Thursday, June 5, 2014

That One Time When We Bought a House

Nothing makes you feel like an adult like buying a house. I think it has something to do with the thousands of dollars that are no longer in our savings account. It's such a huge decision, and there are so many variables and so many things to think about. And every aspect of the decision is stressful. You have to find a good realtor. And then you have to find a good lender. And then you have to find the house itself, taking into consideration the style, the age, the neighborhood, the yard, the condition, and about a thousand other things. A lot goes into buying a house, and understandably so. This is the place we're going to live for the next ten years or so. We're going to bring kids into this place, man.

But I digress. This story isn't just the story of finding the house that we want to spend a good chunk of our lives in. This is also a perfect example of how when God says, "Do this thing!", you end up doing that thing, even if you didn't think you were ready to do that thing quite yet.

As of about the beginning of April, Andrew and I were thinking about buying a house. In a year. It just felt like it was the right next step for us in our lives. We had had a whole discussion about how we felt a strong prompting that we needed to get into a house (all at IKEA, while looking at [and drooling over] their awesome kitchens). The lease for our apartment was ending on May 31, so we figured that we would sign for another year contract and save up some more money and do a really thorough job of looking at houses and finding what we really wanted. It felt like such a good plan that we even went to the office to re-sign our contract, but we were told that they would write up the contract and deliver it to us. So we figured that was fine and went on our way.

But because we were thinking seriously about it, we wanted to get some of the process started: Find a realtor, get preapproved, etc. As we got into that process, we realized that there might be a benefit to buying a little earlier. So we talked to our apartment office again and discovered that we had the option to sign a six-month contract instead, which was great to hear. We thought that might be a better timeline for us so that if we found a house earlier than expected, we wouldn't be stuck with an entire year-long contract along with our mortgage.

We continued looking into things more, and I started getting a little anxious. Mostly about that six-month timeline. I wanted to make sure that we wouldn't have to buy out a contract or pay rent and a mortgage. To make matters worse, we only had until April 15 to sign a contract to get a lower rate on our rent. I hated that we had to decide so soon what our timeline would be. We then went into the office again to find out if we could sign a contract up until our current lease expired, even if we had to pay a higher rate. At this point, it had been a couple of weeks since we were told that the office would deliver our contract, and it still hadn't happened. We ended up talking to the same girl who promised to get that done, and she immediately recognized us and felt all sorts of bad for being a slacker. She then promised that we could sign for the lower rate up until May 31. I felt much better about this because it gave us some breathing room in making a decision.

Our next step was to meet with a realtor. We met with Shauna, who came highly recommended. She came over to our apartment and got an idea of what we were looking for and what we could afford. Then she asked us about the lease at our apartment. When we told her that our contract was up on May 31 and that we were trying to decide how soon we wanted to buy, she told us to buy now. Interest rates are still really low, and they are projected to go up by the end of the year. She also said that spring is when all the houses go on the market, which creates good competition for buyers. Shauna said she could get us into a house by mid-June.

The whole time Shauna was talking, I just felt like we needed to follow her advice. I felt so good about working with her and about buying a house now instead of waiting. Once she left, Andrew told me that he felt the same way. So we decided that we were going to start looking.

We met with Shauna on Monday, and that Thursday, we started the hunt. We looked at quite a few houses that we absolutely did not like. There was one that we liked, but we didn't love it, and there were a lot of things that needed to be fixed. We had gotten a good idea that day of what houses looked like at what we thought was in our price range, and they weren't fantastic. So we went home and took a really hard look at what we could afford, and we upped our price a little bit. On Saturday, we spent four hours looking at nine houses, and we found a couple that we really liked. But in the end, we decided not to put an offer on either of them.

So the next Monday, we went and looked at more houses. The first one we looked at was cute, but the backyard needed to be completely redone. It didn't even have sod; just a bunch of weeds and a wooden fence that was falling down. The next couple were definite no-gos. Then we pulled up to this adorable little blue rambler in West Jordan. It was at the end of a cul-de-sac, and the front yard was beautiful. We walked in, and everything just felt right. We loved the paint choices. The kitchen wasn't super up to date, but it was nice and well cared for. And the backyard was AMAZING. It was so big, and the landscaping was so perfect we thought the owners had to be professionals. Everything about the house felt good. The basement was finished, and finished nicely. It had a formal living room upstairs and a family room downstairs. It had a pretty big laundry room. It even had a room for cold storage. It was obvious to everyone that this was the best house we had looked at so far.

I know that I loved it. Andrew did too, but it was at the very top of our price range, and that made him a little nervous. But Shauna talked to the seller's agent and told us there was some wiggle room on the price, so we decided to put in an offer. Which was nerve-racking, but so exciting. And then the next morning, I got a call from Shauna telling me that our offer was accepted with no issues.

So after three days of shopping, we found our house. We had met with our realtor a mere week before we signed our offer. It was insane. And everything from that point on went insanely smoothly. No major issues came up in the inspection. There were absolutely no hiccups in processing our loan. The sellers had no problems on their side, either. We could have closed a week earlier than we did because of how easy everything was. It's still so surreal to me that we own a house, but I could not be more excited about it. I can't wait to be done with moving and to make this place our home.

1 comment:

Gail said...

I am SO excited!!! Can't wait to see it...and sell our house....and move in to YOUR basement for a while!