We weren’t really planning to buy a house. It sort of came out of nowhere. We knew we would be in Maryland for a while again and we knew we loved a specific city and our friends lived nearby and that renting would be way more expensive than buying. We also felt we wanted a property we could rent out if we have to move. We talked about our price range and decided to look. There were not many houses in the range we wanted and most of the houses need a HUGE amount of work and were, in general, large houses. We have lived in a large house. It is just not for us. I do not want to spend my life cleaning my house! Ha ha. And, we don’t plan to have more than two kids, so small houses were the name of the game. The realtor was completely surprised by this. She said, “no one has ever asked me to look at smaller houses.” For me, smaller house means living more simply, and that is where we want our lives to go.
We had three or four houses on our list. The first was one that I was SURE was it. I had looked at it online and loved the bright kitchen and the neighborhood was great. Joshua was not convinced and after he saw the schools, he was pretty much whole-heartedly against the house. I have to admit, I thought the school thing was not too big of a deal and then I thought about advertising a house for rent with terrible schools…um, yeah. That wouldn’t work. (To be fair, the schools in our city are some of the best in the country, so bad is relative.) We looked at the house anyway, and there were some things that I just couldn’t get past. I like small, but this house was SMALL. Probably only a bit larger than our apartment.
The second house we looked at was a large house that needed a lot of work. It was disgusting…the owner’s had not cleaned at all…food on the counters, people? Really? We did not stay long. To do the house any justice, we would have immediately had to put in $50-75K for renovations, which is not something we were willing to do.
The third house is the one we are buying. We both really love it. The inside has been completely remodeled (it was a forclosure last year) and while some things need to be updated (the windows on the top floor), overall, it is in great shape. And I like the neighborhood, too. During the inspection, I saw the neighbors arrive home with their young adult kids and dogs- it was cold outside and they stood there and the whole family played with the dogs. It was neat and I think they will be great neighbors. I am sure I will talk a TON more about the house on the blog, so I’ll stop there. We are excited.
The last house we saw, we reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally wanted. It was a bit further outside of our favorite city, but on a large piece of land, ranch style, and had some outdoor work sheds and we imagined a whole different type of life. But it needed sooooooooooooooo much work. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work. We were sad. Someone is getting a gem.
We saw our house on a Saturday and called the realtor on Monday to say we wanted to make an offer. Then, Tuesday we went in to put in the offer and the realtor was pretty unhelpful with that. We had no idea if were offering too much. Then the owner countered and she still gave us no feedback. We did what we thought was right and the owner accepted. We then scheduled the inspection and that was a little crazy. There were many small things to be taken care of and it seemed overwhelming. We called my dad and he calmed us down. He’s great like that. Then we waited. And now we are here- the day before closing. The owner did required repairs last night (!!!) and we are doing our final inspection today hoping he actually did what he was supposed to so we do not have to further delay closing. He has been QUITE unhelpful throughout this process and I cannot wait to leave a terrible review about his company (they flip houses).
As for our realtor, she has been very good and bad off and on. We found her through USAA and thought she would be great (they selected her because she is supposedly really good with first time home buyers…not so much), but she just hasn’t. The only great thing to come out of that relationship is that her office pays USAA to use them, and when we close, USAA will send us a $1200 check. But the second we close, I will call USAA to give them an honest and direct account of our experience.
The really wonderful thing out of all of this is that we have taken everything in stride and supported each other in difficult house buying moments. And that now we will own a house. This is a big thing for military people, because we usually aren’t comfortable enough to commit to staying somewhere for a long time. I am glad we are jumping in!