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Monday, December 6, 2010

Becoming Home Owners: Finding the "One?"

After looking for homes the first week or two, we found one that we liked in the neighborhood that we absolutely loved.  The house was within our price range, but it was towards the high end of our limit.  We figured that negotiations would help bring down the price a bit, and we went for it.  There were only two houses in the neighborhood for sale, and they happened to be on the same street right across the street from each other.  The other house was out of our price range, but it had some nice renovations, which weren't exactly our taste.

So when you find the house, let your significant other take care of everything.  It's for the best.  H did all the work talking with our realtor to make things work out smoothly.  Our realtor convinced us that the asking price was a good deal, especially for the neighborhood.  The house had dropped in price recently, but it had also been on the market for the past 8 months.  We still wanted to negotiate and see if we could reach a better price.  While I don't remember all the details, we did come to an agreement.  The price was lower than asking, and it was good enough for us.  I am glad that H followed his gut and started out negotiations at a lower price.  Sometimes it can be difficult to determine how much is too low because you never want to offend the owner.  The house could be their pride and joy, and it has a lot of sentimental value.  Consult with a professional (your realtor) to see what's a good starting point but also listen to your heart.

Unfortunately, we ran into a few problems.  First, H did not tell his parents that we started negotiations until after it happened.  Boy were they upset.  Sure, we showed them photos of the house and told them we were interested, but they wanted to be more involved.  We went on to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives, and they were totally left out.  I thought we were being adults, but obviously, it wasn't the right thing to do.  There were many nights when I would leave the house because I couldn't stand the constant yelling.  H is a good kid, and he just listens and takes it all in.  I'm the opposite, and I like to talk back (obviously only to my own parents who love me despite all my yelling).  Well since the conversation wasn't directed to me (and it was in Vietnamese), I had to take a back seat and just get far away from the yelling.

So take my advice and let your parents be involved.  You just never know how the house buying process might affect them.  Listen to their advice, even if it sounds silly.  We were told that we were being too American.  Our priorities were all wrong.  We wanted to be around good schools for our future kiddos, and that is not the right approach.  Oye.  I could go on and on.  Ultimately it came down to us not letting them be more involved.  H's parents were truly hurt, and they would find excuses to be even more upset at us and our decision.  So please, please talk with your parents.  I also spoke with my parents, but I did so after a lot of stuff happened.  They were supportive but not so eager to be involved.  They take the approach that I am now an adult and can make my own adult decisions.

Then we ran into another problem.  We had an inspection done, and we found some not so great news.  The roof was in need of repair.  The support beams seemed to be cracked, causing the roof to slope in the middle.  The actual shingles didn't have much more life in them, and there was evidence of leaks found in the family room and garage.  The hvac was also very old and in need of being replaced fairly soon.  With this news, we went back and tried to negotiate with the seller.  Our minds would be at ease if we could get some financial assistance to replace the roof, but the seller would not budge.  He was confident that the roof was in good shape and had many more years left.  Sadly, we could not continue with the process and had to back out.  The roof was the deal breaker for us.

Unfortunately, there was a house in the neighborhood that had just gone on the market as soon as we initially went into negotiations.  It was priced very low and required some tender, love, and care.  H saw a lot of potential, especially at that price.  He actually considered taking a look at it to see if we had made a mistake with our first choice.  We never did get a chance to see the house, but oddly enough the new owners would soon be our neighbors across the street.

I will admit that it was a difficult time for us.  We had lost the $2k we put down for the house, and we were back at the starting point.  Homes that we had looked at before were sold by the time we wanted to reconsider.  We spent the rest of the summer looking at open houses and reevaluated what our needs were.  Every house we looked at was being compared to the one that got away.  Ultimately, we knew it was for the best, but we couldn't help but to get a little sad that we lost the neighborhood.

No worries.  This story gets better. 

Becoming Home Owners: The Beginning
Becoming Home Owners: Our Requirements
Becoming Home Owners: The Professionals and The Search


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