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Sponsored: Lessons Learned in House Hunting

by Meghann on May 28, 2014

SunTrust asked me to share my story about house hunting, which you all know Derek and I are currently knee deep in the house hunting/ selling process. If I’ve learned anything during this new adventure, it’s surrounding yourself with people you trust and respect (and who trust and respect you in return) makes everything about 10 times easier.

We started house hunting with a realtor who did not share our vision. We want a house that’s a home, something we could potentially see ourselves in for 10-15 years. He tried to talk us into investment properties. Places we could live for 2-3 years, then jump to something bigger and better. That works great for a lot of people, but it’s not what we wanted. He was a fast talker, a total salesman, and I just never felt comfortable with that.

Eventually we moved on and found a realtor that impresses us both. He 100% understands and respects our vision, he’s also not very sales-y. He doesn’t push houses on us; instead he gives us our space and let’s us take our time mulling things over on site. He’ll answer questions when asked, but doesn’t feed us any lines. Honestly, we’re starting to think of Joe as a genuine friend. We sometimes find ourselves saying, “I wonder what Joe would think of this?” or “We should ask Joe about that.” He has earned our respect, therefore we trust and value his opinion.

While finding a realtor we both enjoy working with, we’ve also had to find a mortgage broker we feel comfortable with. I think finding the mortgage broker has been the biggest headache. We have a special situation where we need to sell our current place to secure the 20% down payment, there’s also the fact that I’ve only been with my current employer for one year and was self-employed before that. When looking at mortgages: self-employment = more paperwork and more questions. Applying for a mortgage is a scary process and you want to make sure you’re working with someone you’re comfortable with.

We’ve spoken to three different mortgage brokers. The first one was a pretty basic question and answer situation where the person we were speaking with didn’t seem to care one way or the other what happened. It was an okay process, but not very personalized and not many options.

The second one we spoke with was awful. Basically, Derek had to put the phone on mute because I started going off on the guy and said some choice words in the process. I think we were small potatoes to him and he frankly didn’t care. He was offering options we weren’t comfortable with and wasn’t willing to explore anything else.

The third guy was amazing. After speaking to the second guy, it was like a welcomed breath of fresh air. He’s more than willing to work with us within our parameters and doesn’t seem to think my prior self employment is an issue. He also respected all of the good things Derek and I have going for us (our only debt is our house, everything else is paid off, good credit scores, healthy savings, etc.).

I was really scared off from the mortgage process after speaking to the second guy, but now I’m excited again. The third broker was able to put my mind at ease and assured me it’s not as scary as I had built it up to me.

Derek and I are now pre-approved for a loan we are 100% comfortable with. I’m actually excited again about house hunting and can’t wait to find the house of our dreams.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well being. They help you get organized, make a plan, and stay on track so you can get and stay in control of your finances. When you are confident about about your money, you can save for your goals and splurge knowingly on waht matters most to you.

To get started visit suntrust.com/getorganized.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly May 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm

I guess I wasn’t as bothered by a mortgage-related sponsored post makes sense to me since you are in the middle of house hunting and having been through it myself, securing a mortgage was a huge part of it. But I can understand why it took people by surprise when they found out it was sponsored at the bottom. Obviously however you handle it is your business, but I personally really like when bloggers mention early in the post that it is sponsored. This made me think that perhaps you should put your house hunting posts in a separate section (like you did your wedding post) if you plan to include more house related sponsored posts in the future? I can understand why people who come looking for healthy living content might find them offputting-putting.

Sponsorship aside, I can 100% relate to the importance of working with people that you trust when it comes to house hunting. I didn’t have great experiences with the first realtor and mortgage lender I worked with. I initially went through Bank of America when I was first looking because I assumed that since I had already had a checking and savings account there I would get better service. Wrong. Instead they tried to push me into an FHA loan even though it made absolutely no sense for my needs.

Next I ended up choosing who I worked with – real estate agent, lender, lawyer, inspector – all based on referrals. And I’m glad I did. The process seemed MUCH smoother when I had a good team in place and after living in my place for nearly 2 years I have no regrets about anything.

I also found the book Home Closing Checklist very, very helpful. It breaks down a lot of the fees and other parts of the process so I felt like I was getting an objective opinion. (I also found that if there is anything you’re being told that seems shady, a good realtor can be pretty knowledgeable.) It also gave me an idea of the kinds of documents I’d need to collect or things I’d need to prove so I could be ready in advance. In particular I hadn’t realized I’d have to provide substantiation for where big deposits had come from it’s definitely worth looking into, especially if you are receiving your blog income or sponsorship payments in larger chunks.

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2 Kelly May 29, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Weird, I originally posted comment here because I didn’t realize there were two comment sections. Then I tried to post a comment above and FYI, if you try to do it as a guest it doesn’t seem to be working. (Sorry, I hate linking things to FB because then it seems that sometimes they pop up in your news feed without you wanting them to.) But I realized I had another question, what do you mean when you say options? I only ask because when I was getting a mortgage there didn’t seem to be that many choices, mostly different terms for the loan and different options of how much to put down. I guess you could also opt to pay for points. Just curious what kind of options you were talking about…

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3 Lindsay @ lifting in lilly May 30, 2014 at 6:04 am

The mortgage part of the whole house buying process was definitely the least fun…. And with house hunting in my near future again, I am not looking forward to it at all! Anytime you find a bank or mortgage broker who you trust and who really works for you, you are very lucky!
Lindsay @ lifting in lilly recently posted..three in a row!

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4 jackie May 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Who cares if it was sponsored. Still her opinion. Jeez.

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5 amyt June 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

I posted above as well – I see nothing wrong with the post. It said sponsored, and it also said SunTrust asked her to share her exp. She was sharing her story – so what. If she didn’t like them, I doubt she would have shared. Skip the sponsored posts if you don’t like them…..no one says you have to read the blogs.

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6 Rebekah June 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

I love you no matter what. I read blog posts all the time that just say sponsored at the end, just did actually by Tastie Yummies. Who cares.

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