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The House Hunters Thread

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
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1,116
So after extensive bidding wars, offers shot down on three homes... we finally secured a home--- offer accepted...I'm still in shock, but moving to Las Vegas we are.. we put our house on market and got full asking price in one day thanks to all the work hubby did upgrading the place.. this is picture of view our soon to be new back yard.

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gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
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Oct 21, 2009
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1,116
And so, this house is built around an inner courtyard, it's a got a balcony looking down to courtyard in center of house, we can put plants, herb garden, maybe even a fountain.. I really like this indoor outdoor living.

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butterfly 17

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 17, 2005
Messages
2,681
congrats on the new house garden gloves! It must be so exciting to moving to sunny weather!

I figured I would add my story to this mix as well.
I posted about it in my other thread, but I figured why not here as well. Hopefully I can also get some dust that everything will go smoothly.

So, we saw a house that we loved in Southern NJ and put an offer on it. The seller refused to counter, stating that we should come back when our home was in contract.

We put our house for sale and got an offer from the first people who saw it the first day it listed. I went back to the seller to resubmit my offer and was told that he had accepted an offer two days earlier.

I decided to just continue with the sale of my house and look to see if we could find something else. Well, we found another home, went into contract on it, but the owner had so many legal issues and it was a potential short sale, that my lawyer advised us to try and find something else.

Well, a few weeks ago, I got an email with new listings in the original area of the first home and there was a home listed for $70K than the first one, but with more upgrades and even a sunroom extension. It was the same exact floor plan, but had more upgrades including a professional appliance package (sub-zero fridge, viking range and hood, etc.), extra large master shower, all upgraded brazilian cherry wood throughout, the sunroom addition and added bay windows to the LR and DR.
It also had a fenced in yard and inground pool plus a full finished walk out basement and full bathroom with an additional bedroom.

I couldn't believe how lucky we were to find the same type home, but for thousands less, so we put an offer in right away and after a bidding war and a few counters back and forth, we got the house.

Now, my only problem is waiting to sell my house. We were suppose to close, but our lawyer told us it has been delayed due to an issue that came up in title that needed to be cleared. It's finally cleared, but now we have to wait for the appraisal.

So, the waiting game is taking place. Please send any dust my way so that everything works out!
 

dcgator

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
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1,115
I haven't checked back in a while, but I wanted to chime in here:

Charbie - OMG, the house looks great!

Gardengloves - That view is to die for. Enjoy the new location and much less cold weather. Btw, that is AWESOME about your house selling in one day. Congrats

Butterfly - Wow, another one day sale, that's awesome! I hope it works out though in the coming weeks and the appraisal comes in ok. As for the new house, that's great that you found what you were looking for, plus the upgrades. Do share some pics when you get a chance.

AFM, DH and I moved down South about 6 months ago, before the birth of our baby, and ended up renting for a year until we could find something we really wanted. We just started looking around a couple weeks ago, and found a deal we couldn't pass up; an amazing lot with no premiums, plus some serious discounts in the form of credits in the design center for the builder. So, apparently, we are going to build our dream home in the coming months, crazy! I will post some pics of the floor plan soon and look forward to hearing about everyone's updates.
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
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1,116
oh thanks so much everyone. I am very excited but feeling a bit of loss selling our place which I love.

Butterfly, I know exactly what you are going through- one house on market, another pending close- just take it one day at a time, breath, ground yourself and trust in providence. That is such an amazing story... losing the first house, but getting same model only better on second round, with Viking and all of that... I do think we have guardian angels guiding us to the best place to be! Please post pictures.

DCgator - oh wow- building your dream to your specs- that is awesome... do post pictures.

Okay.... here is another picture of back of house... I just love the southwest, always felt very spiritually drawn there... the deserts, the state parks, the weather..

You know, we put in bids for three houses in Las Vegas, every single on was meet with Ladies and Gentlemen there are multiple bids on this property, please put in your final and best offer... I honestly was so discouraged that I thought for sure this bid would be rejected... didn't look at pictures of house or fantasize and basically gave up.... and then... we got it, this house is such a honey!

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butterfly 17

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 17, 2005
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thank you dcgator and gardengloves!

dcgator, we originally thought about just purchasing new and picking everything ourselves. In fact, I found two floor plans that I loved, one by shea homes and the other by toll brothers, but I was not happy with the lot sizes for both of the areas where I had found those floorplans available.

Also, after thinking about it, I thought we would be better off just buying something a little bit older, but with some of the work put into it, such as the basement and pool. We added the pool and hardscaping/landscaping to the house we currently live in, and we knew we did not want the expense or headache of having to put a pool all over again. So I told my husband, either we buy with a pool or we buy with no pool, but we will not be putting one in if that was the case.

gardengloves, your pictures are gorgeous and I love the balcony. We thought about moving to Las Vegas as well, but rethought it because our kids are still very young (my youngest is 9 months), and we still wanted to be close enough to our family to be able to visit now and then.


I have to say, the house we are purchasing is a little bit smaller than I originally thought I would want to purchase and there are a few things I will be renovating and I am not as crazy about the lot shape, but overall, I can't complain because we are going to be saving a significant amount of money each month and I was surprised to find out that the salaries in South Jersey and Philly are only a little bit less than what I will be making in NY, so in the end we are saving more.

Also, we locked into a low rate at 3.95%, so I am very happy because when compared to what I have now, which is 6.275%, lol!
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
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Oct 21, 2009
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Our house is Toll Brothers... there is another builder in area we really wanted Sun Colonies, but those houses, which we loved, we got bid out of ---

we have to put in a pool which I always wanted but here in the NE with only 3 months use, we could not justify -we have so many deer, I would have to fish one out - but with me as a swimmer we will get a lot of year round use from a pool in Las Vegas.
 

butterfly 17

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 17, 2005
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Lynnie|1252061012|121845 said:
I know there are quite a few PS''ers in the midst of the house-buying experience (including myself), so I figured I''d start a thread


How long have you been on the hunt?
What are your must/must not haves?
How many homes have you looked at?
Have you put in any offers?
Is the Obama tax credit putting you under the crunch?  It is for us, knowing that we have to settle before the Nov 30th deadline!
I figured I would answer these questions in the spirit of the OP :bigsmile:

We started looking casually about 3 years ago. Stopped looking for about two years and started looking again last November. Stopped again when I had to go on bedrest and then in June we started casually looking again. We really had no plans to move, we are that strange family that takes weekend trips to look at open houses. Of course, when you look, you always find something you like. I didn't expect to "love" a house so much that I would put my current house up for sale for it, but that's exactly what happened.

Must haves-
-Brick or stucco (I did not want vinyl front) The house we are buying is stucco, my first choice is brick, but I otherwise love the house
-4 bedrooms (I have 4 kids)
-updated kitchen with granite- I didn't want the expense of having to put in a new kitchen, but I have to say, the kitchen in the new house is not that much bigger than what I have now and I am not as crazy about the color of the granite, but it will do for now.
-finished basement or at least one that we could do ourselves
-two story family room and separate LR and DR
-at least half an acre of land- the house sits on one acre (I currently have 0.13), but it's a pie shape, so the house sits farther apart from the nearby homes, but the backyard is narrower. I would have preferred it the other way.
-separate master bath and a master sitting area
-must be close enough to my family that we could still go visit them when we wanted to

Must not haves-
no fire hydrant in the front of the house
no waterfront or lake near the home (due to my kids)



I would estimate that I have looked at over 100 homes. Some of them were gorgeous and gigantic, esp. the Toll Bros. homes, but were completely out of our price range after all the upgrades were added in. We looked at homes in the starting range of 500's but after all the upgrades, the price was in the 1.4 million range. No way!
From this past June, I would estimate we looked at at least over 80 homes. I pretty much knew what I wanted and while some of the houses had some things we liked, all of them seemed to be missing something.

We put offers on five homes since August. Most of the offers we put in were 15% less than asking. The one we are buying now we put an offer in for 6% less initially and got it down to only a little less than 1%. Still compared to the other home, we are getting the house for a great price.

I have no idea about the Obama tax credit because I am not a first time home buyer.
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
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Most of the homes we bid on in Las Vegas in the Red Rock community were over the list price... we got ours for 95% of list price.... I was stunned by the multiple offer scenario, but our realtor said it's a very hot market with bidding wars the norm because prices dropped so much - we were basically competing with all cash buyers - a very tough market. Here in the NE, because of depressed market no one wants to go to list price and folks hunker down to bargain.

In our current home we have two walk in closets which has spoiled me tremendously. I live in that closet - Toll brothers does a big his and hers, so we are going to have to reconfigure that and find space for two separate closets. Fortunately my husband has construction skills so we can work with the space... Everything in new home is very builder grade, from floors. lighting, appliances, etc.. so we have a three year design project ahead of us, but the house has great bones and it will be a labor of love.
 

butterfly 17

Ideal_Rock
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gardengloves|1322780508|3072544 said:
Most of the homes we bid on in Las Vegas in the Red Rock community were over the list price... we got ours for 95% of list price.... I was stunned by the multiple offer scenario, but our realtor said it's a very hot market with bidding wars the norm because prices dropped so much - we were basically competing with all cash buyers - a very tough market. Here in the NE, because of depressed market no one wants to go to list price and folks hunker down to bargain.

In our current home we have two walk in closets which has spoiled me tremendously. I live in that closet - Toll brothers does a big his and hers, so we are going to have to reconfigure that and find space for two separate closets. Fortunately my husband has construction skills so we can work with the space... Everything in new home is very builder grade, from floors. lighting, appliances, etc.. so we have a three year design project ahead of us, but the house has great bones and it will be a labor of love.
Gardengloves,
Is your current home a Toll Brothers or the one you are purchasing? My husband is a huge fan of Toll Brother homes, I personally love all their model homes, but I notice such a huge difference when comparing their model home to their "real" home without all the upgrades, lol! If I could afford a toll brothers home in NJ with all the upgrades, it would have been a done deal. We were so close to purchasing one in Pennslyvania by Doylestown, but the lot was small and we felt like the homes were on top of each other too much. The prices of those homes were excellent though.

The house we are purchasing now had other offers as well and one was full asking price, but for some odd reason, the sellers decided to still sell to us. :bigsmile:

It sounds like the market in the NE is similar to the market here in NY. I was surprised to sell my home so fast because there are two other very similar homes with the same floorplan on my street for sale, one almost directly across the street from me and the other two doors down, and both have been on the market for over a year. One finally sold this Oct. for significantly less than what we were getting for our house (over $140K less) and I was so afraid that it would affect our appraisal value. Our appraisal was done one week after that house was sold and I was so nervous. Luckily, our house appraised for at least our sale price.

The house we are purchasing does have two walk in closets, not necessarily a must have for me, but I am happy that it does come with them. I am also a symmetry freak and I love that the house has the closets on either side of the room leading to the bathroom. For some reason, I didn't want a house that had the tub to the side or at an angle.

The two things I am not crazy about in the new house are the kitchen and the stucco front.

The kitchen has been upgraded with porcelain tile, professional appliances, even the cabinet molding was upgraded with a black line running through it, but for some reason, I am still a little disappointed with it. It just seems so small and about the same size as the one I currently have. I guess I am comparing it to the other house we were in contract with that had a huge kitchen in comparison. Also, I wanted a house with double ovens and this one has the viking range and hood, so no double ovens.

The backyard too will require some work as we aren't crazy with the landscaping or the pavers, so definitely it will be a 3 year project for us as well. :bigsmile:

Lastly, the stucco, I am not a fan of stucco although I do prefer it to vinyl siding, but eventually I would love to redo it in stone or brick.
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
Messages
1,116
butterfly 17|1322782391|3072562 said:
gardengloves|1322780508|3072544 said:
Most of the homes we bid on in Las Vegas in the Red Rock community were over the list price... we got ours for 95% of list price.... I was stunned by the multiple offer scenario, but our realtor said it's a very hot market with bidding wars the norm because prices dropped so much - we were basically competing with all cash buyers - a very tough market. Here in the NE, because of depressed market no one wants to go to list price and folks hunker down to bargain.

In our current home we have two walk in closets which has spoiled me tremendously. I live in that closet - Toll brothers does a big his and hers, so we are going to have to reconfigure that and find space for two separate closets. Fortunately my husband has construction skills so we can work with the space... Everything in new home is very builder grade, from floors. lighting, appliances, etc.. so we have a three year design project ahead of us, but the house has great bones and it will be a labor of love.
Gardengloves,
Is your current home a Toll Brothers or the one you are purchasing? My husband is a huge fan of Toll Brother homes, I personally love all their model homes, but I notice such a huge difference when comparing their model home to their "real" home without all the upgrades, lol! If I could afford a toll brothers home in NJ with all the upgrades, it would have been a done deal. We were so close to purchasing one in Pennslyvania by Doylestown, but the lot was small and we felt like the homes were on top of each other too much. The prices of those homes were excellent though.

The house we are purchasing now had other offers as well and one was full asking price, but for some odd reason, the sellers decided to still sell to us. :bigsmile:

It sounds like the market in the NE is similar to the market here in NY. I was surprised to sell my home so fast because there are two other very similar homes with the same floorplan on my street for sale, one almost directly across the street from me and the other two doors down, and both have been on the market for over a year. One finally sold this Oct. for significantly less than what we were getting for our house (over $140K less) and I was so afraid that it would affect our appraisal value. Our appraisal was done one week after that house was sold and I was so nervous. Luckily, our house appraised for at least our sale price.

The house we are purchasing does have two walk in closets, not necessarily a must have for me, but I am happy that it does come with them. I am also a symmetry freak and I love that the house has the closets on either side of the room leading to the bathroom. For some reason, I didn't want a house that had the tub to the side or at an angle.

The two things I am not crazy about in the new house are the kitchen and the stucco front.

The kitchen has been upgraded with porcelain tile, professional appliances, even the cabinet molding was upgraded with a black line running through it, but for some reason, I am still a little disappointed with it. It just seems so small and about the same size as the one I currently have. I guess I am comparing it to the other house we were in contract with that had a huge kitchen in comparison. Also, I wanted a house with double ovens and this one has the viking range and hood, so no double ovens.

The backyard too will require some work as we aren't crazy with the landscaping or the pavers, so definitely it will be a 3 year project for us as well. :bigsmile:

Lastly, the stucco, I am not a fan of stucco although I do prefer it to vinyl siding, but eventually I would love to redo it in stone or brick.

Our new home In Las Vegas is a Toll Brothers, current is a DeLuca, a beautiful PA builder. Toll Brothers have good floor plans and when all tricked out with trim are incredible. Ours is a basic floor plan - we have to put in the trim and tricks, fortunately, trim is not expensive if you can do it yourself, my hubby used to work for Toll as a young guy in college and he knows home building.

I'm glad your new home has his and her walk in's - prepare to be spoiled! once you get the feel for your own walk in closet you will never go back- it becomes an obsession and necessity- this is the most disappointing thing about new home, but I am sure the view from bedroom will compensate. Our new kitchen is a downgrade cause we did our current up with marble and super appliances, but we will work it slowly and remodel in time. We have already spotted a Wolf double oven and that will be our FIRST purchase, cause I also got addicted to convection and regular oven, griddle and all that great stuff. -

Stucco is gorgeous, ,our new home in Las Vegas is stucco too, in a desert climate it's perfect.. Here in the NE we have a classic brick front-very traditional NE look. Yikes new buyers are coming with inspector this weekend---- , but on bright side our Vegas home will be inspected this Saturday too! so I will try and not be too annoyed...
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2009
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I guess its all a bit of a compromise... give up something, get something new..

Gaining this view from bedroom

losing this. '" individual walk in closet..

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closet.jpg
 

Dancing Fire

Super_Ideal_Rock
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31,064
beautiful GG... :love:
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
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Gardengloves I was in shock hearing that you were going to move because of seeing the labor of love and beauty that your garden was, I couldn't imagine you moving away from that!
But the new house and view is a beauty! With a pool to boot. Myself, could definitely give up the walk in closet for all that :love:
Will you continue gardening in the new climate? I can imagine what favorably grows there may be quite different from what you are used to!
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
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Thanks so much Part Gypsy... I'm in shock too.... well I am going to have to discover some new plants, but I did notice a lot of folks have grape arbors, and roses are a big thing in this climate. I've tucked everything into winter beds here, and hope new folks appreciate my wild English garden look. A crepe myrtle suffered the early October snows when still in leaf, she split in half - but we taped it and put in screws. My gardening gloves and all tools are coming and I hope to have it up and running--- I will miss my hydrangeas don't think they can survive in this heat, but I will have a lush garden going if its the last thing I do. I just hope they keep my cardinals and blue birds fed through the winter, but they seem like good people and love the house. We have a great feeding station that the birds love.
 

partgypsy

Ideal_Rock
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Yes that would be hard. It's like your "baby" and you don't know if they will take care of it as well as you did. A friend (BIL) is an amazing gardener and made a beautiful garden in the front. He offered to buy the house, but the owner decided against selling. After moving who ever moved in next didn't care about the plants at all and most of the front became bare dirt. It hurt to drive past and look at it.

And hopefully they will feed the birds but song birds seem pretty resilient in that they know how to survive without bird feeders for many years before we came along, feeders are more an opportunity to view them up close.
 

gardengloves

Brilliant_Rock
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Update.....

well, we completed the move and are in the new house. We put old house on the market and got buyer the first week, which was great. We had 7 viewers first week on market- they came on a Saturday right after a freak snow storm and saw house with no lights during power outage- before MLS even went live- One of the realtors set off the alarm which caused quite a ruckus in the hood, but we got offer straight away from serious buyers. It was dicey during negotiations, but buyers basically loved the house-closing went well and we left the house in beautiful condition. We closed on new house remotely over the New Year's holiday . Note to all - do not close on house sale during Christmas or New Year- everyone takes off for holiday.

The moving truck was quite a scene- moving cross country they have these gigantic 75 foot trucks, of which we were only one of many! They pack several loads into one truck . This was quite an operation! the mover said we only took up 1/3 of the truck and he had three other houses along with ours- he also surprised me by saying that we did not have that much stuff which made me very proud - he said most houses take up 3/4 of his truck, and people have lots of stuff. Every item was labeled and catalogued so it took 11 hours to get it on the truck, but unloading was a breeze. The truck was so huge that it blocked our new neighbors driveway, but they were OK.

Anyway we are in, and I am loving it
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
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Reviving this thread because my head is spinning right now! DH and I decided to start househunting and had a preliminary meeting with our realtor last Wednesday. We decided to check out some open houses over the weekend and came across a really awesome place on Sunday. We had a showing scheduled later that day at a place we didn't end up liking, but asked our agent if she'd mind going back to Awesome House with us. We went back, still liked it, she said she anticipated it would go quickly. She called Monday morning to tell us there were multiple offers coming in and the seller was entertaining them at 6. We wrote up an offer that afternoon and thought it was fair but probably a loser because houses in the area have been selling $10-20k above asking price. BUT...our offer was accepted!! We had the inspection yesterday and it was quite good, except that the roof will probably need to be replaced in 6ish years and the furnace and windows, while fully functional, are old and not very efficient. I highly doubt the seller will play ball on the roof issue, but I don't think it's enough to make us walk...

Anyway, this is all happening so fast, I'm not really sure where my head is. I keep going back and forth between being very excited and completely terrified. I know that if being homeowners doesn't work for us, it wouldn't be difficult to resell (VERY desirable neighborhood and the house is bigger/has one more bedroom than is typical for comparables). We should "break even" in 4-5 years unless we redo the roof before then, and there are lots of little things we can do that would probably have put the house above our desired price range if they were already done (i.e. getting rid of ugly wallpaper, some kitchen updates, efficiency improvements). And we can afford it -- realistically on my DH's salary alone, uncomfortably but not impossible on my salary alone, and without much change to our current lifestyle with our combined salaries -- but we're so used to living below our means apartment-wise that it seems like a huge amount to us. So overall I think we're making a good move, but it's such a BIG THING!! Eeek!
 

iheartscience

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Wow, congrats Octavia! The jump from rent to mortgage can be scary, but if it's not uncomfortable at all then you'll be fine! When we bought our house our mortgage was 60% higher than our rent :-o, but it was totally doable. (Our rent was crazy cheap, really, so that's why the jump was so big.) Once we started paying the mortgage we almost didn't notice the difference, honestly! Plus being in a house that we LOVED made us not care! (I still miss that house! ;( )

If I were you I'd be a little concerned about the roof, just because I know it rains a ton there! But if the inspector didn't find evidence of leaks I wouldn't worry too much. Plus if it's a multiple offer situation I doubt they'll do anything about it pricewise, but you can always try. What did your realtor say about the roof and possibly getting a credit towards replacing it?
 

Octavia

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Thanks, thing2! We're looking at a similar difference between mortgage and rent, for the same reason. We have always "underspent" on our rent so we could save as much as possible. Logically, I know that since we're not going to be saving for the down payment anymore, it's okay that the numbers are going to change a bit, but it's hard to see the actual numbers all laid out. We definitely wanted to get out of our 1-br apartment in a not-bad but not-great area and into at least a 2-br in a better area, and the PITI payments for the house (4-br, 2-bath) are about the same as what we'd pay for that type of apartment. And landlords here generally have a surcharge on the rent for utilities or make you cover them yourself (which was surprising after being in Philly, but maybe I just always got lucky?) so it makes overall sense. I think it's just this weird twilight zone of doing inspections and mortgage stuff and waiting to make sure the deal will actually close that's kind of anxiety-producing.

Regarding the roof, we couldn't find any evidence of leaking or moisture anywhere in the house. The inspector said there's nothing *technically* wrong with the roof -- the shingles aren't missing or peeling, and the granules on them are still in place -- but it just gives off the feeling of needing to be redone. However, we tried to have a sewer scope done yesterday and found that there was no clean-out valve and the lower level toilet is tiled in...so it looks like the seller is going to add the valve for us (just awaiting final confirmation on that). So I kind of doubt, if he's going to spend $1k+ doing that, that he will be amenable to roof discussions. I think we just need to plan for it and start putting money in the "roof and other repairs" fund. Part of the joys of homeownership, right? ;))
 

rosetta

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I'm joining this thread.

We are in a slightly unusual position for two reasons.

1. We currently live rent free, thanks to my generous in laws who have loaned us their small London flat. So theres no money wasted in rent, only bills etc. This means we aren't under any time pressure to move.

2. We are saving hard for a big mortgage and looking at houses above £1 million. This is mainly as we would like to live in a great place with excellent schools, shops and close to central London. I'm really really apprehensive about taking on such a large debt, especially if and when I have to go part time when we have kids. We currently live way below our means, have no loans and I really like that. But there's no doubt that we live an Ikea lifestyle while all my doctor friends have big houses and flashy cars. I drive a Honda and live like a student lol. We save 70% of our salaries without making any great sacrifices. I find it easier to bear really crappy days at work knowing I have the financial freedom to quit and still live on savings for several years without working.

I would really love to hear from anyone who's been brave enough to take on a big mortgage. How did you decide what level of debt you were comfortable with? If you were a saver, did you lose your sense of financial security? Does everyone but me take on mortgages in the millions and not bat an eyelid? Did you get a big mortgage and later regret it? If so, why?

Some of you have such huge and beautiful houses on this thread, that would cost $$$$$ in London. I really don't have a good grasp on how much these properties cost. I just know that they look sooooo nice! Please tell me where you are so I can move there! :love:
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
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May 18, 2008
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2,949
Octavia, if you are still around, I'd like to hear more about your house! IIRC, you just relocated to the city I recently relocated to. DH and I just bought a house in the city, but north of downtown, near the zoo, in a neighborhood called a color + a body of water.

Have you officially closed yet? Hopefully all went or is going well. And, roofs here are a big pain, due to the weather. All the rain and dampness allows moss to grow really well and leaves them needing to be replaced often. Our agent said there is no way to escape a mortgage without having to replace the roof at least once, so perhaps it is good to just get it out of the way now.

Rosetta, we did end up taking on more than we ever expected we would. We recently relocated from the midwestern US to an expensive coastal city (though not as expensive as London) and the housing costs still blow our minds. We did have a percent of our salary we weren't comfortable going above, but it is more than we ever thought we'd spend. For us, it was a bit easier, because it is comparable in what we have been paying for rent. However, if we hadn't been paying rent, I'm not sure we would have been able to stomach the sticker shock.

AFM, we think we have all our ducks in a row and expect to close at the end of June (our preference, as we are currently locked in a lease through July). We got a nice 3 br, 2 ba in a really good location--especially since DH and I both have long and split commutes to our job. I am pleased to not be spending every night touring houses. The market here is crazy, and things sell within a couple days of going on the market, at least in our price range. Right now our big concern is furniture. We are currently in a tiny apartment and joke that everything we currently have will go into our new finished basement (and I would say this is 80% true). I am finding this very stressful instead of fun. And, I can't decide if I should match our furniture to our style or to the style of our new house. Oh well, first world problems.
 

Octavia

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 28, 2007
Messages
2,660
Hi katamari, nice to see you! :wavey: Congratulations on finding a house! You are correct about us being in the same city -- we won't be living very far from each other. Our new house is in the most "suburban" of the central neighborhoods, the one named for a type of flowering bush that has a fantastic huge park. We closed last Thursday, but haven't actually moved yet because we already had plans for the long weekend and just haven't had time. I'm getting really antsy though!

So, architecturally the house is a mid-century rambler with a mostly-finished daylight basement, built in the early '50s. We're only the third owners -- the first owners were there for a few years and the next owners had it for over 50 years. It has had quite a lot of system updates (electric, plumbing, etc) so all we really need to do is strip some unfortunate wallpaper and put new paint on the walls. Regarding the roof, we did get the seller to drop the price by about half of what the new roof will cost, which was a welcome surprise. It still has about 5 years left on it, so we're just going to start putting money in the house repairs fund now so we'll hopefully have it all ready when the time comes (or for anything else that might happen in the meantime).

We have the same issue as you re: very little furniture in our small 1-br and a lot of space to fill...fortunately, we have a friend whose parents are moving and are getting rid of most of their furniture so we might get some from them if we think we could live with it for awhile. Then we can replace it over time, after the initial $hock of buying the house has worn off. I really hope we don't hate the stuff they have, though. Especially as we have been getting by without a car in our old neighborhood but can't do the so easily in the new one. Sigh. It's an expensive month, for sure.

The other crummy thing is that we need to try to break our lease because we still have a couple months left on it. We didn't expect our house-hunt to be this short because of the crazy market you mentioned (our house was on the market for one week before we went under contract). Most of the people we know who have been in the market recently have gone through a few months and several offers before actually getting their houses, so we figured if we started looking 3-4 months out, it would be good timing. Haha, joke was on us...but in the worst case scenario, we can cover both payments until the lease is up. We'd definitely rather not, though. I'm optimistic that we won't have to, but I'm still not looking forward to having to deal with the management company.

I'm writing a novel here!

Rosetta, I basically ditto everything katamari said about the mortgage, even though I came from an east coast city with a pretty comparable cost of living so I was used to these types of housing prices. But it's still a lot to take on. We also kept our monthly payment to a fairly small percentage of our income, which will allow us to both keep saving and make extra payments toward the house. In the US, we get a mortgage interest deduction on our taxes, so a lot of people don't mind keeping the mortgage around, but my DH and I would rather clear off our debt as fast as we can (while still not tying up all our cash in the property). And even though we could technically afford our payments on either of our salaries, in order to keep our standard of living at current levels we will both need to work even once we have kids. This is fine with us, as we both like our jobs and wouldn't want to quit, but it's still a bit weird to consciously decide to take away that choice, you know?
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
2,949
Octavia, I love, love, :love: your new neighborhood! We currently live one neighborhood away in the upper part of the upper/lower neighborhood. I visit your beautiful park all the time. You are very lucky to live there!! And, I am very jealous that you got a rambler. It is very fitting for the area. That is the style we wanted, but we ended up with something that is more ranch-y. Our agent calls it a cape-cod bungalow, but it is neither cape cod nor bungalow, so I am not sure where she got that. It was built in 1948, so we are also in the mid-century mark (although the inside has been updated to an open floor plan).

How cool that you get some starter furniture!! That would be so cool. I think we decided to hit up craigslist initially because I am pregnant, so we are going to dump our money into that endeavor first and get nicer furniture piece-by-piece once we figure out our new budget with daycare and whatnot.

Have you talked to your landlord about your lease? It could be possible to get it rented quickly and recoup some of the loss. Apartments here go like lightening, so it might be worth trying. We had an open house for our apartment last weekend and, apparently, our landlord already has 5 applications. One was even willing to pay US to move out two weeks earlier than we planned so they could get in (but we can't because we will be on vacation).

We sign on Tuesday and close in two weeks! But, since we are going out of town for a long vacation in July, we are moving in a trickle more than a boom. Still, it feels pretty crazy!
 

rosetta

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 7, 2010
Messages
3,417
Thank you so much katamari and octavia!

I'm now leaning towards getting a place that we can afford on just one of our salaries. That would make me more comfortable about the whole thing. I just don't feel I can take a bigger risk than that. It will mean a much smaller house, but a much sounder mind!
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,298
Rosetta, I didn't reply to the initial question because we didn't buy a 7-figure house, but I do know what it's like to go from living WAY below your means to taking on a big mortgage. You'll be glad to buy a house that you can afford on one salary. I know it's enticing to buy a house on both salaries because it means you can get everything you want AND you're pre-approved for it, anyway. But taking on a sizeable mortgage base on one salary is stressful enough.

The biggest hurdles I felt for taking on a big mortgage were these two things:
1. If we both lose our jobs, we're screwed. When you have a big mortgage payment, you need a specific salary. I don't see us both losing our jobs and not being able to find any work anywhere, but still. This is the main reason I want our house paid off ASAP.

2. A 20% downpayment on a seven figure house is $200,000. Again, we didn't buy a 7-figue house, but we put 30% down and my hand was shaking as I wrote out the check. We're not rich, so I don't know if I'll ever write 6-figure check again.

The one other thing I think about is that financial burden if/when I stop working. Even though I know we bought this house with the thought that I would be a SAHM, it's still hard to let my husband bear the financial burden, you know? I'm working part-time now and don't contribute toward the mortgage, but I have a hard time thinking about letting him take on 100% of all bills. So there's that.

Good luck!!
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
rosetta|1339251410|3212468 said:
Thank you so much katamari and octavia!

I'm now leaning towards getting a place that we can afford on just one of our salaries. That would make me more comfortable about the whole thing. I just don't feel I can take a bigger risk than that. It will mean a much smaller house, but a much sounder mind!
DO IT! This is what we did when we bought our home four years ago, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we did. NEL gave you awesome insight into why it's a great idea, I agree with all of it.

I know how tempting it is to buy something *just* a bit more. We went through that, too. When we first started looking I was firm about getting something we could afford on my (smaller) salary alone. Then we looked and, honestly, we were a bit bummed at what we could afford. So we said, What about just $100,000 more? What will that get us? Eventually we were looking at houses that we "could afford" on both our salaries, and boy were they a step up from the first batch! But like NEL, the thought of writing that check for the DP on a huge home, as well as those monthly mortgage checks, made me literally shake with discomfort.

So we went back to our original plan, and bought a modest home in an unbelievable neighborhood.

Okay, anecdote time:
About a year after we bought our home I found myself very unhappy at work. I was working for an administration that did not, IMO, put the needs of our students first. I was stressed out, I started to hate my job, and it took a toll on me. Two weeks before the start of the new school year I called my husband sobbing about another detrimental change that was being forced upon me and the students, and my husband, bless his heart, said, "Lori, this is enough. Quit that damn job." And I did. And then I spent a year teaching PT at the college I'd been teaching at for six years, and I went on the interview rounds for college jobs, and I landed one. And I could not be happier professionally. It has been a life-changer for me, this freedom that came with living far enough below our means that we were able to preserve our ability to make real decisions, and to have real freedom, from working for other people. Had we purchased a larger home I would have been stuck in that job, and miserable.

I feel like we are so FREE now. We have a mortgage, yes, but it's never something we worry about being able to pay. And now that I'm pregnant, we have the option of really considering whether I should continue working FT. I love that. I love this house. And honestly? It is a PITA to clean what little home we do have, if we had bought a larger home, it would be a lost cause!

I know everyone has different priorities, and different things are going to be right for different people, but I wanted to share some of our story.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
31,399
Haven|1339310839|3213025 said:
rosetta|1339251410|3212468 said:
Thank you so much katamari and octavia!

I'm now leaning towards getting a place that we can afford on just one of our salaries. That would make me more comfortable about the whole thing. I just don't feel I can take a bigger risk than that. It will mean a much smaller house, but a much sounder mind!
DO IT! This is what we did when we bought our home four years ago, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that we did. NEL gave you awesome insight into why it's a great idea, I agree with all of it.

I know how tempting it is to buy something *just* a bit more. We went through that, too. When we first started looking I was firm about getting something we could afford on my (smaller) salary alone. Then we looked and, honestly, we were a bit bummed at what we could afford. So we said, What about just $100,000 more? What will that get us? Eventually we were looking at houses that we "could afford" on both our salaries, and boy were they a step up from the first batch! But like NEL, the thought of writing that check for the DP on a huge home, as well as those monthly mortgage checks, made me literally shake with discomfort.

So we went back to our original plan, and bought a modest home in an unbelievable neighborhood.

Okay, anecdote time:
About a year after we bought our home I found myself very unhappy at work. I was working for an administration that did not, IMO, put the needs of our students first. I was stressed out, I started to hate my job, and it took a toll on me. Two weeks before the start of the new school year I called my husband sobbing about another detrimental change that was being forced upon me and the students, and my husband, bless his heart, said, "Lori, this is enough. Quit that damn job." And I did. And then I spent a year teaching PT at the college I'd been teaching at for six years, and I went on the interview rounds for college jobs, and I landed one. And I could not be happier professionally. It has been a life-changer for me, this freedom that came with living far enough below our means that we were able to preserve our ability to make real decisions, and to have real freedom, from working for other people. Had we purchased a larger home I would have been stuck in that job, and miserable.

I feel like we are so FREE now. We have a mortgage, yes, but it's never something we worry about being able to pay. And now that I'm pregnant, we have the option of really considering whether I should continue working FT. I love that. I love this house. And honestly? It is a PITA to clean what little home we do have, if we had bought a larger home, it would be a lost cause!

I know everyone has different priorities, and different things are going to be right for different people, but I wanted to share some of our story.

That is a wonderful story Haven and as always, excellent advice! And good for you and your dh knowing what is most important in life. We work in our given career much of our day/week/life and it is too soul sucking and joie de vivre draining to continue at a job that makes you miserable.

Peace of mind is everything IMO and buying a house that you can more easily afford will most certainly give you more peace of mind than a house you are a slave to job wise/money wise. It's just not worth it (IMO).

I am also with you on the cleaning thing! Man, it takes way too long to clean a huge house LOL!!


Good luck Rosetta!!!
 
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