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CHRIS MOORE — The difference a year makes

This time last year, I was in my first year of marriage and was responsible for three foster children. At the time, we were in the process of adopting our now 4-year-old daughter. Currently, I am in the second year of marriage with my beautiful wife. We completed the adoption, recently delivered our 7-week-old baby girl and will be closing on a home next week.

At this time last year, the pandemic shut down the world. We are currently in the midst of opening things back up, thanks to the distribution of vaccines throughout the country.

It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride. I was the breaking news reporter for another paper and found out my wife was pregnant the day of my interview with Port Arthur Newsmedia.

At that point, I didn’t know how quickly we would go from the life we were living to being on the brink of homeownership.

That process has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination. All of the people that say it is a crazy ride are correct. We are fortunate to have a good realtor and lending team that have held our hands through the arduous journey.

It is expensive to buy a home. It is really expensive to buy a home. For fellow first-time homebuyers, there are plenty of things you will need to purchase that isn’t exactly mentioned or known. Again, this is a first for me, so some of you might get a chuckle out of my rookie mistakes or lapses in knowledge. We were given a list of closing costs, so we were aware of the down payment required and additional closing fees. There is also the fee for the inspection, which will likely be a few hundred dollars.

I was also unaware of the pure impact of property taxes. To be clear, I knew there was a fairly significant impact, but I did not know a home in one county could be worth $20,000 more than a home in a neighboring county and have a cheaper monthly note due to property taxes. Also, be sure your lender tells you when you can lock in at the lowest possible interest rate.

Also, do not be afraid to negotiate. Buying a home is a huge investment. Be sure that you are getting what you can for your money. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. The worst that can happen is they say “no.”

The biggest piece of advice I can give is to make sure you have as much money saved up as possible. There will likely be expenses that come up for which you did not budget. We have been fortunate to have the money required but it is easy to see how someone could underestimate costs.

That is the exchange to have something your own and a piece of the American dream. A year has changed so much for the better and here’s to hoping this year is just as good for you.

 

Chris Moore is the sports editor for Port Arthur Newsmedia. He can be reached at chris.moore@panews.com.