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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Becoming Home Owners: The Professionals & The Search

I should make H write this post because he was the one who had the actual experience with the professionals during our house hunting experience.  He is a tad busy and not much of a blogger.  So I guess my version will just have to do!

Not knowing many people in the realty business, we chose H's parent's realtor.  The realtor then referred H to a loan officer who was able to check his credit and see how much he could get approved for.  Upon putting down x%, we were approved for y amount for z period.  Once we had the Pre Approval letter, we were able to think really hard about how much we could actually afford.  H used his handy dandy financial spreadsheet to further determine that our original limit could be pushed a little higher.  This was all under the assumption that I would find a job, any job, to help with the bills (which I did by the end of the summer). 

We seriously began house hunting at the beginning of the summer.  Our realtor offered suggestions and showed us a few homes in Newark and N. Wilmington.  We also took the initiative to go to open houses on the weekend and continued to keep our options opened.  To get a better feel for some homes, we would drive around the neighborhoods a few times to see if it met our "homey" feel we were looking for.  While some homes looked great in pictures, the neighborhood and surrounding areas were a disappointment.

We soon realized that N. Wilmington was further and further out of reach.  Homes were more expensive and offered a lot less than most areas in Delaware.  We were often limited to ranches and very small 2 story homes.  Central air was a luxury that we did not find in our price range.  Oil heating was not favorable but found in every single home we looked at.  Most homes were very old and needed some tender, love, and care.  Neighborhoods were just okay, and sometimes they were a little too close to Concord Pike.  H realized that only a townhouse in N. Wilmington could meet our needs and price range, but I was strongly against it.  I did entertain him and took a look.  I figured that it wouldn't hurt to at least check them out in case one could swoon me.

While you may think that you are not open to a particular feature in a home, you should be open to at least give it one shot.  It could surprise you how comfortable or uncomfortable you are with that particular feature once you see it in person and walk through the home.  I thought that I would be fine with a home without central air conditioning, but once I saw the big window a/c units, I was not a fan. Sure, my parents had it at home, but seeing it in person in someone else's home was a different story.  I just saw dollar signs -- high electric bill in the summer, possibly putting in central a/c in the future for the kiddos to enjoy, and most likely sweltering summers because I would be too stingy to turn on the window unit.  Then there were the split level homes that I didn't think I would be a fan of at first.  I stepped inside of my sister's home, and it was really nice.  I didn't mind the stairs, and it was really spacious -- definite bang for your buck.

Within our first month of looking, we actually found a house.  Surprise, surprise!!  Wait, doesn't that sound too early?  We just celebrated our 1st year house anniversary in October.  Does that mean there was another house?  Well you'll just have to wait...

Becoming Home Owners: The Beginning
Becoming Home Owners: Our Requirements


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