Archive of ‘Home Buying’ category

We are finally in the new house!

What a whirlwind the last nearly-week has been.
I’ve contemplated, multiple times, updating our blog to share what has happened so far, but honestly, it felt daunting.
Our whirlwind of wonderful chaos started on Friday. We woke up Friday morning in time to feed and dress the kids before shuffling them off to school. Our Walk through for the house was at 10:00 so we had some time to kill.
Packing
We went back to the house and wrapped up a few boxes that were partially packed, and grabbed some Starbucks before heading out to the house for the walk through with the builder.
before closing
The walk through went perfectly. Only very minor issues needed addressed (a spot on the wall needed the paint touched up, an area on the mirror needed the caulking fixed, etc). We fixed those and re-keyed our doors as we headed over to the Title Company for our closing appointment.
final walkthrough
Our Realtor, Alex, had met us at the house for the walk through and followed us over to the closing appointment. We waited for a few minutes before both of our Loan girls came out to congratulate us. It’s funny to be how when we see the people we worked with in this process, it feels like seeing family. Our Loan girls both called us the day of our final approval, together. They had met in one office, put us on speaker, and cheered with us when we found out. They were nearly as thrilled as we were, and that felt great. On closing day, they came over, hugged us, told us how excited they were, and that if we needed anything – “Really, Anything!” – to give them a call. It was only a few more minutes before we walked back into a small office with our contracts and sat down to sign, what felt like, our lives away. The closer was very sweet, and she excused herself for about 15 minutes to file the paperwork and get the loan funded, during which time we sat in the office with Alex and exchanged funny stories and tales of the great post-Christmas deals we’d each gotten.
closing appointment
Once the load had funded, we were congratulated by a handful of people before we headed back to the house to pickup our keys. We met Rob, our sales guy, at his office where he gave us our keys, and then followed us over to the house. While there, we met with the rep for the local security service – and boy was I blown away by what they offer! – and chatted with Rob for a few minutes. The cleaning crew was there, vacuuming carpet and washing windows in preparation for us to move in that weekend.
cleaning ladies
The girls had been let in by the builder when he was changing the locks, and didn’t have a key to lock back up, so we figured that when we came back after carpool (more on that later) we would lock up.  This is when we hit our first blip. While at the house we asked about our garage door openers. All three of us were confused when we walked out into the garage and realized that there was no garage door opener installed… Only then did we realize that a garage door opener was an upgrade (which we obviously didn’t pay for since we weren’t aware) and we would need to go buy one on our own.  Not a huge deal, but just funny to realize that we bought a beautiful new house with a two car garage… and a garage door we couldn’t open without climbing out of the car, running inside to unlock the garage door by hand, lifting it by hand, and running back out to get back in the car. You’d think in this day-and-age that would be standard. So off to home depot we went. Not just for the garage door opener, but also because we had been waiting to buy our fridge until after closing. The upside was that the fridge was on a 10% sale (on top of the already discounted price), but the downfall was that buying on Friday meant that our delivery would be scheduled for the next Tuesday… and we would be without a fridge for 4.5 days… with two kids. Yikes.
home depot
This is when things started to fall apart, bit by bit. While at home depot, our sales guy started to place our order on the back register by the appliance area.  After everything had been input, he realized he couldn’t process our payment there and had to take us to the front of the store. Once at the front of the store, the register girl had to wait for a manager to come by and approve the 10% discount. We were there for about 30 minutes before everything was placed and in process.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal? Just wait, it’s coming later.

At this point we were running a little late for heading home… We had a plan to go load up the car, pick up the kids from school and take them to the new house to have a dinner picnic in the living room before Patrick had to leave for work.  We had talked to my Dad about this plan, and my Dad offered Patrick his commuter car to take to work, which would leave the truck available for the evening. The plan was that after we had dinner with the kids and unloaded, the kids would head to their Dad’s for the night, and my Dad and I would run at least 1 truck load of boxes to the new house in the truck. That didn’t happen though, because on the way to the house for the dinner picnic with the kids, the commuter car died leaving Patrick stranded and without another car to drive to work.
broken down car
We ran back and picked up Patrick while my Dad waited for AAA to come tow the car.  Got Patrick home just in time for him to get ready for work and put a few more boxes in my car. At this point it was 5pm, and it finally dawned on me that the house was STILL unlocked from the cleaning crew, and we had already dropped off a few boxes earlier that day. I knew I needed to get over there ASAP to lock up and shut off lights, so I left the kids with Patrick knowing he had to leave for work in 30 minutes and the kids Dad would be by to pick them up in about 15-20 minutes. I hustled back over to the new house only to realize that the cleaning crew had left, literally, every single light on in the house, and the air conditioner was pumping in the already ice-cold house. I shut everything down, turned up the heat a little, and unloaded by car before heading home.

The next morning Patrick and I were up at 5:30am to finish packing the last few boxes we had, before we had to pick up our U-Haul at 9am. We took two cars over to the new house, both loaded down with boxes, to meet Patrick’s cousin who had graciously agreed to help us move.
moving morning
The boys (Patrick, My Dad, and Patrick’s Cousin, J) unloaded both cars and hopped in the truck before heading over to U-Haul to pick up our trailer. Once they arrived there, they were told that there was no reservation on file for us, never mind the confirmation email I had received after placing my reservation online. They luckily had a trailer on hand, and quickly got the guys all set up so they could head over to our storage unit.  The storage boxes filled up our trailer quicker than we expected, so they had to make a drop off at the new house before they could clean out our unit, or head back to the house to get what was waiting there to be taken. Meanwhile, my friend K and her husband S and I were loading up my SUV and theirs with small boxes before heading over to the house. I had to be there before 1pm for the AT&T installation appointment.  K and I grabbed lunch on the way over and got to the house in time to unload before the guys got there with the U-Haul full of boxes from the house.
moving morning kristi
While unloading, the AT&T guy came by to start our install. In about a 7 minute span, the AT&T guy was spinning in circles saying over and over again how our house was wired wrong and he couldn’t install, Patrick realized it was 1:30 and he had to head out for work, and a Pizza Delivery guy came by with a delivery from “Dave” saying “Welcome to the Neighborhood”. It took a few minutes to asking questions to realize the pizza was from my brother Dave, in Pennsylvania, and I quickly sent Patrick off to work with a few slices to eat on the way.
moving morning pizza
Meanwhile, Mr. AT&T was being entirely unhelpful, pacing through my house, loudly chanting about how “There’s no wires” and “You don’t want me to wrap the house”. I was at the end of my rope. I finally just had to walk away, because his defeatist attitude was bringing me down hard. After about an hour and 15 minutes of acting like this was the only house in the history of ever to be wired in such a way that Internet and TV were impossible, he finally figured out how to handle it (after a visit from our Builder) and got to work. Once we were entering hour 4 of him working on the wiring, My Dad realized we were running out of time to make our last trip to the storage unit and old house, and offered to take the trailer out, go load up some stuff, and meet us at storage when we were done at the house (after AT&T guy left). We agreed and sent him on his way.  Mr. AT&T left about an  hour later, and My Mom and I were loading up and preparing to head out to meet my Dad…. when we realized we had no keys. My Dad had accidentally taken the keys for the only car we had (my Mom’s car) so we were stuck… This is where it might be helpful to know a few things. Patrick wouldn’t be home from work until around midnight, and we had intended on making one more trip from the old house…. so I had no blankets, no pillows, no pajamas, no shampoo, hair dryer, or clothes for church the next morning. No food (other than the few remaining slices of pizza), drinks, nothing to work on (because half of the bed we were trying to assemble had been left in the storage unit). We also didn’t have the dog, who needed to be taken out soon, a charger for my phone or iPad (both of which were at or below 11% battery), and we were still figuring out the heating vents to get the heat even (my bedroom was a sauna, the living room an icebox). This mama was hungry, cold, tired, and irritated. My Dad came back a little earlier than he  would have otherwise, thankfully, because He couldn’t get into my storage unit without me (and my key), so that saved us a little time. So in 25 degree temps, I ran outside with no coat and started to help them unload the trailer he brought back.  Thankfully my Dad had spotted a coat of mine at the new house and brought it back for me, so I bundled up and we quickly unloaded the trailer, before we piled into my Moms car to head to her house. We had settled on a plan that my Dad would drive the truck/trailer home while Mom and I drove her car home. I would stage everything that still needed to be brought to the house, and Patrick would come pick me up from there around 11:15 after work, and would pack up everything I had staged. That part of our plan went down exactly as scheduled, and we made it home around 12:15AM. The next morning we were bound and determined to go to church, as it was the first week of a new series titled Freeway, which went hand in hand with our church-wide Bible Study every small group was doing. We got up early and headed out to church and were surprised on our way home when we got a text from my Parents saying they had already loaded up our stuff at the house and storage unit and were on their way to the house. They unloaded and we cleaned up and unpacked a few boxes before they headed out for the day. Patrick had to work at 1:30, so our time was limited, but we grabbed lunch and I spent that night getting our bedroom in order so Patrick wouldn’t come home to a maze of boxes. On Monday the kids came over in the morning before school and finally got to see the house for the first time since before the carpet had been installed. They had fun exploring all the rooms before we headed out for school. On Monday I got a call from Home Depot letting us know that our delivery date was wrong. Remember that 30 minute delay we had? Yeahhhh, turns out that in that 30 minute timeframe, someone at another store nabbed our Tuesday Delivery day, and we had to be pushed back to Wednesday. This mama was not a happy camper, and the fact that the girl who called was rude only made it worse. Thankfully the rest of our week has been pretty smooth… Patrick had bible study on Tuesday night and I had it Wednesday morning… the fridge was delivered on Wednesday while I was gone, and Hayden’s Trundle bed came on Wednesday morning as well.
new fridge
So it appears maybe we are out of the “Can one more thing go wrong?” woods for a while. *knock on wood* The house looks wonderful, and I had the chance to photograph a friends newborn baby in my office here yesterday, which was fun.

hallway decor

Today, it’s cold again. It’s been cold, but today it’s actually snowing, so we are having a down day in this house. We spent part of yesterday hanging décor around the house, and have a lot more to unpack and hang this week. But it finally feels like a home!!
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Quick House Update 1/28/2014

Well, Our Final approval came back this morning, 24 hours earlier than expected. We should get a call this evening or tomorrow morning to schedule our closing appointment for Friday. That means it’s a done deal, we are good to go! I guess I can finally give my nerves a rest from worrying that something will fall through! We are so excited!!
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Quick House Update 1/27/2014

Today we heard back from our Loan Processor that our Appraisal had come back, and everything was being sent to the Underwriter one last time for final approval. It will take about 48 hours to hear back, at which time it will go to the Closing Department to have the contract drafted and printed for our closing appointment on Friday.

Today we got our TV, Internet, and Electric all set up for switch over this weekend! It’s coming up so quick, we can’t wait!
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Easy Come, Easy Go

The funny thing about the process of house hunting is how fast your news can change.

Immediately after my last post, we went and looked at the houses from that post.

previous prospects

Our fist choice house turned out to have a contract written on it the night before we could see it. Our second choice was a quick no, once we realized it was nothing more than creative photography that made the living room look so spacious. And the third, well that one was interesting. We got there and were impressed by the house from the outside…. more so than we expected to be, actually. Yet when we got to the door, the key didn’t work! We hope to come back to this house at a later time, but don’t have a appointment scheduled yet. With our list significantly shortened, I begrudgingly suggested another house.  A house we both loved the outside of, but weren’t too fond of the living room in.  Sure enough, once we got in we realized that the “oddly laid out living room” was really just another unfortunate product of poor photography skills. The house was stunning.

So, I intended to log in this morning and share how we had put an offer on a beautiful house. 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2600 square feet.  It was beautiful with upgrades such as heavy, decorative iron doors, custom bathrooms, and designer light fixtures. We submitted our offer and crossed our fingers. Our offer was fair, and included a bit more than asking, with the request that they pay part of closing costs.

House1

Unfortunately, today we received their counter offer which told us loud and clear that they were unwilling to take 1cent less than their asking price, or pay 1cent towards closing. While we loved the house, we had our own hesitations on it, and ultimately decided to walk away from the deal.

While it was a hard decision, and one we definitely didn’t take lightly, I’m content in knowing that we made a smart decision.

There were a few functional issues with he house that we weren’t fond of.

1.) There was an awesome finished playroom over the attic, but it only was accessible through one of the secondary bedrooms.  That room couldn’t be made into the baby room or the kids wouldn’t be able to play in there while a baby sleeps, but I also don’t want to referee the battle over which kid gets that room. Not to mention, having to keep the room unavailable for impromptu, unchaperoned 2am play times.

2.) All those fancy upgrades??  While it was all beautiful, when we really sat down and talked about it, it wasn’t the style we were dreaming of for our first home. We picture less heavy wrought iron and more bright white with great lighting… so we would have been ultimately paying 30 years of interest on an up-charge for the upgrades we didn’t love, and would eventually replace. Not a smart choice.

Pictures found on Pinterest

Pictures found on Pinterest

At the end of the day, though, the decision really boiled down to what was right for our family. Our primary goal is to be sure that we can easily pay our mortgage, make upgrades to the house as we go along, and still live our lives – complete with dinner dates, movies, cupcake runs, etc. Those are the activities we aren’t willing to sacrifice in exchange for a bigger or fancier house. So, onward we go…. And we start compiling our next list of houses to see…
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Beginning of a long process

Well, the time has finally come for us to buy our first home together.
We’ve spent the last almost-six-months scrimping and saving so that we would be in a better position to buy at the end of the year and what do you know? It’s the end of the year!
We got everything set with our pre-approval this week, and now it’s on to finding houses to look at. Unfortunately, this is a TERRIBLE time of the year to be looking. Plenty of buyers are out there, evidently, but very few sellers, which means that out of the 15 or so houses on the market that fit into our price/requirements (ie: 4 bedrooms, geographical location, etc), once we rule out ones with low rated schools or non existent yards, we have (literally) 3 to look at.

HouseProspects

So those three addresses have been forwarded back to our realtor to set up appointments to go see, and we hope to have news of an offer in the next few weeks! That’s not to say we will for sure decide on one of these, or that we might not add in other options as we go along, but as of today, this is what we are looking at for the moment.  So please cross your fingers, say a prayer, or do a happy dance – whatever floats your boat – that we are able to find the right home and community for our family!
 

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