Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Story of Our House (Part 1)

House hunting Sucked (with a capital "S").  It was not something that I enjoyed, and not something I want to do again for a very long time.

Jacob and I had the plan to start shopping for a new home after we got back from our honeymoon.  I was expecting a somewhat slow, relaxing process.  You know, maybe hit up an open house here and there--just kind of wait for the right house to fall into our laps.  Jacob, I discovered, had other plans.

After a few days back in the country, Jacob contacted a friend of his from college who is a realtor.  At the time, he was on HIS honeymoon, so connected us with his partner, Lindsay (who became our prime agent).  The three of us met, went over some preliminary paperwork, and then talked about what we were looking for.  Our list of non-negotiables was actually pretty small:

  • At least 3 bedrooms;
  • 1.5+ bathrooms (we added on later that one of them must have a bathtub);
  • Some yard space (but low maintenance preferred);
  • No more than a half-hour drive to Jacob's office;
  • No more than an hour of public transit to mine.

The list for things that would be great to have was a bit longer (and sometimes contradictory):

  • Finished basement (Jacob);
  • Two story, preferably ground and upper levels (Me)
  • Move in ready (Me);
  • Possibility for "Sweat Equity" (Jacob);
  • Inner southeast side of the city (Me);
  • Garage (Jacob);
  • Dining Room (Me).

After our meeting, brainstorming our lists, and returning home, Jacob found Estately and starting adding "favorites" to our houses.  Next thing we knew, we had 30+ houses in our list... and it was only growing.  We met with Lindsay several times (as well as her partner, David, who Jacob originally contacted), and often saw 6-10 houses in a day (it's really hard to keep them straight sometimes!).

We saw some nice places, and some not so nice places (creepy un-finished basement bedrooms with no windows, 70's porn style bathrooms with red light bulbs, houses with 6ft (or lower) ceilings (Jacob and I are both about 5'10"), and places with a flock of roosters living next door... to name a few).

Our second (or maybe third) weekend in David took us to see a ranch style house in NE Portland (if you'll remember, a single story place was not really what we thought we wanted, nor did I want to live in NE).  The house was gorgeous.  It was updated and had been remodeled and was definitely move in ready.  We kinda loved it.  But, we didn't love the price tag.  David thought he could get us a deal though, so, after thinking about it, we decided to go ahead and make an offer.

They countered.

We counter-countered.

They countered.

We declined.  =(  They were unwilling to go down to what we felt we needed from them.  So, the searched continued.

Then we found this older 3-story farmhouse in outer SE (again, I wanted to be in inner-SE, but was willing to compromise as it was near public transportation).  The house had a big open kitchen, FIVE bedrooms, and a lot of living space.  It has a detached garage and a decent sized low-maintenance yard... pretty much everything we wanted.  Except for the location.  It was pretty far from the "inner" area of town where I wanted to be, plus, it was on a busier road in a not-so-great part of town.  But, we really liked it, and the price was right, so, we offered.

They countered.

We counter countered.

They countered.

We declined.

The owner's expectations for what they could get for the house was a lot higher than it should have been (our opinion as well as our realtor's), so, we let it go and we moved on.  We looked at more houses.  And more houses.  Then we got a call from Lindsay.  The selling agent for the farm house wanted to know if we'd be willing to make another offer.  Jacob and I talked about it, and decided that we would, however for slightly less than we had offered before (as it seemed they were getting desperate at this point).  They just IGNORED it!  Didn't even respond.  Apparently they were not happy with our offer.  We were pretty miffed at that point and took that house off of our list (kinda felt like we were getting jerked around a bit).

And the search continued.

We "offered" on three more houses in the upcoming weeks... however all three of them already had offers on them before ours was received.  I was starting to get a bit frustrated and depressed.  I wanted it to be over with.  I was NOT having fun.

Meanwhile, the first house that we offered on, the ranch, was still on the market.  We asked Lindsay if she thought that the seller's would go down any further, and she told it was worth a shot.  So, we put in a new offer... 6 weeks after we declined their counter offer.  They still were not willing to go down to the price that we felt we could afford.  But 1) it was a nice house and, maybe more importantly, 2) I was sick and tired of the whole process.

Jacob punched some numbers and was able to give me an estimate of what the higher purchase price would actually look like in terms of monthly mortgage payments and the down payment.  He was sure that we could handle it (he's always sure about these kind of things).  I was leery, but (after a lot of thought and some tears) I was willing to trust his judgment.

Either way, in the end, we have a house!

The story of our house doesn't end there... but it's getting late, and this post is getting long... so, the continuing saga will have to wait for another day. =)


Josie said...

Yay you have a house!!! :D

Nicole-Lynn said...

Yeyy how exciting! Congrats on being new homeowners!

We're about to close on our first home. It's definitely a very tedious process!