We didn’t Plan to Buy a House Now.
We didn’t plan to buy a house this summer but found the perfect one in our desired location and budget. We Zillowed and did open houses on the weekends. All very casual. We talked about maybe buying this year if we found the perfect home at the perfect price in the perfect neighborhood, but that wasn’t likely, right?
Not probable, but it could happen …
Stumbling on that Perfect Place
One day during my lunch break, I went hunting for a place to park my car instead of paying to park at work. (Universities make you pay to park and neighborhoods around universities have strict parking rules). I walked past streets with one-hour parking limits and found myself in a new-to-me part of the neighborhood in front of a cute house for sale. Zillow told me it was over our budget. Our realtor told us it was over fair market value. We didn’t push to look at it in person. By accident, however, this house became the measuring stick for other home possibilities, and other options weren’t measuring up (at least digitally).
The Price is Right
Since we often compared that home to new possibilities, we noticed right away when the sellers dropped the price. I called our realtor and asked for a private showing, but only if he thought the home was fair market value and that we had the potential to negotiate down more. He scheduled a private showing that Saturday.
We went through the house. I searched for something wrong. There must be a deal breaker somewhere: a window AC unit upstairs, weird remodeling, leaky roof—something. We found nothing. Mark’s parents looked at it and they found nothing. Our realtor had to stretch to find something (we chose him because he pointed out all the negative stuff in every house we looked at).
Ready, Set, Bid!
After the showing, we decided to put a bid on it. What’s the worst that can happen? Get rejected? Getting rejected wasn’t a problem; getting in a bidding war was. We decided we would bow out if another buyer came into the game, which was likely because the market is on fire right now—houses are going off the market in 2-3 days. So with the help of our realtor and our house hunting scorecard, we put together an opening bid, which I felt was low based on the market. However, the sellers accepted our offer (with minor tweaks)!
Well, that was Unexpected.
I didn’t think we’d get this house. Mark asked if I was nervous about spending the money now or about losing out to another buyer. I was nervous about losing it. After seeing so many houses that didn’t work for us, I can’t believe we found a perfect one at a fair price.
Were we ready to buy a house? Yes and no.
I would have liked to save for another year before buying so we wouldn’t have to have the stupid mortgage insurance. But if we saved for another year we would have thrown another $20K of rent down the drain. I did the math and that’s equal to 9 years’ worth of mortgage insurance, and we won’t be paying mortgage insurance for 9 years.
I don’t want to move again so soon. (I’ve moved 9 times in 10 years!) As much as I hate the idea of continuing to pay rent, I like where we live. It’s noisy, so I did want to move soon-ish. We haven’t enjoyed our neighborhood to the fullest because we’ve saved aggressively for a house. Another year or two there would have been nice.
Oh, and I think every new homeowner has this conundrum: we have no furniture! Fortunately, the down payment doesn’t kill our savings (and the mortgage is only a little more than our current rent payment) so we’ll hopefully be able to furnish our home by the end of the year—or at least buy a guest bed. 🙂
I guess we’re homeowners now.
As of July 20, we’ll be homeowners!
I can’t believe the search went so fast! If we would have waited until the fall we could have gotten a better-priced home, but good-quality homes (read: not major projects) in good neighborhoods (read: increasing equity) in our price range don’t come on the market often. Our new neighbor said it was 10 years since a home was for sale on that street.
I waited to write this post until everything was completely finished. I didn’t even draft it until we signed the final amendment to our purchase agreement. Fun fact: I wrote the house-hunting scorecard post after we bought the house. That post was on my to-do list for a while.
Since the bidding process went smoothly, I assumed the inspector would find something terrible (termites, mold, a dead body or two) but the inspection went fine. He found a bunch of little non-urgent things we can fix ourselves and a couple of things homeowners agreed to fix.
I’m not going to share our new address or a photo of our new home (even the inside as it’s still on Zillow and Google reverse image search is great for stalkers!), but I will share an illustration I made.
I started working on this cute illustration of our new house for holiday cards and moving announcements. I need to finish the faux landscaping and background, but otherwise, it’s pretty cute. 🙂 (And helpful for picking what color to paint the front door—gray just won’t do).
Homeowners: what was the biggest surprise of the buying process? Did you run into any nightmare situations?
I’m waiting until we move in before I relinquish the idea of possible nightmare situations…