Tuesday, November 19, 2013

House with a spouse.

We bought a house. It's wonderful.

Currently, I'm in DC finishing up my audit busy season while Zach's in the house. I'm incredibly jealous, because I want nothing more than to work on house projects. I'm lots of fun, guys. 

I would love to jump right into a full tour, a list of projects I have planned for each space, but first I want to recollect the journey to this adorable brick ranch. It was a long five months. 

We started house hunting in April and tried to buy three different house before finally receiving the keys to this one. It was difficult not only because of the emotional rollercoaster aspect (no matter how many times my dad told me not to fall in love), but because I was in DC and literally could only help Zach with the very need-to-be-there-in-person house hunting process so much. I tried to pick up at much of the google searching as possible, but he headed the hunt and held the process together. I'm incredibly thankful for that. 

We learned so much along the way. I'm sure the housing process will change again before we move, but we were not initially prepared for the amount of savings or cash that would be involved. Here's a big shout-out to my parents for the help in the way of an interest-free loan from the Bank of Hunt, my favorite kind. We needed to prove that we had enough money to cover all of the costs associated with the transfer of a home, both from the buyer and seller side. It needed to be in our checking and savings, able to be withdrawn at a moment's notice. Apparently the use of a 401K to show that you had a little something for later is no longer acceptable. This is a result of the housing bubble burst in 2006.  Banks are scared of lending outside an individual's needs and though that's good practice (an incredibly sound practice), it's not entirely logical as the buyer rarely takes over all of the seller's costs, unless they're so able or willing. We were neither. Our lender was incredibly helpful, explaining things in the simplest terms and dealing with my asking of the same questions three times over.  He broke it down to three things we needed:

1. Credit score. The higher, the better.
2. Debt. The lower, the better.
3. Cash. The more, the merrier. 

So we reassessed, shutdown the party train, and I made a game out of seeing how long I could go without grocery shopping. It turns out it's a long time, but has unfortunately had no effect on my weight.  Much more quickly than we imagined, we were there.

In the end, we needed enough cash for our down payment (which could range between 3-20% of the home purchase price, and I know that varies by bank and location) and to prove that we could cover the taxes, closing, buyer and seller costs. The last part was about 8% of our home price. It was a lot of cash, but we squirreled enough away to keep our mortgage payment roughly equal to my rent payment in DC. It's going to be so sweet to pay for something that's all our own and comes with a yard. 

The money didn't end there though. Inspections (we opted to do a general home and pest inspection) cost about $1000. Then there was the moving truck. The first weekend in the house, I spent $1500 at Lowes on paint, cleaning supplies, and things like garbage cans, rakes, and things you always expect to have but suddenly realize you don't because you've never had a home. As Mum exclaimed, "Welcome to the money pit!"

But oh, how we love it.

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