Wednesday, May 31, 2017

House Hunting

Apparently it's a theme for me to not have time for blogging this time of year. Last April I didn't write a single post, because we had just moved in March and it took a bit to get our internet and computer set up. I wrote only one post in May, and then in June, we moved AGAIN. So apparently moving is also a theme for this time of year....

Here's an update on our house buying saga:

The sale on the house we are currently living in is still going forward. Our lease is up June 30th, and they close on July 3rd.

We still haven't heard from the VA on if the insurance thing was going to get approval in Brookings. If it would have went through, we would have gone forward with that major relocation. However, it could still be another week or three months before we have an answer on that. We made the decision not to wait indefinitely for that to go through and decided to move forward in finding a house here.

It is definitely a sellers market right now, because there isn't much available and when things do come up for sale that are worth looking at, they pretty much sell immediately. It's insane. We looked at one house and knew within seconds that it wasn't the house for us. Tony and I both had hoped it would be because the price was right, but no.

We have a friend that is moving to Oklahoma and they have been trying to sell their house. They had an offer almost immediately, but it ended up falling through because the potential buyer got a raise, which made them ineligible for the type of loan they were getting. Their house isn't ideal for us, but it is a nice house. I wasn't interested in it because I don't like the layout at all. In fact, I was adamant that it wasn't the house for us. Not only is the floor plan not my favorite, but we have large furniture items that won't have a home there. The problem was that time was ticking for us. If we didn't put an offer on SOMETHING, we would have been forced into renting a storage unit and living with Tony's parents. That would have meant moving TWICE (into a storage unit, and then into whatever house we did end up buying), and a three hour a day commute for Tony until we found something.

There was only one other house on the market that we were interested in looking at, but when we tried to arrange a tour, the buyers pulled it off the market. So at that point, I arranged for us to go see our friend's house. We knew it wouldn't last long before they had another offer, and we didn't want to keep holding out for something better and end up losing the opportunity to buy it. By the time we looked at their house, I had pretty much made up my mind that we were buying it.

It's actually a perfect situation for both them and us. They needed to sell quickly, because they are moving very soon (this Friday, in fact), and we needed something before the end of June. With them moving this week, that leaves the house available for us to rent from them until it actually closes and is officially ours (well, as much as it can be ours while we spend the rest of our life paying the bank). As of right now, we are set to start renting from them on June 15th, which will give us two weeks to get out of this house and settled in over there. Our plan is to spend the 15th and 16th painting and getting it move in ready, then have movers help us with our big furniture on the 17th. We'll have that next week to move things over "leisurely" and get settled in. Then on the following weekend, I'm going to hold a garage sale here where we are currently living and hopefully downsize a lot of stuff that we don't want to move. Then we'll have that next week to get this place cleaned up.

Hopefully, we won't have to rent the house for very long. Things have been moving quickly, so it looks like we'll be able to close early. Both the inspection and the appraisal have been done already.

While it may not be the perfect house, it's still a very nice house. It is by far the best house available in its price range. We could have gone a little more expensive, but there just wasn't anything out there available, and it would have been a really big stretch for us financially with preschool coming up next year. I had hoped we'd find our forever home, but the bottom line is that we simply didn't have time to wait and we really didn't have the money anyway.

Here's what we don't like about this house:

  • The living room/kitchen/dining room is all open and basically one room. I actually like open floor plans like that, but this space is kind of tiny.
  • We have to either sell our large, beautiful entertainment center or put it in our bedroom, which we really don't want to do. There is not a wall in the living room that we can put it without covering a window.
  • The dining room barely has enough room for our china hutch and kitchen table. The china hutch will also be covering a small window, but we have to keep it because the kitchen is small and doesn't have a lot of cupboard space.
  • We have to pay an HOA that we don't really get anything for.
  • The street isn't ideal for the kids being able to ride their bikes and scooters out front. We've gotten spoiled with being the last house on a dead end street for almost two years now.
  • We'd like to have a much bigger yard.
  • Having an upstairs kind of scares us with kids. We don't want anyone falling out a window.

Here's what we DO like:

  • It has air conditioning!!!! Hallelujah. This will be the first house we've lived in, in our 20 years married, with AC. I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am about that.
  • It has a fully fenced backyard, so the kids will be able to play outside while I'm making dinner, etc.
  • It HAS a backyard. So many of the houses around here have barely any yard. The house we are in now has no grass in the backyard, as well as the other house we had looked at to potentially buy. This one may not have a large backyard, but it's big enough to at least put a swing set in and possibly a covered patio.
  • The downstairs may be small, but the upstairs bedrooms are big. There's two full bathrooms, one for the kids between their rooms and a master bathroom with a big walk in closet.
  • The laundry room is upstairs, so there will not be any running up and down stairs lugging laundry.
  • The kitchen may be small, but there IS a pantry, unlike the house we are living in now.
  • We love that we can move in early and that we won't be forced into getting a temporary storage unit.
  • It's in the same town we live in now. Having that proximity between houses while moving will be sooooo nice.
  • It should be easy to sell again, when it's the right time for us to upgrade to the house we REALLY want. Wherever and whenever that may be....

I had hoped to find something that would be more of a forever home, but really, we are becoming somewhat of professionals at moving. Seriously, this will be our fourth move in just two years! Our kids are just 3.5 years old and will soon be moving into their fifth house in their short lifetime so far. So what's one more move in 3-5 years when we decide to upgrade?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

And Just Like That...

The owners put this house up for sale last Thursday. The first showing was on Friday, and there was at least four more over the weekend. We were out of town, so they were able to show it at will. When we got home, there was four different business cards left on the kitchen counter from different realtors.

Sunday night I got a message that there was another showing scheduled for the next day at 5:45pm. Great. Right in the middle of dinner time. So I planned to make PB&J sandwiches and just take the kids to the park instead of actually cooking dinner.

I've been following a real estate app on my phone for the past several weeks that keeps me notified of new listings in the area, when sales are pending, and when sales go through. At 4:00pm, I got a notification that our house was now pending. Instant stress headache! I sent the owner a text saying congratulations, and asked if we still had to vacate for the scheduled 5:45 showing. She responded that she wasn't sure, but we should still plan to be gone just in case.

Of course the kids didn't mind going to the park! They gobbled down their sandwiches and played their little hearts out.

So here we are, we have exactly 45 days left in this house and we have no idea where we are going. We still don't know if the VA thing will be going through for the Brookings office. It could be a week, or it could be 3 more months before they give an answer. At this point, we are leaning heavily toward just staying put in the town we are in. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of houses on the market to choose from. The houses that are ones we would be interested in are flying off the market in a matter of days.

I mean, seriously, this house was listed on Thursday and they got an offer on it already on Monday. Just like that, we will be homeless in 45 days.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Still in Limbo

We are still in limbo land, without an answer as to whether we are moving to Brookings or not. It's too long and complicated to even try explaining, but basically the company proposed an idea to the VA and now we are just waiting to hear if that goes through. If it does, we are moving. If it doesn't, we will be staying here.

We are both torn on what we really want to do. There are so many pros and cons for both moving and staying and we were having an extremely hard time deciding what we wanted. Finally, we were able to agree that if this goes through, we will for sure take it. It's too good of an opportunity to pass up. I know that money isn't everything, but having the opportunity for his income to almost double is HUGE. If this thing with the VA doesn't go through, it's just not enough of an incentive.

Outside of the money aspect, taking over the Brookings office is something that excites Tony. He is totally motivated by the idea and challenge of building up that office. He fully believes that he can make the Brookings office one of the top five in the country. To have him be that excited about going to work everyday, is just as huge as the financial reward.

We've been thrown a curve ball in all of this though. We had planned to buy a house regardless of whether or not we decide to move to Brookings. It's been the plan all along to buy a house this spring or summer. Here's the catch though...

Our landlords have decided to put their house, you know, the house we are currently living in? They've decided to sell it! It's being listed and going on the market this Thursday. In TWO DAYS!

Insert curse words.

Soooooo, we had been looking forward to being able to shop the market and find the perfect house to buy. Now we are being forced into a position to just find a flippin house to buy that will be acceptable. Houses are flying off the market right now. We found a house that we wanted to buy and were even willing to give up the idea of Brookings for, because it was an amazing house that was way under priced. As soon as it popped up for sale, we called on it to schedule a time to look at it. Nope, it was already pending sale!!!

We are constantly keeping tabs on the housing market both in Brookings and here in Veneta, so that as soon as we get that answer from the VA we can jump on scheduling tours and hopefully get an offer put in on something.

In the meantime, I am also stuck with making sure this house looks presentable enough for potential buyers to come look at. Can I just say how much I hate that? Having to constantly clean up after two toddlers (and a husband) is not my idea of fun. My fingers are crossed that this house won't sell that quickly, but I think that is just wishful thinking with as fast as houses are selling right now.

We've talked about maybe just buying this house. It's a very nice house, but it's not exactly what we want. We also think they are asking a bit too much money for a house that doesn't have a heat pump, no grass in the backyard, and no storage. On a 75 degree day, this house easily reaches 80 degrees inside, and that's with opening windows at night and closing them when the temp starts to go up in the morning. The kids' rooms get ridiculously hot on hot days, and are also the coldest rooms in the house during the winter. If we decide to buy this house, we know that we will also be investing in a heat pump, an exterminator (for carpenter ants), and a little remodeling to add some storage space.

I guess time will tell. If this house doesn't get an offer right away, we might be able to barter the price down if we do end up staying. However, this isn't really the house of our dreams. Gahhhhh! Buying a house is stressful enough without the thought of potentially being homeless if the timing of this house selling and us buying doesn't pan out exactly.

Hopefully we will get our answer very, very soon as to whether or not we are moving to Brookings. In the meantime, we are just hanging out in limbo land.