Top Tips for Buying a Home

Buying your first home may be one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Luckily though, it is one we sometimes get to make multiple times. The truth is that picking out your first humble abode may be a bit like kissing frogs, where only a select few find their prince or princess charming on the first try. An experienced and reputable Realtor® can help you get your horse and carriage to the ball on the first try, or at the very least help you strategize so that you only have to move a couple of times.
 
I have an array of clients with such different needs you’d think we had the ability to customize homes. Alas, we do not. This is the Bay Area where the housing supply has been tightening its grip since the housing recovery in 2011. Every year I think, this is it, interest rates will rise, inflation will take its toll, and every year our inventory continues to dwindle while demand roars on. How can it go on we ask? Well, friends, it just does, until it doesn’t, whenever that may be.
 
In my young banking days, I wanted nothing more than to buy a house. It was 1996, we were in our second year of marriage, and our second child had made an early debut in late May. My husband had a darling, but a little house on a busy road, coming into the marriage. As big of a blessing as that was, we outgrew it at a feverish pace. Also, a busy road and two babies became a mental challenge for this young mom. Side note, today that first baby is my incredibly industrious business partner 26 years later. I digress, back to my point. With a mere $13,000 in the bank, I asked the lender at the bank where I worked as a teller if he could figure out what we could buy if anything at all. We qualified for a $273,000 loan, which was enough to buy the house around the block that was twice the size of our current home. That though is a story for another day. Boy, was that a ride when push came to shove over the next 6 years… But let’s talk about that in a separate article.
 
As we got further into the loan process we started to get cold feet. Could we handle buying a house that needed a full remodel with two babies and a home to sell right after? Here we were, a 31-year-old debris box driver, and a 23-year-old bank teller, trying to become real estate moguls??… It is easy to see why fear might finally set in. Our lender, a crusty relic that had survived the savings and loan crisis told us this, “You never have to worry about buying a house in the Bay Area as long as you can afford the payments. We are surrounded by the bay and the mountain range on the east and west, and San Francisco and Silicon Valley from the north to the south. We are the last ones down and the first one back up in any economic downturn.” So, with that sage advice, we bought our first home together. Nothing was easy bout those times, but it all worked out in the end.
 
The moral of that story is this. No matter how prices have changed over the years, so have the salaries available to young people. Buying a home in the Bay Area has never been a mistake. Just do it.

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