Clearly, I haven’t been posting as regularly as usual over the past 6 weeks. I “had a million things going on” and was “busy”. But it wasn’t just work/classes busy, despite what I wanted you all to believe. We were buying a house! I didn’t want to share too much too soon, in case it turned out not to be true. (I refused to believe we could be so fortunate until after the signing was complete.) But I’ve officially crossed #63 off my 101 in 1001 list and we are now homeowners!
As I’m definitely a house buying novice, I’ve learned a lot in the past year or so. Certainly many of my observations may be obvious to anyone with any experience, but they were all new to me.
Buying a house can feel like a full time job: It seemed like there was a decent amount to do before we found our home. I was constantly getting email updates from Trulia about new houses in my area that were for sale, or prices that had changed. I was checking the paper and realty websites weekly to see if there were any upcoming open houses. But once we made an offer on this house, things really got busy. There were meetings with realtors and emails with lawyers and banks and inspections and shopping. We only saw the house for the first time at the beginning of March, so it’s been a wild ride.
As with most aspects of life, I do not know how anyone accomplished anything without the internet: As I’ve already mentioned, I did most of our house hunting online, as I expect most people do currently. But when the internet really was useful was once we’d settled on this house. It was so convenient to email back and forth with the involved parties instead of playing phone tag constantly. In addition, it’s easy to pass along information from Brian to myself, or myself to our realtor, or our realtor to our bank.
Once you get started, things move really fast: Once our offer was accepted, it seemed like there was a lot to do before the closing and many of those things had deadlines. Buying a house is not one of those situations where you get to work at your own pace.
It’s nice to have a buyer’s realtor: We were advised not to have a buyers realtor, but instead to only work with the realtor selling the property. But shortly after starting our search we realized we wanted to look at homes that weren’t having open houses and it would be much easier to have a realtor coordinate that instead of calling all the different realtors in the area every time we wanted to see a property. Our realtor was wonderful. He listened to us, he didn’t push, he took us to any home we wanted to see, he offered suggestions and he really paid attention to what we were looking for. He also didn’t hesitate to point out flaws in the properties we visited.
Just like getting married or having a baby, everyone has advice about the “right” way: On one hand, this is awesome. We were able to work with some great people through this process because they were recommended to us by people we trusted. It was so good to get clarification from others about what we were doing. At the same time, not all homes are the same, not all realtors are the same and Brian and I are not completely stupid.
Be patient, there’s always something better: Though I never mentioned it here, Brian and I made an offer on another property in December. A property we’d been ready to go for in the fall when it was suddenly pulled from the market. When our realtor let us know that the house was available again, we jumped at it. Clearly its return was a sign that we were meant to have it! But we were unable to agree with the seller on a price. As sad as we were, we had to believe that God has something better in store. Of course, he did, and we are so much happier with the house we ended up with.
Be prepared to see a few more house related posts in the next couple weeks (and beyond!) I can’t wait to show you my new kitchen!
image via burienundressedblog on Flikr