Saturday, June 02, 2012

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The Home Buying Adventure (Part 1)

3/16
So the talk has begun. It was kinda always a "one day when we own a home" kinda thing. Now its becoming more real. With how these last 4 years have panned out, I really truly believe everything happens for a reason and even something tragic that has happened say 4 years ago, can set the course for something truly amazing down the line. I really believe that. So without getting into any details in what we earn or what we pay in rent, we have come to the quick realization that we pay as much in rent as we would pay if we owned a decent house and honestly that's saying a lot for Flagstaff area homes. The same house down in the Valley would be 50-100K less than here. So the fact that we are eligible for a decent home in such a beautiful location like Flagstaff makes us soo very happy!

About a year ago we were thinking we would have to move out of state to buy anything decent, but that has since changed and honestly I would rather my kids be close to family. My children don't have any grandfathers, and so far really only 1 active grandmother in their lives, a few wonderful aunts and an uncle. I would truly miss our crazy holiday get togethers, and I'm hoping after we buy a home, we'll be able to have those occasional summer barbecues with a nice big backyard.

Things seem to be panning out in an amazing way and we will be looking at a few houses tomorrow with a friend of ours who is a Realtor. We have begun looking at financing and are oh so ready to get this ball rolling. The months ahead are sure to be tough ones as we pack, paint, move, buy and organize our life into something that we can call ours. I of course will have my camera with me snapping away at our entire moving process and this whole home buying experience and of course will document it on this blog. Tomorrow it starts! :) I'm so excited!



3/17
Today we looked at three houses. They were the ones on the list that looked a little interesting, one of them had a heated driveway which I thought was interesting and would be very handy with snow as the driveway is a bit steep up to the house. This home has a lot of potential for us to upgrade it in many ways, but there's parts of it I don't really like. I don't like the open back yard so my little ones can't really play safely outside without a hundred percent supervision and I feel like in the winter when it snows the steep slope from the backyard to the front yard, while perfect for sledding, it just runs right into the road and that scares me. But on the bright side. It has a room with a nice wooden floor and a cute little window seat in the front living room for J to sit at and read his books. It was definitely a house within price range.

The second house we looked at was built in 1974 and it definitely was an interesting one. It had four levels. Yes four levels to this house! It was tucked into a nice little coldasac with amazing trees all around it, but the inside while architecturally interesting just seemed like it would need too many upgrades to make it livable or worth something. The walls were made of plywood, or so it seemed and the countertops looked like it had bathroom tiles on them, not pretty at all. The wood flooring definitely needed work, it would all have to be replaced. While we aren't afraid of hard work to make a place nice and the idea of a fixer up is a nice aspect to look at for reselling, we really don't want things to be a money pit. 

3/20
Today we looked at another house that seemed really similar to the house we already live in except that it actually had a big decent sized back yard. It had no trees, but it did have grass, which is what I've always wanted for the kids. It had a great master bathroom, but the master bed room seemed small and didn't seem like it would accommodation our bedroom set.

The living room was small and definitely wouldn't fit our 10 foot couch we have. The good thing about it, it has a dinning room and I've always wanting a dinning room to have family meals at instead of just eating our meals on the couch.

Then we looked at an older style home that was built in the seventies. I walked in and loved the wood like tile floors on the first level and especially the deck off the kitchen area that hung over a pretty spacious backyard. The only thing was the lower level just seemed weird with a really small bathroom that was supposed to be the master bedroom. It just had this really old seventies style feel to the home. Not modern in any way, but it did have new appliances in the kitchen and nice counter tops.

So far our search is coming up with things that just don't quit fit what we've pictured in our heads. For me a must have is a safe enclosed backyard for a child to play in. 3 bed rooms, a fire place and at least 1 little area or nook in the house that I can call my "me" area. We are looking at a house tomorrow that hopefully will meet our needs.

3/22
Yesterday we looked at this amazing house in a really upscale neighborhood with tall pines all around. I was skeptical about this house from the pictures our realtor sent us, but the pictures proved to be nothing like what the place is really like. Walking up to the house, things just looked different from the picture and then once inside we discovered it was actually bigger than described. It had an office off of the family room, the family room lead into the living room with an open range kitchen, had three lovely bedrooms on the first floor, then what I like to call the "man/woman caves". I could have an office, a place to blog upstairs away from the kids and Hunky Hubs' could have a man cave upstairs as well. This place had a big enough back yard for the kids to explore safely and it is completely enclosed. A lot of neighborhoods in Flagstaff do not allow enclosed fences, thankfully this one did, and the yard wrapped around so that I could have a herb or vegetable garden on either side of the house. The patio was big enough for a table and chairs and a Jacuzzi. It has a fireplace, but the kitchen is a bit small, so it looks like we will have to put an island in and more cupboard and count space. Upon doing a walk thru of the house, Hunky Hubs and I pretty much determined this was the house for us and like our realtor said, we would be walking into the house with some equity. So we decided to see if we could go ahead and finance it. We met with a broker today, then this evening met with our Realtor and put an offer in on the house. It originally went on the market at almost half a million, so we really believe we can get it up to about where it was at with great care and putting some hard work and money into it, it appears that this house will be a steal in the long run. So right now we are waiting for the sellers response and to hear back from the broker about our loan application. We are excitedly waiting the day to be home owners, but as many of you may know, buying a house takes a long time.

3/23
Wow! So today we were taken on a mini roller coaster ride! It started off today with our Realtor emailing us more papers we needed to fill out and send back to her immediately. We did this... a few hours later we got an email back saying the seller agreed to our contract! We were stoked because that meant they were paying the closing costs. All we had to do was jump through all the loop holes with the bank. Then not a half hour after that, our Realtor called to tell us that the house went into foreclosure. My heart sunk. Out of all the houses we looked at, this one had so much potential, and to have the seller not counter offer, had our hearts a sailing. We really did have our hearts set on this house, but while we wait to see what the bank is going to do with the house or what they are going to re-list it as, we will be continuing our search, but its so hard when you have your hearts set on "the one" to look at any other house. Maybe this is just something that will be a little harder to do because good things take time and patients. We could still get this house...but its probably more months down the line of searching and closing a deal.


3/25
So after having ourselves a little pity party about the house that was ours for about 15 minutes (in theory), we've decided in the mean time, at least for the next month we will continue our search for the right house. It was funny, Hunky Hubs and I just for shits, pulled up houses in Phoenix within our price range and discovered we could get everything we wanted in a house within our price range, even a pool. 4 bedrooms, 2 car garage, enclosed backyards and spacious kitchen and dinning rooms. It was sickening how much it actually costs to live in the pines, almost 100,000 more. But there are some homes that we looked at this weekend outside the city limits that are well within our price range and we'd even be paying less per month than we pay renting this town home and sits on an acre or more of property, so really it just depends on where you want to live and how much work you want to put into a place to make it what you want. So we've compiled some more houses to look at this coming week and we'll see if we can make them what we want. What we save in mortgage, we can put into the house to make it even better, like hard wood floors or extending rooms.


3/27
So today we looked at five houses! One was way out of our price range but depending on how long it stays on the market, we could talk them down lower. Three were at the top of our budget, and one was right within range. This one I didn't even want to see due to the outside picture of the place. It had absolutely no front landscaping, just grass and it was old weedy grass at that. But it was the first house we saw today. When you walk in, the landing area goes up to the dinning room, or down to the living room. We went up first to wood like flooring. I can't be clear if its just "wood-like" tile or real wood floors. I'm assuming wood like tile, but it did have custom cabinets, a walk in pantry, and stainless steal appliances. That was a major plus, upgrading a kitchen can be costly, all it needed was repainting. It didn't have a fridge, so that is one of our number 1 purchases if we were to go with that house. The rooms over all were kinda small and our master bedroom would barely fit our bedroom set. The bright side, it has a big enclosed back yard of grass for J to play in!! We've only seen one other backyard with grass like that and that was with the house that wouldn't even fit our couch.  It has a two car garage. Four bedrooms plus an office nook for me. Scott would turn the forth bedroom into a man cave/second living room.

The other three we looked at had the exact same floor plan except the firsts one of those we looked at had such a steep drive way if you were to drive in, it would feel like you were taking off to the moon! Not good for snow or ice! NOT GOOD! I just don't know why you build homes like that in a place where it snows til April every year! Anyway the rooms were spacious and built in 2000 or newer.

So that night we went home and talked it over and decided to put in an offer on the first house we saw. We low balled an offer to them by about 20,000 under the asking price, they have til April 1st to accept or counter our offer...we could be home owners soon!


3/30
Today we went out of town to go to a wedding in Phoenix but when we looked up the client portal to see if there were any new listings we discovered the house we put an offer in on dropped by $15,000! Now we are wondering why the heck they didn't get our offer!? We contacted our realtor right away and discovered that the listing agent was in Death Valley for the week and into the weekend and wasn't able to get our offer to the Bank (this is a bank owned home) that means all the paperwork we signed giving them til April 1st to decide is null en-void if it gets to them after April 1st. Man this is getting depressing fast, as the selection on our price range in Flagstaff is not the best.

3/31
After contacting our Realtor she told us they are extending the offer til April 3rd. So we should know something Monday or Tuesday! We are keeping our fingers crossed!

4/2
We've heard absolutely nothing from our realtor. It appears our application was looked over and they will probably go with someone else's offer as it expires very soon. We are very discouraged as we don't want to sign a new lease where we are renting and now we are wondering if we should have started our search for a house 6 months prior than 4 months prior to needing to move. This house hunting/buying thing is getting a bit stressful.

4/3
Hunky Hubs and I can't stand the waiting any longer and we discover that a co-worker of his has put an offer in on the same house. So we immediately contact our realtor to see where our offer stands and if it even made it to the bank. With a few texts emails and phone calls we discover the bank counter offered by just a difference of 2 grand and Hunky Hubs accepted the deal. The bank will pay $6,360 toward closing costs with an estimated closing date of May 25th!! We could totally be home owners very soon. We just have paperwork to fill out tonight and of course the whole property inspection process to go thru.  We went from depressed to excited again within a few hours!

4/4
So it looks like we have a verbal agreement with the bank right now on our offer. Its a great offer in addition to just a $2 grand difference from the start of our negotiations we get a 2 year warranty with the home. That means if the roof leaks, we can get it fixed under warranty, if we have plumbing issues we can get those taken care of. My job today is to search for home owners insurance. The inspection process starts next week where you go over the home with a fine tooth comb and pick out any problems you'd like the owner to fix before handing over the keys.


4/9
After 4 days of waiting...ugh we hate waiting, we were officially emailed our contract for the house this morning. I got the kids all dressed to go and get our cashiers check for Escrow, got to the bank, realized I forgot my wallet at home, drove home got it, went back, then dropped off more papers to our broker to sign, had to pee really bad driving home, was speeding, pulled over by a cop who was nice enough to see I had impatient children in the back seat and gave me a warning....whew...what a morning! This evening our realtor will sit down with us because we have more papers to sign.


4/11
Today I called to set up an appointment with a home inspector. This is another out of pocket expense since we are dealing with a foreclosed home and foreclosed homes are sold as is. We aren't too worried. There are a lot of upgrades to the house, like stainless steel appliances and custom cabinets and new wood like floors, but its still another expense. The inspection is for our own protection on the home. Still waiting to hear that the bank signed the papers and for our Escrow Period to officially begin.



4/12
We have signed bank papers! We are in Escrow!! We conduct our own inspection Saturday and then an official inspection next Thursday! Yipeee!!!


4/13
Today we signed more loan papers with our broker and our house will be appraised soon.


4/14
Today we did our own inspection of the place and it is strange how when you go back to a place, it suddenly looks different than you originally thought. This was a plus for us. The dinning room seemed a lot bigger than I first remembered and the kitchen a lot nicer. There are some cosmetic things to work on with the house and both the inside and outside need a paint job, but that's the fun part for us! We are so excited to make this place our own. I picked out paint samples today after we got back and I"m already brain storming colors. I can see all our family dinners in the kitchen and the boys out playing football in the back yard on Thanksgiving. The bedrooms a little small and dated with wood paneling we plan on taking down and we plan on taking down a wall in the master bedroom and making a sitting area or nook. There are things that Hunky Hubs is excited to do with the house and things I'm excited to do like expand the back deck/porch and make one for the front entrance. I can't begin to tell you how excited I'm starting to get.











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