—by Mandi Tyson

Hi, I’m Mandi, the office manager at Hermit Haus Redevelopment. Sue Ann asked me to share this post with you.

Today, I want to talk about something that most people experience at least once in their life, and that is the decision to buy a house. My husband and I have actually been very fortunate in the housing department. Our first house belonged to my parents and was a true fixer upper. We could stay there as long as we kept the taxes paid and tried to work on it. Most of my knowledge on carpentry came from that house. Then my husband’s mother left him her home in 2006, which is where we currently live. Lucky, right?

Well maybe not entirely. Both houses have needed extensive repairs, and in both situations we had to move what we could out of the house little by little to move our stuff in. As much as we appreciated the houses and we even loved them, they were never our home. We did not pay for them, even though we put a lot of money and time into them. They always felt like someone else’s house.

We have made the decision to buy our own house. We will be first-time home buyers, and should be paying the mortgage off just in time to retire. I can definitely get behind that idea. The house that we live in now is a 1983 model double-wide that was not put together correctly so there is no way to fix the roof apparently, and those things just weren’t made to last forever. I won’t go over the laundry list of what is wrong, but I have gotten a second and third opinion that we would be better off buying a new house. I like mobile homes, and that is what my plan was as far as a new house. But I have since fallen in love with a place that I want to call home. That has turned my mind off of mobile homes. This is our first public announcement that we are on the road to becoming first-time home buyers. We welcome any advice at all from everyone, and I think it will be a really cool thing to walk with everyone step by step through the process from now until the house warming. So far, there is nothing to show as far as having the house decided on, but that can change quickly.

Our Plan

We are interested in seller financing rather than a traditional loan from a bank. I have never been a huge fan of banks when it comes to things like this. I have not even spoken to a bank at this point. One thing I am finding as I look up “How to buy a house” and ask Lee’s advice is that I really don’t know where to even begin. If you are in the situation as well, and want to broaden your opportunity at houses, I would suggest calling your banker and asking about the steps for pre-approval. Real Estate agents would be more likely to make you a priority and listen to you more, because they know that you are serious.

Just working in the office since April I have seen many people stop and ask about houses, but never show back up. That has to be the norm for real estate. So let them know that you are serious and that you have already taken the steps to get into a new house. This also gives you a good starting place. You will know what amount you can go for and if a deal is just not within your means. I would not turn down a fixer upper, just so long as I didn’t have to move another family out of it again.

The absolute first steps that I would suggest to everyone though, is to take an honest look at your credit, your bills, and your income. If you are a double income family, what will you do in the event of job loss? Single income family, same thing applies. What do you have in savings, and how much could you you put down right now? What is your timeline? Do you need to move next month, or can you wait a while?

For my own journey and how the questions above affect me, our credit took a major hit when we had our car wreck. It isn’t the worst ever, but it isn’t great. Our bills every month are relatively low (besides the grocery bill, that is). That is our biggest bill at the moment. Our income is good, I think, and I have figured out a monthly payment that we could make comfortably and without having to live by candlelight and Ramen Noodles and on one income if we had to. Our timeline is very flexible and we can wait a while if necessary. Savings is something that we are still working on. There isn’t enough in there to just walk up and buy any house we want. I am also very specific as to what I want. It has to be a certain size and it has to have a certain feel.

So here we begin our journey! We are moving from our current house in the future, and into our very own home! One that we bought, sweated over, and picked out for our family. I hope that everyone will follow our journey and learn from any errors that we make, or be able to reminisce about their own journey and share some of your own stories.