Today was the official start of a new experience for myself. My boyfriend and I have decided to look into purchasing our first actual house. We have gone through the process of being pre-approved for a mortgage - I am not disclosing the amounts of anything in this article, by the way. We have decided that it was time that we look for a more permanent residence, as he has enjoyed the first full year at his current employer.
I never knew what it all entailed, up until the 30th of March. Our Realtor took us around to 6 homes from 10am until 2pm and that is a long stretch of time. We went into two houses that were just horrid smelling and needed so much in repairs that they were no-goes from the moment we stepped foot inside. The first is still our favorite, a gorgeous 2 story home with a half-finished basement. It lies in a gorgeous neighborhood, on a “mature lot” (which means it has big old trees).
During the course of looking for houses, I have also been figuring out when I need to register for classes. This means I’m also going to need to re-work my work schedule. Somehow I am going to get through this in one piece. Not sure when or how, but it will happen.
We went and looked at a few houses yesterday, unfortunately these houses are out of the region that we want to be in. They were in our price point but sadly we figured they would be too far away to be worth purchasing. We looked at four, and they were very nice. Today, Sunday the 7th, we have 7 houses to visit. We have gone to 3 open houses so far from 1-2pm. We looked at one that we saw last weekend, along with two new ones thus far today. The one we saw last week is still by far my favorite, it is one I could see Theo and I living in.
We have finally found 3 houses that we are looking to put an offer in on. Theo is working on calling the financing companies now. They are basically playing phone tag at this point. We looked at 13 houses in total, Theo feels that we should see more, our Realtor says otherwise. One of the 3 houses was pulled from the market by the seller’s realtor, due to the fact that he isn’t ready to move, and wanted a closing date of August. So we are down to two possibilities, and are thinking them over more and more.
It’s now 4/10 and we are discussing a few points with our financing company. We are trying to figure out if we can afford a 15 year mortgage instead of a 30 year. We have a meeting with Pete on the 11th. We are at the point where we are not sure if we want to purchase this year or wait a year and save some more. We looked at 3 more houses, and have another appointment for this coming Tuesday the 16th to look at some more, but Theo is thinking we may be moving too quickly and is contemplating letting Pete know that we may want to wait a few months, and save a bit more money, before we put in an offer.
Fast forward to Sunday May 5th. Today we made an offer on a condo that Theo saw. We looked at an end unit in the building together, and he showed me photos of the one he looked at. They have a similar layout but were about $20,000 apart in price. We made the offer yesterday at noon, and at about 1pm Pete gave us a call and let us know that the seller accepted our offer. Right away we started calling every place we needed to. Theo has a meeting with Dave from the mortgage company we decided upon and the home inspection is set for the 17th of this month. We have a closing date of June 21st. The choice to switch to a condo came because there is more available in our price point, and a lot of them are just as spacious for less than the cost of the single family home. Yes, there is the downside of a monthly condo fee, but ours is only $125 a month. We are allowed to have pets, which is nice considering we both want a dog.
This really has been an adventure, one that still isn’t quite finished. The packing, moving, and closing date are coming up fast. Along with a vacation just a week after our closing date.
When we sat down with Pete, he went over everything about the listing and the buyer agreement that we have with him, since he is a buyer agent. The home was a “for sale by owner”, though they are covering the 3% agent commission. This is a wonderful, exciting, nerve wracking, joyous experience. Following are a few tips that I have figured out throughout this process.
Tips for looking:
- Get a Realtor, trust me on this one.
- Look into houses online and send the MLS # or Listing # to your Realtor.
- Have a snack at hand when you are viewing houses, this process takes a few hours.
- Have a list of “Needs” and a list of “Wants”.
- Drive around neighborhoods you like, look for houses for sale in that area to determine prices.
- Learn that a house you love could be gone the next day.
- Know that sometimes plans change, house one day condo the next.
- What you love you may not be able to afford.
- What you need you will definitely find.
- Find two or more financing companies, and pit them against one another.
- Don’t be afraid of foreclosures, but know they can be a mess.
- Remember you can always update things that you don’t like, it may take time but it is doable.
Ladies, this experience was wonderful, but so terrible at the same time. I hope that any of you that are starting this experience, or that have gone through it yourself share, laugh, cry, do whatever you like. Just know, life is truly unexpected.