I Took a First-Time Homebuyer Workshop—Here's What I Learned
Confession: I have always been pretty intimidated by the process of buying a home. It's honestly something I didn't give much thought to because, like most millennials, I grew up thinking that owning a home was something that would be out of reach for me for a very long time—and those California real estate prices always kept me in check. But with today's historically low interest rates (and my recent engagement), homeownership has been on my mind a little more. While yes, I've created fairly detailed Pinterest boards about what I want my future home to look like (a cozy Italian-style villa with a beautiful flower garden and pool? A girl can dream), I haven't learned much about what actually goes into buying said villa.
Enter Caffeinated and Homebuyer Educated—a free virtual workshop organized by Chicago-based real estate advisor Emily Kaczmarek and loan consultant Bill Pendley for potential first-time homebuyers. What pulled me in right away was the fact that the workshop was also for people who might be a few years away from buying their first home, like me. The event description said the goal of the workshop was to "alleviate any stressors to those who are considering a home purchase in the future, whether that be in the next few months or years down the road." That—and the $5 Starbucks gift card that Emily emailed to all participants before the workshop—definitely had me sold and ready to learn about buying a home at 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday.
The information is applicable for anyone who is looking into buying a home—everything from the benefits of homeownership, to financing, to what to look for in an agent, to the steps to finding said home. Even if you're someone who never wants to buy a house, it doesn't hurt to take a workshop to truly understand your options and what you may be gaining or giving up—after all, investing in real estate is a great way to create wealth. In fact, some lenders require you to take a first-time homebuyer workshop—and it could even make you eligible for perks, such as a lower down payment or help with closing costs.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways first-time homebuyers need to know to prepare financially—and everything you need to keep in mind when you're ready (or just thinking about getting ready) to buy your first home.
Taking homebuyer education was eye-opening and motivating for me. I might even take another course once I start looking more seriously—but for now, I know I have the information I need to start planning my finances, as well as the goals I need to meet to make that home-buying dream come true. A little education can go a long way in putting your fears and anxieties to rest—even if you're not looking to buy your first home today, it's better to educate yourself early if you think you'll ever want to buy.