What Buying My First Home Taught Me About Life
I learned a lot more than home-buying tips.
At the age of 25, I bought my first home. A small condo in a town 15 minutes from both of my parents’ houses. The process was exciting, stressful, discouraging, relieving, and so many other things all at once.
I started by home search during a time where the market was HOT for sellers and a pressure-cooker for buyers. A time where condos like the one I was looking for would go on and off the market in the blink of an eye.
In reality, the whole process was not that long, but it felt like an eternity. I certainly learned a lot about the home-buying process, but upon reflection, I’ve learned even more valuable lessons about life itself.
Here are a few things that buying my first home taught me.
Buying my home taught me, above all, to be grateful. I was in a position that many people dream of, able to afford to own a home (albeit a small one). Throughout the process, I had the guidance and support of my parents, who are both homeowners. Despite many frustrations, I can only reflect on this process with gratitude, and doing so has helped me cope with the individual and collective challenges faced this past year.
Patience really is a virtue
I’m not a patient person, and I never have been. But if the home-buying process tested anything, it was my patience. I spent a lot of time chasing down condos and dealing with less than ideal realtors just to end up not having a chance. I put in three offers, at or above the asking price, that were all turned down. Many times, it felt like I’d just never get what I was looking for.
It’s common for homebuyers to experience this impatience, especially when in a seller’s market. If you let it consume you, you can end up making offers that are too high or settling for something you don’t want, and that’s true for other aspects of life as well. Instead, it’s better to be patient and hold out for the right fit, even if it means failing several times over.
“Perfect” is not one form
After hours or days of hunting around Realtor.com or Zillow, I’d find a condo that allowed my dog, was in the right location and the right price point. Sometimes before even calling up my realtor, it was gone.
Other times, I’d get a chance to see it, but it quickly gained an accepted offer. A few times, this was really disheartening as I was SURE that the perfect condo for me had slipped through the cracks. But a couple of days later, another “perfect” one was on the market again.
The truth is that there wasn’t just one perfect home for me. At a given moment, there may seem like a perfect one, but really there were several just around the corner that would seem equally perfect.
The point is not to get too worked about missing out on the “perfect” anything. The college, team, boy, home, etc may seem like THE perfect one for you, but if it doesn’t work out, there’s likely one that’s an equally good or even better fit waiting to be discovered.
Buying a home really does teach you about the importance of laying out your priorities. There are a million and one things I (and everyone else) would like in a home, but realistically you won’t be able to find them all within your budget.
So, you must decide what’s essential, what’s nice to have, and what’s a wishlist item. The entire process forces you to carefully analyze your priorities and why you want certain things, which is a valuable life skill to have.
Have an open mind
Knowing what you want is great, but through home buying, you learn to have an open mind. For one, everything is not always as it seems on the listing. It’s often worth giving properties a chance, even if they don’t seem like your ideal option at first. On the other hand, you must also take a critical eye to those that seem like your dream home and review them openly and honestly.
You must have an open mind when shopping for homes, as there are often aspects you didn’t consider or realize would be important until you start the process. The same applies to a lot in life. Let your values and priorities guide, not control, you. Be open to new people and experiences.
To save up enough money for a down payment, I often had to turn down money-spending hobbies and habits. Eating out may seem small, but $20 meals add up pretty quickly.
Avoiding takeout won’t suddenly result in enough savings for a down payment, but delaying gratification of “now purchases” did help me save enough for this big purchase. At the time, I didn’t always know what I was saving for, but the ability to look past present temptations is a skill I’ve strengthened that will help me through life.
In short, buying a home taught me a lot about life I didn’t think it would. I am beyond grateful for being in the position I am in and having the surrounding support that made it possible.
Professional athlete, content writer, and content marketer. Sharing my raw, unfiltered experiences. https://medium.com/@rashidabeal79