5 Things I Learned About Buying a House as a Single 30-Year Old!

Buying a House

I learned so much from buying a house I feel it is my duty to share these learnings with all of you! The fact that I was able to buy a house at the age of 30 while also being single was such an amazing triumph.

A while back, I had set a life goal for myself to own my own house by the time I was 30!! Never did I imagine though that this would actually happen!

Buying a house can be one of the hardest and most challenging experiences a person can go through in life. But it can also be one of the most rewarding. I consider myself quite lucky as my experience went rather smoothly in comparison to others. However, that’s not to say I didn’t walk away without learning anything. I actually learned quite a bit and hope the lessons I’m about to share with you will help you wherever you are in the house buying process.

Let’s dive in shall we…

Lesson #1: Know Your Market!

Plano, Texas Map

First thing I learned when I started the process of buying a house was to make sure I understood the housing market. Of course, the area of good ol’ Texas I was searching in was insane at the time and still is for that matter.

It’s what people would call a “sellers market”. This means the sellers are getting either their asking price or above it. This isn’t a great position for the buyers to be in, of course. But if you go in knowing this information, you can be better prepared when coming up with your budget and what range you are willing to stay in.

My parents live in Frisco, Texas and I work in the next town over. So I obviously wanted to stay in the area.

Frisco, Texas is one of the fastest growing cities in America. The school districts are top notch and new businesses are moving into the area like flocks of birds. Such companies as Toyota (ever heard of ‘em?), Liberty Mutual, Jamba Juice (just to name a few 😉) are moving their headquarters to our neck of the woods.

So when I first met with the real estate agents who helped my parents buy their house back in 2012, they warned me it would be a tough, long process. Boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!!

Lesson #2: Know Your Must Haves

I had been looking around on various real estate websites first to see what was out there. My favorite website to search was definitely Zillow.com. I loved their map feature as it made it so easy to search for houses in your desired location and in your price range.

I realized quickly I should make a list of must haves. This was probably the most important step I took throughout the process of buying a house. By creating this list it helped me identify certain things I was absolutely not willing to compromise on. Here’s my list:

  • Must Haves:
    • Location: Be in the Frisco area and not just any part of Frisco but close to my parents.
    • Budget: Being single, I definitely had a set price range and could not afford to exceed that price range. Knowing your budget range is important when going into the process of buying a house.
    • Size: At least 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms but under 2,000 sq. ft.
    • No stairs!!! One-story house was an absolute must. Given my Lupus, dealing with stairs can be challenging.

After my initial meeting with my realtors to go over my list, they set me up on their search portal and soon after the options started rolling in.

It was slow at first but I finally found one I wanted to go look at. I was sooo excited! My mom came with me to look at the house. I wanted someone with me who had gone through the process of buying a house – something I recommend to anyone buying a house!.

My excitement quickly eroded though when we pulled into the neighborhood and saw the house which was pretty run down. It wasn’t the one for me…onto the next!

Lesson #3: Don’t Get Discouraged!

Real Estate Agents

Gary and Wendy Hulkowich – The Hulkowich Group

 

Here is where needing patience comes in. And I am NOT a very patient person, LOL. There hadn’t been a single house I was interested in going to see since that first one had come up in a while. Three weeks or so had gone by and I was starting to wonder if it was going to be impossible for me to find a house matching my criteria. But I had to have patience. The right one was out there for me!

Then this AH-MAZING house popped up into my inbox one night after work. I quickly texted my agent and said I wanted to go see it!

The next day we had a showing scheduled for 12pm. My realtor called me in the morning informing me there were already 15 showings scheduled and 10 offers made. I was devastated!!! I wanted to back out of the appointment. But she encouraged me to keep my appointment.

Immediately I knew I wanted the house. It was exactly what I was looking for. It checked all the boxes on my list. So after about 15-20 minutes inside the house, we walked out and agreed we would put an offer in. Now buckle up folks because the next part is the wildest part of the ride!!

Buying a House

Lesson #4 (The MOST Important Lesson): Not all buyers are created equal.

I knew my bid would not be the highest given my price range and so we had to get creative here. I had to position myself uniquely and set myself a part somehow from the other buyers.

My awesome real estate agents came up with a newer strategy in the house buying process…write a letter to the homeowners!

That’s right folks, a real “Dear Diary” kind of moment happens now between seller and buyer when you are buying a house. You basically are telling the sellers why you deserve the house over other buyers. I couldn’t believe they were making me do this! But at the end of the day, I was willing to do whatever it was going to take to get me that house!

Prior to buying a house I had prepared a letter that could be tweaked to speak to the things I liked about whatever house it was I was putting an offer on.

The letter I wrote reflected upon things I liked about the house as well as personal insights about myself that I hoped would make the sellers relate to me, empathize with me, and help them make a personal connection to me.

I shared intimate details about myself that I normally wouldn’t share with just anybody. Some of the things I included were having lupus, hoping someday to find someone to marry and have a family with, and how hard it was for me to have the courage to live on my own. But I was willing to share whatever was necessary as this was just another step in the process of buying a house!

While this may seem like an odd step in the buying a house process, I would highly recommend it!!!

Lesson #5: NEVER underestimate yourself!!

About a month earlier, I had just started working at a new job and was walking into a team happy hour. As I was walking in I was signing my offer letter!

I was so nervous and excited the entire night. It was all I could think about. I was showing my coworkers pictures of the house, telling them about my crazy experience, and was keeping a close eye on my phone.

At about 7:30pm I saw I had a voicemail from my realtors telling me to CALL THEM ASAP!!! Next thing I knew they were on the phone with me telling me the homeowners ACCEPTED MY OFFER!!!! This couldn’t be happening, I must have misunderstood what they said. There was dead silence on the phone until they asked if I was still on the line and I shrieked out and said “REALLY???”. I WAS GOING TO BE A HOMEOWNER?!?!

My realtors proceeded to tell me I was chosen after 49 showings of the house and 31 other offers were made! Yes, you read that right – 31 other offers!!!

They said at the end of the day, even though I was not the highest bidder (as expected), what set me a part from the rest was my letter. The sellers said they could tell I really wanted the house and I would take pride in ownership. I couldn’t believe that my letter is what sealed the deal for me. It was unbelievable!!! This is why I highly recommend the letter writing strategy!

A rush of feelings came over me. I was scared, excited, proud, in shock, and most important of all, I was ready!

Final Thoughts!

I was so glad I trusted my gut instincts on how I felt about the house and was even happier that I listened to Wendy when she told me to keep my appointment.

I closed on my house on April 10, 2015 and well the rest is history! When I tell people about my story, they still can’t believe it. It’s a pretty great story and an experience I will always remember! 😊

Comments

  1. Congrats on home ownership, Rose!

    Indeed, not all buyers are created equal. We had our first offer on what we thought was *the* house and were told that another buyer was paying asking price and putting half down in cash. Months later, this mysterious buyer vanished and we were asked to resubmit an offer on the house if we were still interested. We did (eventually) get the house and began the odyssey that is home renovation, but I at the time I was surprised at how things you might deem inconsequential could matter to the seller and prompt odd choices about who gets the house in the end.

    On the day of our closing, the sellers had a massive flood in the basement that was totally preventable, but would necessitate ripping out the now-ruined finished basement. What’s more, the sellers absolutely refused to give us any credit toward fixing the mess. Emotions got the better of us and we proceeded with the closing, but in retrospect, we should have walked.

    It’s all turning out okay in the end, but if there’s any advice I can give you – one homeowner to another – it’s that a house is never “finished” and no homeowner should ever expect it to be.

    Although our house is well-constructed, there are constant maintenance duties and overhauling of systems that might need to be done. And that’s putting aside things you want to change about houses that make them better able to suit your lifestyle. For instance, upon moving in, not only did we need to demolish the finished basement and have a mold remediation company come in, but we also found the HVAC system to be completely inefficient and on its last legs.

    We moved in around the end of 2008, and it’s been nonstop projects ever since. Some things needed to be replaced because they had failed, like our hot water heater. Other things could be lived with for a while and tackled later. I’d suggest that if you have a list of changes you want to make, prioritize them according to what needs to be done versus what can be tolerated for a bit.

    For instance, after a couple years, the load-bearing columns on our covered porch started to fail. We knew if they did, part of the roof would be in danger of collapsing. That made replacing them a high-priority project. But we had other pressing issues to attend to, like a failing HVAC system and flood damage. And I knew that if the columns were being replaced, that would be an ideal time to replace the porch itself, which was constructed with some really crummy material that was rotting. I put in a lot of DIY work resurfacing the porch and keeping it painted, and even shored the columns up on the side of the house with 2X4s so that we could address other projects first. In the end, the roof didn’t collapse, and we were able to hold out until we could afford to re-do the porch with the composite decking, nice railings and lighting we wanted. Could have been a big mess had we tried to tackle that project at the same time as other, more urgent ones.

    Prioritize as best you can, and just realize that owning a home is a constant process of maintenance, replacing old systems and upgrading, even if you really love the house just as it was on the day you bought it.

    Best of luck! And congrats again!

    • Thanks for the great advice, Tom! I couldn’t agree more with what you have to say about prioritizing the projects you want to tackle and the house being a constant work in progress. I got really lucky with mine for the most part but about 5 months after moving in my HVAC system went and needed replacing. So you always have to be prepared to replace or fix the things that are most urgent and put aside the projects that you want to do but aren’t as urgent or necessary. I love being a homeowner but it can be stressful at times as well. This blog is going to share the DIY projects I’ll be tackling around the house so keep checking back for my updates to the house as I’ve already done quite a bit to change the look to my liking. But there is of course a ton more I want to do! I appreciate you taking the time out to share your story as well. Buying a home is certainly one crazy experience I’ll never forget!!

  2. Awesome tips! My husband, daughter and I are currently living in the house I grew up in. We’re renting it right now, but plan to buy it from my parents in the near future. We have a slightly unique situation, but I will keep your tips in mind, especially not getting discouraged (going through the lending process can be really stressful). Thanks for sharing!!

    • So glad you found this to be helpful!! The lending process can be quite intimidating for sure. But I had a great lender involved in the process that I found through my realtors. Your realtor will be your best resource throughout your experience. So make sure you find a good real estate agent as they will have connections you’ll need throughout the entire process that you’ll want to make sure are just as reliable as them! Best of luck to you with buying your house! It’s an exciting time in your life and will be the best thing you do for you and your family!

  3. Awesome tips! I’m not a single 30 year old but we are looking in to buying our 2nd home (our “forever home” hopefully) and I still think these tips apply!

    • Hi Jennifer! Absolutely! These lessons are meant for anyone who is in the process of buying a house! Best of luck to you in buying your forever home! I hope some of my tips will come in handy to you during your experience.

  4. Perfect timing for me to find this. My other half and I are currently researching the world of home-buying as we plan to have our own home next in 2018. Really useful tips and good to know about the letter you had to write. Just in case we’re asked to do the same, I’m already thinking about what an earth I’d write!!

    • Glad this will be helpful to you during your search next year!! As for the letter writing goes, the best advice I can give is be open and honest. Put as much of yourself in there as you’re willing and able to as it will make all the difference! The seller wants to hear about you! Best of luck to you!

    • Thank you!! I’m so glad you like the blog as with it being new getting feedback on it is so important to me!

  5. I was DM over a store in Stonebriar mall there in Frisco for a while. Nice mall, very nice area. I lived just north half way to denton in a place called Providence village. Man 380 was a nightmare to commute!! Eventually my husband I moved downtown which cut our commutes from like 2 hours to 20 minutes?!!!

    • Wow! That’s awesome that you were able to cut your commute down! 380 can definitely be a nightmare! I used to have to commute to downtown Dallas from Frisco and am so grateful to not have to deal with that commute anymore!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *