Archive for November, 2010

November 30, 2010

Home Runs and Heartbreak

by brandt

I received a very interesting email on Wednesday from my agent on Friday.  See, once we found out that we lost House #1 back in September, we were curiously interested for what it went for.  According to our agent, they could have offered more for the house than we did, they could have had a bigger down payment, they could have had a conventional loan vs. our FHA loan, they could have asked for less in concessions, or they might have had a longer credit history than 2 first-time home buyers.  Whatever the case, we looked at it as someone getting a house for more than we were willing to pay, and moved on with our lives.

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November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Thankfulness #3 – Metaphors

by Ashley

For weeks Brandt has been pestering me to write on our blog. I had originally agreed to write posts once we got a house then I could write to my heart’s desire about painting cabinets and revamping a bathroom. Well the house thing currently doesn’t have much movement, and I think Brandt wants to prove to the World Wide Web that he does have a wife, not just some imaginary figure he daydreams about…or does he? Just kidding Brandt, you know I love you.

Brandt told me to write something that I’m thankful for, which is like telling me to look at my shoe closet and pick one pair to wear for the rest of my life. Ah the horror! While I don’t have a shoe collection like Stacey London, who has rumored to have more than 300 pairs of stilettos alone, I love my shoes. All kinds of shoes. From my designer stilettos to my discount-store ballet flats, to my Nike cross-trainers to my Dr. Martin boots, I’m an equal opportunity employer when it comes to footwear.

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November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Thankfulness #2 – Working

by brandt

I know, it’s another odd thing to be thankful for.  And of course, Uncle Brandt has another story to tell.  So gather ‘round the old rocking chair while I spin another yarn that according to Ashley is semi-true.

At one point, I had life all planned out.  We were both going to graduate, get jobs, make tons of cash, then Ashley would be pregnant and we could start our family.  We’d be living in Arizona, a place I’ve always wanted to live, and a place with sun all year round for Ashley to enjoy.  We would be close enough to her family to not break the bank if we wanted to visit, and would be in a place I knew my parents would want to visit.  I’d have my job in advertising or marketing with a big company with great perks, and we would enjoy ourselves sitting out until 10:00PM at the pool because it would still be warm, and everything would be perfect.

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November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Thankfulness – #1: Walking

by brandt

I know.  It’s an odd thing to be thankful for.  And I think if everyone thought about it long enough, they would be thankful for it as well.  But obviously, there’s a back-story to why I’m thankful to be walking.

While I was going to school in Idaho, Ashley had taken a semester off to go work.  Her aunt and uncle owned a restaurant in West Yellowstone, MT, and she would wait tables up there during an off-semester to earn money for tuition/books.  My goodness did that girl work. Most days she would work long hours at one restaurant, constantly on her feet and waiting tables.  A few times a week, she would head to another restaurant for the breakfast shift, then heading over to her aunts and working lunch/dinner there.  Since my apartment was only an hour and a half there, I would go up every other weekend and stay with her grandparents so I could see her.

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November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Week 2010!

by brandt

We’re at an intersting point in our housing search.  We’ve got outstanding offers on 3 different houses, here, here, and here.  One of the houses is listed as a Homepath foreclosure, but seems to be up for auction, so we’re not too sure what’s going on with that one.  The two other houses are listed as short sales, and because we’re giving everything we’ve got to get into the houses, we’re asking them to pay 3% closing costs.  This has become a sticking point with both sellers, because neither seller wants to pay closing costs, and they aren’t sure if the bank will pick up the costs or if they will get stuck with it.  So they haven’t signed purchase agreements, and we’re still waiting.

So what’s a potential new homeowner to do when it comes time for the holiday season?  Well, some of the best overall general life advice I’ve been given is “Take it all in stride, and keep it all in perspective.”

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November 16, 2010

Brandt vs. Dave Ramsey – THE THROWDOWN

by brandt

Erika over at NewlywedsOnABudget brought up a topic yesterday that’s been festering on my mind, and instead of threadjacking her site (which I highly recommend), I wanted to have a forum where I could air my discontent with a theme she was discussing.

It all revolves around one man, Mr. Dave Ramsey.  He’s not a bad guy.   As a matter of fact, what he advocates (living life debt free) is quite admirable.  However he takes it to an extreme that I personally think is a bit excessive, and, to quote Erika,

But what’s the point of saving and living like a pauper if I’m only going to be old when I get to enjoy it?

What good will it do me to have $5 million dollars when I’m 80 if I’ll be using a walker to get around and wearing diapers?

Let me describe what Ramsey is advocating here for a bit, and why I don’t really agree with him.

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November 12, 2010

Wheelin’, Dealin’, and Stealin’

by brandt

It’s time for another Q&A Session with Uncle Brandt, where I type till my fingers are blistered trying to answer the deep soul-searching questions you all have sent in!  First, obligatory CAT PICTURE.  STORY TIME after the jump.

Thinking kitteh is….thinking of the answers to your questions.

 

After Ashley and I graduated college in Idaho, we moved out to Michigan.  The economy wasn’t the greatest, I didn’t want to be a farmer in Idaho, and Michigan is where I had the most networking contacts to find my first job out of college.  I was hired by a mortgage company, and my first job while I was there was to take the big packages of mortgage documents and be in a “quality control”-type role.  Basically, I sorted them, made sure all the forms were there, and passed the stack on to the next person.

From what I was told, the only way to learn mortgages, and the only way to learn the industry, is to be around it.  That was the extent of my first-day-on-the-job training.  And considering many people buy 2, maybe 3 houses through the course of their life, much of the details and paperwork are left to real estate agents and loan officers, with us the consumer taking their advice.

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November 10, 2010

And Now, For Something Completely Different

by brandt

Why yes, that is an homage to Monty Python.

I’ve lived in Michigan almost my entire life. Ashley has lived in Utah her entire life. And when we found out that our job searching expedition was taking us to Michigan (which I’ll probably write about at a later date), there was trepidation for both parties.

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November 9, 2010

House #1 – Lake Orion

by brandt

This was the first house that we made an offer on. It came on the market back on September 14th, and we made an offer the previous day. The pictures aren’t going to be as good. This was my first attempt at photographing a home, as well as still learning how to use the camera on my phone.

It was in a wonderful subdivision of Lake Orion, with a great location to many local schools plus dedicated stop lights in front of the subdivision’s road to make getting on the highway much easier (especially because it was close to many schools).

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November 3, 2010

House #6 – Lake Orion

by brandt

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the housing market……

As many of you saw a few days ago, House #5 (that’s 5 houses we’ve toured overall) looked like a wonderful prospect.  It was huge, it could use a lot of TLC and a designer’s touch, it was priced wonderfully, and most importantly, it got both Ashley and I geeked.

Naturally, as we’ve learned during the course of this whole home-buying procedure, that means that something is going to go awry.

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