Thursday, January 23, 2014

House Hunting, For Reals


This is a major lifelong dream for me and now that it's happening I'm like, "uhhhh, what?!"  Funny how so often the dream is so much prettier than reality (reality being looking at houses with built in cement planters in the living room, among other cute little details).

We kinda sorta started looking last November, including getting pre-approved for a loan and starting to work with a realtor two sets of friends recommended, but honestly?  The housing market has sucked pretty hard for the past few months.  Like, there were three houses on the market that fit our parameters and one of them was the size of my pinkie and one of them had a full on sunken living room, a front door that opened up directly to a wall, a fully covered patio (only problem was the cover was about 5'6" high) and strange very much not 90° angles where the walls met (the 1970's were a groovy time for home design).  The third we didn't even bother looking at.  Oh, and all three of these houses were about 30,000 over our (I don't think I'm crazy to think it's reasonable) budget.


In all seriousness, I wasn't ready to buy then, and I knew it.  I didn't need to be turning my nest heels over ass amidst all the other crazy soul searching that's gone on the past several months.  I needed a home, a warm place to retreat to where I've already figured out all the furniture, we have our art on the walls, I can make myself a cocktail with my eyes closed because everything has been in the same spot for the last five years.  Some people can have all their sh*t be all crazy at the same time and still feel like everything's great.  I'm not one of those people.  I can give up my comfort object and sippy cup, just not at the same time.

So it's secretly (in the, "I'm posting this on the internet" kind of way) good that the buyer's market has been in the toilet for the past several months.

But guys.  We went in a house today and I could picture how I'd redo the floors (or, you know, put floors in because apparently the houses in our price range don't come with floors), how I'd arrange furniture...I started thinking about how it was good the house had two bathrooms because that would allow us to reno one at a time while still having another functional bathroom.  I started dreaming, immediately, hard.  And instead of thinking about the loss of leaving our current home, the place that has housed us through the past six years, I was thinking about how exciting it will be to have a HUGE MOTHERF*CKING SUPER MONEY PIT PROJECT HOUSE to stress over for the next decade.  We've turned the critical corner.

This is happening.  I'm ready.  H is ready (H has been ready ever since I went to the dark side and agreed we probably need a two car garage, which I will never in all my days actually be able to park my car in because it isn't actually a garage, it's a workshop, despite the fact that some people may or may not call the entrance a "garage door.").  Everything is in order.  Houses are starting to come onto the market more regularly, and some of those houses seem like they could become homes, and maybe one of those will be the house we end up buying.

So, spill.  What do we need to consider?  Anything you wish you had known before buying?  Anything to watch out for?  How do we know it's "the house"?  How do we decide how much is too much in terms of taking on renovations?  How do we decide when to expand or stick to our budget?  Do we prioritize house or neighborhood?  How do we convince sellers to let us buy their house instead of sending it to the dark world of cash investors?   How do you not lose your brains in this process?  Is it all just a matter of luck and I really just need to unbunch my panties and ride the waves?  TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW.

This is a good thing.


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