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Home / Common Questions / Tips for the First Time Home Owner
Perhaps you have grown tired of your roommates’ quirks, you’re evaluating how much apartment living costs or are ready to place your own roots. You have done your research, reviewed your budget until the numbers start blurring and you have decided you are ready to buy your first home. Now what?

I was just there myself. I had just turned 33 years old, my roommate was getting married and it was time for a change. As I started looking for apartments in my area, I realized how drastically prices had increased since I’d last rented a place on my own. I discovered I could purchase a home with almost twice the square footage, but at a mortgage that was half the cost of rent for an apartment. No brainer for me!

Here are just a few things I learned in the home buying process:

Be prepared for a rollercoaster.  While loved ones tried to warn me, I still was not fully prepared. The countless emails and texts from the realtor, my own Zillow research almost daily, the quickly scheduled home viewings, and emails with the bank; it was quickly overwhelming. I would occasionally take a day or evening to shut it down and regroup.

The first offer fell through to no fault of my own or the seller’s, and I suddenly went from almost having a home under contract to back at square one. Talk about going from a high to a low! I took a weekend to cuddle with my puppy, Piper, and shift my focus. The disappointment turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Within a week, I found my new home! This home is a better fit for me in every way and is what I had been looking for all along.

Never underestimate the power of paint. If you are like me, you may be feeling a bit of sticker shock after the down payment and closing costs have hit your bank account. For a quick, budget friendly upgrade for your new home, look no further than your preferred paint store. It is truly amazing what a new coat of paint can do for a home! Painting a few rooms or the whole house provides you the opportunity to put your own stamp on your new home. Add in your own colors, your own style and maybe fix the previous owner’s rough paint job.
I traded contractor white for soft gray throughout the main areas of the home. I turned a pale green master bedroom into a beautiful, soothing aqua. The small powder room is now a vibrant, eye catching deep blue. The home immediately reflected my personality, matched my décor, and felt less like the home of a stranger.

Find the floor that fits your lifestyle & budget. The flooring in my new home was well worn, too dark for my taste, and had a few holes from heavy furniture. As I considered replacing the floors, I thought about what factors were most important to me.

1) A hardwood look without the hardwood price.
2) Adding immediate value to the home.
3) A floor that can handle the wear and tear of my beloved pup with her long nails and hyper personality.

After researching on Twenty & Oak, I fell in love with the Inspire Collection by Palmetto Road. Not only is this collection within my first-time homeowner budget, but it is a waterproof floor that comes with a lifetime residential warranty. This let me know it is a quality floor that can handle the demands of everyday life – for me, my dog and future owners. The wire brushed and distressed visuals mimicked the hardwood look I was searching for. I decided on the color Park Side, a subtle mix of brown and grey that helps the floor flow seamlessly throughout my home. 

The freshly painted walls and upgraded floors immediately made a huge impact on the look and feel of the home. With just these two changes, the home was brighter, cleaner and felt like mine before I even moved any personal items over.  

When to save and when to spend. From movers and painters to flooring installers, it is important to know where you can afford to save money, and where cheaper isn’t always better. After all, you are investing your hard-earned money into their services and your new home.

Where to save money: Though convenient and well trained, a moving company isn’t an option for everyone. If you are moving nearby, ask family members or friends to help you move or even paint. Order some pizza, crank up your favorite playlist and make a day (or two) out of it. Who said moving has to be a chore?
Where to spend money: New floors are a large investment in your new home and should be done right. Maybe your brother’s best friend installed the floor in his flip house, but have you seen those HGTV shows where there is a problem with a subfloor? You’ll want a professional to install in your new investment. Find a trusted dealer in your area and give them a call for a quote. They have the experience, the tools, and manpower to install your new floors in a timely manner.
Try not to rush into decisions. I took my time with purchasing decisions. While I wanted it all done as quickly as possible, I didn’t want to rush into purchases that I could potentially regret later.

For a few months, I opened my front door to patio furniture on a beach towel rather than a couch. It was not ideal or welcoming! However, I wanted time to get an idea of how I want the living room to look and flow. What I chose is not what I initially envisioned or pinned on Pinterest, but I love it so much more.
The lighting throughout the home is outdated and in a dream world, it would have be replaced immediately. Who knew 2003 was THAT long ago? I waited, and through some coupons and warehouse sales, have found a couple of beautiful light fixtures that I couldn’t be more excited about. #Adulting. Please don’t tell my younger self I’m now excited about light fixtures.
Buying your first home isn’t an easy process, but it is one hundred percent worthwhile.  Take the time to make decisions that are right for you, your budget, and the future of your new home. You’ll be glad you did.
Sarah Croft
Sarah Croft is a marketing professional with an eye for detail and penchant for sleuthing out the best possible options for doing...well, everything!  No doubt, these talented skills came into play when she set out to purchase her first home.  When not wielding her marketing magic or decorating her home, Sarah can be found relaxing on Edisto Beach, dreaming of another Nashville vacation, or cheering on her beloved Clemson Tigers and Atlanta Braves. The only thing greater than Sarah's love for sports and her new home is her love for her spunky pup, Piper.

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