And in the most obvious news ever:
- Once we found a house that we really liked, we started feeling ridiculously excited and impatient
- We picked something with a little bit of ugly and a lot of charming over the newly redone and very modern houses we saw
I've known for a long time that I like things that are unique, and more old-fashioned (let's call it 'classic') rather than trendy. When I test drove a 1977 Toyota Corolla wagon that had rear-wheel drive (and probably rack and pinion steering) and was 100% impractical as a college commuter, I had a really hard time not buying it. When I needed a bike for getting around the city, I bought an old Japanese cruiser with 3 gears. I do it all the time: look for something well made and classic because the new plastic stuff just always seems to disappoint me. And it is boring. The consequence is that sometimes I get something impractical or difficult to use because it's cooler (to me) than something else. Like that bike. Yes, I replaced it after a year with a Trek. But I did put a bell and an old timey rack on my bike, so I win.
So, we want to be realistic and smart about it. Yes, it's an older home (that's all that's in our price range) and the windows and doors have character, but we need to think about energy efficiency. I get it. And we need to have an inspection done and then decide for sure if the house is right for us. I want to go on the inspection and ask a hundred questions because we don't know anything about structure or plumbing or HVAC. We want to get a good price, and a mortgage that works for us. And if everything falls through and we don't get it, then we'll go back to looking at houses. That's fine. But damn it, people, let me get excited! It's exciting! We'll know by tomorrow what the terms of our offer may be, and go from there.
Trust me, we've been doing things the right way. We decided that, approaching 30, we're tired of jumping into things blindly and learning the hard way. We took home ownership classes. We did a home ownership assessment and credit check with a counselor. We did an assessment with a recommended lender. We found a buyer's agent. We looked for open houses. We checked out neighborhoods in person. We looked at the crime mapping. We asked around. We searched the internet. We learned about resale value. We got a pre-approval based on just one of our incomes. We set our budget for a very reasonable monthly payment, and we're overestimating on utilities. We are looking around for grants (that don't have to be paid back; boom, roasted). The process isn't over yet, but I feel damn prepared, and confident that we're making a good choice.
I appreciate input from other people because we have never done this before and there are things I'm sure we haven't considered, but I would like everyone to know that we are doing everything possible to be prepared, not get screwed, and get a great house that will be nearly perfect for us for many years, and then will be easy to sell. So don't worry!