Author Topic: Selling and then buying a house right now! Play by play with lots of updates!  (Read 13556 times)

Nick_Miller

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Okay let's see how long this process takes.

Basics:

House: brick ranch built in mid 1960s with about 1250 sq feet upstairs and a basement that's about 50% finished. Two car garage. Corner lot at about 10,000 sq feet (I want to downsize this) Brand new triple pane windows. Brand new siding and gutters with gutter guard. New heater and AC (last year). Kitchen and bathrooms are biggest eyesore and really need updating. Hardwood floors in pretty good shape throughout main living area and three bedrooms. We have two full baths. Market is a seller's market, which is bad because we will be upgrading (but just a little).


Where we are in the process:

We are listing our house for $144,900. It will hit the MLS on Wednesday.


Our agent:

Let's call her S. She seems to be a go-getter. Ranked in top 30 of the HUGE agency she works for. Has been very responsive to our texts, emails, calls, etc. She already knows what we like and she's shown us three houses but we're holding off on seeing more until at least this coming weekend. She gave us great advice on de-cluttering/reorganizing (see below).


Work done thus far:

Professional photos taken yesterday. Those were paid for by S. Sign already in the yard. We have boxed up about 50% of our stuff and it's all piled up in the unfinished part of the basement. This week, we will start to make beds, wipe off counters, empty trash, etc., each morning in case a showing is booked during the workday. We look at real estate sites daily to see what's new on the market. We have narrowed down our desired new area, although frankly the area is still about 25% of our city.


Decisions still to make:

Locations closer to our girls' new schools (and thus closer to the city center) are generally smaller, more expensive per square foot, and usually have a one-car garage (or no garage at all). They could be more Mustachian, because some are even walking distance from one of the schools (we'll have one in middle and one in elementary and the schools are about 1.5 miles apart), but they could also be money pits, because they are generally older (75-100 years old).  Lots of cool homes with character, and a very trendy part of town. But also lots of bars and drunks staggering to cars at 2AM. 

Locations farther out from the city would require more driving (but still less than 10 miles daily), and would give us more square feet for the money, with larger lots, more 2-car garages, and less crime. Downside is that things are just spaced so much farther apart out there. Homes lack character. Still, I know my wife is leaning towards the this area. 

Then, how much do we upgrade? I'm aiming at no more than a $100,000-$110,000 mortgage, and since we should be bringing $60K-$65K from closing, that means we're in the $160K to $175K range. It is doable, it will still be a big step down from what most of our friends have (I don't care about this, but I think it bothers my wife a little. Plus, there are brand new constructions in the area for about $220K so yes she keeps wondering if we could stretch it. I keep saying we need to stay in the $160K-$175K range. We'll see what happens. I am focusing on objective things like cost and square footage and age of systems, etc., but she seems to take a more holistic approach.

Nick_Miller

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Day 2:

Listing goes on MLS tomorrow. Real Estate agent ("S") emailed us her proposed "fluff language" for the listing. It's fine other than she didn't mention the new windows, gutters, siding, furnace and AC that were all installed in 2015 or 2016. That's almost $20,000 of updates that I think need to be included. I'm emailing her now asking that she include those items in the home summary section.

She also said she already got two calls based on the sign in our yard. One just seemed curious but the other seemed more interested.

And funny timing! The house next door to my best friend is going on the market. He just texted me yesterday. Has anyone lived next door to a close friend? Did the "seeing each other all the time" thing ruin the friendship or did it work out okay?

Kouhri

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And funny timing! The house next door to my best friend is going on the market. He just texted me yesterday. Has anyone lived next door to a close friend? Did the "seeing each other all the time" thing ruin the friendship or did it work out okay?

I lived "next door" to my best friend for a few years. However it was a bit different from your situation as she was in the next door apartment building to mine, not the next door house.

It was fantastic, we saw each other heaps (at least once a day) but it never became so much that we got sick of each other (we also usedan to room withat each other in boarding school, and there definally is a "too much" level). And the friendship is still going strong years later.

I guess the caveat is that it won't just be you two living next door but also your families. Find out how your wife and kids might feel about it too.

Nick_Miller

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Day 3:

We are officially listed on MLS (and soon all the other real estate web sites)!

Our listing photos are TOP NOTCH! I already emailed S and told her great job picking out the photographer. The pics are as clear, bright and vivid as any I've seen on a listing, comparable to those you'd see for "high end" listings. To me, it really shows she is invested in getting our house sold, since she's paying for the pics. I looked at them this morning and thought (as objectively as I could), "Hey I would want to live there!"

We're seeing that flips are coming on the market and getting snatched up IMMEDIATELY. I mean, within a day or two. Anything with new flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, etc doesn't have a chance. So we have our eyes on one but it won't last until we can look at homes this weekend. Thankfully we have another 3-4 on our radar that aren't quite as enticing to the masses and hopefully a few of those will be available when we go looking with S on Saturday.

I do not expect offers to pour in on our house immediately, but I really hope we at least get some showings in the next 7 days.

EDITED TO ADD: UPDATE! A showing for Friday afternoon is being scheduled! I'll have to bake some cookies that morning.

EDITED TO ADD AGAIN: No time for baking cookies! Showings booked today for 3:15PM, 3:45PM, and 5:45PM. Gotta race home and take care of the pug!

EDITED TO ADD YET AGAIN: Two more showings set for Thursday, so that makes six scheduled showings total for the first 48 hours. I wonder if any will turn into an offer? That would really free up our home search!

@Kouhri, my wife is somewhat interested. The main negative is that they have two VERY young children, ages 2 and 6 months, and it might be awkward if we don't offer to babysit or otherwise "pitch in" sometimes, although we are very busy as well, just with older children. I'm glad to hear your friendship is still going strong! I've known this guy since I was 19, and I'm guessing we'll be lifelong friends as long as one of us doesn't leave the area.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2017, 03:30:49 PM by Nick_Miller »

LifeHappens

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Posting to follow. Hope this all goes well for you, Nick.

Miss Piggy

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Speaking of that pug... there was a house for sale in my area, and every single one of the photos included the family dog in a sort of fun "photobomb" kind of way. Not obnoxious, not even all that noticeable in several of the photos, but fun nonetheless. Unless the buyer isn't a dog person, in which case I can see it being a turnoff. But whatever...gotta have a little fun!

Nick_Miller

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Day 4:

It's been a quiet morning so no new showing info. However, the family looking at our house tonight at 6PM knows a couple who is close with my wife and I. In fact, I was at a basketball game last night with the male half of said couple, and the potential buyer was texting my friend asking about our house, and my friend was like, "Well I'm sitting with the owner right now." We live in a largish city, so this was definitely one of those "it's a small world after all" moments.

Oh and the people at last night's showing apparently played with my daughter's Shopkins.  :/     Isn't that a bit odd? I mean who would let their kid play with the home owner's toys during a showing? It seems incredibly rude to me.

UPDATED TO ADD: Showings so far - 2 yesterday, 3 set for today, 3 set for tomorrow. We are anticipating some Saturday showings as well.


Oh and @Miss Piggy, that sounds all kinds of awesome and is probably something we would have considered sans real estate agent (because pugs have their own devoted following), but I don't think S or the photographer would have went for it. We have seen other listings where the family dog makes numerous appearances that seems intentional (for example, she's out by the pool in the back yard in one shot and then she's also in the kitchen shot, etc).
« Last Edit: January 12, 2017, 01:12:27 PM by Nick_Miller »

talltexan

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Controlling toddlers during a home showing is a nightmare (my daught was about 21 months when we went through 11 homes in two days trying to buy). I'm sure the child was playing with it while the parents were assessing your nice, new, upgraded windows.

Besides, is "shopkins" a brand that a true mustachian would have, anyway?

Back to the serious: best of luck with the home transactions!

Nick_Miller

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Day 5:

Instead of 3 showings set for our house today, it's now 5. Pretty much a showing every hour from 10 until 3. And I'd really like to be able to put my feet up at home after work, so I'm hoping nothing after 3 is requested later today.

We're waiting to hear about the feedback from last night's showings. So far we've heard (through our friends) that the one couple they knew liked the house but was worried the back yard wasn't big enough. Going in, I knew the lot configuration was one of our biggest issues. We have a big front yard (corner lot) but small back yard. Most people want the reverse.

And on the buying side, we're mostly cooling our heels until we get an offer on our house. No seller is going to enter into a contract that's contingent on us getting our own sales contract, so even if we found the perfect house this weekend, we couldn't jump on it. We might go to a couple in different sq footage ranges just to get a better grasp on what size/layout works.

UPDATED TO ADD: So we got some feedback that one potential buyer would have wanted to redo the bathrooms, so they weren't interested. Our bathrooms are clean and neat, but yes they are very outdated. We intentionally didn't update them before listing because we figured everyone's taste is different and whatever we did wouldn't appeal to everyone anyway.

@talltexan, don't get me started on Shopkins! :)  Yes I hate their name too. And I don't understand what they are. Or why kids like them. They are just little anthropomorphic household goods. And I understand maybe a toddler getting into something but responsible parents would still neaten everything up when they left. At least, we would.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2017, 10:35:33 AM by Nick_Miller »

talltexan

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Somehow a "shopkins" entered our house, but my wife found a way to get it right back out, and I was able to exchange it at Target for something useful. My wife has other non-mustachian foibles (such as an addiction to the Disney brand), but I felt powerfully and deeply attracted to her when she made this choice.

Dicey

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Day 5: Our bathrooms are clean and neat, but yes they are very outdated. We intentionally didn't update them before listing because we figured everyone's taste is different and whatever we did wouldn't appeal to everyone anyway.
Um, no. People tend to want the big things done. They might be willing to change the paint or flooring, but bathrooms and kitchens, not so much. The people that don't mind are the people that want to buy at or below market. It's kinda late now, but if you haven't, I'd consider cleaning everything until it sparkles, hanging brand- new pretty towels and maybe adding some fresh flowers or other pretty focal point. If you can't impress, distract.

Anecdotal story about kids and Open Houses. I sold a house that garnered two well-qualified offers that were equal and both way the hell over the asking price. One offer included a family photo and a charming letter as to why they wanted to buy my house and raise their family there. The other had no such letter and came from a family whose kid made handprints on every mirrored closet door in the whole house, during an Open House, the little asshole. Guess who I chose?

I just saw them and their newest baby last week, when visiting my friend next door. They love the house and I'm so glad I chose them. My old neighbors love them!

Nick_Miller

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Day 7:

I rarely post on weekends but there have been a LOT of developments in the past 36 hours!

1. We received multiple offers yesterday after just 4 days on the market.

2. We accepted the best offer. They have their own $ for a down payment, are using conventional financing (pre-approved), gave us a full price offer, and are not asking for a dime towards closing or anything else. Inspection is set for Tuesday, and I'm sure that will result in a small second round of negotiating, but I don't think it will be huge. We were very thorough and honest on our disclosures.

3. We have now seriously started our home hunt. Worst case scenario involves us living with my FIL for a few months if we can't find a great house in the next two weeks or so (we have 40-45 days from now for the closing on our house) But best case scenario involves us finding a great house soon and not needing that pain in the ass temporary move.

4. We looked at an awesome house last night. My wife loves it. I do too. It checks off 95% of our boxes and it's priced well. Location is in the area we need for both of our girls' new schools next year.  The kitchen is very nice for a house still priced in the $180s  (see pics).   4 BRs, living room, man-cave, 2 1/2 car garage, basketball area, nice square functional lot with covered patio, nice but not over the top landscaping, huge dining room, and my wife would mention the kitchen again.  :)

We're going back today (there's an open house) and we'll likely make an offer. However, I expect they will get multiple offers in this competitive market, so we'll rely on S to advise us on best offer strategy. Part of me says come in strong with an offer maybe $2000 over list price to try to seal the deal quickly, but then I wonder if that will just lead to another round of the homeowners asking all the folks with decent bids to make "best/highest offers" which would seem to result in us bidding against ourselves in that second step.  We'll see!

 





« Last Edit: January 15, 2017, 09:14:18 AM by Nick_Miller »

Nick_Miller

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Day 8:

Well we didn't get the house. It was a BIDDING WAR/FEEDING FRENZY NOM NOM NOM type of situation. There were at least 10 offers, and all we know from S is that the seller decided to go with "a higher offer that had ideal terms."

I'm glad we didn't over-offer. It was a great house but it was NOT worth getting into a "we must win the bidding war" mindset. I want to buy for value, not "to win."

We are looking at two houses this afternoon:

1) A brand new (completed) house at the top of our price range but with great finishes. It has an unfinished basement that we could eventually finish out. But until the basement is finished, the square footage would be on the smallish side.

2) The other is a 20-year-old house with 4 bedrooms (hard to find in our price range) that would need some updates, but it's about $13,000 lower than the new construction, and bigger. Plus it is 60 seconds (driving) and very walkable to my best friend's house (but not next door!) :)



Nick_Miller

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Day 9:

It was so busy I didn't even get to post!

Long story short, we saw three houses. All the actual houses were nice but two had drawbacks.

#1's lot sucked (huge drop-off in the back down to a creek, with an apartment complex on the other side of the creek), and #2 has a great neighborhood but no basement and only 1600 square feet and storage would be an issue, so we based on both of those. #3 was awesome! We put in an offer and........didn't get it. :(   We even went $2500 over listing with our offer. I think us having the "must close on our own home" contingency is hurting us a lot in this hot market.


Day 10:

No showings set for today (yet) and I will be on the road for work today, so it might be hard to squeeze any in today. We should be getting back in the inspection report on our current house today, and I'm sure there will be some requests. We'll see what they want. The good news is that the buyer still wants to move forward with the purchase after getting the inspection report, so that's a positive!


boarder42

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this is a lot of fun at least it was for me.  we found the house we wanted and then put a 90 day close on it and sold ours within the window.  all this was around this time since its low season.  i may be strange but i like the process. 

I'd have suggested you find a low cost agent - our does a flat listing fee for the sales side and 3% to the buyers agent.  I'm of the opinion your agent doesnt really matter a whole lot ... everything is on the internet now.  just getting it in MLS is the issue.

J Boogie

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#2 has a great neighborhood but no basement and only 1600 square feet and storage would be an issue, so we based on both of those.

I think you might be passing up an excellent opportunity not only to live in a great neighborhood, but to declutter and learn to live with less.  I live in the bottom of a ~800 sq ft duplex, only 1 kid so far but still, I can't imagine the next one will need more than 800 sq ft.  And hey, it's easy to clean and keep track of the little guy! Unless he's in a bedroom, I'm only a few steps from being able to see him.

Does it meet your bedroom and bathroom requirements? Does it have a garage/shed? Could one be built?  You could keep your stuff in storage until you've got it built.

Don't mean to question you too much but hey, this is the MMM forum after all.  One of the key values is living in a small space that doesn't consume as much energy as a larger space and doesn't require as many furnishings to fill it. 

Also, don't know if you read the earlier black jelly bean theory thread here on MMM, but this could be your black jelly bean (thing that you like that no one else does).  You can get the house in the awesome neighborhood precisely because you're mustachian and don't need tons of space.

Just a few thoughts.  Good luck!




Nick_Miller

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(Still Day 10! :)  )

@boarder42, I actually think our agent is doing a wonderful job. I feel like I'm getting an education in real estate every time I talk with her.  We might have been able to save a little bit using a "flat fee" agent, but I would be concerned that sort of agent would only be invested in listing your home on MLS, not making sure it actually gets sold. I know you like to cut costs though! And I mean that in an approving way.

@J Boogie, first of all I meant to type "So we passed on both of those" not "so we based on both of those." I guess you understood what I meant though. Yes yes I do like the house. It's mostly my wife who is afraid that "we couldn't host Thanksgiving" (a recent tradition we picked up) and stuff like that. Compared to our current house, we would be losing probably about 300 or 400 square feet, and our current house isn't exactly huge.

Spacewise, we would be adding: a full bedroom, a 1/2 bath, and a back deck (the new kitchen would also be slightly larger) However....

We would be losing an entire basement, which is roughly 800 square feet, and which currently houses our home office, laundry room, second living room, and huge unfinished "store the junk" area. It also serves as the "place my daughters can take their friends without bothering us too much "space.

I don't think my wife can get past the whole "going down in space from our already modest space" thing.

Yes, the new house would have a 2-car garage (which we also already have) No shed though, and the HOA would limit what you can build in the yard. We have only pulled the trigger on two houses, and we were both 100% on board with those, so I can't fault her for disagreeing with me once in a while.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 12:47:25 PM by Nick_Miller »

boarder42

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ours here is full service she was invested in selling it. As she go the buyers agent commission on our new house which cost 2x as much.

talltexan

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When you let the space creep up, it takes some serious work to get back down later. Down-sizing has never come easily to me.

J Boogie

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(Still Day 10! :)  )

@boarder42, I actually think our agent is doing a wonderful job. I feel like I'm getting an education in real estate every time I talk with her.  We might have been able to save a little bit using a "flat fee" agent, but I would be concerned that sort of agent would only be invested in listing your home on MLS, not making sure it actually gets sold. I know you like to cut costs though! And I mean that in an approving way.

@J Boogie, first of all I meant to type "So we passed on both of those" not "so we based on both of those." I guess you understood what I meant though. Yes yes I do like the house. It's mostly my wife who is afraid that "we couldn't host Thanksgiving" (a recent tradition we picked up) and stuff like that. Compared to our current house, we would be losing probably about 300 or 400 square feet, and our current house isn't exactly huge.

Spacewise, we would be adding: a full bedroom, a 1/2 bath, and a back deck (the new kitchen would also be slightly larger) However....

We would be losing an entire basement, which is roughly 800 square feet, and which currently houses our home office, laundry room, second living room, and huge unfinished "store the junk" area. It also serves as the "place my daughters can take their friends without bothering us too much "space.

I don't think my wife can get past the whole "going down in space from our already modest space" thing.

Yes, the new house would have a 2-car garage (which we also already have) No shed though, and the HOA would limit what you can build in the yard. We have only pulled the trigger on two houses, and we were both 100% on board with those, so I can't fault her for disagreeing with me once in a while.

Can't fault you there.  You've got to pick your battles in a marriage.  Plus its tough to try and envision creative ways to make a place fit your lifestyle during the ~24 hrs you have after a showing to remember the layouts and details and features of the various places you've just seen.

Nick_Miller

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@J Boggie,

You mention the time crunch. It is REAL.

Yesterday we viewed a house that was JUST listed a few hours prior. We made an offer within 3 hours of the showing. And still there were 5 other offers on the house by the evening. It strikes me as VERY weird that you're forced to make such a big decision so quickly, at least in this hot market.

It seems rude to me to ask someone for such a huge response within a few hours, but that's what everyone is doing.

EDITED TO ADD:

It's still Day 10 and now we have to deal with the Buyer's butload of repair requests (they just came in today).

Ugh...we are talking with our agent and we'll do SOME of them, but we aren't doing all of them. We're getting some estimates for some electrical and plumbing work this weekend. We also need to find a leak coming from the chimney. I have a sinking suspicion this will all add up to a few thousand bucks.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2017, 02:56:02 PM by Nick_Miller »

With This Herring

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@Kouhri, my wife is somewhat interested. The main negative is that they have two VERY young children, ages 2 and 6 months, and it might be awkward if we don't offer to babysit or otherwise "pitch in" sometimes, although we are very busy as well, just with older children. I'm glad to hear your friendship is still going strong! I've known this guy since I was 19, and I'm guessing we'll be lifelong friends as long as one of us doesn't leave the area.

As a former middle schooler, this is ideal!  If you live next-door to or a few doors down from your friends, your kids can babysit their kids.  It works especially well because they can always bring one of your friend's kids home to your house if something goes wrong.  Babysitting is a great first job for young teens.  I would recommend that your middle schooler go through the Red Cross course first.

Your house hunt sounds like such a roller coaster!  Wow!  Thank you for posting the day-by-day updates.

Another Reader

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In your shoes, I would offer a small credit for any repair that is not required by the lender.  Your buyers are in the same situation you are.  If your buyer walks away because you don't do everything you want, they go back into the hot market and start over and you will have 5 or 6 new offers.

FIFoFum

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#1's lot sucked (huge drop-off in the back down to a creek, with an apartment complex on the other side of the creek), and #2 has a great neighborhood but no basement and only 1600 square feet and storage would be an issue, so we based on both of those. #3 was awesome! We put in an offer and........didn't get it. :(   We even went $2500 over listing with our offer. I think us having the "must close on our own home" contingency is hurting us a lot in this hot market.


Unfortunately, in a seller's market, there is pretty much no way you're going to get an offer accepted with that contingency clause. This is especially true with houses with multiple offers/bidding wars. You're looking a lot for someone who is not able to make a competitive bid on houses that are competitive in this market. Some people can handle looking at houses and the psychology of finding things you like that you won't get (and comparing it to other things you could get now), some people can't.

MayDay

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We are looking in a similar price range, maybe a little higher.

Our last offer was over list, no contingency, but they went with a cash offer.

We sold our house and moved into a rental because there is a 0% chance we'll get a house with a contingency at our budget. Now the 400-500k houses sit on the market awhile so you might succeed in that price range with a contingency.

It sucks. We are looking at another one that'll probably be multiple offers today or Sat.

Nick_Miller

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Day 11:

First of all, some replies!

@MayDay, well I guess it's good to hear others are in a similar boat (both for you and me). I am starting to agree with the "0% chance" statement, as least when it comes to houses that check off every.single.box. So what is your strategy now that you aren't burdened with a contingency? Just keep making over list offers and giving short times for acceptance?

@FiFoFum, Yes we are looking a lot, but I still find it helpful seeing homes and talking with our agent, as I feel I learn something every time. I am not overly emotional about these things, and my wife (who is a bit more emotional) is becoming more cynical and objective, which is good. She doesn't want to overpay either. Her optimism still eclipses mine though!

@Another Reader, I agree that we have SOME leverage, but really we want to get this house sold with this buyer just so we can move on to the next step in the process (see above). I'm getting some quotes for the main areas of the Buyer's concern. We'll see what the quotes say before we determine our response. She did give us a full price offer and we do want to work with her (some).


My general thoughts for the day: I know it will be a pain in the ass to move twice, but I'm starting to think moving in with my FIL for even three months might let us sock away another $5,000 or so, perhaps even more, when you consider no mortgage and other associated bills for those three months. We would buy food obviously and offer to pay water and electrical, but he might refuse those. He makes really good money and has a huge house that could house at least 6-8 people indefinitely. On the flip side, we'd have to pay storage costs. We'll probably use one of those pod services to make the process easier. Just back that pod up to the new house in a few months!

I'm working on scheduling more electricians and plumbers to come out this weekend. One plumber already told us replacing a copper gas line from the dryer might be expensive, and it might be easier and cheaper to switch over to an electric dryer and just cap the line.




J_Stache

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Ugh...we are talking with our agent and we'll do SOME of them, but we aren't doing all of them. We're getting some estimates for some electrical and plumbing work this weekend. We also need to find a leak coming from the chimney. I have a sinking suspicion this will all add up to a few thousand bucks.

The chimney leak is most likely a flashing issue. Paying someone else to do the repair should only be a few hundred dollars.

What area of the country do you live in?  Those housing prices make me cry. 

Icecreamarsenal

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I lived next to my best buddy for a couple of years, him single, me married.  It was good times.

MayDay

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Nick- yup. Pretty much. The one we are looking at today is at the verrrrrrry top of our budget. I don't mind offering over list at the bottom-middle of our budget since we'll get a lot of value out of living in it, and whether we paid list or 3-5k over really isn't going to matter.  If we have to move, we'll rent it out if it's at the bottom of our budget.

If we buy at the higher price, it wouldn't be a good rental and we'd be faced with trying to sell. 

In our market anything under 200k will sell, fast, with multiple offers unless it's a total fixer, because people want to get in the school district. The top of our budget is over that and a bidding war makes me nervous.


We rented a house, but I think living with your fil is inevitable. The pods are great- in fact order one now and get started packing. We found that the pod brand was not cheapest- either U-Haul or ABF/UBF/something like that was.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 10:43:22 AM by MayDay »

Car Jack

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Having bought and sold several of our own houses with and without a real estate agent, we learned some very good tricks along the way.

NEVER BE ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR HOUSE WHEN IT'S BEING SHOWN.  We can't even tell you how many houses we just got the heck out of because enthusiastic, energetic, annoying sellers wanted to show us every custom this and replacement that.  One house, we honestly would have bulldozed and rebuilt because it needed to be gone but the lot was great.  Just don't be there.

Set an ambiance:  Ok, not to be high brow but I guess another way to put this is to trick the buyer.  First is the declutter.  That means you can put a finger between every cup in the cupboard and a hand in between every single item hanging in the closet.  There are NO knick nacks anywhere, if you have kids, their toys go away (have a big box ready to swoop toys into).  Turn on EVERY LIGHT IN THE HOUSE.  In the winter, get the heat turned up, summer AC cooled down.  We put cookie dough in the oven and when an agent called to warn they were on their way (we required 30 minute warning), we crank the oven up to 450, put some already finished cookies in the microwave to warm, then on a plate on the kitchen table.  Low, mellow music playing (background, low enough that it isn't even noticed).  As the oven is toasting that dough, vacuum everything, throw everything in that toy box, fire up the car, take the vacuum with you and the toy box, shut off the oven and get the hell out.

Of course, the bushes cut and driveway clear and any moving items in moving boxes stacked in the garage ready to go.  If you have time, go to each faucet and shower and turn on the hot for a minute to bring hot water to that faucet.  Then shut it off.  This way, when a buyer goes to test the hot water, wow....it's instantly hot.  Must be an awesome water heater!

On selling/buying a house.  Find the dream house and make an offer contingent on selling your house first.  We did this and it sold quickly.  We did both closings on the same day.  The sale closing in the morning and buying closing in the afternoon.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2017, 01:38:01 PM by Car Jack »

Nick_Miller

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Day 12:

Nothing to report! Just getting some quotes so we can figure out how many of the repairs we're willing to get done. I'll check back in this weekend!

Nick_Miller

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Day 15:

Good news from the weekend! The Buyer has accepted our repair terms post-inspection, so I think that greatly increases the odds of getting to closing now! We are packing more aggressively now and checking out pod rates this week. Repairs will cost us about $1800.00. I can live with that, given the full price offer.

With closing set for about 32-35 days out, if we don't find a new place this week, we'll have to move in with FIL for a bit. Not the end of the world. It will give us more time and more leverage. I was telling my wife last night how crazy it is to make the biggest single $ decision you'll make for years (maybe decades) in a matter of hours.

My wife and I continue to talk things out, but we each are prioritizing different things. Any advice here would be helpful!

How I rank the variables:
Price - I do NOT want to tie up too much money on a house. We need to catch up on retirement $. I would prefer no more than a $100K mortgage, which means new price range around $170kish.
Location - It will better hold the value of our new home and provide a better quality of life
Finishes - I will never be a "handy" type of guy. I'd prefer the home to be close (or entirely) move-in ready.
Total Space - I think we can declutter and sell a lot of crap we've accumulated over the years. The girls sharing a room wouldn't be the end of the world (I shared with my TWO brothers through high school)


How my wife ranks the variables:
Total Space - She feels we need a two-car garage, 4 bedrooms, and (at least an unfinished) basement. She keeps saying, "as the girls get older, they are going to have friends over, and they'll need a space, etc." plus "we need a place for our junk"
Location - same reasons as mine
Finishes - she doesn't need "fancy," but would like at least a slight upgrade kitchen and bathroom wise
Price - she's not going nuts or anything, but she's more willing to creep into the low $200ks than I am.

Last night I told her that honestly, if I had my way entirely, I'd consider renting to allow us to save up more $ and avoid any huge hits on things like HVAC, roof, gutters, etc. Frankly, I wouldn't mind a townhouse rental type of situation where you don't have any neighbors above or below. The idea of never having to cut grass again appeals to me. I don't think I could ever sell her on it though. She likes the idea of decorating, painting, putting out flags in the yard, that sort of "making it your own" type of thing.

So ultimately, it comes down to this: Can we find a house with enough space, an unfinished basement, 3-4BRs, 2BAs, at least a one-car garage, in a nice location, with decent finishes (ie not an "old lady" house), for about $170K?

This is going to be difficult.


@Car Jack, I think we did a good job staging our house for sale! And yes we were never anywhere near it during showings (we were at work).

@MayDay, Yes, here too the houses in the $170K-$199K range disappears within days (or a day)!

@icecreammarsenal, Living beside my buddy is still an option. His next-door neighbors are getting a divorce (I just found that part out) and neither will let the other buy the other one out, so on the market it goes! But it likely won't be for a month or two at the earliest.

@J_Stache, we found out that the leaking was because of a bad chimney cap. It is basically not a "real" chimney cap, and it's too small and it has deteriorated.  The previous owners had fashioned their own, and in 14 years, we had never really inspected it. My dad is a brick mason, and he figured this all out in about 5 seconds. We're getting a real one put on.  And I'm in the midwest, so yes I know that our home prices probably seem cheap to folks on the coasts.



« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 08:44:21 AM by Nick_Miller »

Nick_Miller

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Day 15:  (more thoughts)

The more I study my city map and the various real estate web sites/apps, the more some opposing sets start to appear....

Suburbs - more driving (and pretty crappy traffic), more vanilla/boring and less diversity, but newer houses, lower crime and more "bang for the buck" square footage-wise
Closer to City Center - less driving, more diversity, more charm, but older houses, higher crime, and less "bang for the buck" square footage-wise (fewer basements, garages, etc)

I read MMM's blog posting re: this topic: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/09/04/how-and-how-not-to-buy-a-house/  and I really like some points he makes, but frankly I've been unable to find any sort of "oasis" near the city center with low crime and great public facilities. There are some very nice neighborhoods near city center, BUT you pay out the NOSE for those. I'm talking $100K over my budget amount. They are just not affordable.





LifeHappens

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Day 15:  (more thoughts)

The more I study my city map and the various real estate web sites/apps, the more some opposing sets start to appear....

Suburbs - more driving (and pretty crappy traffic), more vanilla/boring and less diversity, but newer houses, lower crime and more "bang for the buck" square footage-wise
Closer to City Center - less driving, more diversity, more charm, but older houses, higher crime, and less "bang for the buck" square footage-wise (fewer basements, garages, etc)

I read MMM's blog posting re: this topic: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/09/04/how-and-how-not-to-buy-a-house/  and I really like some points he makes, but frankly I've been unable to find any sort of "oasis" near the city center with low crime and great public facilities. There are some very nice neighborhoods near city center, BUT you pay out the NOSE for those. I'm talking $100K over my budget amount. They are just not affordable.

Do your intrepid readers get a vote? I would go for closer to city center unless "higher crime" means drug dealers on every corner. On the other hand, it seems your wife would be more in the suburban camp, and a boring house is cheaper than a divorce.

On the bolded, yeah, that's pretty much universally true. What MMM describes in his article is kind of a unicorn. Those places do exist, but the prices only stay low for a short time before yuppies move in and kill them.

FIFoFum

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My wife and I continue to talk things out, but we each are prioritizing different things. Any advice here would be helpful!

How I rank the variables:
Price - I do NOT want to tie up too much money on a house. We need to catch up on retirement $. I would prefer no more than a $100K mortgage, which means new price range around $170kish.
Location - It will better hold the value of our new home and provide a better quality of life
Finishes - I will never be a "handy" type of guy. I'd prefer the home to be close (or entirely) move-in ready.
Total Space - I think we can declutter and sell a lot of crap we've accumulated over the years. The girls sharing a room wouldn't be the end of the world (I shared with my TWO brothers through high school)


How my wife ranks the variables:
Total Space - She feels we need a two-car garage, 4 bedrooms, and (at least an unfinished) basement. She keeps saying, "as the girls get older, they are going to have friends over, and they'll need a space, etc." plus "we need a place for our junk"
Location - same reasons as mine
Finishes - she doesn't need "fancy," but would like at least a slight upgrade kitchen and bathroom wise
Price - she's not going nuts or anything, but she's more willing to creep into the low $200ks than I am.


Congrats on things moving forward with the buyers!

I think you should compromise on other factors to get your wife to agree to a smaller home. Larger homes can have many more costs over time, especially climate control, maintenance, and expansion of STUFF (esp since your stated goal is already to have a place for your junk & your wife cares about décor).

More important than # of brs or sq ft is how your family actually uses the space anyway. I'd prioritize finding good spaces to use based on how you currently use the home or realistically would use in the near future. A small place with a good layout would be much more useful than a large one with lots of rooms you won't even wind up using except to store more junk.

boarder42

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Your statement of wanting to get more money into investments but putting more than 20% down ESP at today's rates is Uber contradictory.

Nick_Miller

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Daaaaaaaay 16: (said in dramatic "movie guy" voice)

We're seeing three houses (maybe four) this afternoon. All are under $200K (check!) and all have at least 1750 square feet (check!) and all have at least a one car garage (check!) and all of them are in the area we need for our girls' preferred schools (check!) Some of them are in slightly nicer neighborhoods, and some appear to have nicer finishes, but they all have pros and cons.

None of them are super far out, but they all lean more toward "suburb" as opposed to "city center." I wanted to line up a "city center" showing or two, but there are literally none in our price range that would be a good fit, at least not as of today. I'll report back tomorrow the results, and share if we made any offers!

@boarder, I just don't want a huge mortgage. We haven't decided exactly how much equity we will roll into the new one, but yes I am leaning towards just tossing it at the house. No matter what, we will max our Roths and my wife's 401K this year. After that, with taxable investments being...well, taxable, I don't view investing in those as far superior to minimizing mortgage debt. I know you disagree. That's fine.

@FIFoFum, Well none of these houses is huge. I think the biggest is around 2,300 square feet, but as you said, it all depends on the layout. We saw one neat house last week but to get to the "family room" (the biggest room in the house, square footage-wise), you had to walk through the master bedroom. So yeah, flow and space that makes sense trumps pure size. And I consider all of the houses we are seeing today as compromises. We'll see!

@LifeHappens, yes you get input!! I wouldn't post this stuff otherwise. And yes I am still looking for the urban unicorn oasis! But yes that's all about knowing where the market is going and what neighborhoods are soon to be "hot" or "gentrified." We just had an urban neighborhood by my office "get hot" a few years ago, but I think it's too late to enter the game...the hipsters have taken over!







MayDay

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One of my biggest pet peeves is the horrible layout, like you mentioned.

The house we offered on on Dec (didn't get) was tiny but excellent layout with lots of closets and zero wasted space. Compared to one 50% larger that we saw last week, which had fewer closets, and larger rooms with wasted space.

In our area there is still almost nothing listed. Supposedly Feb things will pick up here.

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Day 16: (cont)

Guess who had an offer accepted tonight?!?!?  (hint: He is both humble and physically attractive)

MayDay

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Day 16: (cont)

Guess who had an offer accepted tonight?!?!?  (hint: He is both humble and physically attractive)

Which house?

Nick_Miller

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Day 17:

We have a house!

It's mostly brick, built in late 70s, although I think the styling is not dated at all. Big lot with huge (sloping) backyard in a park-like setting with tons of trees, bubbling creek, etc. House is located in a tiny city within our larger city, so the tiny city has citywide events like Easter egg hunts, yard sale, chili cook-off, etc. There's a mayor and a little functioning government and everything. We are only 5-8 minutes from two different main roads (we're right in the middle of them) and probably over 100 restaurants in that area. Crime is very low. Home values are mostly in the mid $200s, so we're at the bottom of that range. Oh and it's only a 17-minute drive to my office.

Features we liked: HUGE garage with BIG storage potential even after 2 cars are parked inside. Flat basketball area. Pretty lot. 2 1/2 baths. 3 BRs, with a potential 4th downstairs (my older daughter might want to claim that spot since there's a half bath downstairs and she'll be getting up super early for middle school in the fall). If she takes that, the 3rd upstairs BR will become the home office. Double closets in the master. Updated kitchen with tile floor and brand new cabinets. It's only about 2050 square feet to not TOO big. We can entertain in the upstairs living room or the den downstairs. And I LOVE the covered back deck. I'm already picturing having a cup of coffee out there on weekend mornings.

How we got it:

We came in EARLY and came in HIGH. The house was BRAND new on the market yesterday. We were the first showing (at 3PM) but there were NINE other showings set between 4-9PM. Basically every half-hour! So we decided on the spot that we wanted it, signed the contract while still at the house, and went 2.5% over asking price, giving the owners just until 6PM (before most of the showings even happened) to accept or reject. The agent called ours around 6 and said "Yes." I have the signed acceptance in my email. Oh and they accepted EVEN WITH our contingency clause, so if our own house's closing falls through for some reason, we can get out of this offer.

EDITED TO ADD:
Oh and price was right at $200,000. It was more than I wanted to spend, but the house checked all the boxes on location, size and finishes. It's pretty much move-in ready. HVAC, roof, Water heater, are all 5 years old or newer. Kitchen is newly done. Downstairs bath is newly done. Unless inspection reveals a problem, I don't think there are any huge big costs in the next few years.


Pics!

« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 07:20:02 AM by Nick_Miller »

Nick_Miller

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More pics!


Another Reader

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Happy wife, happy life!

Nick_Miller

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@Another Reader, well I'm happy too. I think it's a great fit. And we have many friends within 10 minutes of the neighborhood.

But yes, I am also happy that my wife is happy. We've had a rather modest standard of living during our marriage as we dig out of my student loans. She has rarely complained (which is fair, as she knew about my loans going into the marriage).

This house is a step up, but on a scale of 1-10, I'd still say we're only going from a 4.5 to a 6.5 (for our city).

FIFoFum

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Congrats on finding your new house!

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Day 18

Things might get a bit more boring now. Just tons of logistics.

We're going with a 30-year loan (to give us more flexibility on payments). I figure you can always pay more per month on a 30-year if you want to, but if you take a 15-year, you can't exactly tell the bank you need to pay less for a few months if things get tight. Our rate will be 4.375%

We're rolling $60K in equity into the new house.

We're attending the inspection on Monday. Fingers crossed for no huge electrical or plumbing issues.

@FIFoFum, thanks! I can't believe it was just 16 days! It felt like months!!




boarder42

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is 4.375 really the best rate right now that seems high to me... the 10 year would point to a 4.25 ... every 8th counts.

Another Reader

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Aimloan is offering 4.0 percent with zero points and some credit for closing costs on a $200k house with $60k down.

boarder42

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Yeah i just hit up my broker friend and the best rate for top credit right now in the MO area is 3.75% ... you should definitely be shopping that rate.

Nick_Miller

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Day 19:

We're going forward with our bank. I checked out aimloan, but after running the numbers, it seemed like their closing costs would be higher than the closing costs with our bank, so I wasn't sure I was really comparing apples with apples. And we're very comfortable with our (local) bank. We've banked with them for 20 years. They never sold our previous mortgage, are super easy to deal with, and have branches all over our city.

Thanks for everyone for the aimloan suggestions though.

No other news. Inspection should take place on Monday.