Truth be told, I envisioned this “House Hunting Journal” to be somewhat of an ongoing post. I was really excited to be able to document our journey to revisit later and to share our experiences and lessons learned. I can definitely do all of that, but it’s going to be a much shorter series than I originally imagined. Josh and I went house hunting for the first time in our lives on Friday and put a contract on a house on Saturday! Well before sunset on Saturday, less than 30 hours after beginning our house hunt, we were under contract. What a weekend! :o)
Thursday night I dreamed about houses all night long. Friday morning we got up, took the boys to my parent’s house, and met our agents for the first time in person at our first property at 11AM. The journey was officially beginning! I was so excited and a little nervous. I kept telling Josh that I didn’t know what would be more stressful for me, falling head over heels for a house on our first day out or hating everything we saw. Of course I wanted to fall in love, but I was worried about making such a huge commitment based on emotion. My incredible husband tries to give me just about everything I want and I knew if I fell in love, he’d make sure we got that house. That scared me to death.
We already had the basics mapped out, we were only looking in our desired school districts, we’d previewed the houses online, but I was still nervous. Before we left that first house (a DEFINITE no, just in case you’re curious) I was totally comfortable with the situation. I was in love with our realtors and they clearly had our very best interest at heart.
The second house went on the short list to keep. It was a HUD home that needed a lot of love but no major repairs. If we bid on that house, we could have found ourselves with 15,000 – 20,000 equity in a home on the day we closed. Needless to say, that was a hugely attractive offer.
We continued from house to house working our way from Haslett, which was further out than we really wanted to be, but we were willing to consider it in case we found our dream home, back into Keller proper, ending up practically in the back yard of our church. Distance to church was really high on both of our priority lists, as we plan to be very involved and at the church several times each week.
This was my list of must-haves: 1. excellent school district 2. close to church 3. awesome backyard 4. good kitchen (absolutely NO galley kitchens!) 5. two car garage. Everything else on my list fell under the category of “it would be really nice to have ____.” None of those would make or break a sale. I was worried about narrowing down the properties we were seeing, as they all matched up pretty closely with my must-haves. However, it was REALLY easy to mark most of the properties off our list.
We took a break for lunch around 2:30 or so. We ate at this adorable “fresh Mex” place. It was FANTASTIC and we had a great time with Rita and Ron. At that point, we’d seen about 15 properties. The HUD home was still topping our list and we really liked two other properties. We saw several other that we liked, but they didn’t compete with our favorites. And we saw a lot of NO NO NOs. There were a few that we were in and out of in under five minutes.
After lunch we had exhausted the market. We’d seen everything there was to see, with the exception of some new construction. Rita highly recommended one builder in particular. Ron seriously advised against another. We saw 3 homes that were under construction. One home in particular really stood out. I think we spent about 3 hours in the house and in neighborhood, asking Ron and Rita lots of questions and weighing our options. At first glance Josh and I both thought this home was not for us, but the more we learned about it, the more we realized how foolish we’d be to walk away. We talked to the builder’s sales agent and then headed back to the house sans Rita and Ron. They wanted to give us a chance to talk alone about all of our options and pray together for guidance in our decision. (That’s really what they said…I told you they are the most AWESOME realtors ever.)
We walked around the house, through the house, stood in front of the house, stood behind the house just talking and talking and talking. The house itself had everything we wanted. In fact, every project that we would be taking on with any of the other homes was negated by this house. It’s brand new. That means new appliances. That means lots of warranties including 10 years on the foundation. (Foundations are a really big deal here in Texas. You actually have to water them. Yes, that’s right, you have to water your house in Texas.) It’s actually in the Keller school district, so there is practically a 0% chance that the neighborhood will decline anytime soon. So what was the problem? Me. I wasn’t in love, mostly because of the yard…well, lack thereof. It’s on a pretty small lot, but it does back up to the greenbelt so it has lots of space around it.
Actually, as I sit here writing this now, I realize just how ridiculous I was being about not having fallen in love with the house, especially not in a love-at-first-sight kind of way. That’s not really me. With the exception of a few pairs of shoes, I can’t think of anything I’ve ever actually fallen in love with at first sight. I just don’t do that. At least not with important things, like anything that requires a major commitment of any kind. When it comes to things like that, I “jump in” about as quickly as I do in a cold swimming pool. (I’m the one who wades in as slowly and cautiously as possible, letting each part of my body adjust to the water before going a little deeper. It drives Josh crazy.) Taking that into consideration, I don’t know why I was expecting to fall in love. I guess I’ve watched too much tv in my lifetime. :o) But I digress….
Around 7 or so as it was starting to get dark, I told Josh I didn’t want to talk about it any more. I missed my boys, and I didn’t really have anything left to say anyway. We headed back to my parents house to get the boys. We ended up talking to them for a long time too. They even pointed out a few other things that we hadn’t thought of like rising interest rates (We’re getting an incredible 4.5% on this loan!) and inflation. After talking to them, we were more convinced than ever that THIS is our time to buy. When we were finally driving home around midnight, I turned and asked Josh, “So, are we going to buy a house tomorrow?” He responded, “Yeah, I think so.”
We made arrangements to see the house again the next day. Saturday morning I was surprisingly not exhausted. (Staying up past midnight is most definitely not something my pregnant body is usually capable of.) We headed back out to the house with most of my whole family in tow, as they were really excited to see this house that we talked so much about the night before. They all loved it. They oohed and aahed through the whole house. They took the boys and headed back to their house. Josh and I stayed behind to put a contract on the house. Builder’s contracts are a little different. There’s no negotiating back and forth, so we knew exactly what the terms where before we went back to the sales agents office. The paperwork took about 45 minutes and that was it. We put a contract on our very first house!
I think Ron and Rita were as excited for us as my own family was. Ron told Josh that we had better go out and celebrate. Since we were exhausted, we opted to head back to my parent’s house for pizza with the family.
So what’s our house like? It’s a 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch. Brick and stone exterior. Gorgeous eat in kitchen. Huge master bedroom, situated separately from the kiddos rooms. We’re getting all kinds of extras like a fridge, washer & dryer, sprinkler system, security system, privacy fence and a garage door opener. The house is energy star certified (extra tax deduction!) and we even get a little certificate attesting to that fact. The neighborhood has a pool, splash park, playground, soccer field, basketball court and several greenbelts. And we’re about 10 minutes from church – we can see the steeples from our neighborhood!
Saturday night we headed out to Ikea and Garden Ridge to start shopping for our new home. Sunday after church we hit up Lowes for more shopping and to look at paint colors. We’re pretty much settled on the colors for everything except the nursery and the play room. We’re heading back out to the house on Thursday or Friday with our paint samples to make sure they look good with the carpet, tile, cabinets and counter tops. We also have learned all about installing crown molding as that will be our first big project along with the painting.
I just can’t believe all of this is really happening! Everything is coming together seamlessly! Next step, get a new vehicle to accommodate our expanding family!