June 04, 2008

Might as well spill the beans

I had previously mentioned that the boyfriend and I were officially looking for a house. That was a little while ago. Well, I'm here to report that we have, in fact, found a house, our offer approved, and are now in escrow. My, how things move FAST when you're buying a first place!

We've seen a good deal of houses. Most of them just didn't hit the spot for some reason or another. We saw big homes in far-out places, funny-smelling homes, homes with too many floors, homes with no floors, homes that fit the bill but had zero backyard, "freeway close" homes... all that fun stuff. Erik and I went into it wanting the following: single-family home, three bedrooms, a bath or two, a two-car garage, not an insane commute to work, hardwood floors, gas range, fireplace, respectable backyard, etc. We also did not want a fixer-upper. We wanted something move-in ready, ideally fitting our more contemporary aesthetic.

A home popped up one day and nothing about it seemed too radical, but our realtor had previewed it earlier and thought it was "fabulous", so we ducked out of work a little early to see it. I clearly remember quietly mouthing "I really LIKE this!" to Erik as we were touring it. Newly-remodeled kitchen, hardwoods in half the place, and a nice big garage and backyard. The next day, we put in an offer.

Unfortunately, that house didn't pan out. It was at the top of our price range, and we basically had to offer that to compete with another offer already on the table. The seller's agent asked ours what might help us out if they were to counter to us, and basically she told them we wouldn't budge, because we really wouldn't. So the other offer won out. It was a little bit of a bummer, but not completely unexpected.

Cut to a week or two later, and I find this listing on Redfin where the interior looks kinda funky. Architecture unlike any of the other regional architecture we'd seen. Both Erik and I decided we wanted to see it, more out of curiosity than anything else, and put it on the short list to view that weekend. And we liked what we saw! Even though it's clearly not a match, aesthetically, the place is huge (1600 sq. ft.), it has a workable layout, a nice-sized backyard, a ginormous master bedroom, and is in a good-looking neighborhood only 4 miles from where we live now. We would need to put in hardwoods, and change out some old doors and such, but it met all of our move-in ready requirements. So we put in an offer. And they countered. And we accepted their counter.

This past weekend we had the inspection, and now we're in the middle of negotiating repairs. Nothing too major, but it'd be nice to have some of the issues that came up addressed before we move in. There is an issue with some ceramic tile that was improperly installed, which is a bit of a bummer because it's currently in more than half the house. A knock-down of the purchase price would have been awesome, but I don't think that's going to happen. It will just motivate us a bit more to get those hardwoods installed sooner, right?

So hopefully this inspection mess will wrangle itself within the next few days, then we can have our lender order up the appraisal. And then, hopefully, what we've elected to purchase the home for won't be way more than the bank thinks it's worth, and that will be settled as well. Then we will just have to lock in our interest rate and let the escrow company and our lender do their job until closing - which hopefully will be at the end of June. And then we'll be homeowners. O.M.G.

That's all for "the facts", now down to "the feelings". MAN, this home buying thing is really taking a toll on me! I'm a bit of a control freak (if Erik reads this he will undoubtedly burst out laughing or crying at that statement), and relegating tasks and entrusting people like a realtor and a mortgage broker are pretty tough things for me. I think I've studied up pretty well - just enough to be dangerous, anyways. And when I see my realtor or mortgage broker do things that I've read are, well, not what you want them to do, I get ancy. And when I see typos in applications or bad grammar in contracts I get pretty miffed. I lose confidence pretty easily in these people, and I don't know if that's really a reflection on them, or that I'm just too demanding a client.

Poor Erik, though. I mean, buying a house is a rough and confusing time for anyone, but Erik has ME in the equation, which certainly escalates matters. And it feels like we've inadvertently picked the worst possible time to purchase - not from a market standpoint, but because Erik was in the middle of a big development push at work, we started our dog at daily training camp last week, etc. It's just one thing after another. The stress level is certainly very very high.

But, hopefully it will be over soon. At least the buying part. I've been warned that the first six months of homeownership can be some of the scariest times, financially. And I think my previous post (a credit scoring rant) clearly illustrates how maniacal I am about money. *Exhale* It'll all work out in the end.


posted by julie at June 4, 2008 02:53 PM


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