Pretty exciting stuff, we might be making an offer on a house today.
We started looking at houses with a Realtor this last Friday. It was a bit of a rush job as we met her in the parking lot of Reece & Nicholas, jumped in the car, and went to 5 or 6 vacant homes and townhomes in the dark. While she stressed that this was not the typical meet-and-great she usually does the first time she meets clients, for us it made house-hunt much more real and made us more comfortable with this stranger who would eventually sell us a home.
Nothing we saw was really great that first day, and so we scheduled to meet Wednesday night and go out again, this time with a more focused and accurate search criteria, and with the opportunity of seeing houses that were currently occupied, as most people want 24 hour notice before the Realtor comes through.
It is kind of a strange feeling going through someone else's house while they're away and looking at the placement of their stuff, as well as flaws in their home. I probably spent too much time making fun of their stuff and not enough looking at the actual house, but that's ok.
We looked at probably 7 more places on Wed. When we got to our (hopefully soon to be) house, it just felt a lot different then everything else we had seen. It is not the same stock cookie-cutter place. It is essentially a two story, two bedroom, two bathroom townhome with a one car garage and a basement. All pretty nice for the price. Some of the things that make it a bit more special are: the second bedroom is actually a loft that looks down onto the living room, the kitchen has a very cool white-wood paneled finish that's probably from the 70's, but looks very unique, and there is an enclosed patio on the side which will be great in the summer to hang out in and eat lunch. The place has also been owned by the same elderly lady for at least 20 years, which gives the place the feeling that it has been very well taken care of. All and all, it just feels very much like a home instead of a house (how cliché can you get?).
We went out again yesterday, to look at some more places, but I think we had already made up our mind with this one, and everything else just looked flawed. This will be a problem if we don't end up getting this place, but for now, that's a good thing.
The hardest part so far, not surprisingly, has been the mortgage work. We initially went with Commerce bank, thinking that since we do all of our banking there, it would be an easy thing to get a loan from them. This is turning out to be the wrong idea. First, the loan guy there said it might take a few days to get pre-approval. Which seemed fitting, since we didn't know anything about the process. Now we know that almost everywhere else preapproval takes just minutes to complete, once you have the correct paperwork together. Then he really pushed a 5-1 ARM loan, as the interest rates would be lower for the first 5 years. Seemed good, as we plan on moving in 3-4 years. But now we understand that not all 5-1 ARM's are that simple, and the original quoted APR is quite different from the one he sent us in the paperwork.
For some reason, this loan offer started looking pretty shady really quickly. I'm still not sure what's going on, but I don't think we are going to go with Commerce, now that we know what we know.
Our Realtor is about as good as you could ask for. She just turned 23, drives a modest but cool car, and likes to talk (which is good cause we get quiet quick). She has seemed very up front with us through the entire process. Every place she's taken us to she doesn't try to push, but just ask's us how we rate them compared to previously seen places. She seems real, and on top of things (though she has a pretty bad sense of direction and we got lost on the way to almost every home). If anyone needs a good Realtor, I wouldn't hesitate to suggest her.
She turned us onto Wells-Fargo, who I think we will go with for a loan, if everything works out. A very nice representative from Wells-Fargo just called me, and said everything looked great and that pre-approval should be sent to our Realtor in a few minutes (this is after we applied for pre-approval just yesterday!). Plus, she said we might be able to get a "Mortgage Express" loan which means we wouldn't have to worry too much about digging up tax info and W2's. Quite different from Commerce's tone, who wants everything for the last 2 years, including transcripts from Pittstate.
Things are looking good. Should know more tonight.
Pray, and keep your finger's crossed that we get it and there isn't a huge termite colony behind a wall or enough mold / fungus to call it a garden.