<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: House Hunt
 

Viewing the 'House Hunt' Category

we're set

May 17th, 2017 at 04:49 am

So the appraisal came through and we are set for closing on June 9th. We actually were already done with our mortgage and cleared to close sans appraisal. I'm very excited and happy. It's a relief. We know we are set to close and no longer waiting on an appraisal and worrying what happens during negotiations with the sellers.

That being said now my DH is ready to talk moving. We have decided we're buying the king size bed we've desired for years. Until we moved two years ago we didn't have a choice since it wouldn't fit up the stairs to our bedroom.

We also have to decide what to do about the kid's beds. They both have queen size beds, one we got for free and the other is our old bed from when we got a memory foam. I think we should do twin beds but let one keep a queen? We don't have a guest bedroom.

That's the other thing. We have to decide how to manage the renovations we are planning. We need to replace the windows, ceiling, and paneling on the 1st floor but the question is do we do an extension/bump out or do we just reconfigure the space we have? We have 700 sq ft but it's poorly laid out. We could probably create a bedroom downstairs if we got rid of the laundry room.

But of course this is something we have to consider carefully so we don't do something stupid and overspend or not do something that doesn't cost much more to improve the house.

This is stressful. Plus we are nervous about movers and planning since the sellers are living in the house supposedly until June 30th. But what if they aren't out? Or if they move sooner? These are all questions swirling about.

Now that we know we are closing I feel like I next will contact the school and register the kids. I also need to determine if we are doing private school as well for the DK2. I think she's a bit young for kindergarten and was considering private school so she'll have extra help for the 1st year and more attention. So much to do and so little time.

Shopping my rate

May 4th, 2017 at 03:24 pm

I spent yesterday shopping around for the best deal and rate. So what did I end up with and how? Well my agent said we could shop the rate but had to the use the lender she suggested because the seller's would feel betrayed. They had talked to our lender and asked questions. But at the end of the day I said no way. I said if he can't match the deal we're moving on.

I got from Capital One no fees everything waived from their end. Also $1300 towards 3rd party fees like title insurance, appraisal, deed, sales tax, etc. Finally $500 for having a checking/savings account. Of course the rate we locked was 3% for 7/1 Arm. Very solid deal.

Chase initially offered me $995 in fees, 3.25% 7/1 Arm. Of course I said no go too much in fees around $2800 which is a lot of money and .25% which on our loan was around $125/month. Over the life of the loan that's substantial since it's $1500/year. No go. I would have walked over the interest rate a loan but to add in $2800 in fees I wasn't about to tolerate it and the seller's could try to get out of our contract.

Chase agreed to all terms and matched it. They agreed to 3%, $0 fees, and $1300 towards 3rd party fees. I also got $595 for having a checking with them, I now need to open one to get that final bonus. So I got what I wanted.

Don't let people push you around. Further my DH has/had no idea. Everyone who thinks women are the ones who are dependent are crazy. Even my realtor called me a shark and said it's really unusual for a stay at home mom to do the financials. Really? If anything I almost think a stay at home should be more involved because we have the time to do it.

Next up? Getting our home insurance in place. Deciding how to approach our landlord to get out of our lease early by a month. If not we'll eat the cost.

i didn't use redfin

May 3rd, 2017 at 03:37 pm

I didn't use a redfin broker. If I had I'd get back 15% of the buying commission 3%. Of course I could have negotiated with a full price broker more say 2% of purchase price or at least 1%. With redfin I'd have gotten back $5500 or so. My current realtor offered us a rebate of $4000. I went with the full service realtor and I have to say I am satisfied.

I'm happy because I feel I got my money's worth using someone who knew the market and could explain the nuances of location. I had been looking for a long time and found someone who sold a lot and for a long time the area I was interested in. I also think she helped us win the home over using a redfin agent. I think she better strategized and wrote a better offer. You are probably sighing going really?

No seriously we beat out someone by $7500 who waived their financing contingency and their inspection contingency. We did a pre-inspection before our offer and we didn't waive our finance contigency or appraisal clause. LOL. The competing offer did. So I think I paid for someone to help me buy a house in the market we're in but minimize our risk. We still won when other people are doing things like no pre-inspection and no finance contingency. Our agent said she never does without finance contingency because anyone can lose a job and though she's sold for 30 years and it's only happened once during a home purchase it can easily happen. And she thinks she can usually win without it.

Besides since I got to see the competing offer they qualified like we did up to the same approximate number, but had way less money to put down barely 10%. We didn't strike our finance contingency/low appraisal but had offered up 40% cash down. I'm going to guess it was a hard decision since our offers were pretty much a wash. They could easily lose $7500 in a low appraisal. But I would have picked us too even with the finance contingency since the other offer had only 10% down even though they were risking the low appraisal and no finance contingency. Maybe also the banks we went with Chase and they were using So-fi which uses a lot of company stock in loan requirements.

FWIW it's 23% of our base, the bank because of DH's 1 year lack of income wouldn't allow us to borrow up to other people's limits. They wouldn't consider his bonuses so our income is solely on base salary. Considering 1/3 of his income (potentially more) is bonus we're pretty comfortable. Plus his base is less than what we were making in 2015 when due to his 10 year tenure at his job we were making "more" money with base and bonus so if we had applied for a mortgage we'd have qualified to borrow more.

So the way we look at it, we get a nice rental for a few years. We'll sit tight and see if the perfect home comes up and in 12 months they'll start counting all his base and bonus income. After which we plan on banking all his bonus anyway. So we are putting less money 20% down than we made on our last house but decided we're investing the rest. Although we are talking about using some cash to renovate the bottom floor. We can put down 20% cash DP, 1 year EF (will keep 6 months), and invest the rest. If we had bought up to the top of what they lent us now we'd still be under 30% but our cash would be capped out at 6 month EF. So I guess it's for the best.

I'll figure out what the cost of renovating is and then decide. I'm a lot more relaxed knowing how much play we have financially. We're closer to where we were when we last left our mortgage at 23% PITI. Of course because of our deductions it's closer to 50% of our monthly take home after savings. But this should be an interesting ride.

Accepted offer

May 3rd, 2017 at 02:51 am

Our offer was accepted on the house. I am very excited. It's a bit surreal. So did we compromise? A LOT. Was it worth it? I hope so. Am I happy? Yes. Nothing in life is perfect. We just have to make the best decision we can with the information at hand.

Last week we made an offer on another home for the exact same price. This week it was accepted on a much smaller home. How much smaller? The house last week was 3500 sq ft with every detail we wanted in a house. 4 bedrooms, playroom, den, 3 car garage, small yard and relatively new 2004. But the house we bought? Amazing location, 2040 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 1966 built, and great yard and deck. Truthfully?

We compromised on the house. The house is a little bigger than what we live in. It lacks a lot of what we wanted including the fourth bedroom and or den. We have a flex space that can be a playroom for the kids. We have to renovate the downstairs and fix the windows, ceiling, and walls. But I love the character. Maybe it's a mistake.

But the plan is to live in the neighborhood we love and watch for the right house to pop up. We were looking at rentals anyway in this location and this popped up. So we decided to jump on it.

Cross your fingers it closes cleanly.

Second inspection

April 30th, 2017 at 01:06 am

So we're paying for another inspection on another potential house. Going to play again. Roulette. We'll see how this pans out.

The house we last inspected a week ago and offered on came back on the market. Maybe the buyers did an inspection and had remorse. Maybe the seller wouldn't negotiate. Whatever happens it's just a house. Can't get caught up in the emotion.

The main thing is we stay the course and know what we are getting into. Whether we overpay is not the question. The real question is are we doing it knowingly with our eyes wide open. Last time we definitely knew what we were getting into. I hope this time we are just as enlightened.

Further note I do feel we are being really indulgent. Many of our friends don't bother paying for an inspection. I do feel like it's helping us make a better decision of course it's quite expensive each time. Oh well maybe it is a lot of money but I feel like we're just investing in knowledge. And is it really wrong to do that?

nope, not yet

April 26th, 2017 at 04:40 am

Nope not yet. No house. Offer way, way too low. But my realtor said a sucker born everyday. Apparently they had multiple offers and ended up about 10% above asking price without a home inspection or mortgage/appraisal contingency. No getting out of this for the suckers/buyers. Trust me if they need these buyers to close because now they know there is a roof leak and I believe they'd have to disclose if the deal falls apart. But I doubt it will. It would be really interesting to see what happens.

On another note, I spoke to a friend who is in over her head with her house. I made a lot of financial suggestions and I think she really shared with me all the details because she lives where we used to live and it's easier to talk/chat with someone who doesn't judge and can't see you face to face. It's easier than admitting you made a mistake to a friend you see all the time in person. Truth is it's easy to get into financial trouble even though you know better.

So what happened? Well when we moved two years ago they had just bought a massive fixer house for $1.2M. They are planning on moving in this Friday about 2 years later. The renovations initially budgeted at $600-800k turned into $1.6-$1.8m so they are into the house for $3M. Yes those are real numbers where I used to live.

Anyway the monthly note on the place hasn't been too bad since they didn't finance the entire renovation but paid a lot of cash out of pocket. They are out $8k/month. The problem? Her husband switched jobs last year into a commission only job and hasn't made an income in a year because he hasn't closed any deals. Now the income they were counting on hasn't appeared and they have been burning through savings.

She's stayed at home with their 3 kids but isn't sure what to do. She's been at home for 7 years now. And she realizes it's not so easy to find a job. But it's a difficult position to be in because her husband could take a salary position but it might not be enough to keep up with the lifestyle they have. Or she could go back to work but it might not be at the salary they hope. He also could find a job that could support their lifestyle but it would likely mean moving. She isn't sure what to do. Without income it could be difficult to qualify for a conventional mortgage since right now they have a construction loan. They became aware of this yesterday. They have savings but the bank isn't counting only on their equities.

They could rent out the house I suggested but she isn't sure where they would live since they are moving out of their rental. I also suggested looking for any high paying job. I think a dream house can come and go. Maybe it wasn't meant to be.

Going through this right now I'm really talking myself into accepting and understanding that no house is perfect. There is not only 1 dream house in the world. And it's super easy to get caught up in a dream. Even the most financially savvy people can get caught up in emotion over logic.

I'm getting an ulcer

February 7th, 2017 at 09:42 pm

I'm getting an ulcer I swear it. I feel my anxiety getting worse as we look for a house. The market has slim pickings and I'm worried we should just move into another rental. My DH says not to worry that we should let this season play out and see what happens. The kids asked for a dog but I said not until we buy a house. I am still missing not having one but I feel like this is something that needs to wait until we settle down. Finding this rental with a dog was hard. Doing it again? I think would stress me out.

We also had some issues with the mortgage. The year of no income hurt us and we had to explain it. Due to this we also qualified for less money because of it. We aren't so happy about having to potentially put more money down on the house. I'm stressed because our realtor wants us to work with her guy so she can say we're qualified with a reputable broker she knows instead of us getting the best deal. This makes me leery and upset.

I know I shouldn't stress out. But I can't help it. I don't know if we should shelve buying a house another 1-2 years. We can move into another rental and save money. I mean also I worry because if they take away the mortgage deduction on taxes I think it'll impact home prices. It certainly influences our decision. We'd spend less significantly and I think we might choose to pay cash. I can't imagine that others in our bracket might not be forced as well to spend less.

Also DH will have 2 years of income if we wait which since they aren't counting his entire income right now might make a difference. Strangely if he had been working his last job we'd qualify for more than we do now even though we make more money now.

I am also embarrassed IRL to talk about our 1st world problems. So it's only here I can really express how I feel.

Plus our DK1 is being tested again. She's got an anxiety disorder. Big surprise. Trust me with her behavior we've had multiple tests for autism or spectrum and that's not it. Nor is it sensory processing. It really is an anxiety disorder that has come on early. And yes I feel guilty and more anxious because I worry about her. So I'm not sleeping well and I have TMJ even with my night guard. My mom is anxious and on medications. I only used them pregnancy/PPD, but I do wonder if I shouldn't get back on them.

Anyway maybe everything will work out. Let's see what happens by May.

another one bites the dust

January 20th, 2017 at 09:33 pm

So I've been mostly using redfin to find a house. It's slow going, but it is really picking up. I met a realtor I like and she appears to really know the area I am interested in buying. She's been buying and selling since the 90s in the area and can easily name streets and values and locations. Even gave me an honest opinion about schools/location/value and how it affects home prices. We haven't meet yet and are meeting tomorrow in person.

She insisted on showing us 3 homes to see how we react. And she wanted to meet DH and I both. She's basically going to evaluate how we react.

Unfortunately a couple of red flags went up. Sigh. I am probably going to get a lot of hate from realtors from saying this but I have the emails between this realtor and myself proving it.

She suggested that we use her mortgage person because they will help us win in a bidding war situation. She is doubtful we'll be able to be picky because we are only putting down 25-30% cash and to be really competitive we need to be at 50% down or all cash. She said she usually waives the inspection and mortgage contingencies.

These things has already brought out the worse in my DH. I'm wavering. We might have to step back out of this market and rent for a number of years just because we can't afford to do these things. We discussed it last night and the truth is that my DH says we're being responsible by not letting go of things we think protect us. I think we need to hear her explanations of why she suggests these things to people and it's possible we won't work with her. Solely because we can't stomach the terms.

Right now I shudder at the thought of renting for another few years. I already miss having a dog and want another but we had made an agreement that we would wait until after we moved into out house so we wouldn't have to deal with our landlord and another pet deposit. Or finding another rental that takes dogs. And I don't really want to move the kids.

But what should we do? Just look and see if we can win something? Do it our way and hope we can buy and still stick to our terms? How much do we risk? These next six months is going to be stressful.

no house

December 13th, 2016 at 05:31 pm

Ugh no house. Lost it to someone else willing to pay cash. We were in the midst of doing some due diligence and someone else just came in and got it done.

Oh well. Time to keep on looking. I keep telling myself that spring is the time when more inventory comes on the market. Patience will be rewarded. We had hoped to find something but nothing is really what we want.

It's really hard to bet on finding a house we like and passing on so many we don't. We probably could settle but I find that I don't want to pay a lot of money for something I really don't love or like. That I'm taking the "safe" bet. But at the same time I also think if we bought a house now in desperation there is a great possibility we'd regret it.

I think all financial decisions made out of desperation are bad ones. They cause someone to act irrationally, justify bad decisions instead of actually thinking logically and reasoning out a decision. Or at least that's my justification for not jumping on a house I don't like but should probably buy because it's "good" enough.

But I guess it's like marriage. Should we settle for someone who is "good enough" and the "right" person you should marry but you don't love them? You just like them and it's the right decision? I think no. Because marriage is tough enough that you should really be sure. I do think people need common values but settling can cause people to compromise on those values. Hence I don't want to compromise on a house right now. Or at least these are compromises I don't want to make.

FWIW I feel that some realtors are definitely not working for our best interest. I have one non-stop pressuring me to buy at the top of our budget. That they'll take an offer at the top of our budget since it's been sitting. My response has been I don't love the house and I don't want to spend to the top of our budget if it's not something I really love. But hey it's in her best interest to sell me something.

cross your fingers

December 7th, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Okay at 8:30 am this morning we saw a house. We loved it. It hit everything on the checklist we wanted. So we're going to make an offer. But it's not perfect. There are a lot of problems.

Mostly that it's an unfinished home. But we're working with our mortgage broker and we can do a hard money construction loan, but we'll see what else can be done. I just love the location and the house being new and mostly done DH loves the location and house. I think the yard is small and it backs up to a busy road.

But life is about compromises. Nothing in life is perfect. Everything always has a catch. And I definitely felt good walking into this house. Now we just need them to accept the offer with contigencies mostly the financing and home inspection. My worry is that it's not "livable" and while it's under budget we have to get approved for a different type of loan versus the conventional mortgage we got approved for.

I'm worrying and thinking about it. This is the first house and it might not be the last house I'll regret if we don't make an offer. Everything else we've walked away from and I haven't cared personally. I will care but I will understand if we aren't meant to get it.

feeling anxious

October 27th, 2016 at 03:15 am

I'm found a realtor in one of the areas we liked. She is very good but I find myself again pulling back. I'm feeling pressured. I know I'm grinding my teeth over the anxiety. I can feel myself waking up just thinking and worrying.

Have I mentioned I am using redfin? I really like the touring agents and the method behind touring without pressure. I like how you have to tell the offer agent when you are ready. I didn't like the fact that the offer agent I had didn't respond for 2-3 days when I emailed her. I know it's not full service and I don't need hand-holding I just want a person who responds.

So I switched for one area to a full service agent. And now I'm regretting it. The realtor is very good in the keeping in touch. She's also good about following up with other agents. But I don't think she likes how indecisive I am.

I don't think she likes the fact that I want to see the house more than 1x. That I'm looking at houses with my DH then we want to go back before deciding. Every house we've seen and gone back she's asked and pushed if we want to put in an offer.

The truth is we haven't found the house we want. I was very honest with her today that we are in a lease till July 2017. We decided that we would buy our dream home now if it shows up and if it doesn't we'll wait.

But I don't want to settle now. I'm not ready to compromise and buy a home in the location I am not in love with until March or April. Until then I want to wait and keep watching what comes on. I've yet to walk into anything and been "wow" i want this. Everything has been meh and compromised. I know that I have to compromise, everyone does.

Am I wrong to wait? Do I need to rush? I feel like if I'm going to compromise does it have to be now? Can't it be when we're under the gun and need to move?

Yes I feel my DH breathing down my neck about his commute. Today was another 2 hour commute. But at the same time he's willing to wait because he agrees we haven't found it yet. I don't know what "it" is but all homes have been okay.

What should we do? Since we aren't rushing should I just use redfin and suck it up? I can honestly say we hvaen't seen a house we've kicked ourselves over and said we should have bought. I feel so guilty that this is taking so long and more anxious that I won't find anything.

Suggestions?

i hate house hunting

October 11th, 2016 at 09:36 pm

I am already tired of looking for a home and I've only just started. It's been exhausting and I think the real problem is that my DH and I agreed I would give homes the first run and then only show him the homes that past the muster. I have found a lot of homes with a some sort of problem. I will admit that I've managed to narrow down what I want in the house.

Location is key. We want a 30-45 minute commute for DH in a good school district. He had 2x last week of 2 hour commutes. There were accidents and the bus just got stuck and he was in at work around 10 am after leaving at 8 am. He also had a couple of 95-100 minute return commutes home when it should be between 75-90 minutes typically. This has made him exhausted. He can't work on the shuttle because he is easily motion sick so he only sleeps or listens to podcasts/audio books. But the truth is it's tiring even just adding those extra hours to his day. He's ready to buy the first house we can because of it.

We also have made a list and managed to define needs versus wants. We need 3 bedrooms but want 4 for guests. We need 2 car attached garage but want 3. We need a yard but want at least 1/4 acre but will likely compromise. We need a den, but want a den and bonus/playroom. We need the bedrooms together. We'd settle for a 4 bedroom and bonus if we could use the guest bedroom for a den/4th bedroom. Of course everything is negotiable based on price and location.

One of the problems? Is I feel like realtors are just trying to sell us any house and don't really care. I've gone out a couple of weekends and two different brokers on two different days in two different areas basically said "hey put in an offer." Nevermind neither house was exactly right, they both felt we should jump on it and just go in with an offer. I feel like both realtors feel like "hey let's get rid of these people with homes."

These were the full service brokers. I've found I prefer using redfin to tour homes not full commission based realtors because the full service realtors give me their opinion as to why a house is great. They don't point out the negatives. Instead they are basically just trying to sell me on every home. I wish they would shut up. Hence touring with the redfin is a lot more relaxing and calm. They are based on tours and I can see what I want and make my own notes and take in the house.

I feel also the full commission realtors don't want to bring me back. With redfin I feel as though I can go back more than once to see a house. I learned from a friend you should go see a house more than once because this is a big purchase. Don't rush and make a snap decision. I need to see a home at least 3x I feel. 1 by myself, 1 with DH, then again with DH at a different time of day.

This is the biggest purchase we'll make and I feel as though they want us to see it for 20 minutes and bam put down money. At least with redfin I don't feel that sort of touring pressure.

I will say that I think the full service realtors are better at figuring out negotiations and pricing. The ones on redfin are honestly BAD. They have no idea how to do comps and really price out an offer.

But right now I've told DH if a house falls in our lap we'll buy it. I've gotten a feel for what he likes. I think that we are going to wait and if we can't find a house we really like then we will settle in March/April. But until then I think we should keep looking until we find a home that hits all the boxes and works out for us.

a year in financial review

October 8th, 2016 at 02:56 pm

It's been a great year. I'm doing it now a little late because as of September 1st we spent a whole year in our new life. It's been amazing for all of us. We got to get closer as a family with DH not working for 11 months. He pretty much did not get a paycheck for 12 months. But he was unemployed from August 15 2015 to July 25 2016.

We burned through $91.5k. Yes you read that right in 11 months. Granted $17k was tuition but still that $74.5k. We spent around $6700/month including our fees for renting our place which was $8k up front costs. So we spent around our normal $5500/month rate we had budgeted. Lucky for us a signing bonus helped bump our spending for the year up to $71.5k including the $17k tuition.

Was it worth it? Yes. We had a great time. I think perhaps our spending will force us to delay "retirement" by 1 year.

I forgot that from our $91.5k we direct $4k to college for kids, $11k to Roth IRA so I guess we "saved" $15k out of the $91.5k. Also we're maxing out Roth IRA and 401k this year on a compressed 5 month paychecks. So we're still on track to save for retirement even if we aren't saving our normal cash cushion.

But the real goals were met. Move and be able to be closer to family. Get job that DH loves. Buy a house. Check on first two and working on the third.

Sometimes in life as I'm reflecting on the past year you have to spend money to make money. You have to invest in yourself, maybe start a business, buy a rental property, go back to school and retrain to get to where you want to be. It's a HUGE risk and it can cost you a lot of money. But the rewards can be significant, not just financial but pay dividends in other ways.

I suspect our net worth might be able net zero with gains in our retirement accounts. But back to regular programming of saving now. I have to admit it was REALLY daunting spending all this cash without any income. To go from being a saver to a spender. This could be why my DH and I are not meant to be true early retirees, we are too nervous nellies and risk averse to pull the trigger. We're actually very close to being able to do it but would rather pad our accounts.