First Time Home Buyers With Parents In Tow

Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

My first home purchase was a very long time ago...1979.

It shouldn't be too surprising to you that I really have very little memory of the experience.

My fondest memory of the purchase was sharing a pizza, sitting on the floor, the first night after we closed.

I was only 21, my husband 24. We were expecting our first child.

As for the process of finding our first home...we had no idea what we were doing. We started our search without the assistance of an agent.

I do remember my parents accompanying us as we house hunted. They were horrified at the "dumps " we were excitedly bringing them to. 

They were even more horrified at the prices. We were looking at older "fixer upper" homes in the $20,000 - $25,000 price range. My parents had paid $15,000 for their brand new construction (my childhood house) sixteen years prior.

Each home we looked at was worse than the one before it. 

My poor parents. It wasn't until many years later, when we were in their shoes house hunting with our son and his wife, that we knew exactly how my parents felt. It can be so painful balancing being supportive and wanting the best for them.

Luckily for us, and my folks, our first home hunt was short. At my parents insistence, we contacted an agent and learned that we qualified for HUD assistance on new construction.

Our new house cost $40,000 and with the government assistance our payments were only $300 a month.

A brand new home. Exciting, but frustrating for a young couple with no prior home building experience. The lot we chose was switched by the builder for one reason or another several times, eventually we were even moved to a different street. (Over the years this turned out to be a huge blessing. The original street ended up aging poorly and not being as desirable a location.)

During construction there was an accident on the property. The builder was sued. Unfortunately, as owners we were named in the lawsuit too. It was stressful until it was all resolved and we only had to pay $1 as judgment because we were indemnified through our contract with the builder.

We lived in that home on Partridge Lane for 25 years.

Our second home was also new construction, however, of much higher quality construction. After ten years we moved again and then one more time six years after that to the home we are currently living in.

Each of our homes were perfect for us at the time and each hold very special memories for us. 


I know tag-along parents can be overwhelming sometimes for real estate agents, on both sides of the deal. I know that they can be very frustrating especially for the young house hunters. 

I've lived long enough to be in both positions...

1. The young, inexperienced, wide eyed and easily impressed house hunter


2. The older, experienced, eagle eyed, cautious house hunter

It is my experience in both cases that having the older generation along for this very exciting experience in life can be highly beneficial.


Written for:  Tell Us About Your First Home Buying Experience

April Challenge Hosted by Kathy Streib and Carol Williams 

Comments (21)

Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

My daughter is under contract now for new construction in Boston - it is appalling how expensive homes are in Boston - she almost bought a property that I was very unhappy about (sight unseen) because it was not going to be very light - fortunately a better place - much better - came back on the market and I didn't have to rain on her parade.  The one I didn't like was in a great neighborhood but I really worried about the property itself.  Happily now she is on the top floor with a view of the city and a great roof deck - it will be fantastic! 

Apr 08, 2023 07:14 AM
Sharon Tara

Lise Howe  I sigh a sigh of relief on your behalf! My son and daughter-in-law were determined to buy a property I knew was wrong on many levels. I pleaded with them not to make offer, but they did anyway. They had an inspection and the guy told them to RUN, not walk, away. Luckily they listened and I was relieved. My advice became a bit more valuable after that. HaHa

Apr 08, 2023 09:42 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Sharon- I can see Dot going with you on your first house hunting trip!!! We bought our first home in 1980 and I remember very little about it! 
I am so glad you shared this with us!

Apr 08, 2023 08:20 AM
Sharon Tara

Kathy Streib If I heard "we only paid $15,000" one more time...


Apr 08, 2023 09:44 AM
Ed (Edward) Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Having parents along can be stressful for the information they attempt to impart but not always is it negative. You were blessed with your progression.

Apr 08, 2023 11:23 AM
Sharon Tara

Ed Silva Yes I was blessed and I am glad we were able to assist our children with their home choices as well.

Apr 08, 2023 12:18 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Sharon for not remembering much you sure remembered a lot!  Funny how parents can be helpful - or not!  Thankfully your folks  guided you to work with an agent!  Isn't it wonderful to have great memories of each home you lived in!  So much of life was lived in each of them.  Have a wonderful Easter 🐰

Apr 08, 2023 01:06 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten

At the time your parents probably thought.....way too many houses!!!!!

Apr 08, 2023 01:17 PM
Sharon Tara

Anna Banana Kruchten Phoenix Broker  Funny as I was thinking about it, more details came to mind. I don't remember how many homes we dragged them to or any of the details of the closing but I guess I remembered enough to participate. I'm glad I did. Great idea for a challenge.

Apr 08, 2023 01:09 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Loved your story Sharon Tara ,

It is interesting looking for homes with your parents. We didn't have any input from either side. When my son got out of college and moved backed to Austin I told him to figure out where he wanted to live as he was buying something and not throwing money away on rent! He bought an older place in a hood he liked. He had a law student live with him for 3 years and soon learned it was great being an landlord. He now owns many rentals and has flipped several homes..he even sold the law student and wife a home. He learned real estate is a wise investment and can also be a great side revenue stream.

Apr 08, 2023 07:19 PM
Sharon Tara

Dorie Dillard Austin TX  sounds like your son followed in his mom's footsteps and wisely learned from her! 

Apr 09, 2023 04:57 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Funny we had similar situations; I called my Father to check out the home I was considering purchasing....Endre

Apr 08, 2023 07:20 PM
Sharon Tara

Endre Barath, Jr.  At least we knew enough to get their advice. I'm so glad my son was willing to include us in his hunt too.

Apr 09, 2023 04:58 PM
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

Great story. I know what you mean about the looking out for the kids. It is tough for them to let go of the reins. I am happy to hear you all got a great house and the payment wasn't too bad either.

Apr 08, 2023 10:10 PM
Sharon Tara

J.R. Schloemer, CRS  Thank you! It is tough for all of us to let go of the reins. LOL

Apr 09, 2023 04:59 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.

Apr 09, 2023 02:52 AM
Sharon Tara

Richard Weeks  Thank you. I had a wonderful day with the grandbabies. Hope you have enjoyed your weekend.

Apr 09, 2023 04:59 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Both points of view can be valuable! Thank you for sharing this story - I loved reading it!

Apr 09, 2023 04:39 AM
Sharon Tara

Kat Palmiotti  Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I enjoyed the memories while writing it.

Apr 09, 2023 05:00 PM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Wow, you seem to have quite a bit of drama with your first home purchase!  Prices for homes certainly have changed over the years.

Apr 09, 2023 05:37 AM
Sharon Tara

Brian England  Yes, just a bit. The lawsuit was pretty terrifying at first. Once that was behind us and we moved in, it was just a couple of months and our first child was born. 

Apr 09, 2023 05:01 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Those prices! Incredible! And, for those of us in this age-group, it doesn't seem all that long ago but my, how things have changed.

Apr 09, 2023 06:46 AM
Sharon Tara

Dr. Paula McDonald  The prices....I know. Insane. I wonder how so many years could have possibly passed. I can't believe 2000 was 23 years ago, nevermind the 80's!!!

Apr 09, 2023 05:02 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Sharon, for sharing your first home purchase story.

Have a great day and an outstanding week.


Happy Easter Balloon 18in x 25in - Egg | Party City

Apr 09, 2023 07:53 AM
Sharon Tara

Roy Kelley  Thank you! I hope you and Dolores had a wonderful weekend!

Apr 09, 2023 05:03 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Sharon Tara  I agree with you hope you had a very Happy Easter, Endre

Apr 09, 2023 08:37 PM
Sharon Tara

Endre Barath, Jr.  Always nice to have someone agree with you. Thanks!

Apr 10, 2023 12:59 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Sharon,
Parents can certainly give the clueless a level of security when shopping for a first home. It's interesting that your first home was moved to a different street and it turned out to be a blessing. The Lord does work in mysterious ways.  Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Apr 10, 2023 04:26 AM
Sharon Tara

Carol Williams The two streets are very different today. It all worked out exactly as it was supposed to!

Apr 10, 2023 01:00 PM
Faye Y. Taylor
StepStone Realty, LLC - Floresville, TX
Country Living with City Convenience -Wilson Co TX

You know it is really good when the young ones do include the parents but sometimes the parents don't like anything and that can be hard.  But when they are really young and the budget is low, it can be hard to steer them to look at a house not just from the pretty aspect but from the good bones aspect.  Or in other words, a flip house sometimes will really appeal because it looks slick and new but walking the property can give one hints.  One couple was so excited about the pretty that they wanted to overlook the soft floor and some really bad finish work on the electrical until dad came on the second visit.  When he crawled under the house, where the soft spots were is where the piers did not reach the bottom of the floor joists with about a 2 in gap.  No wonder the floor dipped when one stepped on it in some areas.  So hip hip that house was eliminated because dad  crawled under the house.  Didn't even have to bring out the foundation company for an  inspection.    The fact that you got the better street was great but it also points out the differences that just a couple of blocks can make and if the agent is not familiar with the area they may not know that. 

Apr 10, 2023 04:30 PM
Sharon Tara

Faye Y. Taylor  Thank you! The example you gave is almost exactly what happened with our son. He and his wife were excited about the house based on visual impression, but I saw the signs of problems. I saw things they would never have noticed...things they didn't even consider even after voicing my opinion. I was so grateful that the inspector validated my concerns and put an end to their interest in that home.

Apr 12, 2023 04:57 PM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Life is sometimes a series of repetitive events with little nuances thrown in. Thanks for sharing your story.

Apr 12, 2023 04:48 PM
Sharon Tara

Leanne Smith So true. I'm glad you enjoyed my story.

Apr 12, 2023 04:58 PM
Faye Y. Taylor
StepStone Realty, LLC - Floresville, TX
Country Living with City Convenience -Wilson Co TX

Sharon, To me it is  sad when one realized that not all agents may either not be experienced enough or knowledgeable enough to help their clients in things like that. My little buyers wouldn't use a home inspector due to money because dad was a contractor.  Keep saying are you sure you don't want a home inspector?  Nope and they did have issues after they moved in.  With a metal roof that dad walked. 

With many buyers they are excited enough to not really notice items.  I actually walk with them and point out things.  Even simple like the way a door swings that obstructs another area. The lack of space in a dining area when they say they have big family gatherings.  Sat on a couch once at a new build and the half bath had a door sweep on the bottom where the door did not meet the floor properly.  The buyer walked back in the area and I said "sit down on the couch and look at the half bath door."  We had a laugh because the entire house had issues like that but if I hadn't sat down on the couch we would not have noticed that particular one.  NONE of the finishes on the fixtures matched; even in the same room;  bronze, brushed nickel, chrome abounded all over.  Terrible builder.   

I think I learn something new every day and something else to watch for. And I don't ever want a client decline a home inspection again.  That metal roof was an issue but Dad had walked it.  

Apr 14, 2023 11:48 AM
Faye Y. Taylor

@sharontara, 🤣 unbelievable 

Apr 18, 2023 02:09 PM
Sharon Tara

Faye Y. Taylor  It is wonderful how well you look out for your buyers. I appreciate you sharing your experience. How terrible that the parent in that case actually did more harm than good. Not much you can do when they are choosing to trust dad's opinion.

When we were looking with our son we visited one home where the garage was lower than the driveway. At least six inch drop from driveway into garage.

It was a well attended open house. I was only hearing positive comments on the well staged and prepared home. Nobody seemed to notice the difference in height in the garage.

I pointed it out to my son and several people immediately headed out to garage to see what we were talking about. I'm sure that agent was not pleased with us. 

Once we noticed that we started looking more closely throughout the home and found at least three other major issues.

My son said he would not have noticed any of the issues on his own.


Apr 14, 2023 04:31 PM
Faye Y. Taylor

Sharon Tara Oh my goodness.  Isn't it weird to see houses where either the drive has such a steep slope that one has to set the parking brake or worry about careening into the front of the garage.  Was this garage a sloped entry or a drop?   Bet that agent wasn't too thrilled about your observations.  LOL.

Apr 17, 2023 05:16 PM
Sharon Tara

Faye Y. Taylor  It wasn't a sloped driveway. Level driveway, but the garage was lower. If you attempted to drive into the garage, you would literally drop into it.

Apr 18, 2023 07:03 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Sharon:

What an enjoyable read about your homebuying journey. That pizza must have been a wonderful celebration after what you had to go through. I suspect that having parents involved can be a positive, as it was for you, but that may not always be the case.


Apr 14, 2023 05:27 PM
Sharon Tara

Jeff Dowler, CRS  I'm so glad you enjoyed it, thank you! Yes we were so excited to be in our own brand new home sitting on the floor planning our move.

Apr 15, 2023 09:57 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

We bought our first home in 1978 with a 12% interest rate but the price was only $17k but it was not our dream home Sharon Tara 

Apr 17, 2023 10:21 AM
Sharon Tara

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS  Well I hope you are in your dream home now!

Apr 18, 2023 04:03 PM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent post.Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed week

Sep 13, 2023 04:04 AM
Sharon Tara

Charles Ross - (785)-819-6944  Wishing you the same, thank you!

Sep 13, 2023 06:52 AM