28 February 2011

House Hunting/Buying 101: The process

YAY! We found a great one, that matched up with much of our list! In our price range!

The next step was to put in an offer on the house. Their asking price was $124,900.
We started out low at $117K w/ closing costs and a home warranty. They countered w/ $124,000.
Us: $119K+ Home Warranty and Closing Costs
Them: $123,500
Us: $121K + H.W. and CC
Them: $123K; It's as low as we'll go.
Us: We can't. We need 122K. + H.W. and CC
Them: Ok.

YAY! Next step: Inspection.
We had an INCREDIBLE inspector! In the KC area and need a rec? Ask! He's amazing and thorough and honest on whether things matter or not... etc.
Of course, since our house was built in 1937, and because our roof and windows were brand new, our biggest concerns were in the basement.
Here's what he found:

  • cracked wastepipe... AKA where your bodily 'waste' goes.
  • a gas leak
  • no vent for our washing machine.
  • loose floor joist... AKA what holds your floors up.
  • and a few quirky things that were inconsequential, including a vintage rum bottle
  • Upstairs
    •  he found some switched electrical switches and a 'dead' wall of electricity in our dining room
    • we found a shotty fix on a bathroom sink
    • on the same sink, the faucet was improperly installed
    • the bathtub leaked
    • the toilets were loose
    • the kitchen sink had a slight upwards slope on a pipe (their supposed to slope down)
Here's the good news:
  • Our inspector said it was in FANTASTIC shape for its age and price.
  • The foundation was in wonderful shape!
  • We have a stone basement, which turns out to be the best kind.
  • Our inspector didn't recommend a ($150) radon test because it is a 'walk out' basement b/c of our garage.
  • No mold! 
  • Minute water leakage, which can be easily fixed by extending our front gutter
The bad news: 
  • It wasn't move-in ready... those things must be fixed. Who wants to have to explain the 'stench' in their basement... coming from some pipe... that comes from the toilet. 
SO, we went back to negotiations.
Turns out, there was a fall out with the plumbing contractor and the rest of our buyers (a small company of contractors). They were unaware of the terrible job on the house.
We still asked for everything to be fixed, because not to be cold hearted, but their fall-out has little to do with us. (We learned quickly to make this a business transaction. We had to work to not be pressured by different situations of our sellers.) 
Because of this and a few other interesting turn of events, and resistance to fix the house to city code, we needed to come up with a motto. "This house is a convenience, not a necessity". We LOVE the house; great updates, great location, great size, great aesthetics. However, we aren't out of our agreement with our landlord and won't be until closing. Our current house is cute, but small. Close to family, but not close to work. In a comfort zone, but we're ready to branch out. Bottom line: It works. We're not homeless. We have no crunching time line. This house is convenient. Not necessary. 

This helped us get through the rest of the process better. 
1) We knew we could/would walk if we needed to.
2) We LOVE the house, the location, and the change, so we're motivated.
3) But we wouldn't budge on city code, no matter how 'unnecessary' it was. See #1. 

SO, eventually (after about 15 negotiations and 3 different 'resolution' contracts) things were fixed to our liking, but we did budge on a few things but got our house!

Next: What we 'budged' on. What we were firm about. Next step: Appraisal and financing.

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