Monday, June 29, 2015

What were we thinking?

Of all the insane things we have done, buying a house has got to be at the top of the list. I know it is a right of passage of sorts, but I am not sure we are ready for this level of insanity. Now we have been thinking about this for a very long time and are not wanting to rush into anything though I think there isn't a way to be 100% secure when purchasing a home.

There are so many unknowns... What if this is not the right house for our family? What if our dream house comes on the market after we start this process? What if we are making a huge mistake? What if what if what if... I am driving myself crazy  about all the "what ifs". I keep trying to reassure myself and usually it works, or at least helps, but nagging thoughts sneak in from time to time causing me to freak out. We have planned as much as we are able and have tried to be as educated about this process as possible. We have searched and searched for a good house, and let me tell you, finding a house both my husband and I agree on has been difficult enough, then getting our four sons to concur with our decision has been an adventure in itself.

When we started looking, we sat down together and listed all of the features that we required, others that would disqualify a house, and some that we wanted but were not deal breakers. What did our lists contain you may be wondering... Here are a few. Must haves: three or more bedrooms, stay in the same school district, at least one and a half bathrooms (no way in hell I am sharing a potty with five guys), and a decent kitchen. Deal breakers: anything opposite of the must haves list, Wants: fireplace, deck, hardwood floors, two car garage, and main floor laundry.

So we decided to start by getting pre-qualified for a loan. Seemed like a good place to start since if we didn't have the money then we were dead in the water. We turned in the application, then got a call from our lender requesting additional information. Once we gave them everything they needed, we were told that we were approved! Pretty amazing first step. Then it was time to find a realtor. So we asked around and one of my co-workers recommended the realtor that helped her and her boyfriend purchase a home last year in the exact same area we were looking in, and my coworker couldn't say enough nice things about her realtor, so I gave her a call on Wednesday. The realtor eagerly sent us emails with homes for sale meeting our minimum requirements. Five homes looked good, so we set up showings for that Saturday. By Friday morning, three of the houses were in contract, all three had been on the market less than forty eight hours. Yikes.

Saturday afternoon arrived and I was nervous and excited. We planned on meeting our realtor at the first home at one. The house would definitely need some work, but the price was good, so we walked in the front door. Everything was out of date, light fixtures, carpet, appliances, paint, pretty much everything would need to be replaced. Did I mention the awful sponge painted walls and the golden rod shag carpeting? It smelled musty and the floors squeaked and creaked. Oh, and there was a typo on the listing, only one bathroom. On to the next house.

House number two looked much more promising from the outside. It was a split level foyer so we decided to start up stairs. The carpet was brand new, and were a nice neutral light tan shade and was super soft. The walls were freshly painted tan and trimmed in white. The kitchen was small but had just been renovated. New cabinets,new stainless steel appliances, new sink with a new fixture. The full bathroom was also redone and would work well for us. The three bedrooms were on the smaller side and the closets were also smaller than our condo currently has.

We headed downstairs and were pleased with the half bath and easy access to the garage. Though it was only had one stall, the garage door was brand new. The next room was a large family room/den/rec room. Then we took a peak inside the utility room, the only room that was not finished, but looked easy enough to finish. Then we found a surprise. After opening the last door off of the utility room, we found another room. It was big enough to be a fourth bedroom, though it couldn't be considered a bedroom since it lacked a closet. We would figure that room out later. We next headed outside to check out all of the landscaping and yard.

There was a tool shed beneath the second floor deck, lots of trees (which needed trimmed in a bad way), new mulch and river stone walled flower beds, and overall, was lovely. A few other items we found to be cool were the new windows that tilted in for easy cleaning and the new light fixtures through out the house, including the one directly above the front door. Overall, we really liked the house. It wasn't perfect, not our dream house, but it was a great house at a great price in a great neighborhood. Add to that how fast houses in our area had been selling faster than funnel cakes, we knew we needed to act fast if we wanted this house.

But did we want it? Or did we want to keep looking? We left the house and said good-bye to our realtor and headed home to talk. Within an hour we decided to make an offer. We sent a text to our realtor and then we waited. We offered $4,500 less than the owners asking price and asked them to pay for the closing costs. We were told that it would take a few days most likely to hear back. However, the next morning they countered our offer, they agreed to pay all the closing costs, but would not go any lower than $1,500 less than asking price. We accepted with the stipulation that the inspection went well. And with that, we were in contract.

We had seven days to complete the inspection. So we found a guy and within five days, we had the house inspected. He found a few small things that needed repaired, the three biggest were that the exterior water spigots were missing, the whole house was in need of insulation, and biggest of all, the AC was not working. So we sent the report as well as our repair requests. Within twenty four hours, the seller got back to us and agreed to do everything with the exception of the water spigots and the insulation. We accepted and officially are in contract. Now we are finalizing the loan information and are waiting for the promised repairs to be completed.

Now we are busy planning our move, the new patio and fire pit in the back yard, and where all of our belongings will end up. We are set to close in less than a month and I feel like we will not be able to pack up ten plus years of stuff in enough time. What will we bring with us, what will we trash or donate or give away? My stress level has increased tremendously and we are no where near done. There's no turning back now. We are in the midst of the first time home purchase for our family.

But I am so excited and absolutely can not wait until the end of July when we are handed the keys to our new home. That's right, HOME.