Mar 26, 2024 - Real Estate

A real estate reporter's story of buying first home

Tyler standing in front of a Newark corporation limit sign on the side of a road.

New house, new neighborhood. Photo: Courtesy of Tyler Buchanan

After years living in dorms and apartments, I'm proud to have finally purchased my very first home.

Why it matters: It's one thing to write about the local real estate scene and another to experience it firsthand.

The big picture: I've moved 15 times in 15 years, thanks to college, job changes and greedy landlords.

Yes, but: Renting isn't sustainable, either.

  • I ditched my first Columbus apartment after rent suddenly spiked by 55%.
  • The next place tried to illegally raise the rent in the middle of my lease.

State of play: With my student loans paid off and a growing toddler at home, our family took a calculated risk to start looking at houses in January to beat the anticipated jump in demand this summer.

The intrigue: As my search started, our newsletter published these 2024 real estate predictions from Columbus Realtors president Scott Hrabcak:

💵 It will remain a sellers' market.

  • My take: No doubt. Our house racked up hundreds of Zillow views within hours of hitting the market and many other prospective buyers lined up to tour it.
  • We had to make concessions to provide a competitive offer, but thankfully the deal didn't fall through as happens often in this market.
Data: Redfin analysis of MLS data; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Redfin analysis of MLS data; Chart: Axios Visuals

🔥 Falling interest rates will stoke the fire.

  • Mostly true. Rates peaked at 8% last year, and have dipped only slightly since then.
  • We're crossing our fingers for a chance to refinance in the coming years.

⭕ Columbus' outer ring will expand.

  • Yep. I've lived on Columbus' west side near Hilliard and hoped to stay there.
  • But there were few properties in my price range, so we looked beyond the outerbelt in places like West Jefferson and Canal Winchester.
A large building in the shape of a basket, with a lake in the background.
Newark is known for its ancient earthworks and former Longaberger Basket headquarters. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In the end, we settled on an old house with good bones in Newark.

  • Our neighborhood has a quiet, small-town feel, but we're just minutes from every store, restaurant and public resource we could ask for.
  • And we're anxious to see how the area might grow, being just down the highway from the new Intel project.

📬 What was your first homebuying experience like?

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