House Hunting: Saying yes to the house

After looking at well over a dozen houses and fighting with the husband and everything, I was feeling disheartened about finding a house. The husband wanted to wait, claiming something better might come on the market. I didn’t want to wait because you never know how long that could take or if something better really would come along.

We were a little stuck. There was one house we both liked but when I thought about it, I just didn’t see myself living there. I think house hunting is a lot like looking for wedding dresses. When you find the right house you just know.

At least that’s what people kept telling me. Every house we’d been in thus far had pluses and minuses but neither of us had walked in and said “this is it.”

Then our Realtor (again if you’re in Columbia and looking for someone, I know a great guy who is very helpful) sent us a few more listings. We weren’t crazy about most of them but there were two options.

The first one was a split-level brick house that had been on the market for a while and had a lot of space. I’m not crazy about split-levels but I thought it was worth visiting.

The second one was out of our price range. But it looked perfect. If my search had taught me anything it’s that pictures on real estate sites are very deceiving.

A year ago when we were moving from the city to Virginia, we had a similar experience. Then I found an incredible listing on Craigslist. Anyone who has ever looked for apartments in Washington knows that if you find a place that looks awesome and is renting at a lower price, it’s probably a scam. When we arrived at the Fairlington house we walked in and just knew. This was it. We applied that day, right there.

In our house hunt we were looking for that same experience.

So that second option reminded me of that. We set up a viewing for both properties the next day. Both the husband and I kept saying this house was likely to be THE house. I told my parents to be available to come over and see it just in case we liked it.

When we walked in the house, that was it. It was THE house. Even better — we agreed it was THE house.

I was excited. The house was perfect — three bedrooms, two bathrooms, hardwood floors, a big backyard, upgraded kitchen and a lot of natural light. It was in the ideal neighborhood, on a quiet street and half a mile from a top-rated elementary school. It even had a separate “man cave” perfect for the husband.

My parents and my brother hurried over to view the house that day. We spent about two hours walking around, picking it a part and discussing the tough part — price.

Our top price range really was the top we could go. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to afford the house we’d fallen in love with. Much like when you try on wedding dresses that are far too expensive for your budget — seriously, those people on “Say Yes to the Dress” know what they are talking about.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned watching HGTV its that a house’s listing price isn’t the actual price you’ll buy it for. But I knew that that house was worth what they were asking. After all, I’d looked houses in the same neighborhood, priced just a little less but without all the amenities.

There was the house that wasn’t updated at all, slightly larger in size and priced just $3,000 less. So yeah, the price on the house made sense.

Our Realtor told us there had been a lot of interest in the house. Not surprising. And that another couple was coming back the next day to see it a fourth time.

We needed to act quickly. We discussed our offer. We disagreed a lot about what to offer exactly, but we agreed on what we thought was a good price to start the negotiations (figuring the seller would come back with a counteroffer). Then our realtor made calls and we waited.

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Previous posts:

House hunting: the pre-search 

House hunting: the search, the emotions 

Homeowners

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