Posts tagged ‘renovation’

June 9, 2011

My Part-Time Job, Or, House Updates

by brandt

As you might haven noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around the New House on the Blog.  While I’d like to say we were sneaky and hid away at a secret bungalow on the beach, that’s just in my dreams.

Because you see, I’ve got a part-time job.

I usually get to work at about 7:30 in the morning, and get off at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Add on 30 minutes for drive time, and I get home at 5:00PM.  And while I wish my day ended then, as soon as I pull into our driveway, I’m re-energized.  I run upstairs to get changed, and then it’s off to my part time job.

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May 11, 2011

The To-Do List

by brandt

Now that we’ve officially been homeowners for over a month, we’re finally getting to the point where we can realisitically take a look around our house and start scheming (before, it was only dreaming).

Owning a house is a lot like a relationship with  a significant other.  At first, you view them from afar, and are intrigued because something catches your eye.  The way the light bounces off the nooks, corners, and curves.  The way the image stays in your mind for hours after you see it.  You finally make an effort to get to know them better, view them a bit more closely.  You finally muster up the courage to emotionally invest, and you are delightfully pleased to see what you’ve found.  You make the big step, want to take things a bit further, and they accept.  All the sudden, you’re in a honeymoon stage (or puppy love stage) where everything is wonderful.  They are the most perfect thing you have ever met or set eyes upon.

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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 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 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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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 1, 2010

House #5 – Lake Orion

by brandt

We were back on the house hunting trail again this last weekend. Last Friday, on a whim, I decided to browse through Realtor.com again to see what was out there, and if anything had changed from the listings that went out earlier that morning. To my surprise, a foreclosure had just dropped $18,000 to put it JUST outside our price range. I’d had conversations with my agent about what to do about houses that were outside of the price range, and she said it’s worth investigation because if it’s been on the market for a while, they might be willing to go even lower. Needless to say, we were very surprised.

Another big plus concerned the type of house – it was another Homepath house, which, as you will remember from the last one we looked at, has a lot of incentives as far as federal government loan programs go (most notably, no mortgage insurance). Once I get with a Homepath-authorized loan officer, I’ll post some updates with better information on the loans.

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