When Tasha and her husband Travis began the hunt for their first house, they each had different dream homes in mind. "He wanted a well-established neighborhood and land, I wanted to be urban and have a lot of character," says Tasha. Compromise was inevitable, and thankfully, this house in Falcon Heights, Minnesota fit the bill for the couple. "In the end, the compromise was really the best for both of us." I asked Tasha to give some insight into their house-hunting process. Even if you think you're not ready to buy, if you're tired of renting, you might find some useful info in her interview!
When did you decide you were ready to buy a home?
We'd been renting a studio loft in downtown St. Paul and while it was lovely...We needed more space. We looked at houses off and on for about two years!
"When you know, you just know and you make it happen!"
How many homes did you look at?
Geez, this is a bit embarrassing but I'd estimate about 50-60 homes. It was my husband's idea to look at our home. It was over our budget…and I was hesitant because I thought I'd fall in love and it would be too expensive. The moment we walked in, our eyes lit up and he looked at me and asked "What do you think?" I responded in excitement, "Feels like home." We both agreed, and hadn't even walked out of the entryway! When you know, you just know and you make it happen!
→ Could you buy a home right now with your salary?
Once you found your place and put in an offer, how long did it take for it to be accepted?
We put in the offer at the end of November and closed in January. No one wants to move in the middle of January in Minnesota, ha ha. We did offer about 75k less than the asking price (this was right before it became a seller's market). Our home was lender owned…with a bit of back and forth negotiating we got if for about 50k under asking price. Turns out it was in our budget. :)
"Be patient! Trust me, I fell in love with a ton of houses..."
What surprised you the most?
How much "the stuff" you don't see can cost. Being a designer, I want to make the house more functional and pretty. Realistically, we need a new roof and garage (that's not much fun!). We've replaced our sewer main, concrete sidewalk and stairway, sodded our yard, done some plumbing and worked on a closet. While these aren't exactly my idea of "fun" projects, they needed to be done. One of my favorite things we've done is replaced the siding and windows; it made a huge difference visually and to our energy bill.
Your advice for first time buyers?
Be patient! Trust me, I fell in love with a ton of houses...but in the end knowing we both love our house is the best feeling!
Also, paint can go a long way! When we first moved in, my parents painted our entire first floor for us from a gross beige to white, navy and grey… it made a huge difference (for a little bit of money).