As you may have noticed in my last post or seen on Instagram, we bought a house!! We got the keys on Sunday and are already smitten with our new home. This was the first house either of us has purchased, so it was a huge learning experience, to say the least. I’d love to share the process with y’all this week!
Starting from the beginning…Dave and I started seriously thinking about the possibility of buying a house in December. Looking back, I think my coming around to the idea of buying a place was a way God softened my heart a little to prepare to find out I was pregnant. I struggle with restlessness, so the idea of buying a house, which felt so “permanent,” freaked me out. It still does a little, to be honest, but early in January, I came to terms with the fact that it’s very unlikely we’ll be going anywhere for a few years, and if we’re going to buy a house, it might as well be sooner rather than later. Maybe a week after I said this out loud to Dave, we found out about our baby :)
Our due date (September 24) is a week after our apartment lease ends, but knowing we’d need to do things like buy baby stuff before then (and the fact that babies can come on their own time–I was born three weeks early myself!), we set a goal to be in a house by August 1. A friend of ours connected us with his mom, a realtor, at the end of January, and Dave and I dove into the world of real estate websites.
After about six weeks, a handful of open houses, too many Zillow listings to count, and three or four okay showings, our realtor sent us a house in Raleigh that had recently been flipped. It was actually in her neighborhood (what better referral could you ask for?), and it was CUTE. It came on the market on a Thursday, and when we asked if we could see it Saturday, our realtor replied, “I think you should come see it tonight.” We got there around 7 P.M., toured the house in the dark, and loved it. It had big windows, was finished (as much as we love watching Fixer Upper, we had zero interest in taking on a big project ourselves!), and well under our budget. Here are a few photos from the Zillow listing:
The next morning, as Dave was composing an email to our realtor with a few questions, she called him to let us know there were three offers on the house and the seller was deciding by 5 P.M.! A little blindsided by the rush, we decided to put an offer in–higher than asking price, as our realtor recommended, since we could afford some wiggle room and we knew we had competition. 5 P.M. came and went with no word, and it wasn’t until the next day that we found out we didn’t get it. We were disappointed, but it was helpful to know how quickly we may have to think moving forward.
In early March, another house popped up in an even better location. It was pretty much exactly the area we wanted to be in, and while it was more expensive and way less updated than the first house, it seemed like we could make it work. I have to admit, I was a little panicky after how quickly our first experience went, and was the one to suggest we make an offer. Dave was more hesitant, but we couldn’t really see a convincing reason not to (after all, the location was SO good), so we did. And after a little bit of back and forth, our offer was accepted. We were excited…but unfortunately, that didn’t last long.
We hurried to get an inspection done, and while we had a few concerns, we thought it would be a pretty easy process–the house looked great, after all! A five-hour inspection and a 61-page report later though, we realized that while the house looked fine from the outside, it was, to put it lightly, a hot mess under the surface. My uncle, a contractor, estimated it would be about $20-30k for all the repairs, and since it was already at the top of our budget, that wasn’t an option for us financially, let alone something we were interested in taking on. We asked the sellers to take care of most of it, and they came back offering to do about $5k of the work. Um, no thanks. We walked away from the house, sad to lose our due diligence fee and the money we’d shelled out for the inspection, but at the same time, completely relieved that we hadn’t been stuck with a house that was, quite frankly, not very safe.
At that point, I was feeling so discouraged by the housing market in Raleigh, frustrated about the amount of time we felt we had to spend online checking for new listings to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and convinced we’d have to settle for something we didn’t really love in order to be in a house before the baby comes. After a bit of a dry spell in the market (plus one more quick offer on a cute house that I didn’t even get to see in person before our offer was declined), we came across two houses on my birthday that we thought were worth going to see: one two-story house in an incredible location, and one updated ranch with an amazing backyard a little farther away. We planned to see them the next day…and I’ll let you know how that went on Thursday! ;)