It’s been almost a year (geesh) since we closed on our house and moved in. With our house-iversary I thought it would be fun to take a look back at our house buying journey. Everything didn’t quite go as planned and made a few unexpected turns along the way.
The summer of 2011, Chris and I had been married a little less than a year. We were currently renting a place close to work and saving up what we could to use as a house down payment. That spring we spent a lot of time on the motorcycle driving around different towns and neighborhoods trying to see what area we thought we would like to live the most. During this time Chris was doing a lot of online research and we were narrowing down our house must have items.
Since we were getting close to our rental lease being up we thought we would consider looking for a house to buy instead of renew our lease for another year. We went to the bank to ask questions about getting a mortgage and we ended up getting pre-approved for a loan and actually set up with a real estate agent. From there we went home and starting looking at some houses online that we wanted to see. By the end of that same week we meet with our agent for the first time and went to see a couple of houses. One of the houses was one that we had driven by and was interested in.
Since we had only looked at few houses and had really only been looking for house a short time we weren’t ready to commit to anything yet. We went home for the weekend and thought over the options and what we wanted.
By Sunday night we knew that we had to see this house one more time before we could really decide. We met with our agent on Monday and decided we were ready to make an offer. Within a week we had started the process and we were ready to buy a house. At this point I don’t think either of us really thought that buying a home would go this fast for us.
After a little bit of back and forth with the seller/builder we came to an agreement, officially went under contract and had a closing date about a month and a half out. We were both pretty excited about purchasing our first house and we couldn’t wait to move in and hopefully not move for a very long time.
We followed all the normal processes from there. We talked with our bank, had an inspection done and got everything in order so we were ready to close on time. Minor stumbles with loan processes aside everything went pretty smoothly.
Now, if you follow the blog or know us at all you’ll know that the pictures above are not the house we purchased. You may be thinking what happened? You said you were under contract? Did the inspection not go well? Well, it wasn’t anything like that at all.
We were just days from closing on this house when we got a call that changed our direction. We had already given our notice on our rental and were ready to move out and in to our new place when we found out that there was a huge lean on the house. Basically someone who previously owned the lot, before the current builder bought the lot, had owed a rather large sum of money. Somehow along the way the lean had been removed when the lot was foreclosed on and sold. Then after the builder of this house bought the lot the lean was than inexplicably placed back on the lot. Since this lean was on the title and the builder/seller wouldn’t pay it off and we could never get a loan to purchase a house with this much debt the house couldn’t be sold.
Days before we were supposed to close we did a lot of scrambling around trying to do anything we could to make the closing go through. Unfortunately, in the end there was nothing we could do and we were completely out of luck. We were then forced to find some place to rent short term with less than a week to get moved out of our current rental. We did in fact find a place to rent and were lucky enough to work out a deal so we didn’t have to sign a full year lease.
Now if felt like we were back at the beginning We decided to take a break from the house search. We were still stuck on a house that we couldn’t have and since it was an issue with the government we had no idea if or when this house would ever be sold. I’ll admit I probably had the hardest time trying to let this house go. In my mind I was already moved in and it was my home. I was so excited to paint walls and find places for all of our possessions. Instead now we where in yet another rental with one room completely full of unpacked boxes since we didn’t plan to stay long.
When finally decided that we were ready to let the first house go and start looking at houses again it was already late summer. We looked at a few other options and even walked through some houses that were in the process of being built. After much debate we decided to put in an offer on a pre-build home after looking at another house in a new development. Unfortunately, we were never able to come to an agreement. In the end Chris and I just weren’t comfortable with the deal so we decided to say no and started looking again.
Some time later our agent saw a house come up for sale and thought we might be interested. Since we were already out we asked to see another house that had just dropped price and into our search. The first house was an interesting layout and just not really the one for us. The second was a foreclosed house and from the listing we thought it wasn’t the house for us but since it only had one photo we were curious and thought it was worth a look.
Yes you guessed it. The house we thought we would never buy was the house that we did. From the moment we walked in we were in a little bit of shock. We couldn’t believe that a house like this could even be in our price range. It was a never lived in home that had been finished sometime to 2009 but was foreclosed on and the builder was never able to sell the home.
We walked through the house admiring and laughing about how we were looking at this crazy house that there was just no way we could ever buy. It was almost 1000 square feet bigger than the first and full of all kinds of upgrades that we couldn’t afford in the pre-build home.
Then we went home and that’s when we started to really go crazy. We actually considered buying this house. After a lot of back and forth we thought it would be worth a try to write an offer and see how that went.
Since the house was a foreclosure we had to first go back and forth with the sellers agent before he would send the offer to the bank.
At first we had hoped that we could close within a month and then we would be able to move in before Christmas. But with all the back and forth with the bank and the waiting and waiting for them to answer us that became impossible.
So, here we were again finally under contract with another house. Then as luck would have it the first house became available again and we had yet another decision to make. After a whole lot of talking and even some fantastic pro-con lists made by me we finally made a decision. We would continue on with the second house. (Although you probably already guessed that one.)
At the end of January, in the middle of a small snow storm, we finally signed the papers to purchase our first home.
If you want to see more photos of the house before we moved in you can go to the Before page in the house tour. The Progress page has more up to date photos.
Anyone else has a unexpected home buying journey?