House hunting: The pre-search

That’s a lot of homes.

House hunting isn’t at all what it looks like on TV. I know that’s a dumb thing to say but it is called “reality tv.” For a little over a month I’ve been thinking about how to go about this whole buying a house thing. I’ve done the google searches and left frustrated. There’s just too much that goes way beyond “Hey this is a nice house. I want to buy it.”

Waa waa, I know. It’s overwhelming. I’ve had so many conversations with a cross group of people that I’m getting confused. I’ve gotten many mixed messages.

One person told me not to buy at all. One says we’re in the perfect situation to buy. A whole bunch of people say we should wait until the husband has a job.

I’m moving ahead anyway. Buying a house takes time. I don’t expect that my I’ll purchase the first house I see. And even then I know it will take at least 8 weeks for all the paperwork and processes to finalize. Maybe, I’m being hopeful but I hope the husband has a job by the time we’re ready to move-in and to me that’s perfect timing.

We finally went to the bank to have a conversation — figure out how to even go about the process. We discussed how much we could reasonably afford and down payments,  closing costs and interest rates.

When we left the bank I felt hopeless. I can’t exactly explain why. I think mostly it wasn’t what I expected. I thought for sure we could buy a house, easily. When you get down to the nitty gritty numbers it’s disheartening.

You’re talking about money you’ll be paying for the next 30 years. Insanity.

Then there’s the whole house itself thing. In the moment I suddenly felt hopeless that we’d even be able to find a house we want — in the neighborhood we want — for that price range.

I watch enough Property Brothers, House Hunters and Love it or List it to understand the concept of priorities. I realize you can’t find the size house with all the “amenities” in your top location, especially if your top location is one of the best in the city when you have a rather limited budget.

It’s that mean moment in Property Brothers when they take couples to their dream home and then tell them it’s like $1 million over their max budget. It’s that moment when I’m yelling at the TV because the people are being unreasonable about appliances, flooring or light fixtures.

Can’t I just live here?

That’s what I was thinking after leaving the bank. Do I want to settle for some crappy house just because? No. Not really.

I don’t expect to be able to afford my “dream home” first time out but I do have a certain picture of what kind of house I want to live in for the next 5 to 10 years.

For a few hours I considered renting again. I looked up rentals in the area and became more annoyed. Renting really is more expensive. That was really disheartening.We just moved from freaking D.C. where it’s impossibly expensive to rent/live/buy.

Where to go from here?

Then I dove into looking on Zillow and Realtor.com (which is funny because I used to work for that organization on that website). A few hours later I realized we probably could find a house we’d like in the neighborhoods we want if we are open minded.

I’m ready to buy a house. Really. I am. I want to just start the process and see where it goes. I could sit on the side for a while just thinking about it and of course, I won’t get anywhere. I think that the only way to really buy a house is to just go for it. Get a realtor, start looking, etc.

I’ve wasted most of my days now scrolling through various websites looking at pictures and stats. This is so complicated.

Kids are so far in my mind and yet I’m looking at school districts statistics. I’m looking up resale data and Google street view. I haven’t even set foot in a single house.

With the recommendation of  a good friend I’ve found a realtor who within an hour e-mailed me back. Within three hours, he’d sent me some options and set up a first viewing. I’m amazed and feeling a whole lot better about this entire process. And there really are some cute houses out there.

Now let’s see if the viewing is anything like it is on TV.

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