First time homebuyer?
Let me give you my advice. I am a real estate agent after all.
It was actually the purchase of my first home that made me want to go into this business. I had learned so much during the process I, and my husband, decided to make a career out of it.
Ok, so it’s 2012 right? The market is still garbage, but we’re newlyweds and super excited to make something of our own. Bernard (that’s the love of my life) started rehabbing apartments on the South side of Chicago and he found his true calling. Rehabbing…hmm that’s…new…I remember thinking. Our first step?
Getting the hell out of dodge and moving back to where I was raised. The Fox Valley. That is where I wanted to start our business. If we are going to redo homes for a living, I want to improve the communities I grew up in, know, and love.
So…we started our home search. Young, dumb, and broke we started looking at homes and falling in love. I like kind of thought we could afford that, I mean, that’s not that expensive, right? I had ZERO concept of debt to income ratio, credit scores (mine was good, but I didn’t know how that helped me), down payments, closing costs, loan types, loan rates, or anything else that has to do with the real life home buying process because 25 year old Julia’s expectations were nothing like her reality. Julia and Bernard found a house on their own and got burned. They were roughly $30,000 off from what the bank was actually willing to give them. (In my defense, it was 2012 and loan officers all just got into trouble for the housing market crash because some naughty ones handed out loans to people who couldn’t afford them by “fudging” applications. We had the honor of dealing with one of those officers. He legit told me to say I made more than I did, and it would benefit me. 25 year old Julia was like, are you sure? I had a feeling that was weird, so I didn’t lie…and we paid for a home inspection on a home that we couldn’t afford…jerk. I’m not still mad. I’m not still mad).
Enter my first nervous breakdown. We were SO EXCITED and IN LOVE and ready to move right into our dream home…and it was stolen from us! Stolen!! I’m not still mad about it 8 years later….ok maybe I am a little. Thank goodness I had a solid real estate agent to take my hand and help me through. I had gotten my loan approval before I got an agent because I thought I was following the correct protocol. It was our agent who recommended a proper loan officer and our agent who encouraged me to keep on going. Even though my heart was broken, and I was eating a tub of Ben and Jerrys crying on the phone with her, I knew she was right. I hated renting and wanted a yard. I would daydream about yard space. Plus, rental prices were OBSCENE…kind of reminiscent of today…
Ok, start over, I can do this Britta. (Britta Rivera was our agent in Chicago who became my best friend during this transaction and someone I relied on A LOT. I thin
k of her often. I felt a little emptiness when we closed…I missed my agent). So, she sends me options in our new price point. Enter my second nervous breakdown. I was soooooo unhappy with my options.
I remember this next moment very clearly. It was a random Tuesday around noon. I came home from work early, and Bernard and I were sitting on the couch. I see an email from Britta and open it. It’s our home. It’s not cute, and there are like 6 pictures, but it’s not horrible and exactly WHERE I wanted to be. 25 year old Julia was very smart. She knew the only thing you can’t change about a home is the location. Britta got us in that day, and when my husband walked in, he gasped! “Mira!! It’s like my home in Chile!!” he said. I mean….I’ve been to his childhood home in Chile…and I still have no idea how the hell he sees a comparison. My point is he had an immediate emotional attachment. I liked the price, location, and the promises that Bernard was going to fix it up.
It only took him 5 years to prove to me that he could flip anything. In five years he completely turned our home around (any many, many others) and built his business. I’ve watched him learn to master so many different projects. It’s amazing thing to watch. You can’t stop someone’s true passion. Last year he officially opened BZL Home Improvements Inc, and I couldn’t be prouder.
First time home buyer? Let me give you some advice. Don’t fall in love until you know you can afford it. Interview for your loan. Understand your money and where it’s going. Use a knowledgeable real estate agent (wink wink). Don’t let the idea of a little home remodel scare you. You may live through a little dust, but the clearing at the end is well worth the wait.
Julia Ziller, Broker Miscella Real Estate
For those who want to sell their home in Aurora, Geneva, Batavia, St. Charles, Wheaton, Naperville, IL, get in touch with the real estate experts at Miscella Real Estate. Their agents will guide you through every step of the selling process from pricing to closing. Call them today at (630) 232-1570 or email info(at)miscella(dotted)com.