Monday, May 2, 2011

New Casa

I just bought a house.  It's been a process.  A very short, yet seemingly exceedingly loooooong process.  J and I started out looking for rentals since he will be starting a new program in the fall (yay for no more long distance!), and somehow I ended up a homeowner a mere 5 weeks later.

J wrote up a nice summary of our first few days of this process - so I'm going to put that below.  You'll note his dry sense of humor is why I fell in love with his goofy face in the first place.


Start J's story:

It began, as so many momentous occasions do, on a warm, sunny Friday. It was March 18th
Friday (3/18)
1:00 pm- We meet a realtor, KJ from L&F, at Rental #1. It wasn’t bad. It was obvious a bachelor had lived there for quite some time. For example, in a corner of the kitchen was a stack of ten protein mix containers, each one empty.
Standing in the yard, we began to discuss the pros of buying over renting. The principle reason, of course, was the money we would save by paying a mortgage in comparison to flushing rent money down the toilet. We went back to KJ’s office.
2:00- Contact a lender that KJ knows, and we give him the information required to run credit checks. 
KJ shows us several houses in the $100,000 to $200,000. She emails the list, close to 100 houses, to us for perusal later on.
2:30- Credit checks come back. The realtor begins to salivate when she sees that we have exceptional credit scores. Another lender, DH, returns KJ's call. She speaks highly of him and says that she has worked with him often. We schedule an appointment to see him straightaway. Momentum begins to build…
3:00- We meet with DH. He seems like a nice guy who knows his business. He gives them a Cliff’s Notes version of the loan application process. We decide to use Chelsea's information alone since J is finishing his Master’s degree and has student loans. Chelsea, on the other hand, is very wealthy (Chelsea has to point out J's sarcasm here). DH tells Chelsea that she could easily get a loan for $200,000. We shake hands with DH and walk back to the Metro in a slight state of shock. We had come to see a lowly rental, and were returning mighty house-hunters.
4:00- When we got back to Chelsea's apartment, we received word that J is officially {going to be a nerdy PhD student in the fall}. (WHAT?! Fine. No J didn't write that part. It's still true!
6:00-11:30- All evening we poured over the list of houses that KJ sent, and made a shorter list of those homes that interested us. Most are foreclosures due to the awesome deregulation of lenders, banks and Wall St. implemented during the Bush administration. Thanks, George.
Saturday (3/19)
12:00- We drive around with a list of 15 houses chosen the previous night. There was one oversight, however. We will address that on Monday. But this is Saturday, and the following is an excerpt of that very list of houses (along with a description of the, ummm, quirks) so that you, the reader can take a walk through the past with the happy couple.
House #1: Road in front is a main thoroughfare. Our future kids will not be able to play in the road. (I know - that part shocked me when I read it too.  I say - put a ring on it!)
House #2: The road out front is like the bombed-out road into the Baghdad airport.  And the neighborhood looks more dangerous than Baghdad.
House #3: See above previous description.
House #4: Parking on the road only. Chelsea's car would be up on blocks within a week.
House #5: Nice. No back door, which is weird, J thinks. 
House #6: Roof, fence, windows, siding, etc., for lack of a better term, suck. 
House #7: Health notice in the window. We use our imaginations to visualize all of the pathogens within those walls that could kill us.
House #8: Very nice. From afar. A foreclosure that was not closed for the winter. In fact, the sliding porch door was open. It smelled like mold and old milk.
House #9: Nice, but some yahoo put an addition on the back to attract student renters. The addition was on stilts. That’s right. Stilts.
Sunday (3/20)
1:00 pm: We meet KJ and walk through the house on stilts (ok, only the addition was on stilts) and also House #10. The latter is nice, but there seems to be a plumbing issue. The bathroom upstairs is in ill-repair. However, we still asked KJ to look into the status of this foreclosure.

Monday (3/21)
10:00 am- KJ contacts Chelsea and tells her that there are three contracts out on House #10, and if we want it, we should put an offer of our own in. Chelsea is at work and J is at her apartment, so we must have a serious discussion over whether or not to put an offer in, done entirely via chat. We’re that good.
We realized at that point how little we still know about the whole process of buying a home. Our gut tells us that this is not the right place, so we decide not to put an offer in. And no, we do not actually share a gut. It is a figure of speech, smart-ass.
1:00 pm: Once again we pour over an updated list of homes KJ has sent. We had probably looked at the description of over 150 houses in the past two and a half days. But we found one that we hadn’t noticed before, even though it was on the very first list we received on Friday night. House #11.
After Chelsea gets out of work we met to look at the House #11 and another place (House #12), which is nearby. House #11 doesn’t even have a sign out front yet. We found  out later that it went on the market Friday. The property is in fine shape. The owners have done a good job preparing it for show. We called KJ from the front yard and arranged a walk-through for the following evening.
Tuesday (3/22)
4:30 pm- We meet KJ at House #12 to walk through the home. Very nice, but listed at $200,000. The three of us walk over to House #11. We walk in. We look around.
And then we drove back with KJ to begin a long night of paperwork to put an offer in on  House #11.
Wednesday (3/23)
All day- Chelsea works, J writes his thesis. We gave the seller 48 hrs. to accept or decline their offer. So we wait.
Thursday (3/24)
1:00- Chelsea calls J from work. The offer is accepted in full. KJ tells us that a cover letter that we wrote to the buyer was key to the sale. Chelsea begins to schedule appointments with DH, an inspector, and a lawyer while J prepares to head back to the Midwest tomorrow. 
Friday (3/25)
6:00 pm - J flies back to the Midwest to finish his thesis.
Saturday (3/26) 
1:00 - Chelsea meets with DH to fill out all of the paperwork to apply for a loan! Afterwards she drives by the house again and sits creepily along the street listening to how quiet the neighborhood is... until a future neighbor drives by and stares her down.
Sunday (3/27)
All day - Chelsea researches title insurance companies and home owners insurance. Her life has become even more boring.
Monday (3/28) 
Chelsea works. J writes. 
Tuesday (3/29)
Chelsea has to pick a title company. She calls around and gets multiple quotes. One guy (who was recommended by a coworker) is super helpful and walks her through the entire process to closing.  A woman that she speaks with afterwards has worked with DH for many years and promises to beat any other quotes that she receives.  Which she follows through on - so Chelsea goes with them.  DH is pleased.
Wednesday (3/30) 
Chelsea works. J writes. 
Thursday (3/31)
10:00 - Home Inspection Day.  Chelsea takes the morning off and meets with the home inspector, KJ their real estate agent, and surprisingly the son of the original owners and the seller!  KJ thinks this is weird and asks him to give them space, but Chelsea starts asking questions of him straight away and he gives the history of the house that he not only grew up in, but was born in. Literally. Yeah. Try getting that out of your mind now. Home Inspector does a great job pointing out the things that he has to point out, playing with the garage door, using his little moisture meter on the foundation, and generally doing home inspector stuff... until he reveals that he has managed to lock his keys in his home inspector truck.  Luckily KJ has a habit of doing this as well and has added a free locksmith service to her cell phone (who even knew that option existed?!).  So while everyone is in the basement looking at the innards of a 14 year old furnace, Locksmith man shows up to free Home Inspector's keys from their truck dungeon.  Locksmith man looked like he could have retrieved the keys using a coat hanger. Just sayin’.
Overall Home Inspector doesn’t find a lot of problems.  There are some reversed polarities and open grounds in the electrical system that Chelsea and KJ decide to have the seller fix as well as some slight plumbing leaks.  There’s a report. It’s boring so we won’t discuss it further.
2:00 - Chelsea goes to work.
5:00 - Home Inspector sends Chelsea the Home Inspection report. This guy is good.

Friday (4/1)
11:00 - Chelsea talks with KJ about the results of the Home Inspection report. 
2:00 - Chelsea calls DH and tells him to order the home appraisal since the home inspection went well.  
3:00 - Chelsea sends KJ the list of repairs/evaluations that they are asking the seller to complete before closing.
7:00 - Chelsea is still at work and waiting for KJ to send her the forms to sign for the response to the seller regarding the Home Inspection report.  Yes 7:00 p.m. Yes on a Friday night. That girl is a Barrel O’ Fun! 

Saturday (4/2) - Sunday (4/24)
Chelsea either works or does house research. The Boy writes.

Side note: Never go to a homeowners insurance site that promises to give you 10 quotes in 10 minutes.  What they really mean is: "Give us your phone number and we promise to have someone call you from 10 different insurance agencies every 10 minutes." Do the math. It's pretty much harassment.  Insurance companies are like sharks.  Go find yourself an independent insurance agent and make them do the dirty work for you - it's worth it. Unless you like being harassed because it makes you feel popular.  In that case - I'll give you a good site to use.

Monday (4/25)
Chelsea closes on House #11.


And that, folks, is how we became homeowners in 37 days.

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