Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Great House Saga

Several months ago Brad and I made a decision that we would look in ernest for a new house. We wanted to stay in the city we currently live in for several reasons including an excellent school district. We had naively thought that finding a new house would be easy because of all the foreclosed houses that were flooding the market. The truth is there are very few houses on the market right now and fewer still you would want to live in. What we have heard and I don't know if it is true everywhere but it seems like it may be true here is that the banks are holding onto foreclosed homes and slowly releasing them to keep from flooding the markets and devaluing homes. We also found that regular people were not selling their homes now and holding on hoping that the market will get better before they sell. So with excitement and naive notions we began looking at houses. There were a lot of things we just didn't know about buying a house in this market and probably should have done a little more research to be better prepared. I looked at a couple of houses without Brad and they were cute but not right for us. Then Brad and I went to look at houses together. The first weekend we went we saw a house that we both loved and so we put in an offer. That is when we learned the first lesson, a short sale does not mean it will be handled quickly. It means that the bank will accept being shorted the money they are currently owed. As nobody, especially banks likes losing money it takes them a very long time to evaluate their options to make sure that they are not losing more than they have to. We put in an offer on the house April 6th and held our breath sure that we would be told we had the house any moment. That meant we had to get our townhouse ready to be sold. We were fairly certain it would sell fast as all the other units in our complex had. We started packing things up and putting them into storage, and had a handy man come and do some little fix it up things to make our house look better. Our realtor wanted us to list right away but we were nervous to sell if we had not heard back anything on the short sale house. Our realtor had scheduled a showing in the meantime and we felt bad backing out at the last minute so we let the people come and look at our house. They came and viewed the house and then we didn't really hear anything from them again. Honestly we were a little relieved as we were really not ready to sell yet. A month went by and we still had not heard anything on the short sale. We continued to look at all the new listings when they came up but honestly there was nothing we wanted that we could afford so we continued to wait on the short sale. Surely any minute they would let us know. Then it was suggested that we sell our place to the couple that had viewed it that day a month ago without putting it on the market for a long escrow. It would give us time to wait out the short sale or find another house. Further it meant that we would not have to try to keep the house spotless with a crazed toddler running around trying to destroy the house at any moment. The headache that alone would save was worth going ahead a selling to them.

So now we have a date that we have to move by and still had not heard on the short sale. This scared the living hell out of us so we stepped up house hunting into full gear. I was seeing every house that came on to the market the minute I got the listing. This meant that I would be viewing houses while Brad was at work and I would have to take Elijah with me. Thank God I have an Ergo baby carrier! At each house I would put Elijah into the Ergo on my back and would go check out the house. This saved me from having to chase E through someone's home or try to keep him from breaking things. Some of the houses were plain gross and I was glad that he was safely on my back and could not get sick from the filth and germs that festered there. Then while Brad was out of town I saw a house that was foreclosed. It was a good sized house with large bedrooms and bathrooms. We would have to act fast if we wanted the house. So we put in an offer before Brad had even seen it. Later when Brad returned we went back to look at the house. Looking a second time I saw things I hadn't noticed the first time in my haste to buy a house. The kitchen was small and there was no place to put a table. The house did have a lot potential but it would take a long time before we could make the improvements we wanted and so would have to live in it until we could. I began having second thoughts about it but soon it seemed as though it didn't matter because they gave the house to someone else. I was irritated by this but also relieved. Then they came back to us and said they would like to counter our offer s well as some others. We went ahead and accepted the counter knowing that we still may not get the house. Then there was a new listing for a house that was everything we had said we wanted except that it was on a semi busy street. We put in an offer and hoped for the best. Then the foreclosed home came back and said we could have the house. The thing was by this time I think we both knew we didn't really want that house. So while we were scared we backed out of that house and waited on either of the other two. The new house was being sold by real people and if that went through it would be a lot easier in the long run. The problem was they wanted 12 days to gather all the offers and then respond. While we hated this we had no choice.

This Thursday night 2 days before we were promised an answer Brad and I went on our weekly date night. We decided since it was not a black out day we would go to Disneyland with our season pass. We went to California Adventure first and then when it closed we went to DIsneyland. The fireworks were about to start so we went to a restaurant near the castle and got food and headed outside to watch the fireworks from the patio tables. As we looked for a table Brad got a phone call. Our realtor told us if we accepted the counter offer the house would be ours. Brad told me the news that we would get the house and as he finished the sentence the fireworks began to erupt. It was an absolutely incredible moment that we could not have try to create. I got tears in my eyes at that moment.

Friday morning we were to go to the new house and look it over one more time to make sure it really was the house we wanted. We walked through the house and were overjoyed to know it was ours. We agreed that this was indeed definitely "the House" and Brad signed the agreement. So after much stress and drama in less than 45 days we will have our new house. Almost three months after we put in the offer on the short sale house we have still not heard if we would get the house. I wonder if we will ever hear about it at this point.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

House Hunting

So I know I have been absent for a long time and I am pretty sure no one is really checking here anymore but incase anyone is still stopping by I thought I would post a little bit about why I have not been around much. For over two months now we have been actively looking for a new house. It is time that we live in a house that doesn't share any walls with someone else and has at least a little yard. To say that this has been frustrating would be a total understatement. We now know more about how real estate works or doesn't than I ever thought possible. We put an offer on a short sale house 2 months ago and are still waiting on an answer. I will tell more about this whole process when we finally have an answer but for now I will say if you are thinking about buying a house and it is a short sale run in the other direction! It is so frustrating and the process just drags on and on. In the meantime we have continued to look at other houses. Nothing is on the market now and so when something does finally turn up 20 people descend upon in and get into an all out bidding war. It is awful. A couple of weeks ago we found another house that we liked that was bank owned. We submitted a very good offer over asking price and yet we weren't even countered and it went to someone else. All told it ended up with over 10 offers. Hopefully soon we will have found a house and had an accepted offer, but in the meantime I am spending a lot of time looking at houses and preparing to move. We had no idea this was going to be so hard, but we are slowly making it through this.