Our First Time Home Buyer Experience

Jen SmithPersonal Finance28 Comments

first time home buyer experience

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Two weeks ago if you’d told me I’d be writing about my first time home buyer experience, I would’ve straight laughed at you. I’m an avid HGTV watcher so I had grand fixer upper dreams and plans to make them happen. But like, next year. Needless to say, reality looked nothing like my plans.

We got the call on a Tuesday evening, our landlord was making more money with his properties on Airbnb so he wanted to do the same with our place. He gave us 60 days to vacate. Since we were month-to-month and had proper notice, there was nothing we could do legally.

I wasn’t worried, I knew we’d find something and it wouldn’t set us too far off our plan of buying in a year, we wanted to renovate anyway so we’d need a place to live while that happened. We searched for apartments to rent for approximately three and half days. Short story: Rent prices in St. Petersburg, FL had jumped up quite a bit since our search in 2015.


Every apartment was smaller and hundreds of dollars more expensive. I was panicking. I told my readers in the Friyay Partyletter that one of the benefits of knowing your financial state is being able to make better decisions when you’re in crisis mode. So, of course, the day after I sent that, we decided to buy a house.

So, of course, the day after I sent that, we decided to buy a house.


This was definitely not part of the plan. We have very little debt but as a result had very little money in our bank account. Everyone was telling us we should buy but everyone also thinks we’re weird for paying off our loans so fast, so I don’t know.

We started our search with fixer uppers, that search ended quickly. Not just because we didn’t have the budget to fix it up like I wanted, but because every house was being snatched up by cash buyers hours after hitting the market! Yeah no.

By the next Tuesday, we gave up on our shiplap dreams and looked at move-in ready houses. There were so many crappy flips out there. But somehow we found a good one and we made our first offer on a home with laminate flooring and two mango trees in the backyard. We went $10K below asking with 3% in closing costs. We needed closing costs covered more than anything because well, we broke.

Related: Are You Ready to Buy a House?

I posted on Facebook and was so excited, “We made an offer! We’re getting a home!” Pssh, I was so naïve back then. That offer was beat out by a full ask offer with no concessions. Bummer.

Friday we looked at more houses and our realtor, Lana, got a call from the listing agent of the house we really liked. She had made sure there were no contracts keeping us from falling in love with that house before she took us. The agent asked what we thought and accepted our offer with a verbal agreement.

Lana immediately left to draw up the contract and I texted my best friends to tell them we were homeowners! But when she got home, she couldn’t submit the contract. Apparently, the seller had already accepted the other offer and the listing agent was pulling us along just to get a backup offer.

I was livid, I felt an anger inside of me I didn’t know I was capable of. And I talked to others about it and everyone knew someone who that’d happened to, or been the victim of it themselves.

One lady said that real estate is counterintuitive to everything we’re taught about how to make big decisions. We should go home, think, sleep on it, do some research then make the decision, but in real estate, if you hesitate, you’ve lost out. Both of the houses we lost were on the market for less than a day.

Devastated and defeated I went out one more time. I called Lana to take me out while Travis was working. We looked at a few promising houses and just when we were about to call it a day I asked her about a green house I’d seen on Zillow.


She looked up this trendy 3/2 and it wasn’t in the MLS. She said it’d probably been sold but since it was in a neighborhood we liked, it was worth taking a look. We got down there and were both instantly in love with the structural integrity and adorable charm of the house. It was a dream. Not only was it still for sale but the open house was the next day.

I sent Travis pictures and ogled over all vintage features and modern updates. Lana called the sellers to offer asking with 3% seller concessions, I wasn’t playing hard-to-get anymore. They said they knew they’d get asking with no concessions but if we’d go 3% above asking they’d give us the concessions and the house was ours.

With this stipulation, we’re going $35K above what we’d originally budgeted for. But Travis and I were so tired we accepted without hesitation. The house was better than anything we’d seen and after crunching the numbers it’ll only be about $100 more per month that what we’re paying in rent. Turns out we’d been underestimating out budget!

Our first time home buyer experience was nothing like what I thought it’d be.


In total it was 13 days, and we’re getting a house I would’ve never dreamed I’d live in before 30. So even though it was different, I’m so thankful we dove into this big scary thing head first.

As I sit here, our contract is signed by all parties and if everything goes well with the inspection we close in 30 days! I promise to post pictures of all the neat touches and beautiful quartz countertops (I seriously thought they were marble.) Until then, wish us luck! And let me know your experiences in the comments!

first time home buyer experience

28 Comments on “Our First Time Home Buyer Experience”

  1. Congrats! My wife and I looked for a house for over two years and finally settled on buying the house we were renting. Not our dream home by any means but the RE market has been so hot most everywhere if you don’t have your ducks in a row the house is gone the next day! We had one bad experience with a shady sellers agent so I feel your pain there.

    1. Thanks Ryan! Ugh, yea I don’t know how I would’ve survived a drawn out home search. You guys are brave souls!

  2. Oh my gosh! We just went through this in the Denver metro area, only the houses here haven’t been flipped yet and are still priced out of this world. We’re talking 3 beds, 2 baths starting at $300k and bidding wars going up to $330k. A total nightmare. We lost out the first house by a landslide.

    The house we finally got, a surprisingly well done flip in an OK neighborhood, was on the market for a couple of weeks (Rare!) and we went in offering $15k above asking price with no concessions. They took it, thank heavens, but now we’re living strapped for cash trying to come up with the final amounts we need for closing on Feb 24th.

    Still, even though it’s way over the budget we wanted to stay in, we’re getting so much more for our money and we couldn’t be more excited about owning a home.

    1. Wow! That’s crazy! We’re living the same story! I seriously felt so bad about going over our budget but I’ve been hearing this over and over! We had to offer over asking too and Thank God we did, on the bright side we love this house. Now just waiting for financing to get approved (so nerve-wracking) but we should close on Feb 23rd! Good luck Liz and Thank you for sharing your story!

  3. I am currently trying to downsize so I sold my larger condo, that in itself was a crazy experience but since then have been unable to find a new smaller condo so we’ve been bunking at my aunt’s place while we continue to search. We made an offer for a condo in a popular section of town last weekend, sight unseen (besides the pictures online) for $2,000 over asking price and still got beat out by someone with a cash offer. SO FRUSTRATING!!!

    1. Ugh! Holly! That sucks! I don’t know how people do this frequently. I never want to buy a house again! (Unless I have cash lol.)

  4. My husband and I want to purchase a home in the near future. I like reading about other peoples experiences so I can know what to expect. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome Laurie! It was quite stressful at first because I had no clue what we were getting into but it’s going well now!

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  6. Hey Jen !!

    Great share !!
    I am, however, someone who has been going through this for nearly two years now, and I have had what both my broker and bank loan officer have referred to separately as the hardest time they’ve ever seen anyone have buying a home.When I started this process I knew literally not one single thing about how one goes about buying their first home, and now I know…kind of a lot, actually. And I think it’s a valuable thing to hear about how it all goes down from someone who, for better or for worse, is just a normal person trying to figure out how to do this so-called “normal” thing.

    Keep sharing !!

    1. Oh my gosh that’s horrible! But what a great service you can offer now with your story and knowledge! Good luck with everything Maria!

  7. This is so inspiring! I just finished college and starting to plan my life. Been wanting to move out, thank you so much for this. Looking forward to more inspiring stories from you1

  8. Personally, buy a home for a living is better than renting a house. There are a lot of people will agree with me. By the way, I appreciate your experience. Thank you so much and keep posting things like this.

    1. Thank you. A lot of people will agree but it doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone at every time.

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