I honestly always felt like I wasn’t “adult enough” to own a home and was perfectly fine being a forever renter. I’m horrible at saving money (because I would rather spend it on plane tickets) and proving all of my income is a little difficult in the beauty industry. So I stuck to renting and spent many years throwing money away (let’s not talk about it) while I rented overpriced apartments. I’m not sure how or why I was suddenly inclined to attempt getting pre-approved for a mortgage, but I’m pretty sure God gave me a little nudge this past August. I had to let my apartment building know by August 22 if I was renewing my lease even though it wasn’t up until the end of October. Jordan and I weren’t engaged yet, but I knew it would be happening at some point so I either had to commit to another year in 500 square feet or attempt to purchase something we could eventually start our life together in.
Let me inform you that I knew absolutely nothing about loan types, interest rates, escrow accounts, closing costs, or anything else associated with buying a home when I started this process. I learned a ton and luckily worked with some of the most amazing people who I couldn’t have done this without. Thankfully, my mother was one of the first people I told when I decided I was going to attempt this whole process. She reminded me about a close family friend who is a Senior Loan Officer at Flagstar Bank. Her name is Alisa Copas and I will never purchase a home without her. She knows her stuff. And trust me, you need someone who knows what the hell they’re doing if you want to successfully make it to your closing date. (Not to mention she was always quick to answer all my ridiculous questions and my 234 texts per day.)
I learned that employment history and credit score are two of the most important things when it comes to getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Luckily, those are two things I excel at. I’ve had the same job for almost 6 years and I never pay anything late. PHEW. I thought they would see my savings account and turn me down immediately. HA! That was not the case.
I am lucky enough to know a badass realtor here in Nashville and I always knew I would use her if this day ever came. Jennifer Stadler is with Fridrich & Clark Realty. She’s a Nashville native and genuinely loves what she does. Oh, and she is dang good at it. I’ll never buy (or sell) a home without her, either. Using the right people is key and I like to think I had the home buying dream team. 🙂 (I didn’t get paid to say that. They are just the best. You can use them, too! You’re welcome.)
Once I got my pre-approval, Jennifer immediately started searching for houses. I was in that tricky price point that many young professionals in Nashville are after so we didn’t have a ton of options. My list of requirements wasn’t huge, but I really wanted to be close to the part of East Nashville called Riverside Village, have an updated kitchen and bath, hardwood floors, and space to eventually create a glam room for me and a small photo studio for Jordan. Jennifer always reminded me, “You probably won’t get all of your boxes checked” but I crossed my fingers anyway.
The night before we were going out to house hunt, Jennifer informed me she had eight houses for us to go see. Before we left to drive around the next day, two or three were already under contract. Ugh. Welcome to the Nashville real estate market. That morning I got a text from my mother. She of course had been looking online at houses and sent me one that she said, “looked like a good one!” It was already on our list but I wasn’t that excited about it for some reason.
Four houses in and we hadn’t had too much luck. We were on our second to last house and it happened to be the one my mother had mentioned. After one quick walk through, I heard Jennifer say “Well, looks like you just got all of your boxes checked.” And she was right. It had everything on my list, and then some. The location was perfect, it had an updated kitchen and bath, hardwood floors, an all weather sunroom, partially finished basement with a fireplace, and a one car garage that will make the perfect office/glam room/photo studio one day. And it was in my price range. We both knew this had to be the house. And apparently my mother knew, too because of course she had been praying about it.
Jordan was out of town for work at the time, so he got a video tour and trusted that I could choose our future home wisely. I was about to be out of the country for two weeks visiting Greece so I had to act quick. As I told you before, I was mainly stressed about this whole thing because I’m bad at saving money. Alisa got me pre-approved for a 3% down conventional loan to keep my cost due at closing as low as possible, but I still knew I needed several thousand dollars to make this happen. I asked Jennifer if we could ask for the seller to pay some closing costs and she informed me that never happens in Nashville because the market is so competitive. We decided to try it anyways because we had to start somewhere and we knew there would be a counter offer. Six hours after stepping foot in the house, we had a couple glasses of wine and I put in an offer for full asking price with the seller paying $5k toward closing costs. Jennifer was sure we’d get a counter offer in the morning and she said, “If she accepts this first offer, it will be God.”
I barely slept that night because I was thinking about every possible way I could come up with enough money for all of the closing costs if the seller wouldn’t pay any. My heart was totally set on this house so I was determined to somehow figure it out. I kept my parents in the loop because I swear their prayers get to God quicker than mine. Jordan calls it “Linda’s Hotline to Heaven”. HA!
Right around noon the very next day, Jennifer called to tell me I was about to get a new address. The seller had accepted without a counter offer. Like, what?! That just happened?! She actually agreed to pay $5,000 towards my closing costs. Oh, and she wanted to meet us. HOW CUTE IS THAT. I knew with the Nashville market the way it is, this truly was a God thing. But I still needed more money than I had to get all the fees covered and the rest of our down payment. Luckily, I had Jordan to help and turns out we had gotten engaged during this process. Since we quickly decided to elope, we could use part of our wedding fund from my parents to help with the down payment. (See why eloping is such a great idea?!)
The blessings didn’t stop there. The seller, Elaine, was a sweet older woman who happened to be downsizing to a condo in Florida. She left us all of the essential things that she didn’t need anymore. The garage was stocked with ladders, painting supplies, tools, brooms, shovels, etc. She left us porch furniture and all the wicker furniture in the sunroom (which I gave a little DIY makeover to!) and the best part is that she gave us a brand new grill as a closing gift. My jaw hit the floor.
We closed on September 25 and left five days later for our elopement trip to California. When we got back to Nashville, we moved into our new home as a married couple. I’m honestly still in awe that it all worked out the way it did. Like I told you before, it was a total God thing. There’s just no other explanation. My advice to you? Quit renting as soon as you can. Real estate is an incredible investment and purchasing a home is a huge life accomplishment.
With the right people by your side and a faith in God, literally anything is possible.