Thursday, June 14, 2012

We Bought Our First House


Our 1st house to be...   
Well let me be clear we haven't actually bought our 1st house.  We our under contract for a short sale house but there is still a lot of hurdles to jump.  I am sure most of you, if anyone reads this blog anymore, didnt even know we were looking so let me back up.


3 months ago:  I spoke with a realtor friend of a friend just to get educated on the house buying process.  We told her we were somewhere between 15-18 months from buying a house.  Boy, were we wrong. 

Fast forward a bit and we had looked at a few house online but nothing of much interest.  If you don't know there is a bit of a lack of inventory in the Orlando housing department so we resigned ourselves to signing a new lease at Garvin at the end of June. 

June 1st: We saw a house online and had some interest, here is how the listing read:

 This spacious home features a large living room with French doors to the backyard patio. The completely remodeled kitchen offers seating at the breakfast bar or the adjacent dining room, solid wood cabinets, recessed lighting, newer appliances, and silestone countertops. This open kitchen/dining area overlooks the sunroom that is filled with natural light. New windows keep the home cool as does the brand new air conditioner installed just last year (transferable service warranty! With 3 full bedrooms and a small bonus room that is perfect for an office, this home is flexible for any size household. Other features include a custom closet in the master bedroom and updated master bathroom complete with a decorative tumbled marble and travertine tile. There is a newer roof installed in 2007 with transferable warranty and beautiful parquet floors throughout most of the home. Do not miss this opportunity to find such a move in ready home at this price. Just minutes from Winter Park shopping and dining and convenient to I-4!

That got us interested, so we drove by and we were more interested (I might have trespassed a little bit), then we decided to call the realtor and they had an open house that night.  I won't spend too much time describing the house because I have pictures.  It's a 1950s ranch style home near Lee and 17-92 (before you jump to conclusions and think that is not a nice area like PBG's dad did, he changed his mind once we drove him by the house). We liked the house as we entered the main room and the master bedroom (custom closets) but when we turned the corner and walked into this fully remodeled kitchen, dining, great room with an extra office my jaw hit the floor.  Now I have seen too many shows on HGTV so I dialed it back in but I was floored and was trying to not act too excited.  Needless to say we really liked the house.  Part of me even thought this is a little too good to be true. We found out that they were only accepting offers until Sunday.  As we drove home we could not believe we were not even really looking and now we are talking about submitting an offer.

June 2nd: The next day we wanted to take PBG's parents by but the house was full of showings all day and could not get an appointment.  At the last minute the listing agent called me back and said if you can be there in 10 minutes I'm going to make sure everything is locked-up and you can walk through once more.  We sped across town and the "Main Player" and the "Boss Lady" gave their approval.  Now we are in FULL business mode. Talking to mortgage brokers, our realtor was on vacation so we were communicating with Sharon our stand in (who was awesome) about comparable prices. This house is DONE, I mean fully remodeled which is not what I thought we would have for our 1st home.  The list price was $115k.  I knew after walking through this 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1750 square foot house it was going to have multiple offers much higher than that.  That night on our drive home PBG and I went by the house for the 5th time in 24 hours.  We prayed together about this house and spoke to my dad and he prayed with us over the phone.  We knew we had to move fast which is tough with a big decision like this so we wanted to make sure this was God's will. 

June 3rd:  On Sunday I was leaving to LA for work and I left PBG to do EVERYTHING.  In between flights I was calling PBG, calling our realtor and getting updates.  Also while I was in Houston on a layover I wrote a short letter to the sellers that I hoped might tug at their heart a little bit.  I just wanted to be a bit more human that a name and a number on piece of paper.  I didn't think that they would pick us if someone offered them something more, but if someone offered something similar I thought it might help.  More to come on this part...  when I landed in LA PBG had gone to 2 parties, and also found time to sign an offer on our 1st house.  She was awesome.  She was so careful and going over every paper she signed with greater detail than I probably would have.  As I arrived at my hotel in LA I felt a bit uneasy.  I felt like our offer was good but we would lose it to a better offer.  In short sales it's tough.  There is NO negotiating.  You submit one offer and cross your fingers they pick you.  Around 6pm PT, 9pm ET, after I spoke with PBG I texted our mortgage broker and realtor to raise the offer.  I still thought we very well could lose the house, but I felt very peaceful about our price.  I went to bed in LA thinking 2 days ago we had not walked through one house and now we are putting down a fo-real offer.  It was a crazy exciting 2 days and now we had to wait.

June 4th: Monday started one of my busiest work days of the year as E3, a video game convention, started.  Around 1:30pm ET my realtor called me as I was in the middle of a live webcast and I could not answer.  I texted her to call PBG.  Then PBG called and texted, "when can you talk?"  I knew something was up.  At the time I thought maybe they liked the letter but someone offered more so they were giving us an option to raise our offer.  PBG and I jumped on the g-chat and she told me they accepted our offer.  I was overcome with emotions but had to calm down and finish the webcast.  When it was over I called PBG and said "shut up!"  Literally 3 days ago we had never looked at a house, we made 1 offer, and got our first house.  The rest of the day PBG was signing more paperwork, and sending to our realtor.  We were so excited, but I was soo busy for the rest of the week so it was hard to balance my emotions.

June 5th:  At this point we had all the paperwork signed and just had to get our escrow check in by Friday.  That afternoon I had a new friend request, it was the wife of the family selling the house.  She was so nice and was excited for PBG and I but expressed how bittersweet it was for them.  It was short, it was sweet, it almost brought me to tears. It was one of the kindest moments I have experienced from essentially a stranger. 

June 6th: Thursday was the last night we could overnight our check for escrow and when we arrived at UPS we found out that overnight cutoff time in LA is 5pm, and it was 5:35pm.  So we still had one more hurdle to get over for me to feel comfortable.

June 7th: Friday was a big day for 2 reasons.  It was the our deadline to submit our escrow check.  It also happened to be the day I received my annual bonus from work. This was just one of many reasons we knew this was all part of God's plan.  His timing is so much better than ours.  Who would have thought that out of 365 days a year our escrow check was due on the sameday we got our bonus?  We are blessed.  That Friday I woke up at 8am to walk to the big Chase skyscraper in downtown LA, and was there before it opened.  When the doors opened I was greeted by a very nice man who helped me wire the escrow money out. 

So here is where we stand now.  It is a short sale so now we wait.  Now the seller submits our offer to the bank and they have 190 days to accept it or counter to us.  This process takes sometimes 3-7 months.  In the meantime PBG and I are still moving.  We are moving in with her parents, and have to be out of Garvin Street home by the end of the month.  We are so excited to spend the summer with her parents, save some money, and be financially ready for when it's time to move into our house.

So many people put in so many offers and go through a long excruciating process when they try to buy a house.  We feel so blessed that this has been relatively easy.  God is good.

More pictures below.  :)
Front living room looking toward back yard and to the right in the kitchen
kitchen

dining looking into office and sunroom


backyard