Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Hunt is On!

Alrighty folks, this one's gonna be short, but I'm in need of some assistance, and you are my potential assistors.  assisters.  assistants.  I'm not sure how to say it.  What I'm saying is, I need your help.

Handsome and I do this little dance every year, it seems, where we start to get the itch for a home of our own.  Like, to be the person who owns the home.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and just throw these words together.  Sometimes, we want to be homeowners.  And the itch has struck again.

I've been thinking about "When I have a House", as you can see by the Pintrest page that links to.  But its all been in the abstract, because I thought the time when we would have a house of our own was a long ways off.  But then Handsome points out some facts, like how much we've paid in rent these last 3 years, and how cheap houses are, and how much lovely sweating I could do if I had a house of my own to re-no (pronounced  ren-no, as in renovate), and I get to thinking about it for serious.

We've always put it off, for a number of reasons.  The main reason was that we didn't know whats going to happen when I get out of school and get the magical gold diploma (I don't want to know if its not gold. I'm just going to keep thinking it is.).  Since we didn't know what would happen, we decided not to make a decision on the housing issue.  However, by not making a decision, we made one; not to buy.

Well, we're re-evaluating again, and we've begun the hunt for the perfect house.  Truth be told, there's already a strong front-runner, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse.  Or all of my eggs in one basket.  Or fall off the turnip truck.  I'd really rather not do all of those things, even though that seems like a fine way to carry eggs (I think its a risk-management technique).  I'd rather be wise and discerning and take my time and not let emotions rule.  Its weird, but being rational is both contrary to and the very heart of my nature.  It is my blessing, and my curse. 

Part of me wants to fall in love and make a decision based purely on feelings and live happily ever after.  A second part of me wants to kick the first part in the teeth.  The third part of me is reasonable and likes to figure facts and decide what is affordable and what is a good investment and how much and when and where.  The sad truth is, part 3 is not generally the winner when it comes to my home choices.  Enter Handsome.  He is my rock in this, as in most things.  Real Estate, especially, due to it being his original vocation of choice many moons ago.  I will try to be grounded and sensible, and Handsome will make me face facts and pull me back to earth when I get carried away.

We're thinking of going out Sunday to look some places over, and this is where you come in; I have questions that need answers before Sunday.  On the obviously large chance that we don't find a house that we love & can afford & the fridge is full and waiting for us on Sunday, please feel free to message me/comment here after 6/12/11.  The questions are as follows:

  • What are your deal breakers in a house?
  • What are some main considerations?
  • If you've bought a house, what do you wish someone told you to look at/for?
  • Why are the wonderful ones so expensive?  Or built right under power lines?
  • If you've done this before, what did you think was important that later turned out not to be?
  • And as always: Where have all the cowboys gone?
I would so much appreciate your input.  So very much.  I'll definitely let you know what I find out on Sunday. If you know of a place 'round these parts that has land and a garage and a laundry room inside the house, please let me know (picky, right?).  And please have a most excellent Friday.  Pretty please.  I'm going to try to, but I'm so much in love with the one house already, it feels like Christmas Eve, and I don't know if I'm going to sleep tonight.  I keep trying to pray about this, to find some peace on the matter, to look beyond myself and choose God's best rather than my measley attempt.  Unfortunately, all that comes out is "pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.  Amen."  Like a small child who lives in an apartment and wants a pony.

Praying like a 4-year-old, and not in a good way,


  1. Anonymous6/09/2011

    Wow, big move, but potentially a great one. Building equity rather than paying rent, if the housing market there is stabilizing would probably be the way to go. I've been down the home-buying path three times now and here is my two cents.

    I always set my priorities before I went on the search. You will have your own. Start with 3-5 "must haves", the same number of "would like to have" to keep yourselves focused. These may evolve but check back with the list before making the decision.

    Location is something that you can't change so that will be key. Probably in a first house, you won't want to make tons of structural changes, so layout (inside and out) and fit to your lifestyle will be important. Don't let cosmetic things like poor paint choices, bad carpeting, lights, and faucets influence you against buying a diamond in the rough. If you are willing to paint and do some renovations, you can build even more equity.

    Be conservative on what you can afford as there will always be maintenance expenses, too. Being "house poor" isn't fun. It's OK to stretch a bit, but don't go overboard with the mortgage.

    When you find a house that feels like "home", you'll know. I've walked into tons of houses and said "nope". Each of the houses I bought, had a good feel (to me) even if they needed work. There are tons of practical things to consider when buying a house, but at the end of the day, it's an emotional decision.

    Nothing says you need to have a house bought within a set amount of time. It took me months to find my current house, so take your time. I wish you luck as you start your search. Don't hesitate to ask if you need to kick around some questions.

    Love to you both.

  2. @Anonymous

    Thank you for such thorough and experienced advice. I'm making my list tonight! And I will definitely call you to kick some ideas once we get there!

  3. It's a good time to buy, you should definately be able to get more house for your money.

    My Mom and sister both bought houses within the past year they paid over 50% less than the houses were valued just a few years before.

    The biggest, number one thing I can advise is, get the inspection.

    We skipped it because we were going to be renovating the house anyway, we figured we could fix any problems ourselves. Since we were given a termite letter, we didn't think about the entire front beam of the house being eaten away.
    We were able to remove the remains of the beam and stop the house from sinking any futher, but the front of the house is several inches lower than the back, which throws everything off, the floors, ceilings, roof.

    Another thing is, look at ALOT of places. Even if you think you've found The One, keep looking. Make sure you see as many as you can.

    We looked at a few, but I had got my heart set on this house. The longer we lived here, and got to know the area better, though, we wish we had looked longer and more and had found a place out in one of the more country areas.

    We liked the neighborhood when we moved in, all our neighbors were older, retired folks. Turns out, older, retired folks die off, and their kids sell their houses to Real Estate agents, who rents the houses to Section 8 recipients and white trash.

    When looking at houses, take a digital camera and take lots of pictures. You might want to take a notebook and jot down notes, maybe draw out a rough floorplan.
    After looking at a few houses, details start getting jumbled up.

    I think that's all I got for now.


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