House Shopping – Make a Decision Already

I have been house shopping. After five years of living in the same apartment that I moved to when I got divorced, I decided it was time to own something of my own. I am super self conscious about money as I have been following a Dave Ramsey-ish style of getting out of debt and operating on a completely cash system.

In my apartment, I live just outside of my kids school zone (in the same school district – but at my apartment they would end up having to go to their rival school and that certainly was not going to fly). So, I have been driving them back and forth for five years. It is just about 15 minutes each way. Which doesn’t seem like much until you do it 8 times in a matter of a couple hours (football, cheer, school, etc).My ex and I had actually made a commitment to keep the kids in the same school. So while we were sending them into upheaval by divorcing at least their daily life and friend group would not change.

I contacted a friend who is a loan originator she prequalified me for what I could afford based on two things one is my salary but the other was what I really could/wanted to pay each month. Then I reached out to a friend who is a realtor. She put me on a list where I was sent an email whenever a house went on the market that was in my area and in my price range. BUT the area I was looking at is one of the more expensive areas in town. I had been looking now for several months with only a handful of houses even available in my price range in that area. It’s been eight months and I’ve looked at just four or five houses!

I had actually even put in a bid on another house – I put the bid at the full asking price. I was outbid! They had multiple offers and the house went for well over asking price. Needless to say I was getting a bit frustrated and starting to think if I was going to buy I would have to go outside of the “zone” and still drive in circles. It is only a couple years until both of my kids can drive. But I was not on red-alert yet as my lease at my apartment would go through February. I had some time to shop.

We went to see a HUD home. It was in a super location and needs some updating. My realtor warned me that if the other house that I had put a bid in on was bid up this one was likely to as well. I told her to go ahead and put in a bid at the top of my finance level. She did.

With little hope that I would get the HUD house we continued to look. There was one other place that was listed ABOVE what I had put in as my top level of affordability. But the listing had an allowance for kitchen update in the listing. The house was in a good location a bit further from the kids school but certainly within easy driving distance (less than 5 minutes). It didn’t look like it would need as much updating as the HUD home. So I asked Kim (my realtor) to put in a bid significantly lower than their asking price (and take out the allowance so that I could get the house for cheaper), but it was a bit higher than I wanted to spend (but still do-able). They came back with a counter bid. (Which Kim had warned me they might). I went round and round in my head that day. What should I do? I asked Kim to buy me some time to think on it (at least a day or so) as it would put me OVER where I wanted to be money-wise AND I would need to do some updates but it was a nice house all except the 70s kitchen.

The next morning I got a call from Kim. I ignored it. I was not sure I was ready to tell her to go with this house being OVER my budget. But – I had been looking for eight months now and not seeing many in my price range. Should I jump on this one? I didn’t want to answer yet. I was not sure I was ready to pull the trigger on it. But her message was…YOU won the HUD bid. That house is yours if you want it.

So, now I’ve started the paperwork. I’ve started making a list of all the projects I want/need to do. I have driven the kids by it. I can’t wait until we move. I’m excited to be a homeowner and put to use my current obsession with HGTV and DIY networks shows.

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