After a long wait, our family now has an actual HOUSE! Woot woot.
If you recall, our first home was a huge shop with living quarters (e.g. a man cave) on about 6 acres of land that we were going to build our real home on. We lived there for four years – people often ask me how a city girl could live in a “garage” for that long. I tell them, “Love makes you do some crazy things.”
We then got pregnant with Ansley, realized that the property was too far from everything and everyone and the fact that there weren’t any kids around that the new baby could play with. We moved out into a townhouse at the same time we were putting the shop on the market.
It took FOREVER to sell because of the new housing market regulations (and the fact that the property wasn’t a “typical” house that the average Joe could get a mortgage on). We moved into a two bedroom townhouse in March of 2011 and finally sold it in February of 2012 to a guy who purchased it with cash.
Two babies later, on Ryan’s 30th birthday, we closed on a real home and are moving in this weekend! We are super excited.
This house buying journey was definitely a crazy one. Now that we had the experience of one house purchase under our belt, we thought we knew exactly what each of us wanted in a home (although we were never really in agreeance with really anything, but that’s a different story). We had been searching since the beginning of 2011 – so its been a very long journey. We butted heads quite a bit; I cried on several occasions and guilt tripped him into making an offer on a house that he absolutely hated that had a child predator in the neighborhood (long story); I’ve made some realtors mad because I didn’t know the etiquette for asking questions about a property; and lastly, I learned a lot about short sales – more about this later.
People that know me shouldn’t be surprised that I have a notebook with pictures and listing prices of all the houses we have been in or just drove by. My tally on this house search is up to:
- 16 that we’ve visited with our realtor
- 125 that we’ve driven by
- too many to count that we’ve looked at online.
Recall our top three things that each of us wanted here. Ryan sort of got one of his things – “land”. Its on an estate lot – 0.75 acres. Not really the “land” for hunting he was wanting – but we agreed we couldn’t afford the crazy 300 acres he was wanting at this point in his life. I got my top three =) I mean, his needs were kind of ridiculous when it boiled down to our price point. (That’s my way of not making myself feel bad because he didn’t get his other two things.) We agreed to open a savings account for his “land” fund.
Anyway, this house we stumbled upon online looking in a city that we weren’t even considering. Its 15 minutes outside the city, but is a little city in itself. It was in a city that I was adamant about not living in until my realtor told me that one of her other clients said it was a great school district. The house is 5 minutes away from the nearest grocery store, which is closer than the nearest grocery store from our apartment. Its a town of 8,000 people. When we saw the house and the neighborhood it was in, we fell in love. When we saw the listing price, we fell in love even more – until we found out it was a short sale. You see – short sales take FOREVER. Usually, if you buy a house and contract on it – it takes about three weeks to close. Short sales can take at the shortest two months to two years to close.
Our house was a short sale – what this means is that the sellers OWED more than they could sell the house for (e.g. the market took a dump and what they originally purchased it for is not even worth the value they still owe on the mortgage). It takes forever because even when we did submit the offer and the sellers agreed to the contract, its the bank who has to also agree or counter because they are the ones taking a hit.
Anyway, after three FULL LONG months of waiting – we got the bank to accept our offer. And the icing on the cake was that it appraised for more than we purchased for (considering we sold our first home at a loss – this was a big win for us).
For those considering a short sale, here’s our example timeline to give you an idea of our wait time. Thankfully, we were on a month to month contract with our townhouse rental. The day numbers are calendar days from when I started counting our short sale transaction timeline:
5/19 – Viewed Property and submitted offer
5/22 – Signed seller’s disclosure
5/24 – Day 1: Seller accepted the offer
6/06 – Day 14: BPO was ordered
6/08 – Day 16: BPO was completed
7/08 – Day 45: Motion filed by seller’s lawyer for the court to approve the sale (due to seller being in chapter 13 bankruptcy)
7/23 – Day 61: Bankruptcy court approved the sale, packet has now been sent to the negotiator
8/03 – Day 72: Contract has been submitted for the investors (Fannie Mae) to review
8/13 – Day 83: Contract has been approved by bank and the investors, given two weeks to close. Signed arms length affidavit.
8/20 – Day 89: Called appraiser to let them know that appraisal must be done right away
8/21 – Day 90: Appraiser goes out to view the property
8/27 – Day 97: Appraisal sent to us, which starts 3 day waiting period before closing
8/30 – Day 99: Closed
Our realtor even told us that she was surprised that the short sale went through. She also said, “Someone must be looking down on you.” I asked her what she meant, and she said, “You sold your property, had a healthy baby, closed on a short sale house on your maternity leave. What more can you ask for?”
I agreed. And Ryan said, “Well, I didn’t get my man cave.”
She said, “You had four years of a man cave, and I don’t know how Seng put up with it.”
I agreed again.
If you or anyone you know needs a realtor, contact Cynda. Her team is truly awesome – and so is her little Volkswagen Beetle. =)
No pictures for now – but I’ll be posting more about the house and house projects soon enough. The first pictures will be of the before and afters of refinishing our hardwood floors. Stay tuned!
If you are looking for a home, I would definitely recommend checking out Zillow.com for houses for sale in your neighborhood. It gives you dates and estimated values of homes for sale around the area!