First Time Home Buyer Mistakes

It has been less than 5 months that I’ve been a Realtor, yet I’ve done over one million dollars in transactions. I have loved every second of it so far, and have learned a lot already, too.

One thing I’ve noticed is that first time home buyers often make the same mistakes. Here are some that I try to help my clients avoid:

Expectations too high — A lot of the time, buyers have unrealistic expectations on the home they can afford or the area they can live in. This isn’t at fault of their own usually, I blame TV mostly, hah. Sometimes it can be a bit of a reality check when we first start home hunting and they realize they’re not going to have a jacuzzi tub with a fireplace in the middle of their guest bathroom, but they soon learn that we can find something amazing that meets their needs (and most of their wants).


Probablyyyy not going to be your first home, people. But you can maybe afford the cute dog on the lawn.

Expectations too low — And at the other end, I find a lot of my buyers don’t realize they’ll even qualify for a loan, sometimes with no down payment upfront or closing costs at the end! A lot of people seem hesitant to even talk to a lender (it’s totally free) and find out how much house they can afford. They are usually pleasantly surprised once they’ve taken the step to talk to someone. Don’t count yourself out of the home buying game, even with bad credit, until you’ve talked to someone. And if you’re out? Remember, that’s just temporary.

Calling any ol’ agent — Listen, I love my industry and know some really amazing agents in it. But there are also some that seem to need more training, more education, and maybe a little prayer, y’all. This is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life. Don’t call someone on a sign on some impulsive Tuesday. Call several people based on recommendations or your own research into them, and really get a feel for their personality. You will spend a decent amount of time with this person – it is imperative you like and trust them.


“Yes, Hi. I saw you on a sign and your blazer was really something. I’m going to trust you with all my monies now.”

Moving too slowly — It is important to take your time looking at properties, researching what neighborhoods you like, and really understanding the home buying process. That being said, it’s also important that once you start working with a Realtor, you are focused and ready to start moving forward in your journey. Some people will take longer than others, but you need a goal and someone who helps you break it down into parts and keeps you organized. At the end of this journey is a prize unlike any other! Keep at it.

Moving too quickly — As a young home buyer, I had a Realtor rush me through the process once. I’ll never forget how intimidated and uncomfortable I felt. She didn’t have my best interests at heart. No one should be pushing you. You don’t want to regret your home or your purchase. You really want to think about it, map out the pros and cons, and understand what’s happening from start to finish. There is a balance on going too slowly or going too quickly, and a great Realtor will help you find it and stay comfortable, confident, and excited. I’m the great Realtor, if you didn’t catch that. 😉

Mistakes or not, first time home buyers have so much to look forward to, the biggest being a brand new home to call their own. Working with them has been a blast… I have laughed so much more than I knew possible in the last few months. I love my clients, and can’t wait for 2017! Follow me on Facebook to see what I’m up to in the new year!

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Kelli & Jordan with Elliott in front of their beautiful new home

Helping Children Change Schools

Changing schools and locations can make children anxious, lonely, and fearful. Caregivers might wonder how to make this transition easier for their family, and there are some great tips on helping your children feel confident and calm about this upcoming change!

1) Talk to them about what they’re going to miss at their old school. Instead of trying to “make it better” right away, let them get it all out. Listen. Acknowledge what they’re saying and validate them, “Yes, it can be scary having to make new friends.” Practice empathy with them.

2) Buy them a journal. Have them draw pictures or write words about this experience from start to finish. If they aren’t naturally inclined to writing or drawing, help them with prompts on the tops of pages. Some examples? “Draw your new school,” or “Write what qualities you’ll look for in your new friends.”

3) Read topical books together with your younger children. Here are some recommendations up through sixth grade: Best Moving Books

4) Get them involved in a sport or school-related club or activity as soon as possible. Socialization can be the toughest part of a move, and this will help them ease into a new circle of friends. Bonus? It helps you meet new people, too. I know you’re a little nervous too. We’re all nerds at heart, after all.

5) Spend time as a family as much as possible, even though the move might be stressful on you, too. Enjoy a movie night in your new home, go check out some local businesses and then rate them together, and spend extra time talking at the dinner table and bedtime. You could always go see what Pokemon you can catch in your new neighborhood as well! haha. Reassure your child that they are supported in this big transition. And you should know that soon you’ll all adjust and you’ll be just as attached to your new place as you were to the old one.

Thinking of you! You got this.

Advice for First Time Homebuyers – Part 1

“Compromise is everything. Paint is cheap and can make a huge change. Look beyond a seller’s personally style and envision the place the way you want it.” -Heather I.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 8.56.34 AM“Take your time and do open houses on Sundays until you have your “Must Have” list. Rank that list and then start looking intensely with your agent.” -Jodi B.

“Make sure (if you are a couple) you are open and honest about what you want and don’t want/like in a house. If not and you settle to “please” the other (vs working within the budget) the thing(s) you hated will only grow on you and you’ll end up not liking the house.” -Heather T.

“Don’t go over board. Work up to your dream house. Everyone should start with a small starter home to understand how everything that comes with owning a house.” -Schavon J.

“Communicate with the new neighbors before buying if you get a chance. Walk the neighborhood during the evening and interact.” -Tasha G.

“Keep in mind that often when someone is selling a house , they are very proud of it and it has sentimental meaning to them. Tread carefully if you are offering lower prices or presenting things to them that you feel are wrong with the house.” -Christy W.

Do Not For Sale by Owner!

Or 3 reasons to at least think about it a little harder…

Oh, it’s tempting, isn’t it? You’re ready to sell your house, you do a little Googling, and you’re  ready to put it on the market yourself and sell it quickly – without having to pay anyone. Angels are singing as you hammer the red and white sign in your yard.

It’s a beautiful idea. And sometimes, it works. But at what cost?

There is a reason that a person with a real estate license had to sit through hours of education that included intensive state law review, the ins and outs of ownership, types of mortgages, title and deeds… there is a lot that can go wrong within real estate transactions, and we are trained (seriously, I had no clue about some of this crazy stuff going in) on how to avoid those things.

So. Here are three reasons to list your home with an agent. Cue scary Halloween music:

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  1. Time – For most of the people I know, time is money. I have three young children and can tell you that 8 free minutes… yeah, that’s worth about $1,000 bucks alone. Selling your house yourself will be incredibly time consuming from marketing to showing the property to retrieving the correct contracts, negotiating, and more. Do you want to leave work in the middle of the day to show your house to that eager couple asking? Or do you want me to do it for you?
  2. Network – A real estate agent has a network of people. We are good at communicating, connecting, and following up with our community. We form relationships. We “know people” even though that sounds like something the mafia would say. We know where to find buyers that will pay top dollar for quality. Homes sell faster when sold by a real estate agent.
  3. Biggest Transacation of Your Life – Just like you trust a dentist with your teeth, a licensed stylist with your hair, and a banker with your money – trust a professional with your home. You’ll want someone with skill, expert knowledge, experience with the legal process, and some personality to make the process stress-free, exciting, and quick! You eat popcorn or sip some wine while I sell your house. Deal?

Bottom Line:

Save your energy for what matters most – celebrating the journey ahead of you.