Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Buying a House!

My wife and I recently began the process of buying a house. From the start, we knew that it would be a long, arduous process filled with frustration and sacrifice. This ended up being true, but not quite in the way that we expected.

I've written about our plan of attack for getting a new house before. To sum up, we're probably going to end up being at least $40K upside down when we end up selling our house. This, plus trying to sell a house with two small kids, made this task seem impossible from the start. So, we came up with a solution in which my mother-in-law (the best mother-in-law in existence) would sell her house and move into ours, thus allowing us to buy a new house while she rented ours until it sells.

Hurdle, the first:
Sounds like a great plan, right? Well, we thought so too, until we started talking to mortgage brokers. Apparently, mortgage companies don't count rent when: 1. it's from a family member; and 2. you've been renting your house for less than one year. So, my mother-in-law (let's shorten that to MIL; I'm a programmer, I like acronyms) is going to still rent our house AND co-sign on our new mortgage until our old house sells (again, best MIL EVER!). Hurdle jumped.

Hurdle, the second:
So, we're approved for a mortgage at around what we were looking for. That's good. Now we start looking for houses in that price range in Eagan, MN. If you don't know Eagan, it's a pretty nice area in which house prices didn't lose as much value as the rest of Dakota county. So, houses in our price range in Eagan were definitely improvements over our house, but weren't quite meeting our expectations. So, we started looking in the surrounding communities and ended up finding a great house in Burnsville. It's just as close to my work as many of the houses in Eagan we looked at, and even closer than some of them. Plus, it's four (potentially five) bedrooms and two baths. We're definitely satisfied with our choice. Hurdle jumped.

Hurdle, the third:
At this point, I started traveling again for work. We'd signed most of the paperwork, but there has been A LOT of back and forth with our mortgage broker. This makes it hard when three people in three different states have to sign the same document. Also, it seems that our financial situation and my MIL's situation had caused some concern with our smallish mortgage company. They've started asking for the weirdest information. Stuff like: how old are your children?; are you planning on running a salon in the house? (the prior owner ran a salon in the basement and the home is licensed for that); and several others that were ridiculous and personal, rather than financial, that I won't repeat here. This one is less of a hurdle and more of a constant frustration with our mortgage broker and company. Hurdle jumped.

Hurdle, the fourth:
The prior owners love that house. To me, that's a good sign, but it's caused some minor issues. They have asked to change our close date a couple of times and have made some questionable responses to the inspection. We've managed to maintain our original close date and I'm not too worried about the inspection items. It's stuff that wouldn't cost us too much to fix ourselves. Hurdle jumped.

Our close date is fast approaching (4/22) and we're packing up our house. We're very excited for this move and can't wait to have more space to stretch out into. To have a yard (with a swing set!) and enough room for each kid to have their own room! I can't wait!

Basically, our biggest frustration has been with our mortgage broker. He was referred to us, but I don't think I'll be referring him to anyone. He's unorganized, slow to respond and will only pick up the phone and call at the last minute when he needs something from us. I know, more than most I think, that we're all transitioning from phone to email/text/etc, but you can't always run a successful relationship with just emails. If you're going to try, your communication must be coherent and organized. Use proper punctuation and capitalization. If you're giving me a list of items to return to you, make it a coherent list. If I give you something from that list in a response, keep track of it! I've given this guy the same document at least three times because he's lost it. So frustrating!

I've learned a lot over the past few months. If anyone wants any advice, please leave a comment! I'm happy to help. After we move out, we're going to put our house up for sale. I'll probably write another blog post about that too, so stay tuned!

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