My Experience as a First-Time Home Buyer

My wife Melanie and I bought our house when I was 40 years old.  To some, that may seem a little late, but I was self-employed as a designer/craftsman building Craftsman and Prairie School furniture and money came in fits and starts.  Even then I thought taking on a house payment was a little risky, but Melanie was determined: it was time for a house.  We had two little girls and they needed a home.

We started out with very little knowledge about the process, or even really knowing where to begin.  We had seen a “for sale by owner” sign in front of an older home we had admired on 900 East.  We contacted the owner and he walked us through the house.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was affordable, so we put down our earnest money.

I really liked that house, but I was unaware that Melanie was not entirely sold on it.  I think that I was mainly glad that the “looking” part was over.  But it wasn’t over for Melanie, she was still looking; she had contacted an agent and was diligently looking for something better.  This turned out to be a good thing.

The agent Melanie found was a Godsend.  I had avoided this idea for a couple of what I thought were good reasons.  I just wanted to do it all myself and I didn’t want to have pay an agent.  I didn’t know that the seller pays the agent.  I also didn’t have access to or even know what was available or any idea other than to drive around looking for “for sale” signs wherever I could find them.  Having an agent changed all that; for the better.

Her name was Diana Woodside, and she was a classy older lady and an agent with Coldwell Banker.  I am forever grateful for her help; I am actually affiliated with Coldwell Banker now as agent myself because of her. 

She sat us down and took us through the whole looking/lending/buying process.  She helped us clarify what we wanted, how to look for it, and how to make it happen.  We realized pretty quickly that we were rookies and she was a pro.  She showed us homes in neighborhoods we weren’t even aware of.  She also introduced us to a couple of lenders who started us through the other process we had no real handle on: borrowing, something we knew we would have to face, but really didn’t know anything about.  We were clueless.

She showed us lots of houses, and the house we finally bought is where we still live on DeSoto Street.  The house is small, which I like, and I can see Nevada from the kitchen window, which I love.  I didn’t know how important that was until Diana sat us down and helped us clarify just what we were looking for.  We have raised four daughters here and it has become more than our family’s home; it is our anchor. 

While I am grateful for everyone’s help in what turned out to be a surprisingly collaborative process: Melanie, the lender, the title company, and our agent, Diana, I am forever especially grateful for Diana’s help; she took us through what can be a very daunting and complex process and made it easy for us; thank you, Diana, wherever you are.  She has inspired me to help other first-time buyers, and to share the wonderful experience we had because of her help.

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