Posts Tagged ‘first home’


Whelp, it’s been quite a crazy few weeks. I don’t even remember when or what I last wrote.

The past few weekends since STT have been so wonderful, with much less travel. The Husband and I spent the majority of those weekends (aside from a few friends and family dinners) house hunting. I created a crazy little spreadsheet of course, with every house in our price range available in the area we wanted, along with all the various information (lot size, sq ft., bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) and we mapped out the open houses and went with our realtor to others. We made sure to get pre-approved so if we did make an offer, it would be taken seriously.

After walking through about 15 houses total, I felt pretty disappointed. Nothing looked like the pictures. Everything was a fixer upper (to the extreme). A few houses smelled, I’m talking smelled like someone died in there. (One of my house notes is actually “someone definitely died on this god-awful green carpet.”)

After seeing a house that we really thought we would love, but quickly realized it would need a good 75+k in renovations and updates, we went off to see a house on a street that both the Husband and I continuously drove down and prayed for a house to come on the market. In fact, there was one house on that street right when we started looking but it sold in 1 day!

You would think we would have been more excited to go see it, but it was listed almost at the top of our price range (well what we wanted to spend to be able to put 10% down), and we just assumed it would still need a whole host of updates much like the others. Plus it had a pool. (Many people see that as a positive – I feared the liability, kids, Bentley and of course maintenance.)

But see, we walked into the house and I just knew. Finally. A house that felt like home.

You walk into a mud room, and then into this big beautiful open living room, filled with windows. It’s an old colonial from the 1920’s, since updated, but still has a lot of that New England Charm. It had a beautiful dining room area, completely open to the living room and a small, semi updated kitchen. There’s a full bathroom, laundry room and a 3 season porch behind the kitchen area – overlooking the gorgeous pool and bonus, there is actually a small yard next to the pool, and all of the yard is fenced in for Bentley.

The upstairs was even better than I expected. 3 beautiful bedrooms with polished hard woods, crown molding, and so many windows. A large full bath shared among the floor (not ideal, but with a full bath downstairs, it’s better than when I grew up with 1 bathroom and 3 women). Then in the guest/office room (or what I envision it to be) is a stair case leading up to a semi-finished loft (white wood panel walls, but with electric heat and otherwise finished). They used it as a bedroom (it has a second egress) and nursery area and it could easily be used as a guest room, a play room, or hell, a dressing room for now. Plus, I hadn’t realized it, but at the very end we walked downstairs into a half-finished basement – set up for a den like area including a bar. So much living space!

And we just knew. It was the house.

So the following night, this past Friday, we made an offer. We hoped it was a good enough offer, one that would stop them from holding their first open house that Sunday, but one that would be good for us too, as we didn’t want to pay a dime in closing costs (which seem to run about $6k). We did a little negotiating over the longest hour of my life, and finally we still came in under the listing price, and with them fully covering all closing costs. Both parties agreed and both parties signed.

I can’t believe that right now, we are almost homeowners.

The inspection is this Thursday. I am not too worried, since we had the Husband’s dad who is a builder walk through with us – and he checked in on the electrical, foundation, and so on but of course there could be lead and other unknown issues. I just pray that whatever they are, they aren’t big enough to lose the house over.

And if it all goes well, our purchase and sales is on Tuesday the 10th and closing is set for July 8th. Holy hell, it’s like 5 weeks away. Time to spend days gathering and supplying countless amounts of paperwork. In the matter of 5 weeks we will be putting a full 10% of the agreed price down – a huge amount of money (vomit) – but it’s totally worth it.

I just want to get to the point where we know it’s ours. When I can really start planning the furniture layout, the colors, and everything we need to do before moving in without having that worry in the back of my mind that something could go awry. When I can share some pictures!

I just have this underlying feeling of this is the right place and that this is our house. I just keep telling everyone…pool parties in August! (I’m actually super excited about the pool now!) 🙂

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Okay so it hasn’t completed burst, just deflated a tiny bit.

The house I loved has been marked as sale pending. Boo-hoo. The pre-approval process is a pain. We make more than a certain amount so we can’t get certain loans with 5% or less on a down payment, but we can do 5-10% but with the addition of PMI which ups the payments per month, plus prove that we have the cash in our accounts for closing costs, escrow, etc. all along with proving our great credit and not charging or making any big purchases in the interim. Fun stuff, really.

We’ve decided to continue with the pre-approval process, with both the bank we know and a separate mortgage company to see what are the best options are and really to learn everything we can. If it turns out we want to wait and save more for a larger down payment, we’re OK with that. If it turns out we can buy something, we are going to take our time and look at a number of options before rushing to buy.

My desire is to always rush things and just get it done because I’m super decisive and usually definitive in my decisions. But for once, I have an instinct telling me not to rush this process. Instead to take our time looking and picking out what works best for us. In my ideal world, this house will be it. The house we stay in for many, many years. We of course can’t always control that – but I’d like to pick a place where we aren’t saying, well once we have kids we’ll have to move. No, thank you.

Then the question of, do we stay in our current apartment, save on moving costs, and save for another year and truly take advantage of our amazing 2 bed/2 bath apartment with private roof deck in the city? Or do we rent in the town we’re hoping to move to, get comfortable there and save even more money? Or could we end up finding a place, getting a loan with PMI (which would still be less than our current rent) and own something? We don’t know yet. The one nice thing, the husband and I seem to be in complete agreement on our options and figuring out what works best for us.

Today, I’m craving change and a fresh start (minus the actual moving process). And my baby fever has sky rocketed (and will be worse, if that’s even possible, after this weekend around a pregnant friend). And my desire to get out of the city and have a little grass is out of control. I guess we just have to see how it all pans out. For once, I have to be patient, keep our options open and moving, and trust that it’ll all work out in a way that’s best for us right now.

(And for the record, my impatient – control freak – type A – make change happen self is cackling at my last sentence.)

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This past weekend the Husband and I went to look at an apartment complex a little outside of the city. As we walked through the 800 square foot tiny apartment, my heart sank. Sure we’d save a couple hundred a month, but would it be worth practically killing each other because our bedroom would essentially be in the living room and we’d have no separation? If our schedules matched it wouldn’t be such an issue, but on his nights off when he wants to watch TV until 2am and the TV is on the shared bedroom wall and I’m a light sleeper, I envision fights…big fights.

We both left excited at the prospect of moving, but a little disappointed at the options.

Then we saw his parents and they started pushing us again to think about looking at houses. I always wrote that idea off – right now we have about 5% maybe 10% of a down payment. I thought you had to have 20%, no way around it.

After hearing from one of my friends, and many others – that’s not always the case with first time home buyers. It would be nice to reduce our loan and mortgage if we put 10% or more down, but that just might not be possible right now.

So I started being open to the idea of buying a house. We started looking at houses online, a little further out in the suburbs and then we came across it. The house.

The house set back on the street a little. Adorable front porch. 2 car garage and driveway. Fenced in backyard with a sweet deck. Open and sunny. Cozy without feeling too small. Built in 1900 with character, and yet updated with gas (very important). We’ve done two drivebys now just so I can keep looking at it.

The house in a neighborhood with the husband’s aunt, uncle and four kids. Three of who are college aged and free babysitters. 20 minutes from my Aunt and Uncle. 25 minutes from the husband’s parents. A 45 minute train ride for my sister to visit. A support system surrounding us. A town with a working mom’s playgroup with over 100 women in it going for coffee dates, weekends away, and other fun activities.

I know we’re just at the start of what could be a very long process. Getting pre-approved, figuring out our true budget so we don’t become house poor, finding the right house – one that we can hopefully stay in with kids for a long time – meaning schools, size, neighborhood all play a role. Near enough to a train station for my commute. Finding a house with the right bones, something I know little about.

Luckily my father-in-law knows houses and construction. Aside from his actual career in life (now retired), he has bought land and built condos and apartments a few times now from the ground up. He’s in the process of building 33 condos now. He knows that a bathroom with leaks or in need of repairs could cost an additional 5-10k to fix (where many people just think oh, we can update the bathroom easily). He knows that a house with field stone in the basement could make for an unstable base, with flooding. He also knows he can fix trim, doors, hardwood floors, and other cosmetic things for no cost to us. I feel damn lucky about that.

His parents are able to look at things from a different perspective. The house I love is on a windy narrow street without sidewalks. It’s about ¾ of a mile to the train but his Mom immediately made me really think about what it would be like to walk in the dark (morning or night) to the train. Would I feel safe if I was walking in the dark, 6 months pregnant, because the husband couldn’t drive me because he’s at work? Ya know I’m not totally sure, I hadn’t thought about any other scenario aside from a sunny beautiful day while I’m in good shape.

All in all, now that we started the process it’s like opening Pandora’s box. There’s no going back. I’m flooded with such excitement that I can’t stand it. I want to spend all of our free time looking at houses and moving towards this step. Unfortunately we have little free time, but we’ll have to start making time. And saving money, as much as we can. And trying to talk friends into the same, or close by areas. There’s one friend in particular, that I just need to live near. I tear up thinking about not seeing her as often, not getting to experience pregnancy, babies, and life stages close by with her. I know it will mean making more of an effort once we do buy, and I will make that effort, but if there’s any way I can get her and her husband to buy within 20 minutes of us…I will.

I never thought we’d be able to buy a house before a baby. I don’t know why I didn’t envision it, but now I do. Now I’m practically moved into our new house. I want it!

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