How to Start the Process of Buying Your First Home

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We bought a house!!! We have rented for eight long years and enjoyed the flexibility it gave us to travel and not worry with routine maintenance, taking care of the lawn or buying our own appliances. The thought of a 30-year mortgage, new bills and upkeep wasn’t particularly appealing but just like with travel, taking this adventure together was an exciting prospect. Buying your first home is a daunting task and I’m not going to lie, we had no idea where to begin but this is one of the main reasons why we started our new “Weekends at Home” section on our site!

buying your first home

Buying Your First Home

For the past couple of years, we have been thinking about purchasing our first home and what that entails. We realized the time had come to stop “wasting” our hard-earned money and actually invest our money into something that we could eventually reap the benefits of in the future. The added responsibility wasn’t an issue, the price wasn’t an issue because our rent every month was high enough to almost be a mortgage and the hefty price tag of those one-time appliances didn’t weigh on us too bad.

where to find your first home

Location was going to be our first major challenge. Having traveled to different states and countries we were very open to the idea of experiencing a new location. We narrowed down our search to either England or the United States. We started looking for houses around where we currently rented to gather an idea of what we wanted and what we didn’t want.

What we quickly found is the type of house here in Arkansas vs. the same type house in England or anywhere else in the states was on a very different price scale. Our priorities were simple we wanted to have something that was our own, to be able to travel and we compromised on the little things.

The benefit of purchasing a home in Arkansas was that the low cost of living would enable us to continue to travel as frequently as we did when we rented…a win-win situation right?

Something to Call Your Own

Renting for several years meant that we shared a floor and walls with strangers. Climbing three flights of stairs several times a day with furniture and groceries certainly grew old after a while. Smaller living areas and continuing to buy things we didn’t need just wasn’t working anymore.

buying a house

Our journey into purchasing a home started on the weekends or after work, as we ventured out around town exploring some possible houses, just to get a better idea of the style and location that we wanted. We soon started to get excited at the thought of one day having something to call our own and that simply increased our desire that this was definitely something we wanted to continue to pursue.

buying your first house

We each made a list of all the things that we wanted out of a house, whether it was a huge walk-in shower or a large garage space. We crossed off the houses that had a few items that were on the checklist because ultimately, we wanted the right one. This is the largest purchase you will likely ever make in your life, so you want to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

interior decorating house

Now, coming from an apartment to a house we knew there would be differences but the minute we walked into some of the houses there was a feeling of what would we do with this space, do we really need that or was way to over budget.

Being Able to Travel

Another one of our priorities was that no matter what, we both still enjoyed traveling and we didn’t want to have a mortgage that was so crazy we wouldn’t be able to travel. We went to the bank and began to discuss our options and decided on a number that we felt comfortable with and confirmed what range we would be looking at, rather than just going to every open house we saw regardless of price.

homeowners and travel

Doing that led us to feel much more comfortable about continuing the process, I’ll admit that it was very stressful waiting to get a confirmation that we were approved.

Once we found out our price range we felt comfortable with, we began to budget what a month’s mortgage would look like with the traveling we would usually do. We adjusted the budget to fit our needs on what was important, what bills we could pay off and managed it to when we found the right house we would be ready to get the ball rolling.

buying a first house

We traveled most weekends and all holidays and time off work so beginning to look for a house was something that we knew some weekend travel would need to wait. The house hunting continued until we felt like we hit a wall of not finding anything that was our style or our budget.

Compromising on the Little Things

Having things on a checklist that we wanted and things that are a bit far-fetched was much easier to determine on paper rather than seeing it in person. I’m sure Chris was getting frustrated when I continued to add things to the list. We found houses that had items on the checklist but not everything and there was always something about them that just wasn’t us, for about two to three months we were looking that became stagnate.

house checklist

We finally decided to call in an expert, I have a realtor friend that I have known my entire life and one night I messaged her. She was so responsive we had an account created within 20 minutes to pick out a variety of houses. We were able to quickly give her our list and she came back with about five houses right out of the gate for us to look at inside the first 24 hours.

The next day we met her and looked at eight houses after work. We found a house that checked all of our boxes and when we left we were placing furniture in rooms, needless to say, we were very excited.

Before we made an offer, we wanted my parents to check it out, so arrangements were made to go take a look the following evening. That same night we were still looking at more houses, and we actually found another one in the same neighborhood with a similar style to the one we loved.

buying your first home

The following day we showed my parents the house, and then walked over to the other house only to realize that it wasn’t finished and would take what looked like months to be finished. Being able to see what the potential of an unfinished house, that was more expensive than the initial one we looked was definitely challenging but at the same time created a difficult decision for us.

The Offer

The dilemma hit, we had two houses on our hands that we both loved, one we could see and the other envision the potential with very different price points. We re-grouped what our budget would look like as well as what the return on investment would be in the future.

first home purchase

We decided, celebrated, made an offer, celebrated, had a counter offer, celebrated, the offer was accepted and celebrated for several days. Throughout the construction process, we were involved, we were even checking in every day, which I am sure the builder loved. When it was finished we got the keys and began to make this house our home.

proud homeowners

Weekends at Home

From renting to purchasing we kept to a budget, we never settled and we compromised on the important things to be able to get the house of our dreams and call it our own. We hope that you will enjoy reading about our “Weekends at Home” as much as you enjoy reading about our weekends on the road.

We would love to connect with more of you, whether it’s through your interest in traveling, or perhaps a desire to learn more about DIY projects and everything in between. This is the beginning of a new chapter for us and we are excited to take you along on the journey with us.

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Heather Boothman
Heather Boothman is the co-founder of A Brit and A Southerner. Born and in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Heather has always been a fond traveler but was only able to start fulfilling her dreams of traveling the world when she met her husband, Chris in 2008. They have since embarked on an amazing journey of travel as they challenge others to follow in their paths of working full-time but also being able to travel frequently! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Heather at [email protected]


  1. I’ve now watched a few friends go through the process of buying their first house, and it seems both exciting and stressful. I think this step from renting to owning is still a couple years down the road for me, but I’m so happy for the two of you as you start your newest journey as homeowners. I can’t wait to see what new content you’ll come up with for your life at home section!


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