This is Part 2 of our story of buying a home. If you haven’t already, hop on over to Part 1 to get caught up, and then delve into this nail-biter of a story that many have called “the best thing since the Sham-Wow!” (fake quote).
When we put in our first offer, we were advised by one of Mrs. iHB’s co-workers to write a personal letter to submit with the offer…you know…butter ’em up a bit (see attached pic). We offered $20k less than asking price in our initial offer as well as the seller to pay closing costs, based on some comparables, and honestly just hoping for a sweet deal. After our first offer, we were anxiously awaiting “the call” from our real estate agent telling us that the sellers accepted our offer, bought us round trip tickets to Jamaica and a bottle of wine.
Instead of our dream call, we received a kind email response from the sellers noting that they were excited that we were interested in their home, but they were unable to sell the house at our offer price due to financial reasons. They made a counter offer for their full asking price, but they were willing to pay all of the closing costs, which would be about $10k. So the ball was then back in our court.
We prayed over this decision overnight and were both in agreement in the morning to move forward with their proposed offer. It was a very well kept home, newer and in better shape than the neighborhood comps, priced just below what we could afford, and definitely where we wanted to be. We filled out a revised offer and sent it over to our agent that next day. We got a quick response from their agent the next day, and they had ACCEPTED THE OFFER!!! WOOHOO! Pop that bottle of vino (aka: 3 buck chuck from Trader Joes) and get the party started (but only until 10pm because of our noise curfew…).
We received a recommendation from a contractor friend to use his inspector that he’s worked with on multiple occasions. We got him out there within a couple of days to do a full inspection. Now, let me tell you, reading your inspection report can be a bit unnerving. Our was at least 10 pages long, and included friggin’ EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THE HOUSE! AHHH! It honestly scared us a bit, not knowing how we should proceed. Luckily, our awesome agent prepared us a bit before handing it over, and explained away most of our concerns. He was able to talk to the inspector during the inspection and get some ideas on what it would take to fix some of the issues.
Our agent walked us through the house, pointing out the issues, and was able to put a dollar amount to most of the repairs that would need to happen, and told us what we shouldn’t worry about fixing if we didn’t want to. We then made a list of the items we wanted to fix for sure. Our agent took that list of items and submitted it on a form which allowed us to request these items be resolved/fixed before the sale was fully approved. The sellers agreed to make all of the requested changes!
I really appreciate our agent pushing this one, because the sellers stalled for a few days. Our agent called their agent and told them that though we wanted this house, any stalling on this process might lose them a buyer. We were still looking around at comps, so this was completely true. We got a response the next morning!
After the excitement of getting the offer approved and moving forward with the sale died down, it was off to paperwork-land, where we killed a small forest to process this transaction (not really, we did a lot through email and PDF docs). This is where we had some potential hangups. We were gifted part of our down payment, and we were required to have a signed letter from the gift giver, stating that this was a gift to NOT be repaid. Still not sure why that is, but it was required. We were bummed, because we thought we could just borrow this money, but it had to be a gift.
We then had to provide tons a paycheck stubs, bank statements, ING Savings account statements, other savings statements, proof of down payment money residing in account, our promissory note signed in blood and our first born. We also had to pay for an appraisal to get the loan approved. Then more paperwork. We somehow ended up providing Mrs. iHB’s school transcripts and a letter from her employer explaining why she is paid what she is! WHA? Just weird.
At closing, we sat down, our lender handed us a couple beers, we stretched our writing hands and we tackled probably 100 pages of paperwork in a few hours. Our lender was super awesome, explaining each page to Mrs. iHB as I dove headfirst into the legal-speak ( I LOVE THAT STUFF!). When we finished, we were absolutely exhausted, but well informed. It was a great feeling to be finished!
The final step was getting the title signed over to us. I honestly don’t remember what happened here, but I do drive by and see the title company on the way to work everyday. I’m sure I signed some stuff, and understood what I was doing, but my brain will not conjure up the circumstances at the moment. So let’s just say I walked in like a boss, signed the crap our of those papers and walked out like I owned a house.
Getting The Keys
It took us almost exactly 5 weeks from the day we started looking to getting the keys for our home. Our agent brought the keys to my work with a balloon attached (lol). We were so extremely excited to move into our house. Our lease was up just in time, so we didn’t have to pay for any extra months of apartment living. On March 25th, 2010, after I got home from work, Mrs. iHB and I were so excited to see our new home that we went and bought some good bread with a garlic spread and the most expensive bottle of wine we’d ever purchased ($50). We stayed the night on the living room floor of our new home in sleeping bags. We felt extremely blessed and grateful for the opportunity, and super excited for the possibilities. I can confidently say that we both feel the same way after over 2 years in this home. It has served to help us follow our priorities and host many get-togethers with family and friends to enjoy. And we hope it will serve us well for years to come.
Comments: How did your first home-buying experience go? Did you have any major roadblocks along the way? What was it like when you received your keys and entered the home you owned? If you don’t own a home, what would you like your home buying experience to be like? Also, is anyone hoping for the Black Eyed Peas to make a surprise showing at the Olympics Opening Ceremony?