Wednesday, May 20, 2009

house hunting is an emotional rollercoaster

bryce and I have been seriously house hunting going on about 6 months now... it is a frustrating process and we have learned so much from it. there is the financing stage, the making sure your credit is good stage, the learning which areas are not the ghetto stage, there is the reality check stage, the finding a good agent stage, and then there is the making an offer stage (not necessarily in this order...) - when do I get to the move in and start decorating stage???
a few months ago we made an offer on a gorgeous house in the Shasta-Hanchett Park area of the Rose Garden but we were a day too late and we lost it to the first bidder... but, we were given the hope of being the 'back-up offer' and that the first bidder was 'a bit flaky' so we waited for them fully anticipating them to forget his offer and go with ours... I was truly in LOVE with this house, I saw us growing old there (well at least getting to 45 there), I had plans on how I was going to decorate every room, where cooper's doggy door would go, which washer and dryer I would put in the cute laundry room, how the garden would look and even what parties we would be able to throw... sigh

after waiting about 3 weeks we got the heartbreaking news that it probably wasn't going to happen. :( our agent continued to show us places that she thought compared to the Shasta House, that could replace the hurt we felt about losing out on the Shasta House and funnily enough the price just kept going up and up. We were actually convinced that if we loved it we could afford to never eat, drink or do anything ever again just to get the 'house of our dreams' as she liked to call it... and honestly it was really easy to get caught up in the beautiful houses in the beautiful neighbourhoods, and hey, what's another $100k on a 30 year loan - interest rates are low right??? and 'they' said we could actually afford it (don't even get me started on this point). we even spoke to a financial advisor to get some advice and he said 'go out and buy a house that you love and be happy', so we thought OK!
so then we moved on to 'the purple house' in Naglee Park a great little neighbourhood downtown full of century homes, californian bungalows, ornate mansions, beautiful architectural treasures, tree lined streets and just a nice stroll to downtown - seemed like everything we were looking for. the price was way over what we first set out to pay, but it was a house we could 'grow into' and we were about to make offer number 2...

the Purple House had been renovated completely from the front walkway. the kitchen was all granite (which I am not a fan of but since we were searching for the one, was somehow happy to overlook), the 1 tiny bathroom had been renovated, the floors were all new (again not a fan - love the old school floorboards), pot lights put in, it looked quite gorgeous and grand - what anyone would want in a home, until you got to the back step (and here is why the house has now been on the market for over a year) they just stopped renovating... the back of the house has not been finished, the yard looks like a construction site and the shack (which they refer to as a 1 car garage) would fall down if cooper ran past it fast enough. apparently the couple who renovated got divorced at this point, but I don't want to speculate here... we, however saw this as a plus, a way to put our own personal stamp on this house... it is so easy to get wrapped up in an idea of a home of your own...

so Bryce and I sat down and wrote a pros and cons list of this house and realized that we were considering putting off things like travel, study and even children just to buy a house that we didn't particularly like the floor plan of! talk about scary! so we reeled ourselves and our budgets back inline and decided to get a new agent - someone with a mind for investing in real estate and someone who has our financial goals in mind instead of a huge commission.

Then we met Jane. Jane is like the angel on our shoulder saying 'to make the most of your money you should be doing this, this and that' instead of the devil on our shoulder saying 'buy your dream home - you deserve it...'

yesterday we made our second offer on a much more affordable home in the burbs and are waiting anxiously to hear back... stay tuned for more developments :)

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