This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.
Buying our first home was the most challenging decision we have ever made, both financially and emotionally. I wanted a large kitchen to be able to unleash my baking creativity and my husband wanted a large basement to store all his tools. After visiting numerous houses, we finally found one that suited all our needs (or almost)! I had my large kitchen and he settled for a small basement. A few years later, we moved out. We made some mistakes! But we learned from them when considering our second home. One of our biggest mistakes was not choosing the right home insurance coverage. That was costly! Let me share with you my biggest mistakes and how we adjusted when we bought our second home.
Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home
Determine your needs
Do you need a 2 bedroom house, a garage, a big kitchen? Determine what you need. Write it down and discuss it with your spouse! You need to know the difference between needs and wants. I wanted a super large kitchen and a huge backyard. I settled for a large kitchen with a small backyard in a home with plenty of nearby parks. My husband settled for a small basement. Making a “needs” and “wants” list is the most important step when purchasing your first home. Don’t forget to consider your family’s growth: how many children you want, and so on.
How much you can afford
Now that you settled on what you need, determine the amount you can afford. Chances are, you will borrow money to buy your first home. Use the home loan calculators to help you determine how much you can afford based on your financial situation. Allstate has a quick tool that can help you achieve that. Just enter some basic financial information and you are all set! Take a look at the screenshot below.
Location, Location, Location
The amount we could afford at that time did not allow us to buy the house of our dreams in the city! We had to go to “far, far away land.” I really wanted my large kitchen and did not want to compromise. So we chose a house that was in a new neighborhood with few amenities around. Big mistake. I had to drive 20 minutes to get a loaf of bread. Not at all convenient when you’re toting a toddler around with you!
For our second home, we chose one that was near all the amenities and near schools too. My point is: location is as important as the house. And sometimes needs have to come before wants. If you are okay to drive 20 minutes to the grocery then by all means, go for it! But if you are not ok with that, then you have to compromise. So when visiting houses, keep that in mind and make sure to check for all the amenities around: groceries, school, and even high schools. Time flies and your tot will be a teen in no time!
Get a loan preapproved before looking for a house
That was another thing we did not consider. We went house shopping without a preapproved loan. When we found the one we wanted, we could not get it ON TIME! So before house shopping, make sure to get pre-approved and keep that number in mind as you shop. This will also save you from finding the house of your dreams that turns out to be just out of your price range.
Choose the right homeowners insurance for you!
Some may think it doesn’t make sense to consider homeowners insurance before you even step foot in your home. Well, chances are your lender will require proof of it. And if you don’t have it, they may obtain it for you and it may be more expensive. I declined the lender’s insurance but had to come up with our own within 24 hours. That did not leave us too much time to consider all our needs!
Did you know that homeowners insurance covers more than the physical building? It covers personal property too and much more…as long as you get the right policy! So when our home was robbed a few years later and my wedding ring was stolen, we discovered that we were not adequately covered. I wish I had a dedicated agent that helped me choose the right coverage for our house and our stuff! So don’t make my mistake, find a nearby Allstate agent to help you get started. To speed things up you can even fill out the online quote before you meet with an agent. It is simple, safe and available 24-7. Having a quote in hand will help you ask the appropriate questions when speaking with your agent.
Of course, I wish I never made these mistakes when I bought my first home, but I’m glad that I can help others learn from them now. Buying your first home is such an incredible adventure, it’s tempting to skip over all the details and just dive into the first home that really catches your eyes. But if you take the time to follow these tips, you’ll have a better chance of finding your dream home versus your “eh, it’s okay for now” home!