Trenton is a real buyer who worked his way through the insanity of the market to win bidding wars and get his offer accepted. He wasn’t rich, he wasn’t a cash buyer, and he wasn’t a corporation trying to buy a house…but he still got it done. Hear how he did it!
Interview With A First Time Home Buyer With Extra Electrician Tips
Real Story From A Real First Time Home Buyer
It is storytime with a real-life first-time homebuyer from Minnesota. We’re going to hear from Trenton who has always dreamed of buying a home. Before he ever even moved out on his own while he was still living with his mom, he decided to take action. He’ll tell you the happy ending of his story now that he is a new homeowner. I’m going to tell you my happy ending of the story is that he found guidance early when he was still living with his mom and never even had to be a renter. Homie success storytime. Let’s go.
It is your favorite type of episode, the one where I don’t talk as much. We’ve got a first-time home buyer. Why don’t you introduce yourself to the whole world?
My name is Trenton Pittman. I live in Minnesota. I’m happy to have found your show, David.
Give us the whole story. When did you start your whole process of thinking about buying a home?
It’s always been a dream to own a home since I was a kid. Years ago, I started thinking about it more. I’ve been saving up since I’ve had a job trying to save a little bit of money here and there. Years ago, I was listening to a different show, Ryan Sickler, that you have an ad on. He said it and I was like, “I’m going to give it a shot.” I started from episode one. I jumped around on episodes that I saw that applied to my situation. I didn’t take too long after that. I realized that was doable.
That’s the key. That’s the reason why I started this is because there are many people like you. That’s the reason why I advertised on The HoneyDew with Ryan because I’m like, “People are chilling. It’s in the back of their mind but they’re listening to this dude and cracking up.” All of a sudden, my commercial comes on and they’re like, “Seriously? I can do this.” That stokes me. Understanding that you can do it is so cool. You jumped around on the show. That’s a smart thing to do. When did you close on the house?
We closed at the beginning of May 2022.
How long a process was it for you approximately from, “I can do this,” to May?
[bctt tweet=”Go get a home as soon as you can.” via=”no”]
It wasn’t too long. I got that idea of like, “I can do this.” I listen to the shows. I listened to some more to make sure and then reached out to you directly. You put us in touch with Sean and Jennifer at Dunn Realty here. With everything that we learned from the show and their help, we got lucky and didn’t have to fight with the market as much. Six months from when I started, realizing that it was doable to sign in the paperwork.
I’m going to interpret that for the audience. Getting lucky means that you followed the guidance from the show and your realtor’s guidance. That’s awesome to know and that’s what everybody asked about. Even though I know that we prepare as much as we can with the show and then working with your unicorns as well, who are cool, I love them in Minnesota, were there any surprises or things that you were like, “I didn’t know this happened,” when you bought a house?
It’s with how hot the market was. I listened to the show back in January 2022 when it was the Urgent, “Go get home as soon as you can.” I realized there are new things to do when there are not that many houses on the market. Many people are looking like trying to get appraisal gap coverage, which I didn’t know too much about until we started looking. It was that thing like coming up with a little more cash but then also hearing the episode like, “I don’t need 20% down to buy the house.” It was so helpful.
Both those things are huge. One is a current thing with that appraisal gap stuff. It’s hysterical. People are like, “I’m glad to have this realtor.” I started doing appraisal gaps in 2021. I hadn’t done it over the years. If you’re not doing it every day, you don’t know exactly what’s going on in the market. That’s why I tell people all the time, “I’m super stoked that your cousin or your uncle bought 5 houses but didn’t buy 1 in 2021. They’ve got no clue what it’s like to stand in line at Disneyland and put your offer in and try to look at when there are 35 other offers.”
You weren’t kidding when you said it was hot. We had plenty of people who were like, “You don’t need the appraisal gap coverage. I wouldn’t even write it any offer.” People who bought a house a few years ago didn’t understand what was going on. We thought some appraisal gap coverage was good and we put it down on an offer. We didn’t even get looked at. There was no counteroffer. We went $50,000 over asking and did the appraisal gap. There were so many people.
It’s awesome for me to have on the show. Go back and read the first couple of episodes. I’m not selling anything. I’m here for you. Know that that trusted source who bought a house a year ago has no clue what it’s like now. Thank you for backing me up. I’m stoked at the 20% thing. You’ve been thinking about this for a long time. You said it was a dream. That dream becomes a lot closer when you realize you don’t have to get 20%.
Once I listened to the podcast, especially the podcasts where you went in-depth on how much it would cost for different price houses. I realized what I was looking for was attainable. I had already saved up enough for the downpayment and was able to have some extra money left over afterward.
I tell people all the time, “When you’re doing it on your own, you’re driving without a map.” All of a sudden, I handed you a map and you’re like, “I have the downpayment.” This is fantastic and good advice for everybody. How about being a homeowner? Do you have any advice you want to give people who own a house? Has there been anything that you’ve gone through, “Make sure you have this and do that?”
Be ready. There’s always stuff to do. I realized that now I’m a homeowner, I have something to do every weekend. Especially in the beginning, make sure you have time to decorate. Especially first-time homebuyers, you got plenty of furniture to go get and furnish the house for everything that you don’t have. I’m in a trade and I have a lot of friends in the trade. It worked out that for any issues that we have, I’ve been able to have my plumber friend come over and help or if there’s any electrical stuff, I can do it. It’s stuff like that. Even minor projects do consume a little bit of time.
Without getting crazy into your life, what’s your trade?
I’m an apprentice electrician.
I got to pick your brain. Talk to everybody because my good vendors are on speed dial. What electrical things are super important and what’s no big deal?
The number one thing that I did in every house that I went to is I went to the electrical panel. There’s a sticker inside the panel that says when it was inspected. This house was inspected in 2015. It was built in 1930. Everything was redone, which was pretty helpful. Flip a switch here and there and make sure everything turns on. That minor stuff that you realize afterward, if you don’t know what you’re doing, can cost a lot of money to have somebody come out and fix it. We had a fan that wouldn’t turn on. We didn’t know what the switch was for. It ended up being a minor fix because they didn’t have a remote. That’s going to cost a few hundred to have somebody come out and tell you, “You need a remote for this.”
I’m many years of this. The things I’ve learned about electrical with the inspectors and with my guys, when the guys come out, looking at that panel is important. In Southern California, we have a whole bunch of panels that are recalled. We have ‘50s houses and it sounds like a guy from Buzz Lightyear. That’s all I know. They’re like, “That one’s toast.”. The other big thing that we see a lot of out here is open wires or not kept wires in the attic. They always tell us it’s too close to the insulation. Is that a problem that you or your company could come out and solve for $100? Is that something that people should slow people down from buying a house?
[bctt tweet=”When you’re trying to buy a house on your own, you’re driving without a map.” via=”no”]
It depends on where and what kind of wire it is. It’s in the attic. It is close to the insulation. It could be a minor when it comes out a $100 to $150. They cap it or make it a junction box. It could be super inexpensive. It can be a hazard if you don’t get it taken care of. It’s something to do before you get into it. Know what the wires are for before you get into something that you’re not sure about.
They always tell us when we go do our inspections that some of the wires aren’t grounded. How big a deal is that if the outlets are not grounded?
A lot of older homes have no grounding system in them. It can be a problem but it worked for many years. As long as you’re not messing with it too much, it shouldn’t be an issue. If possible and you are redoing electrical, everything’s grounded. There’s a grounding system. It’s super helpful and is a lot safer if something does go wrong. When you’re touching something, having that grounding system is super important.
How big a deal is that to take a ‘50s house and upgrade it to a grounded system?
It can be a pretty big deal. It depends on how big the house is. Doing a grounding system depends on if the wire that’s running between each outlet light switch has a grounding conductor inside the box. Otherwise, you’re going to have to find a way, whether it’s going through the walls or the basement to get a grounding conductor into the box, whether that’s writing a whole new piece of Romag. It can cost a lot of money to get that done.
Is the cost the electrical or is the cost the getting into the walls and redoing it?
Just the electrical is pretty expensive. A lot of electricians catch some flack because we go in and get the electrical done but when we leave, we don’t patch the wall. You got to hire somebody else to come out and patch the wall and make everything look good again. It all told does add up pretty quickly.
I tell people all the time, “Get the termite done.” They are like, “They didn’t paint the thing.” I’m like, “You want the guy who’s a specialist at getting rid of pests and termites. You also want him to be an expert painter. He put the wood up. You find a good painter to match because the rest of that trim has faded over the years. You can’t go by that exact thing.” I sell some older houses out here. We’ve got some twenty houses.
Back in the day, one of the garages that we had was 1905. It was built for a horse and carriage. It is skinny and all that. That’s when I discovered way back in 2007 knob and tube wiring. I’ve seen what I think is the next generation, which is braided wiring. If you’re buying an older house and you do see that type of wiring in the home, should we immediately be calling an electrician to make sure the rest of the house is okay?
The knob and tube are a lot older. I most would have somebody come out who is a specialist in electrician or somebody that knows what’s going on to take a look and make sure that everything is working right or works at all.
I’m getting ready to do the second episode I’m doing on inflation. How stoked are you that, A) You have a job. As an apprentice, you know that over the next years, you’re going to be getting salary increases and, B) Your payment is fixed?
I’m super stoked. That was a huge thing on why we decided to buy a house. I went straight from I was living with my mom to buying a house because I couldn’t justify paying rent, having a go up every year and not getting anything, no equity, nothing out of paying that monthly payment. That’s why we decided to do it. Knowing before we bought the house, we had everything listed out. We went a little high on the bills to make sure that we had some extra money.
With the inflation and everything that’s going on, we still have a little bit of money left over. It’s made it a little bit tighter but I’m stoked knowing that over the next years, I’m going to be making a lot more. Once I get a license, I’ll be making over double what I’m making. I know for sure that I’m 100% okay. This is the first home. This is where we start. We’re already excited about the next purchase.
It’s the hardest part of the show and the education for me. You sound like a guy who has this idea early. There are some people that it’s not in their brain, whether their family never did it. That’s the hardest thing for me to explain to people. It’s because I screwed up. I was 21 and moved up to Hollywood and was like, “I can’t buy a house.” I never did but understanding that incremental increase is going to be a part of your life makes the fixed part of it even more beautiful because you’re like, “What if we’re still here when I get double my income?”
[bctt tweet=”If you don’t know what you’re doing, it can cost a lot of money to have somebody come out and fix it.” via=”no”]
We got vacations we can take and things we don’t have to worry about. I do remember your episode talking about when you were younger, if you can go back and talk to your younger self and tell them, “Buy a house to save so much money.” I was lucky that my mom went through that. She rented and understood. Another thing I was going to say is your episode talking about going to the bank of mom was super helpful because I thought for sure, “There’s no way she’s going to be able to help us out.”
I asked one day. She was more than willing to help us because we needed that appraisal gap coverage, which ended up working out the house that we got to appraise that what we offered. She was willing to then add that to the downpayment. Afterwards, we knew about buying the house and got to redo the siding. With that help, we have no trouble having money to do the siding.
It’s a great story because there are people that don’t want to ask mom or dad because they were renters. I did it to myself. I would tell my 22-year-old self, “Ask here. This would be great for you.” Your parents are not always going to be like, “No.” They’re probably like, “I probably going to take advantage of some things. How about my kids? All we want as parents is for you to flourish.” I got to get ready. I got my third Thanksgiving episode coming up, How To Beg For Money.
That’s my favorite part, “Mom, Dad, I’ve been looking at the fluctuating interest rates and the inflation. Over the last 100 years, it’s only been 3.5%. Suddenly, we’re at 9.1%.” A fixed monthly income from our largest bill makes a lot more sense than me working with these landlords and they’re continuing to appreciate rent values. You got to do is learn that once.
I could chat with you forever. You gave lots of different pieces. My kids are in junior high in high school and they come home and tell me how brilliant their teachers are. I’m like, “I’ve been saying that to you for many years.”Maybe the listeners will listen to Trenton and go, “Oh,” even though I said it 100 times. Thanks for the electrician. That’s why I could talk to you forever. Get back to your house. Enjoy your day. Congratulations. We’re very happy for you. Thank you so much for sharing everything with all the How To Buy Homies.
Thank you so much for your help, David. I appreciate it.
I’m super glad that Trenton listens to podcasts and heard about me. That’s super cool. He said that they got lucky. Do you know what they say about luck? It is when opportunity meets preparation. This dude was prepared. Once he decided to do the research, it wasn’t overwhelming, scary or too big for them to take on. He said that they heard the Urgent Podcasts that I did early in 2021. I did two of them that I called Urgent and decided that it was time to act. He understood that he didn’t need 20% down and then got the inside scoop on how to talk to the bank of mom for a little bit of extra money to help share that they could get over the top. That’s all he needed to know so he could reach out to me.
From there, the unicorns took over. They had all the expertise in know-how to make sure that they were getting all the current market information and teach them all the tricks that helped them get their offer accepted in that crazy competitive market. We’re talking about the most competitive market in history and they ended up winning the deal. Having a team that you trust and knowing that they understand how the market is changing, makes it a lot easier for you not to have to put so much validation into the very good intention to advice that you’re going to get from everybody out there who’s bought a home, your friends, your aunts, your uncles, cousins.
All the people who purchased the home, thanks, friends and family but you bought your home in 2020. It doesn’t matter if they bought a home months ago. It’s not the same market now. Congratulations to Trenton. Thank you so much for giving us all that great electrician advice. That was pretty cool. All the homies very much appreciate that. Thank you so much for sharing.
Speaking of sharing, please help me out by sharing the show. Trenton’s a great story. Thanks to this show, he found the unicorn realtor that treated him like a $1 million client, even though it was a starter home and didn’t cost $1 million. Finding the people, the unicorn team to give him that $1 million service, even though it was just a starter home and not $1 million, is the big hook to this show because finding that million dollar team to give you million dollar service when they’re not going to get paid that million dollar paycheck is key.
Unicorns didn’t get rich but they sure feel good about what they did. Believe me, the show isn’t getting rich on the wall and helping people like this. I’m getting rich in my heart and my soul. If you can help me out and share the show and message with others, then we can be in a situation where I can help dozens of Trentons out there, keep the lights on and keep bringing you what you need to know to make your dreams happen. Viva la revolución. Thanks so much. Share the show. Remember, don’t worry, don’t fret and don’t be afraid. With the right team and the right planning, you can do this.
This podcast was started for YOU, to demystify things for first time home buyers, and help crush the confusion. After helping first timers for over 13 years, I knew there wasn’t t a lot of clear, tangible, useable information out there on the internet, so I started this podcast. Help me spread the word to other people just like you, dying for answers. Tell your friends, family, and perhaps that random neighbor you REALLY want to move out about How to Buy a Home! A really easy way is to hit the share button and text it to your friends. Go for it, help someone out. And if you’re not already a regular listener, subscribe and get constant updates on the market. If you are a regular and learned something, help me help others – give the show a quick review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or write a review on Spotify. Let’s change the way the real estate industry treats you first time buyers, one buyer at a time, starting with you – and make sure your favorite people don’t get screwed by going into this HUGE step blind and confused. Viva la Unicorn Revolution!