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The whole house story...and a potential hot tub

September 21st, 2016 at 11:07 am

Since we've officially closed and are now (temporary) landlords, I feel like I can finally tell the house story. I've been keeping quiet because I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, but everything worked out.

Let me preface the story with this fact: a month and a half ago, we had no plans to buy a home. In fact, I discussed here about our plans to spend a year in a place to give us time to save up money and really look for a home we loved. About a week after we moved, one of the lenders we'd spoken with told us that the 2 year employment period of commission-based employees was flexible. It was a military-focused lending institution, and since DH had 1.5 yrs under his belt and was in school the remaining time, they could get a waiver for the 2 yr. requirement. We went ahead and applied for kicks and ended up with a $400k approval in our hands.

For anyone familiar with the DMV area, it's REALLY difficult to find single family homes in a decent location under half a million. So even with the approval, we figured we'd start looking, but likely would have to do some additional mortgage lender shopping once we hit the 2 yr. mark at DH's company.

We started by looking at Zillow and reaching out to DH's family friend who is trusted realtor (she helped us in looking for the place we're currently in). She told us that of the 6 homes we'd wanted to take a look at from Zillow, only 2 were actually available. We went on a Thursday to look at the one we really liked. It was even better in person. For a 30 year old home, the house had only been through 2 owners, and these people had really taken care of it. All appliances were under 5 yrs. old. And there was storage/shelving everywhere. They'd also done some neat quirky things like turning the area under the stairs into a storage closet and installing a laundry chute from the master bedroom to the utility room in the basement. It had a sunroom and a deck and a patio (perfect for a hot tub) and (our only requirement) a HUGE backyard. I loved the house, but was really hesitant to admit it because 1) it was the first house we saw and 2) it was bumping right up against our $400k limit.

After that first house decided to look at a house we'd seen around the corner that was for sale. It had been on our Zillow list, but hadn't made the short list of homes we wanted to see. We were not impressed. The first turnoff was the 4 or 5 huge hornets hovering around the tree in the backyard. From there, it just got worse. The floor plan felt much more stifling, it wasn't kept up as well, and to top it all off, it was more expensive than the first place.

At the end of the day, we couldn't stop thinking about the house, so we decided to ask his parents to look at it. DH's dad is a contractor, so he'd be able to tell us if it was in as good a shape as it seemed. I was also hoping his mom would talk us away from the ledge. She even told us at dinner the evening before they saw it that they'd look at 30-something homes before committing (although they knew instantly that the one was it). The next morning, they made it through the living room and kitchen before they turned around and told us we'd be crazy not to take the house (so much for that...).

I spoke with the realtor to get a quick idea of the numbers. I knew I could pull from my 401k, but even with that, we might be short. DH's parents graciously agreed to help us, and by Monday morning, we were under contract.

Yesterday, we closed. However, the sellers have asked to rent back from us until the end of October. So now, we wait to move in.

The good news is that with the 60-day notice needed to vacate our current contract, we should have little (if any) overlap in rents/mortgages.

DH and I are super excited to get into our home. We already have some basic ideas, but the house is essentially live-in ready. We do know that one of our first big improvements will be to fence in the backyard. This will allow us to let the puppies run freely and give us some privacy once we get the hot tub (can you tell I really, really want a hot tub?).

Speaking of hot tubs...I joked about it at the end of our closing just to keep it fresh in DH's mind. Well, our realtor chimes in and says 'I actually just did a quote for a hot tub removal. In fact, your dad (DH's contractor dad) is doing some work on the place and will probably be the one to remove it. I think it's in good shape if you guys want it.' Uhhh....of course we do!! DH's dad saw it today, and said it definitely looks like it's in good shape, so the plan is to see if it'll fit in his truck and then his parents would keep it at their place until we move in. Score!!!

Obviously this will mean some very different things for our finances, so updates on that coming soon.

9 Responses to “The whole house story...and a potential hot tub”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    Congrats! Yeah, looking casually at homes is dangerous, huh? We looked at 4 "just to see what's out there" and fell in love with one, and ended up scrapping our timeline and stretching our finances to the limit to get it a full year before we'd originally planned to buy. I don't regret it, but if we'd waited to look at homes when we were more ready to buy, it would've been a lot less stressful. But then we may not have found our perfect home, who knows?

  2. Michelle Says:

    Congrats to u both

  3. CB in the City Says:

    Wow, sounds like a lovely house.

  4. snafu Says:

    Congratulations on buying your 1st home. Your excitement jumps off the page and I know you are thrilled. I worry about being a voice for caution but I hope you'll take a deep breath and take the time between closing and 'move-in' date to realistically work on your numbers. You and DH must be cognizant and cautious with spending for this entire, first, wedded year. New home owners are usually surprised by how much money home ownership truly costs. It's always unexpected and worse, emergencies happen at the most inopportune times. Realistically, it means giving every dollar a job and stopping spends as soon as budget in that category closes.

    If you're willing to share details, many of us may be able to make suggestions to help keep expenses from spinning out of control as you experienced with wedding costs. There are so many costs associated with moving like utility fees, rentals, feeding helpers and problem solving expenses. As a new bride it's so tempting to rush to decorate without a long term, comprehensive plan and that action can truly fling you off track for years. Sending much best wishes, looking forward to pictures.

  5. rob62521 Says:

    How exciting! So happy are you buy your house and enjoy it!

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    Congrats on the new home!

  7. debt-free by thir-ty Says:

    Thanks everyone! And snafu, as usual you are spot on with the advice. I want to get back into sharing my financial details here because I really could use the help. Our full mortgage payment is about $600 more than our current rent payment, so it's definitely going to be an adjustment.

  8. snafu Says:

    jazzy, thank you for understanding my best of intentions to keep you financial safe from life's challenges. When it comes to $$$, the facts speak for themselves. Debt adds up fast because credit, particularly CCs charge ghastly interest plus penalties for going over limit or late payments. You mentioned DH is dissatisfied with his job and I hope he gets into positive frame PDQ. Being unemployed isn't an option in new home mode.

    My 1st suggest is starting immediately, print out an anticipated budget and live that budget like you're already in your new home. Check to make sure you have 30 days 'grace,' what date is your PTI+ mortgage insurance + household insurance due. *[PTI Mortgage,Taxes,Interest] Your utility providers can give you a summary or at least an average for electric, heat/gas, water, sewerage, trash + cable, internet, cell. You will need to factor in disconnect/reconnect charges and how each provider expects payment.
    Suggestion #2. Inventory your pantry, fridge & freezer. List meals that can be created with food at hand plus as few additions as possible. Having a meal plan is a huge cost avoidance. 2nd, It's a big hassle to move food items and make instant decisions for placement in your house. Make a pact with DH that meals are home based, budget for eating out ZERO in this interim.

    #3, I suggest you begin packing. 1st it season change out so summer garb can be the starting point. As you go through the process...anything not worn, not used, not needed is a target to sell, donate or trash as appropriate. It helps to pretend you are camping, what is the minimum you can manage with between today and moving day? Get boxes from liquor stores for books, bthrm and foods. No extra costs if avoidable no surprisesb

  9. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    Congrats on the house!

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