Thursday, July 12, 2012

House hunting

It's taken us quite a bit of time to get to the point where we feel comfortable buying a house, but I'm so glad we got there. We started thinking about buying a house back in late winter but didn't feel we were really ready for it. So we decided to boost our savings so that when we did finally feel ready, the money would be right there waiting for us.

Fast forward a couple months and we decided it didn't hurt to start to see what was out on the market ourselves. We started looking at houses that were much closer to my job, sine I currently drive about 35 minutes to get to work. After driving by some available houses and through some neighborhoods we decided that being that much closer to my job wasn't going to work for us. We wanted to be in a nicer neighborhood and have good quality schools nearby for when there are school age little ones.

Feeling a bit defeated by this realization, we moved back into the "renting is better" camp. Last month we decided we were ready to actually commit to buying a house, which meant we needed to figure out what to do next! We put in applications to get prequalified because the internet told us that was the right thing to do. After getting prequalified from our credit union we needed to find a realtor. Steve asked around at work and got a recommendation from a colleague for a realtor that was especially good with first time home buyers.

Right about this time work got incredibly crazy for me, so Steve took all of the burden of contacting her and setting up an initial meeting. He thought she would be a good realtor, so I trusted his judgement even though I didn't meet her until we started viewing homes.

Steve and I decided we want 3 bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, and a kitchen that isn't too updated. I'm picky about what I want in a kitchen and have tons of good ideas on pinterest so I definitely don't want a house that has a kitchen that was recently updated.

Our first tour of homes was several weekends ago. We looked at 6 different homes with various floor plans. Our main goal for that first outing was to narrow down any floor plans we especially did or didn't like. Turns out that I don't care for quad level houses (too many stairs) and we both really loved the layout of ranches. There was one house we both particularly loved. It was beautifully updated and had a lot of character which we both want in a house, but it was clear that it wouldn't take long for us to grow out of the house. The couple selling it clearly had 3 small kids and they were out of room.

Cutest kitchen! Almost exactly how I would decorate it!

But it was pretty small.

 This house had a cool first floor layout, but the location was terrible.

The following weekend, we looked at 4 more houses and one of them, a ranch, caught out eye as being a fantastic house. It was quite reasonably priced and didn't need any work prior to moving in. In fact it likely wouldn't have needed work for quite some time as all of the big ticket items were pretty new. We did a lot of thinking and decided to go back for another showing last Monday. After looking it over one more time we decided to put in an offer as it really was just too good to pass up. Sadly, someone else put in a cash offer, which for the sellers is obviously more attractive.

Beautiful living room in offer #1 house

Naturally we were bummed that we didn't get the house, but we're getting right back out there and looking for something else that we will love. I had to work all weekend, so Steve went out on Saturday with the realtor to look at a few more potential houses. He liked one, again a ranch, enough for us to go back and take a second look at it. Steve thinks it will need some of the bigger items relatively soon (furnace, windows, and air conditioning) but its priced well to accommodate those requirements. We liked it enough to put an offer in today, but I'm keeping my expectations low as there have been a lot of showings on this house. Earliest we would hear back is Friday, so now we sit tight and wait some more!

Family room/formal dining room in offer #2 house

Fireplace in the living room.

The workshop in the garage (Steve's favorite)

View of the house from the back of the property line! Tons of land, which is quite uncommon for the area.

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