Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Homebuying Process

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I promise I haven't forgotten about the blog!

We are currently in the process of buying our very first HOME! We just started working with a Realtor last week, but have been spending several of our Sunday afternoons visiting dozens of open houses and getting familiar with several different neighborhoods in our area.

On Thursday, we sat down with our buyer's agent for the first time and discussed what we were looking for in a home. He pulled up all of the newer listings and we decided on five homes to walk through on Friday. Our timeline had been to put in an offer on a home sometime in early June.

On Friday, we went to look at the homes on the list after work. Our list narrowed to 4 (house #5 had an offer pending between Thursday night and Friday morning!). Here is an overview of each house:

House #1: An older ranch-style home in a more rural setting. We arrived prior to our agent, so we just stood awkwardly in the front yard waiting. Eventually, a neighbor walked over to say hello and tell us about the house. We walked around the perimeter and found that while this house was the closest to work, it was a bit too rural for our liking.

Pros: 6 minute (!) commute to work and friendly neighbors.

Cons: Unpaved driveway, too rural (there were random cornstalks growing directly next to the front door), tiny kitchen, very old furnace, and the floor and door jams seems to point to a possible issue with the foundation. The house was also located on a very busy road that cars flew down.

House #2: A cute 1950s-era home with a full basement and very large backyard. The seller had put in new hardwood floors in the main living area, which we really liked. The full basement was unfinished, but relatively clean (given the age of the home). The kitchen was old (avocado green stovetop) and had very outdated cabinets. The bathrooms were also covered in white and gold-flecked tile. The highlight of this house was our agent happening to find a BAT in the hood of the stove. Luckily this discovery occurred with a flashlight and NOT his hand. Gave all three of us an uneasy feeling!

Pros: Nice front porch, large backyard, big basement, formal dining room (the only house we saw with this), most square footage. Loved the new hardwood. 

Cons: Similar to house #1, it was situated on a busy street with noise. Shared an unpaved driveway with the house next door. Kitchen would have needed a complete remodel -- including all appliances. Master bathroom was teeny tiny and only had a standing shower. THE BAT. 

House #3: Prior to looking at the properties, this was our favorite from the pictures. It was also the newest home of the four (built in 1993). It was featured in a neighborhood we really liked and on a quiet street. All brick, with a sun room and nice above-ground pool. Unfortunately, this was a home that photographed much better than it actually appeared in real life. The kitchen cabinets were in very poor shape -- missing handles on about half of them and one cabinet was missing a door entirely. Popcorn ceilings in every room of the home, and there was damage to the ceiling in three or four rooms. Overall, this house had potential but it was clear the current owners had not done much to care for the general maintenance and upkeep.

Pros: Beautiful exterior. Nice sun room and pool, awesome for entertaining! Great neighborhood. Vaulted ceiling and fireplace in the living room.

Cons: Not well maintained. The popcorn ceilings would've needed to be removed from multiple rooms due to damage. The kitchen was perhaps the greatest disappointment of this house. It was also extremely cluttered -- I know you have to live in the home while it is on the market, but it is hard to see beyond the mess to envision the potential of the home.

House #4: This house was located just a few blocks from #3, so it was in the same area (just a different subdivison). This was the most recent one to hit the market, having been listed just 48 hours prior to our visit. Located on a quiet street. Well-maintained and the yard was beautifully landscaped. Vaulted ceiling and fireplace in the living room. Largest kitchen of all of the houses we viewed. Beautiful, well-insulated sun room. Master bath featured dual sinks and a skylight. Laundry room located off of the kitchen, which was the furthest location from the bedrooms -- ideal if we have a sleeping baby in a nursery and I wanted to do laundry!

Pros: Beautifully maintained. Big kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Great neighborhood. Good backyard for entertaining. Lots of windows for natural light.

Cons: No dishwasher in the kitchen. Some of the sinks in the bathrooms were dated colors. Top of our price range.

After viewing all four homes, we decided to make an offer on...

Home #4!!

It really was far and away the best house out of the four we toured, as well as nearly all of the dozens of homes we had walked through for open houses previously.

I'll make a second post about making an offer!

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