Archive for ‘House Hunting’

March 21, 2011

Day 70: That’s Like, 10 Weeks!

by brandt

Today we hit the big “70” mark, as we have officially been waiting 70 days for the bank’s update on the house.  Instead of bemoaning the fact that I don’t do well with uncertainty, or the fact that I could do in 2 days what the bank does in 10 weeks, or the fact that this is how some banks run their business, I’ll stick to my random thoughts.  Here are random things that I’ve thought about/experienced/learned/contemplated during this 10 week process.

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January 6, 2011

House #10 – Lake Orion

by brandt

We viewed this house last year.  Yes, I know “last year” is only 6 days old, and it’s weird to say that about something that happened a week ago, but it’s true.  I was working from home during the break, and after juggling schedules with the owners of the house, my agent, and our schedule, we finally got a chance to tour the house.

This one was a long shot.  I was scouring through the listings (after getting an updated pre-approval for a much higher amount), and this one was on my radar.  I knew the subdivision, had friends in high school who lived there, it met our location requirements, but it was priced high.  I got in touch with my agent, and figured it couldn’t hurt to take a look.

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December 31, 2010

House #9 – Rochester

by brandt

After we went and toured House #8 – Lake Orion, our agent asked if we had enough time to go see another couple of houses.  Not wanting to miss a chance to view more houses and take advantage of every house out there, we went about 20 minutes away to Rochester to view a house that had been on my “interested” radar, even though I had some reservations on the house.

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December 29, 2010

House #8 – Lake Orion

by brandt

So much for resting during the holidays, eh?  Ashley and I both thought that the availability of houses was going to really hit a low point because of both the winter months and the holiday.  That was, until we found out that we were pre-approved for a much higher amount under a Homepath Renovation mortgage.  Right now, I’m in the process of getting an updated FHA pre-approval since ours expired on the 22nd.  After we informed our agent of the increase, we asked for the MLS listings to reflect a higher price.  Wow.  All I know is that there were a lot more houses that were really interesting as soon as we made that jump.  Which gets us to House #8.

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December 13, 2010

SWING and a miss…

by brandt

The pitch was high and tight, and we swung low.  Looks like we’re on the hunt again.

House #7 – Rochester appears to be off the table.  We got a response back from Fannie Mae saying they rejected our offer.  While that’s a sharp jab to the chin, it’s not a devastating knockout.  Our agent then said that it was a long shot to get Fannie to accept on the first offer, especially since we were offering way under the listing price.

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December 7, 2010

House #7 – Rochester Part 2

by brandt

Part 1 is here.

OK, so I said it was a Homepath house, right?  And you remember what it meant to be a Homepath house, right?

You forgot?

Oh dear…

OK, a Homepath house is a house that is foreclosed on and the Government (most notably, Fannie Mae) is selling the house with loads of incentives to get someone into it.

First, they offer lower down payment and lower sale prices than other homes.  Conventional loans typically want 20% down, FHA loans require 3.5% down, but Homepath homes usually are OK with as low as 3% down.  Less cash to put down on a house, more cash in pocket.  Second, they are great for people who have less-than-great credit (which isn’t an issue for us).  Third, NO PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE!  Talk to any homeowner who has to pay PMI, and it is one of the worst parts about home ownership.  Fourth, no appraisal fees (which can be upwards of $300-$500)…again, more cash in pocket.  Fifth, because of the real estate economy, they’re also willing to chip in 3.5% towards closing costs – which is what we’ve been asking every time we’ve made an offer on a house.

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December 7, 2010

House #7 – Rochester Part 1

by brandt

Well, we’re back on tour again, and like a 14-year old at a Justin Bieber concert, I squealed and screamed and soiled myself just a little bit at this beauty of a house.

BUT FIRST!

You might be wondering what the deal is with House #2 – Rochester and House #6 – Lake Orion.  Well, after our house tour last night, I broached the subject with our agent.  I’m sure she was probably sick of me always wanting to know what the status was, what else did we need to do to get them to sign the purchase agreement, and what they mentally were not understanding about our offer.  Well, we finally got some answers, and it was like a lightbulb clicked on in my head.

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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 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 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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