The Road to Buying My First Home: Part 2
At the end of Part 1, I mentioned that we had found a gorgeous home that was just above our price range, but walked away meeting two fantastic people, Laura and Brandon, who were running the open house as the real estate agent and loan originator respectively. We didn’t know it that day, but these two people were about to play a huge role in our home buying experience in the coming months. After we walked away from this house, at the very least, we knew what type of house we wanted and we knew what type of people wanted to do business with. The only question was could we do all of this right now? What were our limitations? These as well as other questions needed to be answered.
Representation and soul-searching
The gorgeous house hosted by Laura and Brandon left a big impression on my wife and I. As went about our home search discussions we couldn’t help, but to talk about how great it was to meet them. By that point, we didn’t know for sure just how much they could help us land the house we were looking for, but we knew that we wanted to work with them. One thing we learned from this process is that the two key components to any home search is to make sure you have a real estate agent and lender who have your best interest in mind and can represent you. Our search in this regard came fairly easy, but I have to imagine that it’s not always that easy. Especially considering some of the personalities we met before that day.
Once we decided to have Laura represent us as a real estate agent, our home search really picked up. We spent several weekends in a row looking at houses in person. Due to us looking at houses in areas that can best be described as rural historic districts, some of the results varied. At one point, we even looked at a house that was built-in the 1800s. A house that probably would have been nice back then, but had some major flaws due to its age. Another recurring theme was finding nice houses that just happened to be in front of cemeteries. Not exactly what you want to see when you open up the curtains every morning. We even had one agent at a community we looked at try to convince us that this wouldn’t be a big deal. Maybe for some people this would be ok, but it wasn’t for us!
One of the recurring themes that popped up was living in a home that had a lot of space. This is what it came back to overtime we looked at a home. For the most part, we found most homes to be too small for what we were looking for. This is a big reason the row/attached home situation wasn’t for us. Although we were living in an apartment, the reason we chose to live there was because of how spacious it was. That is a theme we wanted to continue with the home of our dreams.
Putting in our first bid
As I mentioned in part 1, my wife was more or less the leader of this project. She did an incredible job finding some homes that had potential. Sure, some of the houses didn’t live up to our expectations, but at the very least, we learned something from every house we looked at. Although we wound up finding our ideal home fairly quick, I don’t feel like we were very impulsive as far as submitting a bid. The first house we did put a bid on was the first one that truly met all of the criteria we had, but it also gave us a little more than we were looking for. This particular house right around our asking price, was very spacious, but also gave us about an acre of land in the front. Despite all of the land that was given to each owner, it felt very community oriented based on our conversation with the neighbors. The only flaws in the house was a kitchen that needed to be remodeled and some other minor tweaks due to the living situation of the previous occupants of the home. As it turns out, the owner had the house rented out to a family who didn’t keep it up quite as well as the original owner.
From our perspective, although it was a beautiful property, the asking price was a bit high considering all of the work that needed to be done. This, along with the encouragement of Laura, our real estate agent, is what convinced us to put in a bid that was a bit lower than the asking price. Although you could have more or less considered this our dream home, we wanted to make sure that all of the work the property needed would get covered through the reduced price of the house. The negotiation process, which included a pre-approval from Brandon, our loan originator, was a back and forth affair as the owner wasn’t very flexible about their asking price. The impression we got is that the value of such a great piece of land was worth too much to provide any flexibility even with some of the fixes the house needed. Ultimately, after a few weeks of back and forth bidding and negotiating, we were informed that the owner had passed on our bid and chose somebody else. It was very disappointing at the time as this was the first house we found within our price range that we truly felt fit our criteria. We also knew just how rare it was to find such a large piece of land at our asking price so that made it much more disappointing.
Coming up in part 3
Although the outcome of our first house bid didn’t work out in our favor, we didn’t spend too much time wallowing in our misery. In part 3, I will tell you about an amazing housing opportunity my wife discovered. This opportunity lead us to unexpected twist that took us into a very fulfilling journey within the home buying process.