Archive | January, 2013

The House Hunt is On!

9 Jan

2013: the year we will buy a house.

It’s finally here!  After months of waiting and saving, and years of watching thousands of other people fulfill their home buying dreams on HGTV, it’s our turn!  I couldn’t be more excited!!!  It isn’t obvious at all, right?

During the last few months of 2012, Andrew and I were pretty low-key about the house hunt.  We were mostly concentrated on our money goals.  But there was one time when we were diverted from our “January 2013” mantra.  Back in November, we saw a house that completely captured our imagination.  It was big, it was newer, and it was in a good area out in the suburbs.  The icing on the cake was that it was a short sale that had been on the market since APRIL, increasing the chances of getting a rockin’ deal.

We coordinated with our Realtor, and went to go look at it, with stars in our eyes.  Could this be “the one”?!

Whomp whomp.

It was a complete letdown.

The very first thing I noticed when I walked-in was water damage on the ceiling, probably due to a sealing issue with the window above the door.  It was kind of a shock that my first glance revealed such a major issue.  But the further we wandered into the house, the more it was clear this wouldn’t be our first place.  Chipped paint everywhere, dirty damaged carpet, a HOLE in the drywall where the shower head was attached to the wall, and more.  To say the least, it was dingy and grungy through and through.

How had we been so completely fooled?  I blame a few culprits:

  • Short term tenants–the house had been lived in by multiple families in the span of just a few months.  What happens when people aren’t invested in the place they’re living in?  It takes a beating.  The care and upkeep just wasn’t there, and as a result, when we saw it it was pretty rough around the edges.
  • Shoddy builders–apparently,  other houses on the street were/are having the same water damage problems.  What do they all have in common?  The builder, and the supplies they used.  Doesn’t inspire confidence hearing that!
  • Staged pictures–the photos that were online advertising the listing were taken before tenants started rotating in and out of the house, so they didn’t reflect all the damage and work that needed to be done currently.
  • Year built–I have to admit, we were seduced by the age of the home.  We thought since it was relatively new (2007) that there would be no problems.  WRONG.  It’s all about the quality, and just because it’s newer, doesn’t mean it’s not cheap.

The biggest warning sign of all is pretty obvious now looking back.  It had been sitting on the market since April, with multiple price reductions.  While there are definitely some gems out there that shouldn’t be ignored just because they’ve been listed for a while, this red flag should’ve been pretty obvious.   Did my parents warnings teach me nothing?  If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

After our initial shock of being so wrong about a place we thought could’ve been so right, it was even easier to recommit ourselves to waiting until January to official start the hunt.

And so here we are, January is in full swing, and we’re now house hunters!

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