Last September, we found a new house.
Getting to this point has been a long, trying battle, and almost no one knew what we were going through until now.
I kept a digital journal of short posts to remember all everything that we were dealing with, and this week I’m sharing it with you. You can read Monday’s post documenting the first few weeks of our process here, and Tuesday’s post that overviews the negotiation process here. Yesterday, I told you the news from the bank, that we weren’t the first choice offer, and got all emotional like Nicole Curtis.
And then, about three weeks ago, we found another house.
I wasn’t eager to begin this whole process again; the process of getting approved for a mortgage took nearly a month last fall. It took over a month to get an agreed upon contract with the seller too, and then we had it ripped out from under our feet as they chose another offer after the fact. Breaking up is hard to do, that’s what they say, right? We’ve been breaking up with that house (and eating a lot of ice cream while coping) since last November.
But this other house that Pete found, it was a good one. Dare I say, it was a better one.
Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Pete found another house tonight. This one is in our dream neighborhood. Like, dream-dream. We already have a note into our realtor but are not getting our hopes up. Taking the family to Brooklyn for a long weekend.
(Extra note from Emily: I didn’t give this house more than two seconds of thought while we were out of town. It was a cool neighborhood, yes, but it was also out of our price range and listed over price. The perfect recipe for letdown, so I didn’t let it consume our weekend.)
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
We went to check out the other house with our realtor today. On the drive, we told eachother that we were already afraid that we were going to really, really like it. And then what would we do? We still have some vested hope that the first house we loved will suddenly open back up, since the chosen offer (that we were runner-up to) could technically void if buyer were uninterested or unable to get a mortgage. All I know is that they haven’t closed on the property yet, 2 months later, and that seemed weird.
The new house was immaculate. Perfectly maintained by its original owners, built in 1952, and flawlessly preserved in its intended era. Except for the vinyl siding, I’ll overlook that for now.
We love it, of course. It’s incredible, we would be so lucky to live there.
I had a call into our mortgage specialist within a half hour of walking into the house so we could get started on initial paperwork – namely to see if we would be able to make an offer on this house given it’s listing price and how much of a downpayment we would be able to make. I left the appointment early and took a work conference call in the car. Pete explored the property further, and reported back all kinds of cool findings, from deer lairs to a secret barn with a lot of damage. I can’t wait to see more of it another day.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Good news on several fronts; we knew by dinnertime yesterday that we would be approved from a financial standpoint. Our mortgage specialist was able to make assumptions for our mortgage pre-approval based the documents she had worked with last fall, and the fact that we have updated tax returns helped that prove that we have had success as independent business owners for two tax seasons (my official 2-year is next month, Pete’s isn’t until late summer). We have a little more money saved to put down this time too, which helps, and hopefully if we make an offer early, we can avoid getting into a bidding war.
We took Julia to the house for the first time after picking her up from school. We walked the perimeter and let her explore the yard and the barn and poke in the windows of her potential bedroom. She found a dead squirrel, or pieces of a dead squirrel, which she was proud about. I think she likes it, I think she’s bummed that there’s not a killer pool like the one at the other house we sought. Like with the last house, we’re trying to keep her included with the process by telling her what has to happen for us to get the house in simple terms, reminding often that there is a lot of stuff that has to go right in order for it to be ours. Now she’s all “I know, I know, I know how it works, we might not get it, can we go home and go on a bike ride?”
There’s an open house at the property on Sunday. We’d love to cut them short and have a signed contract by that point.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
We made an offer! A low offer. Based on comps, the property is seriously overpriced, especially considering its dated state. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH….HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
This time, I gave it my emotional best and hand drafted a three-page letter to the sellers telling them about us, about what we do, about our current home, and about how much we love their property. I asked them politely to please let us buy their home. And I included about 10 pictures of us, living life. I’m sure they won’t fax well to the selling agent, but you’ve gotta try, right? Our realtor mentioned something about having an almost 100% success rate with clients who wrote letters, whether that’s valid across the board or not, I don’t know, but I’ll stoop to any level at this point.
Friday, April 12, 2013
We were supposed to hear back from the sellers by 6PM. They’re elderly (had to move into assisted living), and we were warned it might take extra time to hear back from them. Waiting game continues. We’re going bowling to get our mind of things.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The seller countered while we were at bowling last night, but only came down a little bit in price. The realtor thinks they’re unrealistic and have a lot of pride in their home (they’ve lived there since 1952!). We immediately recountered, still much lower than their counteroffer to us, and learned this morning that we were flat out declined. An open house is scheduled for tomorrow, and they wanted to wait to see if anything comes from it.
We also learned today that the sellers are a family of used car salesmen, as in, they’re an actual family that owned and successfully operated a large dealership locally. They had their face on commercials, doncha know, and as soon as Pete heard his name he spit out the dealership’s ditty. It’s no one I recognize, I guess they’ve been closed for many years. All I know is, if I like one thing less than buying a house, it’s buying a car, and, to get all stereotypical about my impression of car salesmen, these people are going to be selling us their home like it’s their beloved Caddy. Help. It’s the last type of person I want to deal with.
Our realtor suggested that we wait until after the open house because an extremely low percentage of visitors actually make an offer right away, open house goers are more often nosey neighborhood folks who always wanted an opportunity to see the interior of the home. The realtor also suspected that they were simply anticipating us raising our offer, and we should wait silently to make them think it’s our best offer. It was suggested if we let them talk first, things might go in our favor. There’s a serious psychology that goes into home transactions, and I gave him this benefit of the doubt. We’ll see how it works.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I planned to stop by the open house to poke around this afternoon (to listen to what other people at the open house had to say), but in the morning, the sellers came back to us with another counteroffer. YES, THEY BROKE THE SILENCE FIRST. We accepted on the spot. None of that back and forth shit with a car salesman, we’re not playing, we just want this house.
I went to the open house for 45 minutes anyways, because they didn’t cancel it on short notice. It was mobbed. I couldn’t believe it. There seemed to be a few couples inspecting closely enough to make me think they were serious buyers, but they walked away without saying anything to the realtor holding the open house. Mostly, there were plenty of locals who you knew were just there to discuss their neighbors taste in carpeting and appliances.
I took pictures, and spent more time exploring the intricacies of the old house. It’s beautiful. I hope I get to post some photos of it someday.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Our signed contract went to both our lawyer, and the seller’s lawyer today. They each have 5 days to get back to us (this Friday), but in the meantime, if other favorable offers come into play, the sellers can have their lawyer review them as well. Did you know the seller can have their lawyer decline your offer if a more favorable one comes in before the contract is legally locked? I didn’t. I’ll be nervous all week.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
We spent all morning re-filling out mortgage paperwork and scanning another 50 pages for our bank. We already know that our request for a mortgage will be approved easily based on our financial situation (namely the presence of a second year of self-employed tax returns), but we still need to do the due diligence to get updated bank statements and agreements back to the lender so that they can begin to process our loan.
We asked for a closing date of May 24th. This date is subject to so much that we don’t know whether or not we’ll get it yet. I keep explaining to people based on our experiences so far that you basically don’t know if you’re going to be able to buy a home until they tell you “Bring a check with $XXXX to your closing on (fill in the date).”
The suspense could kill me.
We know a few things: We’ll be having our home inspection tomorrow, just 10 days after seeing the home for the first time. Our home inspection is obviously a big deal to us–we sought out the Mike Holmes of Rochester, NY–and you know we would take that shit seriously after watching so many seasons of Holmes Inspection.
Secondly, we are required to have an FHA loan appraisal by our bank, which will tell us what the current home and property value is based on current comps and city data. This step is nervewracking, and it won’t be done until sometime next week or even the following. We already know that we have an offer in higher than the last assessed value, and if the new assessment doesn’t tell us that the property is worth more, they might not loan us the money we need to buy the house. We don’t want to get stuck with a home that we overpaid for, but we hope for it to be our forever home, and that counts for something. House buying blows.
New house. New plan. Surprised? I’ll bring you up to date on everything else tomorrow.
Read the next installment of our story right here.