The great House Hunt of 2017.

I’ve not posted much lately because I’ve been busy shopping for a home. You may recall we tried home hunting back in 2014 and came very close to buying a house and then I got cold feet and called the whole thing off. I still think that was the right decision at the time because I’m not sure I could’ve afforded the payments at the time.

A little under three years later I’ve taken out a loan against my own 401K and we’re trying it again. So far we’ve actually made three attempts to buy a house only to have all three attempts fail. Which is an odd reversal of our first go at this because back then it took forever to find a house to make a bid on and we dropped it before they ever got a chance to consider it.

The first house we tried to bid on was, in my opinion, everything I was hoping for in a house. It had only been on the market a couple of days when we put in a bid on it, but apparently a lot of other people liked it too and the sellers went with someone else’s offer. I did not take this disappointment well and was moody and grumpy for the rest of that weekend. The second house wasn’t as nice as the first one, but it was pretty close and so we tossed out an offer. However, I didn’t get my hopes up because the listing had been updated to say that all best and highest offers had to be in by 5PM on the day we submitted which told me this house also had a lot of competition. It went to someone else.

Third time’s the charm, right? Not really. The third house we bid on wasn’t one I was particularly excited about, but it would’ve been a decent house. We’d need to purchase a stove, fridge, washer and dryer for it as — unlike the first two houses we bid on — those appliances were not present. It was clear the home had been bought to flip and it had some nice updates and the basement would’ve been awesome for LAN parties. Someone else had bid on it previously and it fell through so it was back on the market. Alas, the mortgage we’ve been preapproved for is an FHA and the sellers already knew that the appraisal of the home would be for 5K less than they were asking for so they wanted us to kick in another $3,000 above and beyond the down payment and closing costs to go towards the commission. Alas, that would’ve left me with no money to buy the appliances I’d need let alone afford to pay for movers so we had to drop the bid.

Part of the reason I gave up back in 2014 was the sheer stress of the process and it’s no different this time around. I hate everything about this, particularly the part where I don’t really know what I’m doing. We’re using the same agent we used in 2014 — Mike Mazurek — who has been really great at shepherding us through it and pointing out potential issues with the homes we’ve looked at. I think after making it through three failed bids I’m managing my stress a lot better. Which isn’t to say that I’m not still a big ball of nerves, but I’m not totally freaking out about it like I was at the start of this adventure.

So, yeah, that’s what we’ve been doing. It is my full intent that I will find a house that will be my last move ever unless I win the lottery or get kicked out. So it’s gotta be a decent house. Especially given that I’m a computer nerd with absolutely zero ability to fix up a fixer upper. I’ll try to post a little more often while we’re doing it and if anything interesting happens along the way.

9 thoughts on “The great House Hunt of 2017.

  1. Yeah, unfortunately there are few happy, stress-free house purchases. But, with luck and judgment and avoiding desperately taking something that’s not suitable only because you can get it, the end result will be a better long-term sitch for you and yours.

  2. Well, we just put out our fourth bid on a house tonight. Nice ranch with a finished basement and no less than THREE bathrooms, two of which are on the main floor so you can visit without worry, Mom. 🙂

  3. I went through that mess last fall, and only have one bit of advice: get the mortgage pre-qualified *and* pre-approved if possible. I was able to snatch my house from under a house flipper because I walked in and basically had “cash” in hand. The greatest negotiating point I could have had.

    Also, good luck.

  4. That was the first thing my agent said was that we needed to get pre-approved and we are. Not for as much as we were preapproved for the last time we tried this, but we are pre-approved.

  5. It appears fourth time’s the charm as our latest bid has been accepted. I’ve scheduled a home inspection for next Wednesday morning and the FHA appraisal should happen soon. Still plenty of hurdles to get over, but if all goes well we’ll close on the house May 1st with the seller continuing to occupy it for a week or two while she finalizes her purchase of a condo. Our lease on the apartment ends on May 31st so as long as she’s out a few days ahead of that everything will be line up nicely plus we get a little bit of rent for our trouble.

    My biggest worry now is that the FHA appraisal will come in so far under what we bid that she backs out, but the house is nice enough and appears to be in good enough condition that I’m hopeful it’ll be close enough that she won’t be too upset if it’s a little less than our offer.

  6. I hope it works out for you. It’s mindboggling, the details that must be considered in just finding a place to live nowadays.

  7. My husband and I bought our first house that we still live in 10 years ago and don’t regret it. I know I lurk on your blog but if you want to ask some nerd to nerd questions as a buyer email me. I used to be a realtor. not anymore but some things are never going to change in the industry. We have cats and no kids and although we are antisocial we do play online. By ourselves of course lol. For the Horde!

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