About a year and a half ago, I bought Z and I’s first home — a cute little townhouse in a quiet neighborhood close to family-friendly activities. It was a dream scenario with no hiccups along the road. I found a private lender through Zillow who connected me to a realtor and everything went as smooth as butter.
The home-buying process this time around though is the polar opposite. It was a nightmare and caused weeks of stress and several crippling anxiety attacks. I will NOT be buying another home anytime soon because of this scenario and Z and I will live in this home until I get married one day in the far off distant future, and even then we might still live here.
Here are a few tips for buying a home — the second time around.
- Don’t underestimate the amount of money you’ll need to close.
Larger corporate banks often have higher fees and expect larger reserves after closing. I went through two houses, two applications, two pre-approvals and was denied 3 days before closing unless I suddenly came up with a boat-load more cash.Depending on how much you put down on the home, you’ll need a debt to income ratio of 43% (or better) and to have at least 6 months reserve on your current expenses. So if you’re buying your second home, that means 6 months reserves in your bank account on both your current house and the new one you’re looking to buy AFTER closing!
- Use a realtor you trust and who understands what you want.
Jaimie Przenioslo with Michael Saunders and Company was essential during this home buying process. She knew exactly what I was looking for and had incredible patience during the entire rocky process. She kept me grounded even when it felt like everything was crumbling around me. If you are relocating, get recommendations from people you know, read reviews, even talk to a few realtors over the phone. And if this is home number 2, you don’t have to use the same realtor you used the first time around if you weren’t 100% satisfied. This is your home and where you’re going to spend the next few years or even decades, it’s important to find just the right house and that means having the right realtor.
- The first house you make an offer on is not necessarily the house you are going to move into.
The 48 hours after putting an offer in on a house is nerve wracking. Waiting for the acceptance is the first and easiest step. Afterward you have inspections, surveys, appraisals, and official loan approval. Any one of these reasons can stop the home purchase dead in its tracks, even more so when it’s the second house.
- Trust your gut
If it doesn’t feel right (it being the home, the realtor, the price, the location, the size) then let it go. Yes, once you are under contract it can be tricky to get out of it, but nothing is final until closing. Trust your gut through the entire process.
- Avoid Bank of America home loans.
I can’t stress this enough. Go anywhere else. Go with a private lender. Go with Chase or Wells Fargo. But avoid Bank of America at all costs. I spent thousands of dollars through the home selection process only to get a “denied” 3 days before closing. I hounded my mortgage team for information, returned documents within hours of them being requested only for my team to lose them or completely miss them when processing altogether, and caught countless errors on my application that they refused to update until days prior to close. The stress resulted in several 20+ minute panic attacks and thousands of dollars thrown down the drain. I’ve heard horror stories from others regarding BoA as well. STEER CLEAR.