Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Buying a Short Sale

When we began looking for our new home, we had no intentions of focusing on a short sale or foreclosure, but it didn't take long to realize how great of an idea it would be. We had the perfect situation. We were renting a comfortable, nice home in a great neighborhood, we had the down payment saved, and we felt no rush to find a home or move. We were ready to find the perfect house, even if it meant waiting months to hear whether or not we got it. We also realized that the homes we were most excited about, just happened to be short sales. We found quite a few right off the bat, that we wanted to give a shot. The first house we made an offer on-we were out-bid. But were given "second place" position-meaning, if the first buyer's offer fell through, we would be next in line.

The second was a beautiful home, in the perfect neighborhood, but was a rental for years, so it didn't have the best up-keep, and needed lots of updating. We decided to put an offer in on that one as well. Our plan was to keep looking at any other homes that we liked, while waiting for either of the short sales to come back. We thought that news from the bank (one way or another), would end up being our timeline for finding something else. We thought we would have tons of time! Short sales usually take months. We had three weeks. The bank accepted our offer on the second home almost immediately (for a short sale), which floored us, our Realtor, and the seller's Realtor. No one expected that.

When we found out, we panicked a bit. We had just seen another home-not a short sale-earlier that night, and were trying to decide between the two. Luckily, the offer came on a Friday, so we were able to give ourselves a couple of days to figure it out. We decided, too quickly, to put an offer in on the new house. The second we signed the paperwork, I panicked. I knew instantly, that I didn't want the offer to go through. After letting Joe know how I was feeling, we quickly contacted our wonderful, patient Realtor, and rescinded our offer. I felt horrible, but I knew that it wasn't the house for our family. I'm so glad that I spoke up!

We thought long and hard that weekend. We came out knowing that the short sale home was the one for us. We waited for the inspection, which came back with a few issues, but we had a plan. We asked for the bank to lower our price based on the repairs needed. Once again, we were told that dealing with a bank might be difficult, and the seller's Realtor was sure that they wouldn't accept our new offer. Three days later, we got news that the bank had accepted it. Yay! Once again, we waited for the appraisal to come back. Today it did. Once again, great news!

It has been six months since we moved into our rental, and here we are packing again. Short Sales are nothing to be afraid of. Although I know that our situation is not at all the norm, it is possible. Short Sales can offer buyers a wonderful home, for an even better value. This time, the move will be far less emotional, more exciting, and we can't wait to make our new house, our home!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rental Life

We have been living in a rental home for almost 6 months now. It has gone by quite fast and has been a relatively easy adjustment to make. Although it has been easier than we expected, there have been some rough parts, some of which we didn't plan to be an issue. When we moved, we thought it would be nice to live in a home where upkeep was not our responsibly, where we could call the landlord anytime we had an issue. Well, that hasn't been as easy as we thought. Having a landlord to call when something goes wrong, means that you have to deal with a landlord. Ours has not been so wonderful.

When we moved in, we realized AT THE WALK-THROUGH (apparently, no one had any idea before that), that the fireplace and the stove didn't work. We could care less about the fireplace, but a stove is a bit of a necessity. When the issue was "realized", the landlord told us that it would be fixed before we were to move in a week later. Needless to say, that didn't happen. In fact, a week after we moved in, it was still being figured out.

Who figured it out? Oh, not the landlord. We did. We talked to HomeDepot, we had to be here for the handyman who took the old stove out, for the men who were to install, then the electrician, then the when the men came back to install it for a second time. All of which HAD to happen during a the normal work day, of course. Then there was the hot tub. When we moved in, we were told we had a choice: use the hot tub and be responsible for maintaining it, or they would pay to have someone come to clean and weather it. We chose the latter. It took almost a month for someone to take care of it, with the water sitting in it, running periodically.

All of these issues were made enough, but then came the realization of going from a house that is our own, into a house that is not. Our boys' bedrooms are plain, boring, and covered in scribbles and stickers from the previous owner, there are boxes of the owner's junk in the garage, that was left for us to find, pack, and store, but the worst part has been the drive. We only live one town from our previous home. It adds about 15 minutes to Joe's drive in the morning (because he leaves so early), but about 20-25 minutes more to both of my commutes and Joe's evening drive. This has been quite an adjustment both for our evening family time, and our wallets. It costs us about another $100 a month in gas to live where we are-a fee we didn't plan on.

Now that we are in the process of purchasing our forever home and we can see an end in sight, we can see our time in the rental for what it has been, a time to look for our real home, time to save a bit of money, and time to figure out what we are not willing to give up. Location, size, yard, and neighborhood. I'm sure that there will be time where we have fond memories of this house and our time here, but I'm not holding my breathe for that day.