Yesterday our fab trio went and looked at 19 (yep, you read that right; nineteen!) open homes in the quest to find a home to call our own. But before I get into the details of our adventure I’d better catch you up on why we’re off looking at homes.
Last weekend after a full-on week of getting our home ready to have it’s photo taken so we could go “on the market” we had 3 private viewings. 2 of them were for the divorcing couple of the house we were hoping to buy. The 3rd group was a couple that our agent had run into that morning at another open house that were in the market for a townhouse and he thought they might like ours, so he invited them along for a look as well.
Turns out that neither of the divorcing couple really bonded with our house the way we had with theirs and they decided to pass on the option. The 3rd couple however liked it so much they asked to come back for a second viewing the next day, only this time they’d be bringing their daughter with them.
Everyone in that group loved the house and by Thursday we had negotiated an acceptable offer and now we’re just putting the paperwork together and jumping through all the legal and financial hoops to try and get it to the finish line. That means that we’ve possibly sold our house before it was even listed for sale. Talk about lucky!
However I’m not counting my chickens just yet… I know first hand how quickly offers can evaporate.
Having a buyer on the table so quickly kind of threw a curve ball at us. We’d made an acceptable offer on a house we loved. A house that would fulfill 99% of our wish list, only one problem; the price. We’d done the math and we could afford to buy the house and make the repayments, however what we’d failed to take into the equation was our desire to have more children and the time frame for that. (I’m not getting any younger!)
The Little Man cost us just under $100,000 to bring into this world. We spent that money over a 6 year period. If we want to give him a sibling we can’t rule out that it won’t end up costing at least $50,000 to realize that dream. And then there’s the fact that we’d actually like to have a family of 3 and so we’re back to needing $100,000 to fund that dream. If we moved into the more expensive house the Little Man would be an only child. We just don’t have the time to pay down the mortgage and have the spare cash to do IVF like we did before.
I feel so stupid for not considering it in our initial calculations. I felt like I had all our bases covered and that we were looking good and then it dawned on me…
We talked at length about the house and brainstormed 100′s of ideas for trying to make it work but in the end we just didn’t want to risk our financial future, the stability of our family and our ability to live the life we want by buying a house that will be way too big for only 3 people. I wanted to fill that house with a brood of children, that wouldn’t happen if paid through the nose for a house now.
We called that Agent and withdrew our offer, which really wasn’t that big a deal because the offer hadn’t actually been formally accepted. The house was still on the market and still being shown as the couple involved were holding out for a bidding war. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that I was really ticked off about that and it made it a heck of a lot easier to pass on the house.
With that house off the table it meant that we had to find another, and with a little bit of pressure with the thought that our house might be sold.
I haven’t really slept well since the offer was made. I’ve been up at all hours searching the internet looking for possible homes, tweaking our budget, trying to get all our financial paperwork ready and submitted so we can sure up our finance. It’s just been crazy. I feel exhausted and I look even worse than usual.
With the offer accepted on Thursday I started to do the real estate agent call around to talk about houses I’d seen and liked on the internet. I called 7 agents about 7 homes and all 7 were under offer. Seriously! Seriously?
My blood pressure might have spiked around Thursday afternoon. I started to get my head caught in that spiral of what-if’s and it wasn’t pretty. Needless to say I was up again at 3am thinking about everything and trying to find a solution.
On Friday I sat down and started to hammer out a plan of attack based on the houses that I’d found and the ones that were open for inspection this weekend. I had 38 properties on my list, 27 of which were open for inspection on Saturday.
I loaded up our GPS with all the details, planned our trip and set up the timings to maximize our viewing potential. In the end we only managed to get to 19 properties.
We didn’t stop for any lunch breaks, which was poor planning on my part as I only packed water and no snacks in the car. We ended up feeding the Little Man on the go and actually had to change his nappy in the back of the car while parked out the front of one of the houses we were viewing. The Little Man held up better than we did. I thought there was going to be blood shed early on…
The first house we looked at was on a busy street, in desperate need of some TLC and had a cliff face in the back yard. It was a no go before we even got in the front door. It didn’t bode well. 6 houses in and we were just going from bad (on a major road, steep block and the oven was up on bricks in the kitchen wall cabinet!) to worse (the current tennants were in the house – I suspect they weren’t happy to be moving out and the place looked like something from hoarders). It wasn’t until we saw a wonderful little house in Kambah did things start to look up. Only problem with this wonderful house – way too small for our family. But I so desperately wanted it to work. It was in a great location, had a wonderful new kitchen, was light and bright and has the most awesome grapevine covered outdoor entertaining space.
This house was just enough to fuel me on to keep up the search. We saw some more shockers before we hit on another wonderful house with a little more potential. It has a great feel to it, but it was small. However, by this stage I was starting to realize that with our budget and the locations we were looking small would be our new friend. The backyard was really funky, and it had a big garage on it. The kitchen was on par with the size of the one we have now but it didn’t have an ensuite. It also kind of lacked the potential for us to expand the house easily in the future. But I put this one in the maybe pile.
The next house we saw had me from the moment I walked in the front door. It looks shocking from the street, but it’s in a good location. It has an internal courtyard in the middle of the house and it just fills the place with so much light. I am a sucker for natural light and I was just enthralled with this place. It had an ensuite, a liveable master bedroom and 2 liveable bedrooms. The bathroom and ensuite were in good condition and the kitchen has been redone in the past 5 years. However… it had no garage or shed and it’s again a house smaller than what we have now. It also didn’t really have any usable entertaining space. But, oh my, that light… I was hooked. Then we spoke to the Agent… turns out the building and pest report had turned up some termite damage and a small infestation. All apparently taken care of but I’m a little too nervous about that to really discount it. The house went to the maybe pile.
The next few houses were a blur. Way too small, way too much work needed, way too smelly and just generally didn’t do it for us. By the time we were at house number 17 the Little Man was starting to resent the constant starting, stopping and getting out of the car. I promised him 2 more houses and then he’d get to go home.
I’d been really keen to see this house and had actually dropped some houses from our schedule to make it work so we could get to see this place. We weren’t disappointed. The house is wonderful. It’s dressed to sell (unlike the house that still had underpants on the bedroom floors!) and that makes a massive difference on potential buyers. When we walked in the door there was already a couple in the kitchen talking about the offer they were going to be making. The bathrooms had all been remodeled and the bedrooms were a decent size. The deck had wonderful views and the kitchen was brand new. I turned to Hubby and said “I want it and I want it now!”. We both laughed.
By this time I’d seen so many houses and this was the first one in our price range that we could just move right into and not have to do a thing. It has a massive, well kept, garage. The grounds are lovely. The fences are in good condition. However, there’s a couple of pretty big drawbacks. The kitchen is smaller than the one I have now. Not a good thing. I’m busting out of the seams in my current kitchen where would I put things in this kitchen! The block is a really steep one that’s been terraced. The terraces aren’t that wide and there’s only a small usable space at the base of the block. Kind of a big deal when the whole point of us moving is to get a space for the dogs and the boy to run around in.
We spoke to the Agent and took an offer form. We then all piled back into the car and headed to house number 19 for the day.
The house is in a suburb that we’re familiar with, is on a big block that’s mainly all grass, has potential to be expanded as our family grows and would hold all of our stuff. Slight problem in that both the ensuite and bathroom need a remodel and then there’s the kitchen; it desperately needs a remodel. But there’s excellent views off the back deck and the house is clean. It’s well within our price range. We talked to the Agent and then headed home. It was 4:30pm and we’d been looking at houses since 10am…
As we unpacked the car, feed and changed the Little Man and planned our dinner we talked about the 4 contenders we had. We weighed the pro’s and con’s and talked about our long term goals and one by one we narrowed down the field. We called the Agent of the house we had decided on and arranged another viewing for today.
I’m mentally and physically exhausted. I have been awake now since 3:30am; my head is just swirling. I’m back on the what-if train. My biggest concern is finance. I know that we’re good for the money, but it’s like using your ATM card at the checkout; you know there’s money on the card but you still hold your breath until it clears. After the money comes the concerns about whether we’re making the right decision. Will we be able to live in a house that needs to be renovated, that undergoes a renovation and can we afford to do all of that and still be a happy family.
I have really enjoyed the last 9 months of working on our house. I have enjoyed the hard work and the reward of seeing it completed. I’m looking forward to the possibility of being able to do a kitchen the way I’d like to (not 100% the way I’d like to as we’ll have budget constraints obviously!) and to having new bathrooms. I’m looking forward to being able to research and learn about gardens and then set up our own. I’m looking forward to seeing the Little Man in his own cubby house and watch him grow up with our dogs.
I’m just hating the fact that at the moment I feel like everything is up in the air. I like certainty and at the moment I feel like there’s not a lot until the finance is approved, the contracts exchanged and the houses settled. Then the real adventure will begin.