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.
Not my strong suit.
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!