The Buyer’s Blog: My First Home Buying Experience, Part I


Most adults dream of being homeowners, saying “So long” to their monthly rent checks, “Adios” to the noisy neighbors and penny pinching landlords, and “Peace out” to the bedrooms that could be comparable to shoe boxes. Yes, owning your own home is a dream; however, getting there could be a nightmare depending on the situation. In part I of this blog series I will share the beginning stages of my first time homebuyer’s experience.

As the marketing coordinator for Hondros College, actually participating in the industry I work and market for has its perks. I am tuned into industry news, know the “what to watch out fors” when viewing a property and what to consider when choosing a mortgage lender and real estate agent. Some of my co-workers are also real estate agents, which I have found quite helpful.

We currently live in Ashville, Ohio: hometown of the first traffic light, the Teays Valley Vikings, and one of the oldest and largest four-day 4th of July celebrations in Ohio. But trust me when I say if you’re driving down 23 on the south end, don’t blink because you’ll miss it.

Right now, there aren’t many homes available on the market in Ashville and when one pops up and it’s priced right, it’s sold the next day. It can be a frustrating environment to be house hunting in if you don’t keep a positive attitude. Many of the homes that have hit the market are farm homes with 4+ bedrooms with a lot of acreage located outside of the “city limits.” We want to stay in town in the family-friendly neighborhoods, but For Sale signs are hard to come by. I am constantly looking on, hoping that something will pop up. My real estate agent has also set me up on an MLS portal that notifies me of newly listed properties that meet our criteria. After work, I plan my running route in these neighborhoods so I can look for new For Sale signs and wonder whether these homeowners with recent high school or college grads will be downsizing any time soon and put their homes up on the market.

We moved to the Lakes at Ashton Village, Ashville’s “premier” apartment complex, in July 2013. We immediately started investigating the neighborhoods: looking at the different types of homes, land values, and attending open houses. You name it, we’ve seen it. This past May we started getting serious about finding a home. There were only four homes on the market at the time that satisfied our needs: 3 plus bedrooms, 2 and a half baths, backyard and with either a partial or full basement. We were pre-approved for a USDA Rural Development loan for the area of Ashville. With our pre-approval in check we requested private showings at all four homes. Narrowing it down to two, our top pick was snatched out from under us in less than 12 hours after seeing it.

This was a first time home buyer reality check for us: homes that are priced right are moving fast. Watching our top pick sell the next night after we found it put things into perspective for us. We realized this was our biggest mistake: we took too much time discussing and too little time acting. You have to be ready to put in an offer quick if you find the right home!

Stay tuned for Part II, which includes the next step in my home buying process, as well as tips on what we look for during open houses and private showings.

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