Tales of a First-Time Homebuyer: Meet Marlee
Buying your first home can be a nerve-wracking experience. Hearing others' stories can help you better navigate your own journey. Read as Clare Okyere from O Capital Group interviews Marlee on her first-time homebuyer experience.
Clare: Tell us a little about your home-buying experience.
Marlee: Really it was seamless. Kofi (buyer's loan officer) was so patient with us. I asked a ton of questions. Alex (Marlee's husband) would get frustrated at times because he understood the process but I didn't. There were all these new terms that I didn't understand (Think: Pre-approval, DTI, FHA, Downpayment... 😩😱😳). Kofi never got frustrated though. He would take a step back and explain things a different way. He would even draw visuals sometimes to help me get it. It really made the process go well.
Clare: It can be nerve-wracking to be a first-time homebuyer. Can you talk to us about what made you feel you were ready to take this step and buy your first home?
Marlee: Alex and I had been talking about buying a house, but we didn't think we were ready. We had been saving up for a downpayment, but we didn't think we had enough yet. We only had about $2,000 saved at that time. Alex really didn't want to talk to anybody until we had more saved because we didn't think we were ready.
I actually set up a secret meeting with Kofi and Julie (buyer's real estate agent). On the way there, I let Alex know we were meeting with them to talk about buying a house. It was really Kofi during that meeting that made us feel comfortable. He was so relaxed. He gave us facts about different scenarios and how much each part would cost without making us feel pressured. It was a lot less than we thought. We had in our heads we would need at least $10,000 before we could even get started. He helped us realize that wasn't the case. I remember driving home from that first meeting and looking at Alex and both of us realized we were actually ready to do this.
Clare: You talked about down-payment. That can be a hold-up for many first-time homebuyers.
Marlee: Yes, it was. We had in our heads we needed at least $10,000 saved up for a downpayment before we could even get started. Really, the people giving us advice hadn't bought a home in such a long time. They were telling us how much we would need to save up. Things were different then. We had this misconception we needed 20% down and we needed it all at one time. In reality, we needed a total of about $7,000*. And that wasn't all at one time. That was our other misconception. We thought we would need to have all the money at once. In reality, Kofi would give us a heads up during the process. He would let us know if a fee was coming up for an appraisal, or title, or closing and how much it would be. He always gave us notice so we could plan. It wasn't all at once like we thought it would be. In the end, like I said, the whole process only cost us about $7,000 total.
* $7,000 cash for close included 3.5% FHA downpayment requirement + closing costs
Clare: What surprised you most during this process?
Marlee: Kofi's empathy. He was so patient and understanding. I remember once I sent him a document I had some questions about. I asked him to call me the next day to talk about it. He called me that night and walked me through everything. He answered all my questions. His laid back and patient personality made all of this so easy for us.
Clare: Anything else that was different that you expected?
Marlee: Well, Alex thought once we talked to someone we had to start, commit, and pay something right then. That's why we were waiting initially until we saved up more money. It wasn't actually like that. Kofi would meet with us every six weeks just to see what questions we had and how it was going. We would meet at Starbucks instead of his office. That felt really low-pressure. We didn't have to dress up and come in with our checkbooks. We would just talk. We did that through the whole process.
Clare: How long did this process end up taking you?
Marlee: We first met with Kofi and Julie on May 4, and we closed in October. So about 5 months.
Clare: Any final thoughts you wanted to share with our readers?
Marlee: Just that Kofi really made this so easy for us. I will definitely use him for any home purchase in the future!
Thank you to Marlee for sharing her experience as a first-time home buyer! She, her husband Alex, and their dog Miko are living happily ever after in their Phoenix home as they eagerly await the birth of their first child.
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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters