Home Sweet Home?

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I knew it would be fun, this long awaited foray into the wilderness of the real estate market, and it has been. We’ve dreamed about buying a home for so long, and here we are, trying on houses like a crab tries on shells, looking for the perfect fit, and hoping we’ll know it when we see it.

What I didn’t realize through all those hours of sighing over HGTV and crushing on Bob Vila is that, no matter how eager the search or how exciting the possibilities, buying a home is a stressful process. We walk into every home eager to love it but afraid to settle for something we’re not crazy about. The likelihood that interest rates will go up before we have a chance to lock in our loan is a constant worry. I spent yesterday scouring the apartment for all the paperwork we have to turn in with our official mortgage application–everything from paycheck stubs to tax returns to third grade report cards. And this weekend, the tension ratcheted up a few clicks.

You see, Thursday we found a house. The House, I hope. It was the second one we looked at that day, and as soon as we walked in, we could see ourselves living there. It was the a-ha moment I’d been waiting for, the fulfillment of the “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” feeling I’ve been carrying around with me from showing to showing. Nevermind that the carpet was thrashed like a platoon of marines had been rebuilding tank engines on it, and the tenants were hovering and glowering in the background like a dampening mist, none too pleased at the prospect of making way for those who might send them back to stalking the classified ads for a new place to live. It just felt like it could be home. Paul and I looked at each other and it was clear we were of the same mind.

But we couldn’t do the happy dance yet. Because finding the house you want is only the first step. Yesterday, we wrote up our offer, a three hour process, and after asking the seller to shoulder the burden of new carpet and closing costs, it’s significantly lower than the asking price. They have until tomorrow afternoon to respond. Or not. One of three things will happen: They could accept our offer as it is, with no changes (highly doubtful). They could counter-offer, opening the way for us to make a few concessions and possibly come to an agreement both parties can live with. Or, they could simply reject the offer, so insulted by our failure to approach their asking price that they’ll send the contract back smeared with goat’s blood and sporting a skull and crossbones etched across the front in black Sharpie.

So now we’re just waiting and praying. We’ve talked it over and agreed on how far we’re willing to go to get this house, should we at least get the chance to counter. And we’re steeling ourselves for the possibility that it won’t work out at all and we’ll have to walk away, hitting the streets once more in search of the great American dream.

Waiting.

Not my strong suit.

Ring, phone!

***

Update: Our first offer was rejected (no goat’s blood, though–that’s a positive), so we’ve gathered our resources and upped the price to the very highest we’re willing to go. It’s more than we hoped to pay, but less than we’re pre-qualified for, an amount that would leave us somewhere between premium-cable-package rich and Ramen-noodle poor. This will be our last stab at this particular house, and then we’ll be hitting the MLS again. *sigh*

Further Update:  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.  The sellers countered our final offer with their own lowest price, and the two numbers are still eight thousand dollars apart.  It doesn’t sound like an insurmountable hurdle, except for the fact that we were already pushing the boundaries of prudence.  We summoned up the small amount of objectivity we have left and decided to take our ball and go home before we were tempted to do something truly crazy.  Thanks, everyone, for the great advice, the good wishes, and the prayers–we need them all!

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19 responses »

  1. Ahhh…that’s the girl…I love it when you take your camera along on outings like this and take crisp photographs that perfectly illustrate your post.

    Keep putting your camera to good use. I can see great improvement in your talent with this photo.

    😉

    Smart aleck. I thought this photo of “Pemberley” perfectly illustrated the spirit of the house, if not its actual size and structure. After all, anything looks like a palace to us after our tiny apartment!

    Actually, I am planning on posting some pictures of the place if we get an offer accepted. I thought about including one with this post, but it felt like jumping the gun. Get ready to be thoroughly bored by all the house photos I’ll be posting if we get it!

  2. I’m not a very good waiter either. And I don’t mean as a food server.

    What was that line in the recent Indiana Jones movie? “So much of life is wasted by waiting.”

    Say, don’t you have a new iTouch to occupy your time while you wait?!

    Yes! Yes, I do! Thanks for the reminder. Nothing soothes the agitated mind like a little Thousand Foot Krutch and a game of minesweeper.

  3. I’m praying, too. Good luck.

    And they must have raised the kindergarten teacher salary if that’s a picture of the house you’re buying. 🙂

    Thank you, my friend! And I’m glad you like the house. I’ve always wanted 23 bathrooms. My only concern is how long it will take to mow that yard.

  4. I hope they accept! I want you guys to have a house that you LOVE!!!

    Thanks so much! You can have one of the first tours if we get to close on it! (Maybe we’ll replace the carpet first, though…lol.)

  5. Well, if it happens that you can afford THIS house, the one with 23 bathrooms, I’m betting you’ll be able to pay someone to mow the grass, and maybe trim the shrubs! Well, maybe 🙂 Here’s hoping that you find your piece of the American dream, without losing your mind – and emptying your bank accounts!

  6. God makes all thing possible and in His time. It’s just hard to wait, isn’t it? If not this one, know that God has something BETTER in mind for your family!!

    Keep us posted!

  7. Ha! We are of the same blood sister! I am not so good at the waiting thing either. At least you have only a few days. Daniel and I are about to pass the 3 months mark of waiting for his papers. Argghh! I’m with you…waiting stinks!

  8. Oh, I hope you guys get it! I’m so excited to get to look for a house with K. At the same time, though, I bet it’s emotionally draining. And it sounds like so much game-playing! lol

    I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Sending good vibes to the current owners so they accept your updated offer!

  9. Since Jessica and i had our house built, the waiting was REALLY brutal!! The plus to building was that we got a great price, our perfect floor plan, a solid location and had four months to live like refugees while scrapping away every spare penny we had for the closing.

    All real estate is local, but if your home falls through you should really look at new construction. Builders shoulder a lot (sometimes all) of the closing costs and if you pick a house that is not-quite-complete, you can pick your own accoutrements like cabinet doors, carpet, and (sometimes) interior color. Depending on how much new construction is sitting in inventory in your market, you can sometimes get a great deal from a builder who needs to get a house off the books!!

    (Of course, some people just like that lived-in feel, too!!)

    Good luck!! Much love and luck from Georgia!!

    Thanks, Scotty Ramone! We have considered new construction, and still might go that way if we end up postponing our purchase until the spring (we’re trying to get in under the downpayment assistance program deadline, but if that doesn’t happen, we’ll have enough to make our own downpayment in February or so.) We definitely have a taste for that never-been-lived-in feel. Ha!

  10. Ahh, Pemberly (aka as Chatsworth). Lovely opening visual. The house I have now rejected my offers on three separate occasions – but after so many days on the market, with the seller in a new home and having to make double mortgage payments, she finally accepted. Sometimes the best strategy is to not be afraid to walk away. And TRUST that God has a way of either working this one out for you or finding you a place that is much better for you.

    It’s a stressful procedure and the amount of info the mortgage company demands can get tedious (and impressed upon me that I’m not as organized as I had once thought.) God bless!

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Lisa! It’s encouraging to know that you were able to come back and get an offer accepted on the same house later. It would be great if we could do that, too. And there’s a definite possibility that this guy might relent at some future date. I imagine the cosmetic problems will make it hard for him to get a full-price offer, especially in this declining market. Of course, he has renters (unkempt though they be), so he’s not feeling quite the same financial pinch as someone whose house is sitting empty. I guess we’ll see! You’re right–I trust God’s plans for us!

  11. Doesn’t it feel as though your whole life is consumed with a purchase like this?? I guess that’s normal because, well, it is your home, probably the most important purchase, but it is stressful. Sorry this one didn’t work out, but you did the right thing walking away. The stress would have continued past the signing if it pushed your budget over the limit. Keep on praying…it’ll come!!

  12. These ups and downs and house hunting can be so emotional – even though you know God is in control, it’s hard to see your dream house fall between your fingertips. Sounds like you guys are handling this great. I hope you enjoy the ride and I’m certain you’ll find the house that’s “The Perfect Napkin House”. Can’t wait for pictures!

  13. Kudos for sticking with what you know you can afford! Even the most perfect house is a bummer when you are stressed every month when it’s time to pay the mortgage! Something else amazing will come along! I am pulling for you!

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