we brought our down payment check to this meeting! We gave them the check and then had to sign a literal mountain of paperwork. This took about an hour to an hour and a half, but once we were done signing, it was official. We were HOMEOWNERS! While step 1-3 flew by, and step 4 dragged on, step 5 was the quickest of them all. It was quick, painless, and so rewarding!
We took the keys to our new home and instantly popped a bottle of champagne in the backyard. It was one of the most exciting days of my life!
Now, two years later, our house is worth a lot more than we paid for it. So whenever we decide to move, we’ll be getting a really good return on this investment. And that’s one thing that I think is important to remember! Buying a house is an INVESTMENT! Yes, you’re still making payments each month like you would with rent, but part of that payment is going towards your equity which is pretty much like paying yourself. So despite the stress that led up to it, and the repairs we’ve had to make along the way, we LOVE being homeowners and would do it all over again if we had to!
I hope this is helpful for you guys, and if there’s any specific questions you want me to cover in my next blog, just let me know!