Saturday, April 7, 2007

Taking the Plunge

Hello, and good morning,

This is my first ever blog entry so please be patient. Hopefully I will get better as time goes by.

About a 2 weeks ago J. was at work going over the homes section of the newspaper when his friend/boss walked by and mentioned that he and his wife were selling his mother-in-law's
home and that we should come by and check it out.

When he came home and told me about it I was excited for one reason and one reason only......The School District! It's amazing, I am really impressed with the schools my kids are in and am willing to do just about anything to keep them here. The taxes are pretty unreal but its definitely worth what my kids will be getting out of it.

Other than being able to keep the kids in this school system I can honestly say that I haven't been too excited to buy a home for many reasons. First and foremost, could we afford it? What about the economy? (I won't go too much into my political views but I will say I am not happy with the path this administration has set America on.) Then there's the disaster that is the housing industry. After discovering Casey Serin's website through his USA Today article way back in September I started looking into this housing bubble situation (of which I am sorry to say I was clueless of up until then) and while I still don't completely understand it, what I do know is enough to keep me very scared of a home purchase right now.

However, J. and I talked it over extensively and decided it wouldn't hurt to go take a look. So he made the call and set up a time Wed. March 28th that we could go see it. Once I saw it though, I just couldn't deny all the possibilities and the fact that we would be getting a really great deal.

They were selling it in as is condition, which was a concern but it seemed that there were only cosmetic problems. The home had been built onto to basically add an additional 2 bedroom home about 10 years ago. So in all it is 2467 sq feet, 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2 living areas, 2 kitchens, and a 2 car garage. They were selling for $119,000. We couldn't believe it! We came home and talked about all that the house needed and if we could really afford to fix it up the way we want to.

The first time we looked at it I was a little overwhelmed at all the work it seemed we would need to do but we talked about it and decided that anything short of painting the ceilings and walls could be done over time as we acquired the cash to do it. So we decided to try and find a realtor to advise us on this thing.

That evening when I talked to my Aunt she asked if she could recommend a realtor to us that she had used to help get the ball rolling on selling my grandfather's home. I was thrilled for the recommendation and took down the information.

I put in some calls to Natalie (our realtor) the next day and once more Friday morning. Around 10am she called me back and we discussed the situation and agreed that financing was of the utmost importance. If we couldn't get the loan there was no reason to try and move forward so she asked if she could recommend Mat (our mortgage guy) for me to call. So I got off the phone with her and immediately called him.

He emailed me the website with the mortgage company's application, I filled it out and emailed it back. Two hours later he called to let me know that we could go ahead with Natalie on the home if we wanted because we were pre-approved pending receipt of all the documentation!!!!!

So I called Natalie back and she was nearly as surprised as I was. Once she got over the shock she told me that she would like to see the house and meet me. We agreed that she would stop by to pick me up one the way to the house so we would have an opportunity to talk on the way over. I have to say that I was really impressed with her. She has been in Real Estate over 20 years and really knows what she is talking about and if she doesn't have an answer she will tell us so, has the contacts to find out the answer, and gets back to us very quickly with it.

When I walked through the second time with Natalie I realized that there was even less to do to the home than I first thought and I just fell in love with it. I just knew this was the home for our family. Natalie went over a few things that she felt would have to be repaired in order to pass the VA Appraisal and I was really excited to get back home to wait for J. to get home from work to tell him everything that had happened (I was still reeling from how fast this seemed to be coming together) then I noticed all these realtor business cards and I asked Natalie what they were. She told me that when a realtor shows the house that they leave a card. I just couldn't believe the house had been shown so much! It hadn't even been on the market a week!!!!

I started to get scared that we wouldn't even get a chance at it but Natalie calmed me down and promised to get a hold of the Sellers realtor and finding out the situation. Well, my mom had met us at the house so she could see it as well and she went ahead and gave me a ride home from the house so Natalie could get started on finding out what our next move needed to be and how quickly we needed to act on it.

We only live 5 minutes away from where the house is located and by the time I got home I already had a message from Natalie to call her back. She said that the Sellers had already had a slimy flipper give them an extremely low ball offer that they just laughed off the table but that their realtor was showing the house for the second time to a couple the next morning. She didn't want us to feel rushed but she strongly suggested that we come into her office that evening and work up an offer if we were serious about this being the house we wanted. I told her I had to have time to talk everything over with J. as he had been at work all day and all he knew was that I was working on getting a realtor. LOL I also thought that it would be a good idea to call and talk to J.'s boss/friend and ask if they would be willing to do some of the minor things to get it passed by the VA since they were trying to do an as is sale, I figured it would be pointless to waste Natalie's or our time getting together an offer if they could not or would not work with us on it. If we hadn't known the sellers personally I never would have considered such a thing. Natalie agreed that if after I talked to J. and we got a positive response from the sellers then we would get together and work up the offer.

Poor J. got home from work and I filled him in. I think his head was spinning only slightly more than mine was. This just seemed to be happening too quickly but after some serious talk we both decided we didn't want to lose the house because we took too long to consider and the offer would have several outs for us, especially if it didn't pass the VA Appraisal. So I called the seller and they were thrilled that we wanted it and agreed that if there were a few minor things they could do to help us get the house that they would be more than happy to do so. Everything seemed to be falling right into place so we called Natalie and let her know we were set to come in and work out an offer to send in that evening.

After about 3 hours of filling out paperwork, going over all of the information and having Natalie explain things thoroughly we were finally ready to send out the offer. She emailed then faxed the offer to their seller adding not only the date but the time as well. Then J. called the seller and left a quick message letting them know that it had been sent.

Once the offer had been sent there wasn't anything to do but go home and attempt (very unsuccessfully I might add LOL) to get some sleep. The next day Natalie called us pretty frustrated to let us know that the seller's realtor was too busy showing the house to other people to take time out to let the sellers know they had an offer on the table. Finally at about 9:30 that evening I made another apologetic call to the sellers to inquire if they had received our offer. They had....about 30 minutes earlier!!! They said it sounded good but that they were going to sit down with their realtor Monday morning with her brother to go over everything.

Whew! So now it was just a matter of waiting and seeing. In the mean time I had talked to Mat and found out exactly what was needed to get final approval on the loan. In addition to the normal information needed it turned out that there was a blip on J.'s credit from several years ago that needed to be ironed out. First thing Monday morning while we were waiting for news on the offer I got busy researching the blip. It turned out to be nothing, just never updated to show paid in full. So we ran the necessary errands and went over to Mat's office to give him all the information and well, to meet him.

His office is actually located at the building that the Realty office Natalie works at and amazingly she walked into the lobby just as we were getting ready to leave and let us know that we had a counter offer! So we headed back in to an office where we could go over everything. Basically the only thing was that they wanted the full $119,900 asking price and we had offered $118,00. Natalie grabbed Mat and asked him if this would be a problem, he went and checked the figures and said nope so we talked it over and decided to sign on it. We had a contract!!!