Homebuyers Blog Part III: 1 Year Later

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It has officially been one year since we moved into our new home, and we couldn’t be happier! But as first time homebuyers, that’s not to say we haven’t had our share of struggles along the way. Owning our own home has given us a sense of pride and accomplishment and we have worked hard to turn it into a place of our own.

We finally picked up the keys to our house last September after a month long grueling closing process. Since we purchased a home in Ashville, we opted for the USDA loan. The USDA Rural Development loan provides families and first time homebuyers in rural areas with the opportunity to own a primary residence at a lower rate and without a down payment for the purpose of creating thriving communities in these areas. As first time homebuyers, this was the perfect choice for us. However, since this is a government issued loan, we had to be aware of the “timing” that was involved.

Our loan was submitted to the USDA office on August 6th with roughly a two week turnaround time. We set our closing date for September 5th with our apartment lease ending at 5 PM on September 30th. By mid-August, the USDA office got into a hold up, delaying all loans by one week. Not to mention the sellers got into their own hiccup and now we couldn’t gain possession of the home until 10 days after closing.

Enter freak out mode.

We extended our closing date by one week, now giving ourselves only eight days to be moved from the apartment into the house.

Our second closing date came and went. Our lender and Realtor assured us that we would close by the end of September; now we had to work with the sellers in order to gain possession sooner, or we would have no residence between closing and gaining possession. This is a perfect scenario where as first time homebuyers, communication, and keeping calm, is key. All parties in contract feared the outcome if the loan was held up any longer. Communication between both the buyer’s (our agent) and seller’s agent was crucial in order to make all the players happy. First time homebuyers may not understand the process of waiting for loan approvals and the necessary steps needed to fully complete a deal; so to all you real estate agents, be as optimistic as possible, communicate, and work hard for your client. It is well rewarded in the end.

We finally closed on the home 12 days before we had to be out of our apartment; we took possession of the home eight days after closing, and moved in four days.

We have come a long way in a year. We built a brand new deck, painted the ceilings and bedrooms, upgraded home fixtures and even planted a vegetable garden! We have put blood, sweat and tears into making our house a home. Yes, living in an apartment has its luxuries – like if your oven catches on fire while cooking red skin potatoes on the 4th of July (like ours did), you can call someone and they will replace it at no cost to you. But those in the industry will argue that you are throwing away your money when you rent. Owning your own home gives you the freedom and flexibility to make it yours while building equity at the same time. So don’t be afraid of the price tag you see attached to a property- you may find that rent check you write every month is more than a mortgage payment. So for all you first time homebuyers out there, the process may be stressful, but it is all worth it in the end.