Monday, October 26, 2009

How we started going steady with our house

It's a long story, like REALLY long.  So here's a little timeline for all those that are interested in our journey to home ownership:

March 2008 - I'm living in WI, Shaun is living in IL.  We decide that we are going to buy a house together in WI after almost three years of dating while living 65 miles apart. 

April 1, 2008 - I get us a buyer's agent and start pre-screening properties with her while Shaun is figuring out his work situation in IL.  His company (TJ Maxx) was very accomodating and he transitioned to a higher position when he came to WI.  It was a very nice thing.

April 12, 2008 -  I am discouraged (after only 5 days of looking, ha!) because there are so many boring 70's houses in our price range, and I wanted an older home with character.  My agent tells me that if we could go higher in price, she is listing an old house on a beautiful street that needs some work.  We go look at it and despite this

and this

We both really loved it.  Mostly, Shaun loved the deck over the garage, here he is seeing it for the first time:

April 16, 2008 - We put an offer on the house, however there were some big issues.  This house was listed by our buyer's agent.  You should NEVER write an offer using the listing agent since they are trying to make a higher commission on the sale.  I believe we could've gotten a better price, but she encouraged us to offer more because this was a short sale property.  We were told that because all short sale offers have to go through such a lengthy approval process with the bank, it would be better to offer a certain amount to ensure that they would accept it.  They accepted it 6 weeks later.  It was NOT FUN to wait, but now I wish we had offered less since it probably would've taken just as long to approve and we would've saved some cash.  Also, the house had been sitting vacant for over 9 months because all offers already made on the house had contigencies to sell their house, and were rejected based on those contigencies. 

May 28, 2008 - We finally hear word that the bank accepted our offer and we can pick our closing date.  Unfortunately, in the 6 weeks that the bank was 'approving' our offer, mortgage rates had gone from 5% up to the rate we locked at, 6.375%.  I am royally pissed.  We pick June 20, my birthday, to close. 

June 4, 2008 - Inspection.  The inspection goes smoothly, just minor issues except for water damage in the den area of the first floor, we ended up paying a separate 'water' inspector to check it out and it turned out to be old damage as opposed to a current problem.  Another $100 out the window. 

June 20, 2008 - We close on the house and immediately go to the rental place to pick up an orbital sander to start on our floors.  I discover the painted-over wallpaper in half of the rooms in the house.  Tears, curses. 

July 17, 2008 - I let my realtor talk me into buying a one year home warranty because all of our major mechanicals were 15+ years old.  She gets a commission on the sale of the warranty and we never once used it.  Tears, curses.     
Bottom line:  We got our house for 40k less than the assessed value and only paid half the standard PMI because we put 11% down and had excellent credit.  Plus, somewhere in the process we found out about the $7500 first time buyer credit, so we were really happy about that.  Early 2009 came and we saw the tax credit made one thousand times better by removing the repayment condition, and mortgage rates plummeted, so we scored ourselves a sweet refinance.  Too bad we couldn't have gotten the better tax credit, but we're happy we got anything at all.  More to come on the refinance later....


  1. I cannot imagine waiting 6 weeks! That must have been so frustrating...

  2. Thanks for sharing this... it helps a lot!! It gives me hope in the shortsale, that not EVERY one is one gigantic headache


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