what’s new…

As you may have noticed from my lack of frequent posting, life has been a little busy lately! In case you’re wondering, here are some highlights from what’s been going on in my world:

Work has been very busy, which is a great thing. In the very near future we’ll be introducing a shiny new Curious & Co. website… stay tuned!

• Speaking of work, I’ve been whipping up some fun custom save-the-dates and invitations, in addition to fulfilling Claremont Collection orders. We recently had a custom invitation design featured on Oh So Beautiful Paper, which was very exciting. We’re also thrilled that we’ll be featured in the upcoming Wedding Invitation Ideas Lookbook, a free annual e-book from Invitation Crush.

• I’m partnering with the lovely ladies at Weddingbee on a new feature called Buzzworthy. Once a week, I put together a new inspiration board to share with readers, which is featured on the blog every Monday. Below are my two favorites so far; check them out on Weddingbee for a closer look and complete shopping guides!

• Nick and I have been visiting some open houses as we plan to start seriously house-hunting soon. I have bookmarked a ridiculous number of homes on Realtor.com and at the moment, we’re having fun just dreaming and envisioning what our future home may look like; I’m sure we’ll be weeding out a lot of properties once we get pre-approved and start working with a realtor. When we get a bit more serious about it, it’s safe to assume that I’ll be posting all about our adventures here!

What’s the best advice you homeowners can pass along as we begin our search?

comments

  1. Hi Brooke,

    A bit of a lurker here! I love your inspiration boards. S pretty.

    Congrats on the house hunting adventure! As a home owner, my advice is two fold 1) You need even more money for the closing than you think. Save 10K over your down payment 2) If you don’t have a 20% down payment yet consider waiting until you do and finally 3) regardless of the market, put in an offer that YOU think is reasonable.

    The best advice my realtor gave me was to look at a property and decide what I thought was reasonable. In this market you can offer well below that number but give yourself a cap so you know when to walk away if it comes to that.

    Best of luck! Owning your own home is a wonderful thing. The process is stressful but when all’s said and done, I still believe its worth it.

  2. ok so my advice is three fold…I was always a talker ;)

  3. First of all–gorgeous work and congrats on the company taking off! The inspiration boards look fantastic also!

    House Hunting:
    I’m seconding everything Dana said. To expand a tad on #2, if you don’t have 20% down you have to also get mortgage insurance and that is onto of homeowner’s insurance–not awesome. We were able to save 20% and that saved us a bundle. Make sure you have all of your documents ready to go, don’t send originals. Also, make sure your the offer is CRYSTAL clear on what you want or what the seller is offering–our realtor didn’t do her job and we got nailed with a $300 fee the day of closing we were under the impression was being paid for by the seller, and she wasn’t, and our realtor could do nothing about it since it was basically too late. Stunk but we really wanted the house and just wanted to be over with the process. Also, try and make a list of the Top 10 musts you guys want for in a house and that will help when you go to see the houses. When we went we took photos of the inside/outside, made notes and gave the house a rating before going to another. Low and behold we kept comparing everything to the house we ended up buying and nothing came close.

    And be very diligant about looking for signs of water damage in basements, on ceilings, and look in closets–we saw a house that looked great but the only signs of water damage problems was inside a closet where they tried to cover it up–shaddy!

    P.S. Sorry for the rambling!

  4. The only advice I can offer is to make sure that you can picture yourself living there for three years at least–that’s the minimum they say makes buying a house worthwhile from a financial standpoint.

    What areas/towns are you considering?

  5. My best advice would be to drive by any properties you are considering before making an appointment with your realtor to see the interior. You’ll be shocked at how nice pictures can make a place look when really the house might be next to a junk yard, or on a mountain or something crazy like that. When we started our home search we spent a lot of time looking at houses that we basically eliminated as soon as we pulled into the driveway. Save yourself some serious time!

  6. Last summer bee keeping was re legalized here in good ol’ NYC. In anticipation of that monumental legislation mike and i took a bee keeping course to become certified bee keepers. Since than we’ve kept no bees but have found a great fondness for all things bee themed. Meant to Bee may well be the very pinnacle of bee themed classy-ness. I’m all a buzz. Bravo!

  7. My biggest struggle when we bought our house was being mentally prepared! I’ve been in the (bad) habit of moving every year with apartments, so to picture us buying a place that we’d stay in for the next 40 years was overwhelming. I think the best thing we talked about was just that we can always move again when we’re ready! It took some of the pressure off and let me concentrate on what we wanted now as opposed to what we’ll want when we’re 60 :) Good Luck Brooke! Love your invites!

  8. I haven’t commented before, but love reading so I hope it’s okay to write!

    Re: Home buying……be prepared for lots of “ups” and “downs.” I know that I found a lot of homes online and then went into them and was frustrated at what I actually found. We got our realtor by a friend’s recommendation, after walking into a few open houses and feeling like there were a lot of B-A-D realtors that we didn’t trust just from one meeting!

    No house is perfect. There will always be ‘something’ that you don’t like, and you and your husband need to talk about what you’re willing to fix (and can afford to fix!) and what you can’t. As soon as you’re talking about a kitchen/bathroom/knocking down of any walls, the price goes up and up. In the same breath, though, it’s nice to be able to make it “yours” by doing that work-and it usually means you can get some of the $$ back when you sell it since you made the upgrades.

    Now I feel like I’m rambling-please email me if you want any other advice! Good wishes for a happy home search!

  9. Don’t forget to factor in real estate taxes. We didn’t pay much attention to that stuff, but our taxes in Jersey are super high. Over $6000/year. So when we got our first mortgage bill, we were like, “uhhh, that’s more than we thought it would be.”

    On our first place we only had 5% to put down. On our current place we only had 10%. But it worked out fine. We just refinanced to a 15 year mortgage and are hoping that with extra payments we’ll have it paid off in ten years.

    Buying a home is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done! But in the end, it’s totally worth it. Look at as many places as you can. You’ll find something wonderful, I’m sure!! :)

  10. Congratulations on house hunting!

    My advice would be not to get too attached to a house before it’s a done deal. Anything can happen and if you’re too attached you might end up over paying or unnecessarily stressing yourself out.

    Getting a home inspection done before closing is highly recommended.

    Don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re dealing with an impossible seller.

    Make sure you have room to grow in the house and you won’t out grow it as soon as you move in.

    I agree with the down payment advice from others.

    Good luck!

  11. My (measly) advice. You might not find the “perfect” place, and it’s okay to compromise, but don’t compromise with something that is REALLY going to bother you that you can’t doctor yourself. You are an artist and can visualize things so you will do great in this process!

    Congrats on Curious and Company…what wonderful and colorful stuff going on! Yay!

  12. Totally agree w/ Lisa’s comment above…we saved our time and our real estate agent’s time by doing “drive-bys” of houses that we found online BEFORE we made appointments to see the homes. One had a trailer/trashy yard/abandoned cars RIGHT next to it. That’s the country for you, though! Also, if the home that you end up buying has been vacant, get the pipes Roto-rootered!! When the water isn’t flowing through the pipes for a while, things solidfy…and then the drain in your basement floor/laundry backs up…gross.

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