1.11.2012

OUR FIRST PLACE: THE DETAILS

I thought it would be fun to provide some of the deets (yes, I just said that) of our house-hunting process and take a look at how close our home is to what we thought we wanted and would end up buying at the beginning of our search.

Our baby was only on the market for a few days and had another offer made the same day we made ours... guess it was meant to be!  That plus the fact that we had excellent realtors who wrote up a pretty competitive offer knowing it would sell quickly.  We love the neighborhood and also landed in an excellent school district.  Since we loved the area so much, we kept an eye on it but weren't sure if we'd be able to get in because the average price is a bit high, so when our house popped up in the middle of our price range, we pounced! 

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Now for the nitty-gritty.  First, the numbers:
  • 28: the number of houses looked at (I guess this is average for first-time home buyers and once you're buying your second home, this figure drops to 4 or 5, which is comforting since we thought we were just super-picky)
  • 3 1/2: the number of months spent looking (which I guess is average for first-timers as well)
  • 82: the number of "Property Match" emails received with houses in our price range and area
  • 20%: the amount of our down payment (we wanted to be conservative so we put in some equity and kept our price range in an area where we are comfortable with the monthly payment on Ryan's income alone)
  • $150: the amount less we'll be spending on our mortgage than we are in rent (this is the time to buy!)
  • 9: the number of days until we close... CRAZY!
Now let's take a look at our "Must Have" and "Would Like" lists we write in this post at the very beginning of our search and see what we ended up with:
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MUST HAVE:
3+ bedrooms
2 1/2 bathrooms
2-car garage
backyard
good neighborhood & school district

WOULD LIKE:
bedrooms close together
updated appliances they are fairly new, but not stainless steel or anything
hardwood floors halfway crossed out because they're in the kitchen/entryway, the rest is carpet
laundry room upstairs
basement there is a crawl-space with tons of storage space, but not an actual basement
back patio

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As far as our preferences go, buying a house together has provided some pretty good experience in the communication and compromise aspects of our relationship.  Like I knew we would, we found a house that we both love.  During the search though, we'd sometimes differ a bit on what style/location/age we wanted.  I love either really old houses or really new ones, I wasn't so much a fan of the in-between styles.  Ryan liked the in-betweeners a bit more and really wasn't wanting the hassle and price of an older home, at least not for our first one.

Regardless of what we crossed off our list or the money we'll be saving or what we'll have to live without, we found our perfect house.  We realized along the way that the advice you're often given while house-hunting - that you do have to compromise on some things - is true, but this does not mean at all that you won't find your perfect house.  It just means you probably won't cross everything off your list, but the things you will have will make it ideal.  You'll just know that it's the right one, kind of like a spouse.  Aww...

Anyway, let us know if you have questions or anything, we'd love to help anyone embarking on their first house-hunt!  We're also available for recommendations on realtors, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, etc.  The people we worked with were awesome.

Now wish us luck as we're preparing for our closing next Friday!  This includes no blizzards, no delays, a smooth closing and a bottle of wine, duh.

3 comments:

  1. What does my room look like? ;)

    Have fun at the closing you two!

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  2. How cool I stumbled on your blog as I am about to put an offer in for a truly perfect house for me. I am single and have zero debt. My question to you, and pretty much everyone, is what do you feel is a comfortable percentage of your take home pay to pay a mortgage, taxes and insurance? I have found my perfect house but it is almost 50% of my take home......i know i can scrimp and be frugal for the house that I love, just a tad hesitant it may be too much. I am looking towards getting a roommate to offset the utilities. Just curious what you think, having just bought your first home! Congrats!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lisa, so glad you stopped by! Typically, the advice is to keep your mortgage under 30% of your gross income. I would recommend looking at how much the mortgage would be of your gross income, as this may help a bit compared to your take-home pay. I would also suggest thinking through various situations and make sure you're comfortable with the payment. For example, do you have savings set aside that could be used if needed? Would you be able to afford it if your income were to change? Will it mean a lifestyle change or giving up certain things? Some things are definitely worth giving up for your perfect home, just make sure it will be that in all situations.

      Another thing to think through is what you are currently paying in rent or a mortgage compared to what you will be paying for the home. In our case, we ended up paying less for a house than we were in rent, so it helped our cash flow. If it will be more than what you're currently paying, try setting aside the difference for a month or two and see if it's affordable.

      If you are qualifying for a mortgage loan, I would recommend talking to a loan officer at your bank because they can provide a ton of information about the process and let you know how much you will be able to qualify for. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly payment. It sounds like you may have already done this since you're getting ready to put an offer in, but if not, I would suggest making an appointment.

      Getting a roommate to help offset some of the payment would help too, especially if you charged them rent each month. And it's great you have no debt, this will help a ton in the underwriting the bank does and gives you more flexibility.

      Hopefully this helps! Of course these are just my thoughts, but I'd love to help in any way. Keep us posted on the process, so exciting!

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