I wrote in the most recent Weekly Spending Update I bought a house for the first time. The entire process was a whirlwind of an experience. Everything happened so quickly by the time I caught my breath, I had bought a house. Let me tell you how I got there…
For the longest time, I have always been interested in browsing the internet looking at the different houses for sale. I had always been drawn to the traditional style houses with 4+ bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, wonderful kitchens, and amenities galore. But then reality kicked in a couple of months ago when I got serious about looking for houses I could currently afford. With my current salary, I could have pushed my budget and looked at those “perfect” houses but traditionally those are for people who are married and have families of their own. Looking at where I am right now, I am not close to that stage in life so I had to tailor my search options to houses that fit my current need. I told myself that I would be interested in investing in a fixer upper since I would have the time and energy to put towards those projects. But then I remembered I have absolutely no handy man skills whatsoever. Like I mean NONE, as in I have never even painted a room. So thinking that I would want a fixer upper quickly went out the window.
I made the initial contact with my realtor a couple of months ago when I saw a foreclosed house that I could have seen myself make into my own dream house. After my realtor investigated the house a little more closely, she rightly advised me “not to touch that house with a 10 ft pole”. She’s a family friend that has kids my age and she treats me like one of her own. She wouldn’t let me buy a house if she wouldn’t let her own kids buy it. This level of personal touch would come in handy when I actually started looking for houses. Not getting the foreclosed house was definitely the right decision because I still have my lease for my apartment through April. So getting into the housing market just didn’t seem like the right time. Or so I thought…
Soon enough, I saw another house that I found interesting. So I sent the link to my realtor to get her thoughts on the property. I didn’t hear anything from her right away so I thought, OK, still not a good time to buy a house. Later that week I get an email from my realtor saying she has a couple of hours free on a Saturday for me to look at houses with her. I went ahead and sent her some houses that peaked my interest. I was all set to go and just look at some houses on a beautiful Saturday morning, so my realtor could get a feel of what I may be interested in the future since, mind you, I’m still locked into my lease.
We go to the first house and let me tell you, it was perfect for me. It was a newly flipped house that had pretty much everything that I would need in a house right now. Three bedrooms, 1.5 baths, newly renovated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, finished basement with extra storage, concrete slab patio with a fire pit, and it backs up to a park. Absolutely perfect! Obviously, you can gather this is the house I ended up buying but I had no intention of buying it after that initial visit. Sooooo… How did I get there?
After viewing the first property, we went on to look at 3 other properties and nothing even came close to the first property. All the other properties needed way too much work, and knowing myself, I just don’t think I would be up for the task right from the get go. Every time we went to the next house, I would compare it to the first house and all the other properties didn’t live up to the first house. As we were leaving the final house of the day, all I could think about was that first house. My realtor then asked me if I would be disappointed if I didn’t get that first house. As perfect as the first house is, my answer to the question was “No, I wouldn’t be disappointed”. I was still locked into my lease for quite a bit of time and I just wanted to start looking and not commit to anything just yet. Before we left that final house for the day, I ended up getting the contact information for the mortgage lender my realtor recommended just to have it in the future.
As I was driving home with my Mom from looking at the houses, we both agreed that the first house was just too good to pass up. Great location, great price, great house. When I got home, I called with mortgage lender and he asked me all the traditional questions: credit score, annual salary, down payment amount. I answered all the questions with such ease because I have gotten much more serious about my financial situation thanks to the FIRE movement. After I got off the phone with the mortgage lender, I texted my realtor that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get the house and that I wanted to make an offer.
Being completely naïve to the ENTIRE house buying situation I had no idea what to offer on the house. Luckily, my realtor is amazing and has been holding my hand through the entire process. The house was listed at $157,500, and I placed an offer for $155,000. Only being exposed to what you see on HGTV, I was expecting to get some sort of counter offer from the seller and having to haggle on the price. But that was not the case for me at all. A little over an hour later after I placed the offer, I received a call from my realtor saying the seller has accepted my offer!! From looking at the house for the first time to having my offer accepted, the whole process took just about 7 hours. I work more hours in one shift than it took me to buy a house. Crazy, right??!!
However, looking back on this, it doesn’t surprise me that it all happened this quickly. I am the type of person that once an idea is set in my mind, I act on it very quickly. This house was too good to pass up and checks nearly all the boxes I would want in a house. I had the inspection this past week, and will be talking with my realtor on things to negotiate on the house and if everything goes according to plan, closing should happen on August 30th! Let me know in the comments below about your house buying experiences. I can’t wait to talk about my experience as a homeowner!
Steven | Rx for FIRE