What I Learned from Buying a House in New Hampshire

You may remember that not that long ago my husband and I became homeowners! I learned a lot from the homebuying process. Things I write about here became my reality and it has been a delightful ride of ups and downs. 

Psst…this isn’t a picture of us!

Working with my Realtor I learned quite a bit that was completely foreign to me despite my work. Getting pre-approved was easy, but making an offer? In this market? Not easy at all! I quickly learned why appraisals matter and what the heck an escalation offer is. Some things are still a little fuzzy, like what exactly did I pay the title company to actually do? We experienced the bizarre act of writing a love letter to a total stranger whose house you’d like to buy and the pain of losing a house we loved to a cash buyer. 

I distinctly recall where I was when my Realtor called me and I just knew we got it. I remember thinking, “they picked us?” I called my husband and that quickly turned into, “they picked us!” The time that elapsed between that phone call and closing day felt long, but the day we painted walls came and it was exhausting and we were ecstatic!

Of course, then the realities of homeownership started to sink in. In the first month we lived there, things broke. One after the other! First, the blinds in the bedroom broke, then we realized the dimmer switches were overloaded and the ice machine in the refrigerator didn’t work, then the garage door opener died and the oven started making this unstoppable beeping, then the built-in microwave broke, and so on! It was genuinely comical. All the while I wondered what from this experience could I share here?

I asked a few other New Hampshire homebuyers to share what advice they would give a first time homebuyer like me and here’s what they said: 

We started our home buying process right when the pandemic was hitting and we quickly learned just exactly what everyone meant by a “crazy market.” We attended about nine showings in total. Some showings were canceled on the day of because they were already under contract. We took our time and didn’t allow the pressure of the market to rush us into making an offer we weren’t 100% certain on.

Having someone we knew and trusted as our home inspector was incredibly helpful. We learned so much from the inspection and also learned about what kind of expenses we could anticipate down the road. It has been an exciting and educational journey! One last piece of advice: once you have the keys in your hand, plan to make at least four stops at the hardware store that first weekend in your new home!”

 – Holly, Manchester

I attended a First Time Home Buyers seminar hosted by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority before I started looking for a home, and it was the best resource. They introduced various experts in all the realms involved in buying a home: realtor, mortgage company, credit officer, home inspector, and title company. These experts gave advice on what to do and be aware of in each step of the process. I also learned about the USDA Rural Development Program at this event, and it made all the difference for me to secure my first home. The USDA Rural Development Program is a great funding opportunity for low- to moderate-income folks who are buying a home in rural areas, which is most of New Hampshire. I used the knowledge I learned from the seminar when I bought my next house, which was just this past fall!”

– Laura, Epping

One thing I learned the hard way is that you can’t always trust a home inspection. Home inspectors are ‘generalists’ and they’ll definitely notice the big, obvious stuff. To really get the full story, consider skipping the standard home inspection and just bring in an electrician, a plumber, an HVAC specialist, and a carpenter or general contractor. They know their stuff better than a home inspector does and can save you a lot of money and headaches in the end!”

– Hilary, New Durham

Home owning readers, what advice would you share to a first time home buyer?

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