Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Drama

We presented an offer on Tuesday afternoon, and waited to hear back. Wednesday came and went, and most of Thursday. Thursday night, our agent called us to tell us that she had received a counter to our offer. They had offered to give us the closing costs we wanted, but had raised the asking price of the house. I was furious. I wanted to tell them to keep it, but instead we managed to put together another counter, raising the price we were willing to pay closer to the original asking price, and reducing the amount of closing assistance we were asking for. We also stated that this would be our best & final offer, and that the offer expired after 24 hours.

We submitted the offer to them at noon on Friday. At 4:00 we got a call from the seller's agent asking for an extension on the time limit. Apparently they were anticipating another offer and wanted to compare the two. This was too much, and I told the agent that our deadline was firm. We were also nervous that this deal was over, so we made arrangements with our agent to look at the other townhouse in the community that had come down in price during the week while we were negotiating. We would see that one Saturday morning.

When we arrived at the other townhouse, our agent notified us that our offer had been accepted.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Offer

Jenn and I went out again Saturday and looked at a bunch of places, armed with new, improved pre-approval letters that raised the quality of the houses we got into by just a little bit. We looked at about 8 more houses, and ended with a townhouse. The townhouse came out as the winner, with a good combination of finish quality, size, and features. We wanted to be sure, so we saw a couple more houses on Sunday, and took another tour of the townhouse. We really liked it and spent Monday afternoon preparing an offer.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

What I want in my house

Jen and I went house shopping for the first time Saturday, and we were really disappointed by the quality of houses we saw in our price range. The first one was in a neighborhood that showed some promise, but was a dump inside. In fact, after 2 or three dumps, I think our real estate agent got worried that we were going to give up the whole thing. She was more than happy to recommend that we use her mortgage guy, constantly repeating "you should call Travis,...that's why you should call Travis" It got to the point that I wanted to say "enough already." I expected this, but coincidentally, I've been reading about recent lawsuits in the area involving our real estate agent's company, and the mortgage company she keeps pushing.

So now Jen and I are trying to prioritize the things we want in a new house.

More than one bathroom
Two bedrooms with flexible other space, or three bedrooms
A community we feel safe in (walking at night, etc)
A Basement with outside access
A washer and dryer
Trees and green space
Gas furnace
Walkable to Metro/bus lines
A good school (not just for our kids, but for resale of the house)
Reasonable commute(one hour or less)

Central Air
Gas stove
Entering in to a hallway, not the living room

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Heading for Suburbia

Just before we applied for our mortgage, Jenn and I realized that we thought we could afford more than we really can. It happened slowly: we started at the right number and didn't see anything we thought we could live with in the area we wanted. We assumed people were overpricing their properties, so we increased the top end of the search one step, then two. Then we looked at houses to see what they were like inside, and then somewhere we lost track of what our true price range was.

We are hoping to find something in the DC suburbs just outside the Beltway.

Pre Approved.

I go the call from our mortgage officer that we've been pre-approved, and now its time to start looking at houses in earnest.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Which pants should I wear to ask for a great deal of money?

Today's a big day. Jenn and I are going to the bank to apply for our first mortgage. I'm excited and scared at the same time. We freaked this weekend when we realized that we had been looking at houses way out of the range of what we could afford. But I think if we can get into something and pay on it as opposed to continuing to pay rent we'll be ok. Our next house will be better than this one, but we have to start somewhere.