Northwest Native: Home, sweet home.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Home, sweet home.

You guys, we bought a HOUSE. YES. You are looking at a super adulty adult over here because I am officially a homeowner with a yard (yay!) and a washer and dryer (yay!) and more than one bedroom (yay!) and a mortgage (sigh)! You have no idea how long I've wanted to blog about this, but I swore it would jinx it if I did before it became totally official. Buying a house takes a long time, y'all (and we had a thirty-day closing, which is actually on the shorter side). I know a lot of you have already been through it, but here's our timeline, just for funsies.

Friday, April 15th
Michael found the house online.
Sunday, April 17th
Our realtor was out of town, but we were able to tour the house with her colleague.
Wednesday, April 20th
Offers were due by 5 p.m. Our realtor submitted ours in the morning.
By 6 p.m. Michael had pretty much already decided we for sure didn't get it.
Thursday, April 21st
At 10:21 a.m., I texted Michael to stop being such a downer because I wasn't going to give up hope until we officially got word that we didn't get it.
Our realtor called at 10:30 a.m. to let us know WE GOT IT!
I got to say, "I told you so" to Michael about his negativity (which is huge because he always tells me to not be so negative...which is generally warranted #notanoptomist).
These first few days felt like a month in themselves! The uncertainty really gets to you!
Thursday, April 28th
Inspection! And the power wasn't on, so we had to have the inspector come back out when it was on...
Saturday, April 30th
The day the power was supposed to be on and we were supposed to have the rest of the inspection done...except the seller's realtor is the worst and it wasn't.
Thursday, May 5th
The power is actually on and the inspection is completed.
Thursday, May 12th
The appraisal report is due. Every day since our offer was accepted we were nervous for this day. If it appraised too low and the seller wouldn't sell to us for the appraised price (or the bank wouldn't loan us our full amount), we would lose the house. And then they delayed it to the next day. More excruciating waiting.
Friday, May 13th
Yeah, kinda nervous that our appraisal was coming in on Friday the 13th. But it came back $4,000 above our sale price!
Wednesday, May 18th
Friday, May 20th
Closing day--except when the seller goes, "Oh oops I'm out of the country and can't get to a notary" and they have to push closing...
BUT luckily they are still allowing us to move in starting this day, aka TODAY! So after work tonight we will be taking loads to the house and sleeping there on an air mattress! And tomorrow we'll get a U-Haul so we can actually move our bed and bigger furniture!
Monday, May 23rd
New closing date.

Some reflections:
After our offer was accepted, we got an invite to this online portal that kept track of your progress. It had a little tracker that said, "Where you stand" and gave a percentage of completion and the closing date. Below that was the timeline with all the steps, specifying which steps were complete, which steps were in process, and which were not yet in process. It looked like this:

We wrote (aka Michael wrote and I tweaked a little, like adding an Oxford comma and other unnecessary things) a letter to the seller, which is a must in a competitive market. We tried to appeal to her emotions, talking about it being our first house and where we'd start a family, and a better life for our dogs...we even said where we would put the Christmas tree (it was suggested to us to look her up online so we could make the letter appeal to her more--she had a Christmas Pinterest board, so we weren't being insensitive/risky)... I wanted to think that our letter would help us out...but in all honesty, we were the highest offer by a couple thousand so, nope.

House Hunters is infuriating (I've known this for years, but it makes you even more bitter when you're actually going through buying a house--at least in our area). I'm not sure where these people live but you can't get a 3,000 square foot home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms for $200,000 here. NOT. EVEN. CLOSE. Another thing you can't do is just come in at the asking price (or negotiate the seller down from asking) and have no other offers to compete with. NOPE. (Not to mention these $200K giant houses always have hardwood floors [never laminate! don't say the 'l-word' to these people!], granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and probably the fountain of youth in the backyard or something.)

Here is our reality (hint: not close to House Hunters at all): Our house doesn't have a ton of square footage, but it's over double the size of our apartment, has four bedrooms instead of one, two and a half baths instead of one, a two-car garage, and a (small) fenced yard. It has the dreaded laminate and carpet, white appliances (gasp!), and we had multiple offers to compete with. The kicker--houses around here sell for 5-10% above asking. And asking is not $200,000. Oh, and in this market, the buyer pays closing costs, no question.

Also, do you want to know our requirements for a house? Not hardwood, not granite, not a chandelier in the bathroom, not brick, not brand-new-never-been-lived-in (because germs! excuse me...if you're renting, you know that other people rented there first, right?)... Our requirements were: within budget (none of this "This is our budget. But wait, this house is $20,000 over, so let's buy it anyway!"), hopefully three bedrooms please please please, hopefully more than one bathroom please please please, a fenced yard for the dogs (or a yard that we could fence if we were well under budget), and in the area we were looking. Honestly, for a while there it was looking like a three bedroom, two bathroom house was never going to be attainable with our budget. And then we found four bedrooms and two and a half baths and we were so so excited.

And we feel extremely lucky, because this is the first house we even put an offer on, and we got it. (We were going to put an offer in on a house before, but we weren't preapproved because Michael was in a contract position, but it went permanent right after that--I briefly mentioned that in a previous post.) Not being able to put an offer in on that other house was disappointing for us, but we like the house we got better, and that house is still pending. We're guessing their closing period is much longer because the sellers were still occupying the house at the time of sale, while ours was not occupied.

I'm guessing this post was not all that amusing for anyone other than myself, so I probably won't link up anywhere today. In the future, you can probably expect to see posts about our progress with the house (the yard needs work, and we need a lot more furniture to fill it up!).

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  1. So excited for y'all, Mattie! I can't imagine how stressful it was waiting for the appraisal and inspection! I'm so glad everything worked out! Can't wait to see photos of your progress!

  2. This is SOOO EXCITING!!!!!! Life is just moving on for you - marriage & now a house. Good stuff happening!
    I am always intrigued at the difference in prices in homes depending on the state you live in. Like a tiny 1 bedroom apartment to buy in NYC is like more then what our 4 bedroom house in Indiana costs - so weird how that works.
    Cant wait to see pics of your house as you move in! Good luck with closing!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!

    Don't stress about a mortgage! As long as it's set up correctly, it's super easy, just auto draft right out of your account!

    Yeah about house hunters those people are in specific regions they have to be, because I'm laughing over the prices these houses are because in our market, 3,000 can be like a million here where as in NC it could only be 225,000. I want to see these pictures of the house!

    liz @ j for joiner

  4. OMG CONGRAAAAAAATS! This is so so so so so exciting. And good for you guys for having a budget and sticking to it, and for not being that annoying couple on House Hunters with an obnoxious wish list. :D So happy for you and Michael!!!

  5. Wait...are you trying to tell me that your exciting news to share wasn't that you're pregnant?! ;)

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! If that isn't the biggest grown-up thing ever then I don't know what is! So exciting for you two!

  6. Congrats!! That is so wonderful!! While I love the show House Hunters, I don't think it is very realistic at all. Don't stress, it will all work out.

  7. Aaaahhhh this is amazing!! Congrats y'all!! Have the best weekend in your new home!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

  8. YAY! Congratulations, guysss!!!! Buying a house is so nerve-wracking/exciting/scary/awesome! I'm glad it's officially official!

    It's funny that you mention pricing and House Hunters.. Where I live $200,000 buys you a pretty darn nice house (hardwood, granite, four bedroom and three bath). $400,000 are damn near mansion-size/quality in my county. I don't envy your housing market, friend! (But I'm glad you snagged a good one!)

  9. Congratulations! Buying a house is such a big step and super grown up! I can't wait to see your progress posts and how your home comes together!

  10. Congrats on buying a house. It is nothing like you expect it to be. I watched too many tv shows too and was disappointed to learn how much house you get for a certain price. But I am so glad you got it and it worked out. I can't wait to see the progress posts!

  11. Congrats! The buying process can be so stressful, but it's all worth it in the end when you get a house that you love! I can't wait to see what your house looks like and all the fun projects you start!

  12. Yay congrats on your new house!! How fun that you get to fill it up with new furniture! When we bought our house 2 years ago we had looked at over 40 houses and I was so relieved when we found ours finally!

  13. THIS IS SO EXCITING! EEEEEEP! Congratulations! Waiting is always the worst part, but I'm so happy for you guys that it turned out well! All super adulty things happening over there. Mortgages, property taxes, and things like that stress me out, and I don't even own a house! I hope you guys pop a bottle and celebrate! Excited to see the progress updates!

  14. Ahhhh congratulations!!!! How exciting!!!!! You don't even want to know what you can get down here for $200,000. It will just make you mad. But we also have lower incomes so theres that.

  15. OMG CONGRATS!!! Such awesome news!! You ARE the adultiest adult ever! (I was just thinking today that I guess I'm supposed to move out of my parents' house someday WAHHHH.) House Hunters is really frustrating because the price varies so much from place to place. My dad is always complaining about how cheap the houses are on Fixer Upper, actually! (Because he would like to buy in CA, where is the market is just ridonk.) Can't wait to see pics of your new home!!

  16. Congratulations Mattie! That is so exciting! Owning a home is a huge responsibility lol but so worth it :). Our closing took 31-32 days (hello angry lol!) Have fun moving this weekend :)

  17. Congrats!! I know so many people who have been looking for a house (and putting offers on them way over the asking price) for MONTHS and still can't get a buyer to accept! It seems so frustrating and it kind of makes me want to rent forever. The Seattle housing market is just crazy - and it also makes me side eye everything that happens on 'House Hunters'. -- Lisa | Naptime Chai

  18. Mattttttiiiiiee!! That is so so so exciting! Congrats on the home, and good luck with the move!

    Katie @ Style On Target

  19. I'm SO excited for you!! Congratulations on a such a big "adulting" step! I can't wait to see your future posts! :) Yay!

  20. Congratulations on your first house! I wish my first house hunting adventure had been that easy, I visited easily a couple dozen homes (and told off a builder/pulled my offer) before I found the one I ended up putting my accepted offer in on.

    Does this mean we have lots of house posts to look forward to?

  21. Ahhh congratulations! What a huge accomplishment and exciting time ahead :) My brother recently bought a house and I was surprised how long it took after his offer was accepted to get to the closing and what not. Can't wait to follow along with house progress- I love those kinds of posts!

  22. congrats on the house! And I think you're right that this officially puts you in the adult club

  23. This is awesome news! Congratulations!! :-) Now the moving and schlepping stuff to your new house begins. Woo woo! The dogs will appreciate the backyard, eh? That's what we want the most for the boys. For now, we stay in our cozy condo and I'll live vicariously through you. ;-)

  24. Congrats!! This is SO exciting!! House hunting is such a stressful process but that is awesome that you got the first house that you offered on! I do think a chandelier in the bathroom should be on the list, haha. :) (okay, that's on my list) I have never heard of writing a letter to the seller but it doesn't sound like a bad idea! And no question about the closing costs? Yikes, we are hoping that we can find a seller that will agree to pay them under the fist time home buyer program because those can be outrageous! AH, I can't wait to hear more about the house & what you guys plan on doing with it!

  25. Congratulations! How exciting! Looking forward to seeing pictures of your new place! I totally understand the crazy PNW market! We've wanted to move back to Washington but it's just so expensive. And I totally get the House Hunters irritation. I had to stop watching it because the people irritate me so much! I still watch the international one though, even though those people still annoy me from time to time!
    I hope your move went okay!

  26. YAY YAY YAY! Congratulations!! Can't wait to hear all about it!

  27. HOORAY!!!!! This market is crazy - you guys got lucky :)

  28. Congratulations!! I'm so glad you got it! It's definitely interesting to me how much houses cost in different parts of the country! The cost of living is crazy low in Memphis so you can get a lot of house for cheap here, but I know it's not that way in most places. I'm glad you found a good fit for you guys, though!

  29. Yay!! Mattie that is SO exciting and I am so happy for you both. Sounds like a crazy ride but so happy it is all good!!

  30. Amazing!!! Now comes the best part – decorating your new home!

    xo Jen
    Skirt The Rules

  31. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We're in the house buying process and during our inspection today we just found out that the sewer needs like $10,000 worth of repairs... So now we're back to negotiations. I'm glad you didn't have to go through that! ;-)

  32. Oh my gosh congratulations!! That means you closed yesterday! Hope everything went well!
    Xo, Evelina @ Fortunate House

  33. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! That's so exciting and what an awesome milestone! The funny thing is, you can get houses for 200K (there was the nicest one ever across the street from my Grandma in Nebraska) but you definitely can't get them in Portland these days. Are you staying in the area you're in now? So exciting! Congrats to you both!

  34. Whatttt that is sooooooo exciting, congrats to you guys!! We've been wanting a house SO bad but in AZ, if you own a business you have to have 2 years of taxes for them to even look at that income so when we were talking to lenders, they wouldn't even bat an eye at my business because I have only claimed it for 1 year of taxes so far. SO DUMB. But holy cow that is so awesome for you guys and I'm sure it will be such a great home to start your family in!!!

  35. congrats!!!! this is so awesome! buying a house is so freaking stressful.
    and i feel you on house hunters being infuriating. it's definitely different here, we had no other offers to compete with, the seller paid closing, and we paid less than asking. but this is a very small city (in my big city opinion). but guess what! we have laminate (and we love it!). also, my entire house is the same size as one of my friend's master bedroom suite. i shit you not. we have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths and it's great. we will be selling it one day (hopefully next year) and buying another house in a better location with a garage. we are very easy to please lol.
    congrats again!

  36. This is so exciting!! Congratulations! Seriously, the process of purchasing a home can be so long! The waiting can be so tough, but it is all so worth it when you have your new space!

  37. I hate House Hunters and every show like it SO MUCH. It's not even close to being realistic. When we bought our first house, we knew we could afford $450/month after taxes and insurance figured in and so that put us at $80,000. You know what our options were in the entire city? One in East End which needed a LOT of work, but also had five feet of standing water in the basement listed as "light leaking". And then the other (which we bought) with a huge yard, and in South End, but it had two bedrooms (only one had a closet), a garage ready to collapse, and we later discovered was haunted, and they had used condoms under the carpet, and none of the cabinets shut. Oh, and we had to buy all new appliances because the inspector told us don't even turn the oven on unless we want to burn our house down, and the refrigerator hadn't been cleaned since 1983. It was horrific.

  38. I can relate to how stressful it is to buy your first home. We were fortunate enough to come across a great opportunity to build a home, but I remember having unrealistic expectations of what we would actually get for our money. You are lucky to have closed so quickly. Our closing date was pushed back from December to April.