Thursday, January 24, 2013

2012 at a Glance: Buying a home

So its a new year and with it a new resolve: to blog again... or at least try :). We've been so busy living life, we've failed to write about it. I do recognize the value in keeping record, so here we go, back to blogging.

First I'm going to play a little catch up... First up: Buying a Home


We started off the year convincing ourselves (after about 2 years of contemplating, research, etc.) that we should give the whole buying a house thing a try. We were not at all in a rush nor emotionally driven to do so, which I think greatly worked to our advantage to buy much better than if we had been. After weeks of spending hours and staying up late reading up on loans, real estate, legal crud, and all the lingo that was foreign (and really still is in by a huge margin of course) to me I was ready to throw in the towel for a bit. Seriously how does anyone buy a house without getting a degree in all that!?! Perhaps I'm just a freak, but I do NOT like doing anything without feeling like I know what I'm talking about. 

Anyway, LONG story short, about 20 houses down the line there was one a house I wanted to see but originally was priced too high to be on my radar that came down in price and seemed worth looking at. Well the weekend we went to look it was tented. Red flag! We hesitated cause what are you suppose to think when you see a house being fumigated. Well there was evidence of termites (which is the case for MANY, I would even venture to say majority of California homes... we've got the gammit of termite species out here in good ol' Cali) and in actuality we were lucky the investors with Granville that purchased this foreclosed home were taking care of it (amongst a few other things we certainly benefited from). So we still wanted to see and 2 days later I saw the tent off and called the realtor and took a look the following Tuesday night (this was all in mid-February). 

The house was in a great neighborhood, a block from a great elementary school that was also positioned in the neighborhood. Had a large lot with LOTS of backyard and NO pool (contrary to most, we didn't want a pool, safety and cost not worth it at this point to us), 2800 sq ft. with large bedrooms, large utitlity room, kitchen, pantry, storage space, shed outside. At the risk of sounding "emotional" it was one of the few houses that was suited to us and even had plenty of growing room (something we weren't sure we were going to find in the price range we wanted).

We talked it over and by Thursday we put on offer on it, but we low balled it offering 255K, 9K under the reduced asking price (no mystery what we got it for here, you can look it up on Zillow anyway :)). We honestly full expected to be turned down flat or to negotiate. We also expect to wait for a response for a bit due to competition. There were about 12 Realtor business cards sitting with the house of people wanting to see it when it was tented. We lucked out. The next day they straight up excepted the offer and the ball was rolling. Not only did we get it low, but Granville did all our requested work, included replacing the entire fence (huge savings there), replace a window, etc. without complaint in a just a few days. Made us wonder if we should have offered less and asked for more :)...

We did a lot of loan shopping, and locked in at 3.85% interest rate and closed on the house  April 4th and moved in that weekend. Thankfullly our rental was almost immediately filled to, so we had no mortgage/rent overlap at all. 

 Remaining coolheaded and not getting attached to a house I'd say was our best advantage. No buyers remorse here (though I admit I was on my toes about having some for a while). We're happy to say 10 months later we are even more happy with our home and how everything worked out. We feel like we probably had the best first time buyers experience possible. Probably set us up for some seriously high expectations for the next time. Although we hope that is not at all in the near future.

The house was actually the only house we looked at that was in our current ward, so we didn't change wards, which made the transition just all positive for the kids. Elyette finished out the school year at her old school, but many of the kids in her primary class would be at her new school too so she was not to worried to start at her new school with her brother come Fall. 

This was our first "local" move and I will say, it was easier in someways, but really more challenging overall. You don't get a few days breather or anything like when you move hours or states away. No break in school, church callings, life, etc. to give you a chance to move in. So with all the cleaning and unpacking it look me at least a month to feel semi-solid in my unpacking. Normally I'm in a week. Oh well, its been a fun process. One I'm excited to share here in future posts!


Rachel Gordon said...

Welcome back to blogging! Sounds like you got a great house. Congratulations!

SSToone said...

Beautiful home! I'd expect nothing less than an awesome and prudent deal from you guys! Now, you need to post a photo tour of the place!:)

Marissa said...

We have started this process too and I completely understand all the jargon you go through, and still dont completely understand. Your house looks awesome and I cant wait to come visit! Congrats on such a cool house!