Buying a house can be exciting and stressful at the same time! I’m super excited and overjoyed that we’ve found a house. I was going to keep my mouth shut until I was 100% sure all was well and done and then I said, nah…can’t do it! I’m surprised and then again I’m not surprised we found one so quickly, but when I think about it since we’ve been looking since April, it hasn’t been that fast.
It’s the cutest and best house ever, but doesn’t everyone say that about their house or the house they’ve fallen in love with? A couple of Saturday’s ago, we looked at 3 houses. The first one was just amazing!
The first one was just amazing!
As you are reading this, let me put this disclaimer up front. I’m not a Real Estate Agent. I’m not a Lawyer. I’m simply sharing my experience and what I have learned during our house hunting and home buying.
Now back to the house…
The Golf Course House
I’ll call it the Golf Course House because it was on one, right outside of Raleigh. As we drove down the road, it didn’t look anything like you would expect an area to look like that was on a golf course. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t look bad, but if I’m going to live on a golf course, I’m expecting something big and grandiose; this is one of those many times where the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover” comes into play.
Once we passed through the brick gates, (isn’t there always a gate involved with this type of house), that’s when things changed! It’s a large, beautiful brick home with 6 bedrooms and 4,000 square feet. I know…why do 2 people with no kids need a 6 bedroom, 4,000 square foot house? We like space and once we finish converting all of those bedrooms, there will only be 2 bedrooms, the master bedroom, and 1 guest bedroom.
I can say this is the perfect house for us because it has everything E and I wanted on our list. I was shocked we even found a house that has everything. I thought trying to find a house that didn’t have a Home Owner’s Association would be difficult if it wasn’t built a good 20 years ago, but I was wrong! But I’m so happy I was wrong.
Photo Credit: TMLS/Realtor.com
Now, I ask you, who wouldn’t want to walk into a house and this is the first thing you see? I love the staircase and on the left, you can barely see it, but there are 2 double doors that open up into a room that could be used for an office or sitting room (I’d probably use it as my wine room)! 🙂
This house was my first choice and ended up being E’s second choice.
The Southern Tea House
Off to the next house, we went! I call this the Southern Tea House because it is the epitome of southernness. It’s got a wrap around porch, pale yellow, and all I could think about when we drove up was that I can get 2 rocking chairs, a nice table and use it to make my sun tea!
This house is a good size too, with 5 bedrooms, 3,400 square feet, and sits on almost an acre of land. The backyard perfect for my “woman area” as E calls it, which is the stone area, with a fire pit, table, and chairs, so my girlfriends and I can sit in the back and relax with some wine!
I just love the stone and brick fireplace. It gives the living room so much character.
This house didn’t have the island I wanted, but it had everything else and can I really discount a house because it doesn’t have something I can have built later? No, not really so this house was my second choice and E’s first choice, of course because of the yard.
I was pleasantly surprised the same houses were either in the number 1 or number 2 spot for both of us because as we looked, sometimes our tastes were the complete opposite.
Lots of Deliberation and Decision Time
At this time, Raleigh is a seller’s market, which means there are more buyers than houses to sell (my Economics class has finally come in handy)! So in a seller’s market, the demand is higher than the supply. It was very obvious of the market conditions because every house we went to look at, with the exception of the Southern Tea House, there were at least 2 other buyers looking at the house while we were there (maybe that’s a sign)!
After we left, we went to lunch (because you can’t make such an important decision on an empty stomach)! We went back and forth over lunch discussing which house would be the best for us. Being the list person that I am, I had to make a prod and cons list for each house. E was leaving for Florida for a week 2 days later so we didn’t want to wait until he got back to put an offer on one of the houses, knowing that by the time he got back, the 2 houses would most likely be gone. We liked them both so what were we waiting for?
We talked more and a couple of hours later after we had gotten home, we called our Realtor and decided to place an offer on the Southern Tea House.
While the Golf House had everything we told our Realtor we wanted, you can’t always just go by your list. The one thing this house had we didn’t want was that it backed out onto the golf course. Yes, I know, that’s the whole point of living on a golf course, but for me, privacy was an issue. To give you a better perspective, when I say the house was on the golf course, I mean that literally. When you walked outside onto the backyard, the golf course was right there. There’s no fence (natural or man-made), no poles, no nothing that would separate us from that golf course.
If I was having a dinner party outside (because you know I am), guess what? I’d be sitting in my backyard with my guests watching people play golf and the people playing golf would be able to watch me having my dinner party. For me, that’s not cool; I want my privacy. As hard as it was for me to do, I told our Realtor this wasn’t the house for us.
The Southern Tea House allowed us the privacy we wanted, more land, and I can always have an island built!
Making an Offer and Buying a House
I tell ya, this house hunting is no joke! We made an offer over Memorial Day weekend. My stomach was in knots because once you’ve found THE ONE, you wonder if the sellers will accept your offer, especially knowing the market conditions of it being a seller’s market.
We had to do a little negotiation, but we came to an offer all could agree on and we’re on our way! Whew! Step 1 done and lots more steps to go! Once we made an offer, the next step was to sign a sales contract. That contract is long but contains things such as,
- Name of sellers and buyers
- The amount of your offer
- The type of loan (for example, VA, FHA, Conventional)
- Acknowledgment you received any necessary disclosures
Ours was a 12-page document so make sure to read everything and if you have any questions, ask! This is a HUGE purchase so read until you have an understanding of everything that is happening. We’re fortunate to have an amazing realtor and mortgage loan officer-I call them all the time with questions!
In reading the document, I learned two new words (by the time this is over, I’m sure I’ll have learned an entirely new vocabulary); earnest money and due diligence fee.
- Earnest Money Deposit: This is money given to the sellers from the buyers and is held in escrow. It’s used to show the sellers the buyers are serious about purchasing the house and the amount can vary. The buyers are given credit for the deposit at the time of closing. For example, if your earnest money deposit is $2,000, it will sit in escrow and held until the time of closing and there will be a credit to you; you won’t actually get the check back.If the contract is broken, it is possible you can lose this money and it’s given to the sellers, but this is on a case-by-case basis and your state’s laws. Each state has a Real Estate Commission so check there to find out the specifics for the state in which you live.
- Due Diligence Fee: Money paid by the buyer to the seller to keep. It allows the buyer to conduct inspections, appraisals, etc., during the due diligence period and during this time period, the buyer can back out. IF the buyer backs out AFTER the due diligence period, the buyer can lose the Earnest Money Deposit AND the Due Diligence Fee. This amount will also vary.
As you can see, that is a lot to take in and I had to read the paperwork a few times and ask our Realtor how this worked to make sure I understood.
Things are underway and we just had the home inspection this past Wednesday. I was there during the inspection and that is definitely a long process. Our inspector started at 1:30pm and we were reviewing the report by 5:00pm. I know this is his job, but that is a very tedious job! I arrived after he started and found him in one of the bedrooms sticking a tool in the electrical sockets to make sure they are working. Everything from the dishwasher to going under the house (fortunately, this house has a crawl space and can be inspected). If the house were built on a concrete slab, there would be no way to check under the house. I am so thankful it has a crawl space because there are some things that need to be fixed.
After reviewing the report with our Realtor, we mad a list of things we want to be fixed. Some things on the report were minor and others were major. Of course, we want the major items fixed.
We’ve signed the repair request and it’s been sent to the seller’s real estate agent. Now, we wait for a response from the sellers. All this waiting can be nerve racking!
One thing I will tell you, if you aren’t a patient person, you will learn to be after purchasing a house. I find it very interesting that with such a major purchase, you never speak to the person you are buying the house from.
I’ll keep you updated as we go, but for now, I need to go make some tea so I don’t think about this and watch the clock! Please send good vibes and prayers this way that all works well!
How was your home buying process? Share any tips in the comments below!
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