WootBot


quality posts: 14 Private Messages WootBot

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When last we spoke, my wife and I had just started the hulking, slow-moving machinery of potential home ownership into motion, confident in the knowledge that the process would be gradual and almost painfully slow. We girded ourselves for multiple home tours, exponential paperwork, inspections, offers and counter-offers, and perhaps even some disappointment along the way.

We close on the eighth.


For Sale
I really need a tripod.

It turned out that we fell in love with the fourth house we saw on our first tour: a smallish craftsman-style home built in the '40s and completely renovated from the ground up in 2004 sitting on a HUGE (for the city) lot with fruit trees, a greenhouse, hot tub, and children's playhouse that my wife is already planning to convert to a chicken coop. We literally had to pinch each other to put our poker faces on as we walked through the house, since the sellers' representative was there. Back in our realtors' car I let it all out: "Ronnie. Dave. We need this house."

In preparation for our first home tour, Ronnie and Dave had been sending us photos and listings and had coached us on the process. The phrase "when it's the right house, you'll just know" came up a lot, and to be honest I dismissed it as a bunch of hippie nonsense. Buying a house should be a rational and researched decision, not something you "just feel." But there I was, telling Ronnie enthusiastically that I was, indeed, feeling it. I could already see myself writing that novel I'm too lazy to finish in the home office, I could envision the dinner parties we'd host, and I had already come up with a crudely painted "CLOTHING PROHIBITED" sign for the hot tub.

The hitch was we had not anticipated finding anything that day, much less making an offer, so we were severely unorganized. But that's why you get a realtor, right? To walk you through the biggest spending decision of your life as your eyes glaze over and you stare into space while they hand you more things to initial. We had started the process of pre-approval from our bank, but we didn't have it confirmed yet. I anticipated that being a problem, and my wife was supremely nervous about the possibility of getting denied or something, but I told her if we were going to get denied it was going to happen anyway and we might as well find out while pursuing the house we both loved.

We made a "strong" offer. They made a counter-offer. We countered their counter. They accepted. That all happened in like a day and a half. I'm not even exaggerating. We went to bed that night giddy with the thought of owning a home but also nervous at the thought of something tanking the whole operation. The next day my wife woke up saying she didn't want the house.


Contracts
"You could've told me that before the carpal tunnel set in."
 
You can't try to talk your spouse into buying a home with you. They have to come to it on their own terms, unless you want to gamble that in 10 or 15 years they won't be shrieking at you and blaming you for forcing them into a house they never wanted. See, some people go into a house thinking, "Well I don't like this one little detail, but I can get over it. Maybe it'll even grow on me!" But it won't. It's going to gnaw at you, day and night, every time you walk past it, until finally one day you snap and your husband asks if you want to get a pizza and you scream, "THE CROWN MOLDING IN THIS KITCHEN IS AS MONSTROUS AS YOU ARE, YOU SON OF A B----!" and run sobbing out the door to stay in a hotel.

I've heard.

So I let her percolate on things for a bit, and it turned out most of her concerns were with the process itself, as in it was not going the way she had planned and she thought it was too fast. My response was if there's an issue with the house itself then yes we absolutely have to hold off, but if it's the process and paperwork that's got you down then let's just let the realtors do their jobs and take care of it for us. By the end of the day, she was back on board.

We were pretty much good to go as far as agreeing to terms, we just needed our friendly local gigantic international bank to deem us legit. Our loan officer person kept telling us "48 hours." Then 48 hours would go by and we'd get the same response. It's a horrible limbo to be in, imagining the folks at the bank rummaging through the financial equivalent of your underwear drawer looking for all the dirt they can find. Friday night we got the word we'd been waiting for: APPROVED!

All told it took eight days from seeing the house to getting everything lined up. There could still be a catastrophic failure, in which case I'm sure going to feel stupid writing this, but so far it looks like full steam ahead into home ownership!

I'm told our results are not typical.

Think Randall moved too fast? Got a horrific home-buying story of your own to share? Want advice on buying YOUR first home now that we've got an expert? Fire away in the comments!





Flickr photos For Sale by Ian Muttoo and Contracts by NobMouse used under a Creative Commons License.

chicken0102


quality posts: 41 Private Messages chicken0102

Congrats Randall! We had closed on our first house on Aug 6 after tossing a lot of houses out that we saw online and most of the houses that we visited (over an approx 1 month period). The biggest dealbreaker for us was that a lot of them had moldy basements

DennisG2010


quality posts: 19 Private Messages DennisG2010

Hey - congratulations!
The house sounds awesome.

I looked at a ton of houses and even made an offer on one that fell through.

When I saw this house, I knew right away it was the one and was damn glad I didn't get the other one.

It surprised me how comfortable I was here on the first night I moved in; it immediately felt like I was home.

In the 11 years since, a lot of annoying little problems have revealed themselves, mostly due to a previous owner's sloppy DIY, but I've never regretted buying this house - even though one day I'll probably gut it and rebuild it.

jshetrone


quality posts: 0 Private Messages jshetrone

Definitely not too fast! When you know, you know. The first time we bought a house, we looked 3 or 4 places on one day and had an offer on one by the end of the day.

The process for buying our second house was a bit longer. Put an offer on one house, the seller wouldn't negotiate. Put an offer on a second house, had it accepted contingent on the sellers finding a house, and then waited around for almost 2 months for a closing date. Finally gave them the boot and found a house that we absolutely love, even 6 years later.

dcobranchi


quality posts: 0 Private Messages dcobranchi

Not terribly fast, especially when you can do virtual tours long before you ever visit any houses IRL.

We've bought 3 houses now. Our fastest purchase was 5.5 hours from the time we visited the first home on our list to the time our offer (on the 6th house we visited) had been accepted. We knew what we wanted and had done our homework beforehand.

phuongnwade


quality posts: 0 Private Messages phuongnwade

That's not too fast. For a our second home, we scanned online for a month or so, and only visited 4 houses. The one we purchased, we saw online on Sunday, visited on Friday, put the offer in on Saturday, and they accepted on Monday.

mooocow130


quality posts: 0 Private Messages mooocow130

Just as a comparison, I bought a house about 2 years ago. The process from my first tour of inspections to closing took about 7 months. The paperwork itself took about 2-3 of those months. I even had pre-approval on my mortgage loan (then again, I ended up buying a short sale, so it had to get additional approvals from the previous owner's bank or something like that).

Anyway, be glad for your speedy process...the longer it drags out the more anxious it makes you. I was a nervous wreck by the time everything was finalized. Good luck, and congrats!

sunnyx0r


quality posts: 9 Private Messages sunnyx0r

We bought our first house about 2 1/2 years ago. We got pre-approved beforehand, looked at about 10 houses, put an offer on one that fell through, then put an offer on the one we own now. That whole process from "Let's go to the bank and see if they'll approve us for a loan" to actually closing on the house took about two months.

I think it goes faster when neither party has another house to sell or buy - we bought someone's vacation home.

One thing I noticed you didn't mention, and just in case you were considering not doing this: get a home inspector in there before you close! Very important! If you were already planning on it, then ignore me.

brokerbeach


quality posts: 0 Private Messages brokerbeach

Congrats.

I don't think you moved too quick. In some markets homes are gone within 24-48 hours due to lack of inventory. I'm really surprised the seller accepted your offer without having a pre-approval letter in hand. That's a big no-no in our area.

AnniKat


quality posts: 5 Private Messages AnniKat

We bought our house a long time ago (27 years), but it was the ONLY house we looked at. We weren't planning to move then, but it WAS the right house for us. It took a few weeks, since we were starting from scratch.

Our realtor said she had had one other family, in her whole career, that only looked at 1 house.

/\~/\- ))
>'x'< (( AnniKat
/ - \ _))

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
sunnyx0r wrote:We bought our first house about 2 1/2 years ago. We got pre-approved beforehand, looked at about 10 houses, put an offer on one that fell through, then put an offer on the one we own now. That whole process from "Let's go to the bank and see if they'll approve us for a loan" to actually closing on the house took about two months.

I think it goes faster when neither party has another house to sell or buy - we bought someone's vacation home.

One thing I noticed you didn't mention, and just in case you were considering not doing this: get a home inspector in there before you close! Very important! If you were already planning on it, then ignore me.



I did forget to mention it. The inspector came and went with the only issue being an outlet wired backwards. It's a 10 minute fix for me so I wasn't worried.

ThunderThighs


quality posts: 546 Private Messages ThunderThighs

Staff

Congrats.

Every home I've purchased had the "this is it" feeling. For this one, it started with that really Cool Electronic Keyless Entry on the front door and ended in the media room upstairs.

It's great that it was recently updated too!



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ajoachim


quality posts: 0 Private Messages ajoachim

Sadly, my house hunting process has been on the (much) longer side of things. After a first offer falling through due to structural issues, and three more of our "this is the house" moments being crushed by bids above asking (even when WE bid above), the process has definitely become much more of an emotional roller coaster.

I'm encouraged by all of the positive experiences, though, and will keep on moving on. Fingers crossed!

Xeryon


quality posts: 3 Private Messages Xeryon

Speed is not relevant. If you like what you see then buy it. Any problem ever had with a house can be repaired. I love home inspectors because they ALWAYS find something you can use to your advantage to try and leverage a better price.

My current house buying process went as follows: Check bank account, see how much money I have, open an MLS search engine and filter everything over that price, look at 4 of them the next weekend, put offer for house in on the Monday, closed and had house in hand that Friday. The total process for decision to look to completion took 10 days and only that long because banks don't like to immediately deposit personal checks drawn for 14k.

SESteve


quality posts: 15 Private Messages SESteve

When we were looking for our second house thirteen years ago I had one rule: no fixer-uppers. On the first day we looked a nine places. When we got to the last one we knew this was the spot where we could potentially spend the rest of our lives. Of course the house was a dump and nearly a complete fixer-upper. So we rented it out for a year (to someone building a house two properties away) and saved up more money. Ripped the kitchen down to the studs and subfloor and built a new one before we moved in.

Today we are in the middle of a remodel that is going to cost about as much as we paid for the house in the first place. Finally we'll be in the spot as well as the house where we want to spend the rest of our lives.

llandar


quality posts: 32 Private Messages llandar
ajoachim wrote:Sadly, my house hunting process has been on the (much) longer side of things. After a first offer falling through due to structural issues, and three more of our "this is the house" moments being crushed by bids above asking (even when WE bid above), the process has definitely become much more of an emotional roller coaster.

I'm encouraged by all of the positive experiences, though, and will keep on moving on. Fingers crossed!



Fingers crossed! It can be a really draining experience, and I say that knowing full well my experience went particularly well.

scarlettesong


quality posts: 3 Private Messages scarlettesong

We move a lot, so when we moved to our new job, we had 2 weeks to find a place to live before funding ran out (the companies, not ours). We decided we wanted to buy our first house this time. We arrived and a mere 3 days later we were on the hunt and pre-approved by the bank. We looked the 1st day at 5 or 6 houses, but the realtor kept talking up some house with "9 foot ceilings". Not exactly a priority so I ignored it; plus it was a tad more expensive. He was hitting everything we asked for but nothing grabbed us immediately.

Finally after deciding the last house was probably the one, I said, "Sure. Why not show us this house you've been talking about all day." It was the one. It had the one condition not being fulfilled by the other houses (bedrooms on the 2nd floor) because they had no second floor. We were upsold, but we loved it!

Next day right into paperwork and finding a loan. We went with a local financier instead of our bank because they could close faster and gave us a lower interest rate with some bargaining. 23 days from our arrival here, we had a new house. A year later, I still don't regret any of it.

rochelleluck


quality posts: 0 Private Messages rochelleluck
llandar wrote:I did forget to mention it. The inspector came and went with the only issue being an outlet wired backwards. It's a 10 minute fix for me so I wasn't worried.



Not getting a thorough enough inspection on our 1st house was our biggest issue. Seriously, unless you have a decent amount saved for repairs & the like, get a really good inspector, get the extra tests, and get any of the needed repairs put in the agreement, or maybe funds in escrow to fix. In our current (2nd) home, the homeowner was a bad DIY - the inspector found a LOT of electrical safety issues, so the seller basically had to get the whole house re-wired.

In our 1st house, the basement had hidden (behind drywalled-over paneling, over wet crumbling drywall) leaks and a bad mold issue. This was a very large expense and health issues (black mold) found a year after buying. It was BAD.

I'd also suggest - get the seller to provide a home warrantee - covers all structure & appliances for the 1st year (got us a new washer & dryer when the included set broke 2 months in).

Other than that, we loved that 1st house, it was "the one"... just wish we would've known about those 2 things, or we'd still be there...

Good luck!!

klozitshoper


quality posts: 2 Private Messages klozitshoper

Congratulations on finding the house sooner than later. When you look and look and don,t find what you really want, it often becomes easier to "settle" for one you are really not thrilled with. Then you find yourself regretting that you did not hang in long enough. Good news on the inspection too.

originalinkrat


quality posts: 0 Private Messages originalinkrat

Wait! A chicken coop? I'm getting chickens instead of grandchildren?