Thursday, March 31, 2011

House Hunting Chronicles: The Beginning

I've foolishly let my superstitious nature get in my way recently, and yours too I’m afraid. I've been keeping things to myself in the hopes that by not saying them out loud, they might come true. The universe would hear the request, laugh and shut all doors open to making this dream happen. About six weeks ago, I stopped believing in that kind of thinking. I realized it was limiting and ridiculous to think that I couldn't get excited about something because my enthusiasm would scare it away. Today, on a bit of a drive, Tim convinced me that I should write about this, that it would be good for me, it would calm me, help me focus, take some pressure off, and that it would probably make for some good reading material – at least for us in the years to come.

So, today I begin the blog entries about our forays into buying our first home. There’s quite a bit to cover, which I find exciting and overwhelming at the same time. I’ll do my best to limit the details and rambles on certain properties, but you’ll have to excuse me if they slip in there. It’s hard not to get rambling about some of them.

The best place to start of course is the beginning, so I’ll delve into that today. We currently live in an apartment, and although it’s a decent size, especially for an apartment, we have definitely outgrown it. We decided to start actively looking for a home last fall, which in hindsight, was probably not the best time to get out on the market, but you live, you learn. The first string of houses we looked at were all either bank owned properties or short sales. I recommend avoid both completely if you can. Bank owned properties can be a great deal, if you have the cash, time, patience, manpower, resources and skill to bring them back to their previous luster. We do not have the correct combination of these, but we had to learn that the hard way. I think it's one of the few times that our bargain hunting has failed us.

We looked at two bank owned properties and one short sale. We passed on the short sale because it was in a bit of a strange neighborhood off of a busy road. We ruled out both bank owned properties because they needed more work than we could put in. About a week later we saw a cute Gambrel that was on 13 acres (yay! Land!) and would meet our needs. We put in an offer. We waited. Nine days after we submitted our offer the bank informed us that there was a serious mold issue in the basement, so they would only be accepting cash offers or rehab loan offers. We dodged a bullet. We were slightly discouraged, but happy to be told about the mold up front before paying for a home inspection and getting our hopes up about that house becoming our home. The search continued.

Admittedly, I spend far too much time online looking at listings, and have through this whole process. Genreally, it just gets me daydreaming about places and wishing there were more listings, and tracking the price reductions on certain properties. In short, it makes me a little crazier than usual, but it’s for a good cause, so I figure it can’t hurt. There has been some pay off to my obsessing, one home that Tim had really loved, had dropped in price and although we knew it needed work, we also knew we could get a rehab loan to fix things up, and had a great friend who is also a great contractor, so we decided to give it a shot. We put in our offer again, and waited. Turns out, the bank that owned that property wanted to be rid of it and they really weren’t entertaining any offers unless they were cash. To the best of our knowledge, that house sold at auction. While we were waiting to hear back on that house though, I kept up my searching and found that a home we had liked in the summer was re-listed and with a lower price. Up until about six weeks ago, we were certain that this house was going to become our home. This house, and the saga surrounding it, deserves its own post in the next installment. It’s that bizarre and entertaining, I promise!


Jasmine said...

Those on-line reel-estate listing can be so addicting! Good luck with your house hunt!

MainelyMama said...

They are SO addicting Jasmine! I'm so glad to hear someone else say it too. :) The one thing I've learned from them, is that you can't trust the pictures at all.

Lydia Piscioneri said...

In house hunting, the beginning is usually the stressful part, as you have to meticulously consider everything -- from searching for properties, to getting your loans pre-approved. That’s a lot to process. But it’s good to know that despite all that, you were able to organize those things. In my opinion, being organize is always the key to make the process less stressful and move forward at a steady pace. . And I hope you have already succeed on it.

Lydia Piscioneri @ Credit Group