Liking #dreamkitchen pics on Insta? Sounds like you’re itching to buy a home in Charlotte.
But it’s like Donald Rumsfeld said: There are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.
You probably know where you want to buy.
You probably know you don’t know interest rates and how much you qualify for.
But what about those unknown unknowns — things you don’t know you don’t know?
It’s the things no one tells you that take up most of your time and energy. Here’s 6 key pieces of info no one told me before I bought a house.
#1 If you’re buying with a partner, it’s going to be the least sexy thing you’ve ever done.
Wait until you find that Asheville-esque 60’s kitchen you’ve always dreamed of and they hate it because it’s not big enough for dinner parties (when did we agree to dinner parties?). And once you’re under contract, there’s way less time to text each other sweet nothings when you’ve got paperwork and conference calls.
You should set a night once a week when you don’t talk about the house at all. It’ll be a reminder they’re your teammate, not someone out to ruin your dream home.
#2 Even your non-negotiables become negotiable.
I was 100% sure about where I wanted to buy, how much I wanted to spend, and how long I was willing to wait to find the perfect fit. None of those things happened and I still love the house I ended up with.
The deeper you get into the process, the more you find what’s truly worth six figures to you. The kitchen island might be less important than a backyard big enough for cookouts. Keep yourself open to all the possibilities.
#3 You can find out a lot about what the city’s planning for your new neighborhood.
Charlotte is pretty transparent about it’s plans for neighborhoods.
The Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program site compiles improvement plans for neighborhoods like Plaza-Shamrock, Sunset, and SouthPark. The Area Planning page lists 55 community plans, 12 district plans, and 10 transit area plans from all over the city.
Reading community meeting transcripts and pouring over artist renderings helps inform you about how your neighborhood might look in ten years, and more importantly, what your home might be worth.
#4 It’s kind of a part-time job.
Get ready to work through some lunches tracking down old W-2s and miss some evening plans to stay in and wet sign documents. Securing your house can easily add hours to your week, especially if you’re a bit anal retentive.
If you’ve got a partner, split duties up. For example, have one handle the inspection and appraisal, while the other wrangles insurance.
#5 You’ll actually get a little sick of talking about it.
I loved talking about my house at first, but by the end of my process, I was sick of answering the same questions. I performed the same monologue every time.
“It’s in Plaza-Shamrock. We got a great deal on it. The backyard is amazing. We love the master bathroom. Check out this pic of the screened-in back patio.”
The more work you put into buying, the more you want everyone else to love it as much as you do. That means you’ll start to be your house’s own hype man. It gets exhausting trying to convince your friends to feel what you’re feeling.
#6 Your realtor and lender really go above and beyond.
I thought realtors and lenders were only in it for their commission. Our realtor Rachel Demeter and our lender Johnathan Romero put in more 45 minute phone calls and evening texts than we ever thought they would.
Rachel got creative in helping us negotiate our offer, finding new ways to increase the value of our purchase at every step. Johnathan worked with me on getting in position to buy for a full year before the sale actually went down.
Get recs from friends and family, because your realtor and lender can make or break the process. Lifehack: try to find a team that’s worked together before. Chemistry is key.