Thursday, August 29, 2013

Adventures in Home Buying Part II

And we're back!

I want to start with the preface that none of this should be taken as legal or any other kind of official advice.  I just wanted to share my experience.

We looked at financing before we started looking at houses. I guess some people do it differently, but I wanted to know what I could afford before I started looking so I didn't fall in love with something out of my price range.  I got connected with one of the mortgage ladies at the bank where I have all of my accounts and she was super helpful.  It is a local bank, and I think that helps.  I don't think I would have gotten the same level of service at a big national bank.  I did get pre-approved for quite a bit more than we are going to end up spending.  I am glad we found something at lower price point because it would have been a real stretch to afford the max that the bank would give. 

I will offer one piece of advice on the financial aspect of this adventure--it will be more expensive than you think so figure out what you think you can afford and go less than that. 

Around the same time I started talking to the bank about financing, I also contacted a realtor.  As we didn't know the first thing about buying a house, we decided we needed someone to help us.  I have a general rule against doing business with friends.  Nothing good comes of it. In this case we stretched the rule a little bit and went with someone who is an old friend of my dad.    It ended up working really well because we got someone we felt like we could trust and was looking out for us but no one that we are close to.  I would definitely recommend getting a referral from someone.

Before we started looking, Alex and I went though each part of a house and talked about what we wanted and what we did not as well as what was non-negotiable (we had to have a fence for the dog) and what would be nice (a deck).  We talked about what cities & school districts we would be willing to look in.

This would be a good point to make sure you know whose opinions really count in this process.  I was the one who was actually purchasing the house, but Alex's opinions were important too.  We took advice from other people but ultimately knew that we were the ones who would be deciding.

This is also a good point to realize that unless you are SUPER lucky or have unlimited resources, you are going to have to make sacrifices in what you want.  I had my heart set on finding a house on the Kansas side close to where my parents live and was super upset when we started looking and realized that with our budget we weren't going to find something in that area that was the size & layout that we wanted.  I guess all along I knew that I wasn't going to find exactly what I wanted where I wanted it to be in the price range that I could afford but it still broke my heart a little bit when I realized that it wasn't going to work out for us in my first choice area.

I will be back next time to talk about how we found our new house.


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