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We bought a house!

by Meghann on July 24, 2014

Well, technically we haven’t bought it yet. Our offer was accepted last Saturday and we’re currently under contract. If all goes well, we should close at the end of August (fingers crossed).

Sold

So how did we get there? Let’s back up a second.

Derek and I have been actively looking for a new house since March. We currently live in a two bedroom/two bathroom attached home that we own, which is great, but we’ve definitely outgrown. We need more space, more yard, and more windows!

Since March we’ve probably seen over 100 houses. What started as something casual and “fun”, quickly escalated to a crazy stressful hunt that tested both of our spirits. Towards the end we were viewing 3-4 houses a week, most of which had just gone on the market the day before we saw it. There just wasn’t much on the market and we seemed to have a lot of competition in the process.

After months of not even coming close to putting any offers on houses, Derek and I felt we finally found “the one” a couple of weeks ago. We knew we were going to love it before we event saw it. It had a split floor plan, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a giant backyard, a window in the kitchen (surprisingly important to me), and was in immaculate condition. It was perfect.

The listing popped up on Tuesday night and we had an appointment to see it Wednesday afternoon. We were barely there 5 minutes before we were ready to put an offer in. Our realtor let us know a couple of offers were already on the table and suggested we be aggressive with our offer. We ended up going all in and put an offer in $7,000 above asking.

We didn’t get it.

Turns out someone submitted an offer higher than ours. I have no idea what that offer was, but at least Derek and I have no regrets knowing we went in at our max price.

Back at square one and feeling defeated, I packed my bags and headed to Massachusetts for work the following weekend.

While I was away Derek sent me a text letting me know he was going to see another house.

An hour later I received another text telling me he really liked this house and he thinks we should put an offer in.

Another hour later I received yet another text telling me that he was deathly afraid someone else would take the house and he submitted an offer.

Ummm… what?!

To be fair, he reminded me of the 15 day grace period, so if I saw it and didn’t like it, we had 15 days to walk away without penalty. He also sent a dozen videos showing every inch of the house. I agreed, it was a great house in a great location for a great price. I was scheduled to see it as soon I got off the plane on Monday,

Turns out lightning does strike twice (and apparently strikes back-to-back). Derek was right, the house was amazing. Again, it had everything we wanted (minus the screen less pool in the back, we could like without that), but this time we had won. The house was already ours.

I met the owners that night and they were great. They confirmed that it was just as amazing of a neighborhood as we had predicted and walked us through all of the improvements they made to the home. Everything from the roof to the lighting fixtures to the windows were brand spanking new and looked fabulous.

So we bought a house.

Now’s when the real fun begins… Mortgage applications! Home insurance! Home inspections! Oh boy!Β 

All the paperwork is driving us to drink already. It’s normal to go through an entire bottle of wine while weeding through a 40 page loan application, right?

And did I mention I’m traveling every weekend in August and we’re hoping to close in a month?! Gulp. If you don’t hear from me, it’s probably because I’m in a corner rocking back and forth. It’s okay. Leave me there and remind me I can rock back and forth in my brand new house in no time at all. It will make me feel better. Pinky promise.

So any advice for us during the buying process? I think we need all the advice we can get!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sana July 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Congrats! Now fill the house with babies πŸ˜‰

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2 [email protected] July 24, 2014 at 10:30 pm

My advice is what you are already doing – bring out the wine!

Make sure you have a really good home inspector – I’ve watched too many episodes of Holmes on Homes (Canadian show)…..

Good luck!! Get loads of friends to help you move – or (if you can afford it) hire movers!

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3 Laura July 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Definitely get a great inspector, don’t just hire the cheapest one! And don’t sign anything you aren’t 100% comfortable with. Ask for the specific paint color names in the house in case you need to do touch ups so you aren’t playing a guessing game with color. Is there a doggie door for Maddie? I bet she’d love one!

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4 Amy July 24, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Congratulations!!

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5 Alexis July 25, 2014 at 2:06 am

Congrats!

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6 Britt July 25, 2014 at 4:14 am

My mom bought a house while my dad was at work. A few years (and 2 kids) later, she bought another house while my dad was at work. He loved them both and they still live in the 2nd one 30 years later. I think it is good luck that he bought it without you!

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7 Amanda July 25, 2014 at 4:21 am

Congratulations!!

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8 Sarah July 25, 2014 at 4:35 am

My advice is to chill out! You haven’t actually bought the home yet, you are just under contract. Just take each step one at a time and don’t let your mind freak out about things that are 23 steps down the line… and may never even happen at all.

And you might want to readjust your mindset at least until after the inspection. It takes a huge emotional investment to even consider putting an offer on a home, and yet you still have to restrain yourself to avoid disappointment if it falls through. It’s a roller coaster!

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9 Kelly July 25, 2014 at 4:51 am

We buy and sell houses all the time, just bought our 30th actually. My husband puts offers on them all the time without my knowledge, then just says oh yeah I put an offer on a house last week. It’s become like asking what’s for dinner. For a first time home buyer, I would say don’t stress. You can literally walk away from that thing at any time over the smallest detail. I know you don’t want to walk away, but know you’re never stuck. If something comes up in the inspection, you can go back and ask for a credit, but be prepared to negotiate, they aren’t required to do anything for you, but since you’ve met them and I’m sure they like you, they’ll be willing to work with you. Sellers most of the time are surprisingly emotional and want their home to go to someone who they know will care for it the same way they did. Good luck!

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10 Kelly July 25, 2014 at 5:22 am

First off, congratulations! As I think I said in a comment on one of your previous house hunting posts I had a long, long house hunt so I know how good it feels to find a house that feels like home, especially after the first one falls through. (My first offer fell through at the same stage as yours did though there wasn’t another offer in my case.)

That said, as much as you can I would try to keep yourself from getting emotionally invested just yet (I know, easier said than done.) because there are still things that could come up between now and the closing that could make it clear this isn’t the house for you. I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer I hope this doesn’t happen. I already told you that my first condo contract fell through during price negations. The second place I went under contract, but it fell through because the inspection revealed so many problems and the seller wasn’t willing to budge to take care of them. It was painful to walk away, but now that I’m in the condo I eventually bought I know 100% it was the right decision. The kinds of repairs that place needed would have sucked my wallet dry and that’s not accounting for the fact that there still could be problems that crop up in the future that weren’t on the inspection report. Even with the place I did buy there were problems revealed during the inspection. Keeping calm about it and telling myself I could and would walk away if I needed to gave me the courage to make sure I asked for the credits and repairs I really needed to feel like I was getting a fair deal.

Again, I don’t want to sound like I’m being a Debbie Downer, but I think it’s important not to get yourself so emotionally wrapped up that you let yourself be taken advantage of.

My advice is similar to what is mentioned above. Get the very best and most thorough inspector you can, even if that means paying a little more. It’s worth it. And as was said, be there for the full investigation. It was great because he pointed issues out to me as well as more practical stuff (i.e. where my gas meters are, where the fuse box is, etc.) and answered any questions I have. I think a great real estate lawyer is key as well. At least in Illinois, they take care of asking for any credits/repairs you might want coming out of the inspection report. Mine was great because with my agent he helped me assess what was really worth asking for and what isn’t.

Also, be prepared that things can be very frustrating and there can be set backs, even with a great house. For me there was waiting for the sellers to provide certain documentation and to get repairs done. It was frustrating and meant pushing the closing back, but it was well worth it in the end.

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11 Lindsay @ lifting in lilly July 25, 2014 at 6:00 am

Wow!! That just sounds like this house is meant to be (even if it’s all happening during a crazy busy time!!) congratulations!

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12 Grace @ Grace Dishes July 25, 2014 at 6:16 am

My advice is don’t let your guard down and have a very thorough home inspection.

Before we bought this current house, our offer accepted in another house. Then the seller dragged us out for a 2 month period because he didn’t have full title on the house because he was behind on payments on other investments so his mortgage company wouldn’t let him sell..etc.. Every week, he would inform our realtor that he was “working on it”

It wasted 2 months of our time and we already paid for a home inspection too. It was a complete annoying situation.

Good luck with everything and congratulations.

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13 Heather July 25, 2014 at 6:52 am

Congratulations on the new house! The only suggestion I would have is since you will be traveling a lot you might want to get hubby a power of attorney in case some wierd document comes up that needs to get signed right away. It makes it easier then having him scan and email documents to you and then you having to worry about getting them back to him. When we bought our first house I was a flight attendant so having my hubby be able to sign forms for me was a life saver.

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14 Shelley July 25, 2014 at 7:14 am

We bought our first house last year and here are my pointers….Keep your paperwork very organized. Keep hard copies and digital copies of everything. Don’t be surprised when they ask for the same document 6 times. Save any new paperwork (home inspection stuff, pay stubs) immediately so you have it ready to go. The paperwork stuff can get a little overwhelming but in the end, it’s really not that bad at all!! Before you know it you’ll have the keys in your hand and you’ll completely forget about the 5th time your mortgage company asked you to send in your W-9 from 2 years ago. Good luck and congrats πŸ™‚

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15 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed July 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

Ahhhh congrats! We are in the process of becoming homeowners as well and it’s so intimidating!

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16 Colleen July 25, 2014 at 9:14 am

Congrats! Definitely agree on the full inspection and wine! We have bought four homes and the process is still never seamless and relaxing. But at the end, there will be a house.

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17 Carly July 25, 2014 at 9:22 am

Inspection for sure! And don’t be afraid to play hardball-ask for credits, make sure you’re happy, and if you feel like they’re playing games walk away. There will always be other houses. Does Florida do real estate attorneys/attorney review? If so, your attorney can probably recommend a good home inspector. Your realtor may as well, but I know our realtor was concerned about being the main recommendation for an inspector for ethical reasons; he felt since he had a vested interest in the deal it was better for us to get a third party to recommend an inspector.

When it comes to the mortgage, just be super prompt in getting them paperwork and documentation. The faster you provide them with what they need, the faster they can process your application. Don’t be afraid to stay on top of them too, and make sure you’re all set every step of the way-it’s always easier to fix problems early on then right before the closing.

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18 Rachel July 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

I echo all of the home inspector comments. Plan to be at the home inspection from start to finish. Follow the inspector around and ask tons of questions and take notes, not all of his/her comments will show up in the report. You had the opportunity to meet the current owners and learn about the house, I would continue to build a list of questions and make sure they are answered before settlement. Meet some of your soon-to-be neighbors! we learned a lot about the ‘hood just by knocking on the door and introducing ourselves all well before move in day. Go to the city office and see what permits have been made on the house so you’ll know if work was done with proper inspections. Drive by the house in a major rainstorm to see how water runs thru the yard to make sure it goes away from the house. Ask around to see if that big empty lot a mile or two down the street is going to become an industrial park. We almost had a power plant built 2.7 miles away, but fortunately the citizens revolted and the project squashed. Can affect home value. Congrats on your new home!

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19 Dori July 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

YES!!!!! Congrats!!!!

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20 Haley July 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Yay!!! Congratulations Meghan! That’s great news.
I completely agree with all the above suggestions on the home inspections. As an example, we actually put in an offer on a house and then totally backed out after our inspection. It was a nightmare that I’m glad we avoided. If you need any recommendations on inspectors, the guy who did our house was uber thorough.

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21 Erin m. July 25, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Congrats! I just bought a house in January and it is exciting! My advice is to get a great home inspection and just remember to breathe! Good luck!

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22 Emily July 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Just one bottle of wine per loan application? πŸ™‚

We’re about ready to buy a home, too. In super excited, but trying to keep my expectations in check. As you know, it is a long, stressful process!

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23 Meghan R July 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

Congrats! It really is a stressful process, but it is TOTALLY worth it in the end πŸ™‚

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24 Caroline Calcote July 26, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Congrats Meghann! Very excited for you guys πŸ™‚

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25 [email protected] July 26, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Congrats! We just closed on our house in June, just take it one step at a time πŸ™‚

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26 Nancy July 27, 2014 at 8:53 am

Congrats! Just breath through the process. We decided to buy and build a house when we moved to TN. Oh and I was trying to find a job in TN while working in NC full time and living in a different state from my husband. It was incredibly stressful, but I think what helped me most was just going with my gut, making a decision and then not dwelling on whether it was the right decision. You’ll get through it and I’m sure everything will go well!

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27 Meghan July 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Congrats! This is an exciting time! Like a lot of people said above try your best not to get too invested and know you have not actually bought the house yet, you can still walk away at anytime. Carefully read your homeowners insurance policy and understand what would be covered and what won’t be and have the home inspector take careful look at those things. For example in MI rain water coming in through egress windows failing to drain is not covered. Learned that the hard way after my finished basement flooded two weeks after moving in. Pay for an Angie’s list subscription and get a home inspector with good reviews. Don’t go with the cheapest or who your realtor recommends. Ask the home inspector what the process is if they have missed something. Can you file a claim with their insurance? How would you go about doing that? Don’t be afraid of sounding going back to the sellers asking for concessions or fixes after the inspection. And don’t be afraid of standing up for yourself. $100 fixes here and there add up very very quickly. Good luck!

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28 Sarah July 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

My best advice is to (try) not to get emotionally attached to the house until you are at the closing table, my husband and I bought our first home last year and ended up losing 3 houses to bad inspections before finally closing on the house we are in now. It was such an emotional roller coaster, and while we are so happy to have ended up where we did, I wouldn’t want to relive those crazy swings again! From a practical standpoint, keeping a binder with all your documentation is really helpful – copies of the contract, inspection, communications with the realtor/lender/etc. so that it is all in one place as you work through the next month. If I had a dollar for every piece of documentation we had to resubmit, I’d be a rich woman, lol! Having it all in a binder alleviated so much stress since I could just scan the copy (or make another copy to mail to the bank) as neded. Good luck!!

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29 Amanda - RunToTheFinish July 31, 2014 at 10:55 am

HUGE congrats!! I hope everything goes smoothly from here out, it’s such an exciting thing to finally have a place you can make exactly yours!

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