If you already follow me on Instagram (@juniperandmeadow) you'll already know this news, but if you don't and can't tell by the title: we are buying a house! Oh my goodness, I can't believe I just typed those words out! I remember starting this blog and so badly wishing we could buy a house soon to call our home and to make it truly ours. And now it's actually happening! I want to bring you guys along in the journey while we buy this home and renovate it to make it ours, so I am going to start a short series about the process of buying a home and our plans on how we are going to update it and make it ours.
First let me give a little back story into how we decided buy a home. The thought popped into our heads at the beginning of this summer to buy a home next summer. We have been here for a year already, but due to a lot of external things we didn't have the greatest first year experience in Connecticut so we wanted to wait another year to be sure we actually want to buy a home and settle here. At the same time we decided to get out of the Coast Guard when Jonathan's enlistment is up in a couple of years. We also have a found a wonderful church community that we really don't want to leave. Then about 4 weeks ago, we decided to actually buy a house. A couple of factors went into this decision. One: home mortgage interest rates are crazy low and the homes here in Connecticut are also low priced. Two: we decided that we really would love to stay with our church and the friends that we have made and that was worth everything to us to not move and having to find something similar again. Three: we looked past all of the external problems we had last year that kind of tainted our view of Connecticut and realized we really do love living here. Even with the pandemic going on, we were able to go do a lot of outdoor activities (safely) and have fallen even more in love with Connecticut.
So without further ado, I will start Part One of buying a house with a week by week play of the last four weeks.
Week 1 into this decision: We found a realtor that was recommended buy come friends and got pre-approved to buy a home. Looking back, it was a fairly quick process but it seemed like forever to get our financial ducks in a row to start looking at homes. After we were pre-approved, we sent a home wish list, areas we were interested in, and our price range to our realtor and he plugged that information in to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and we got our personal list of homes in our area.
Week 2: We looked at five homes in one day and four of them were duds. There was one potential, but it had sewage problems which brought to light some things we hadn't consider when it comes to buying a house. It didn't deter us from buying, but it made us look into water and sewage systems more carefully. Also, we learned a lot about taxes on homes for different towns. There were a couple of towns that had really low home prices, but the taxes were really expensive, and then vise versa for other homes in different towns.
Week 3: After week two we felt a little discouraged. Our realtor had told us that this was a sellers market and homes were going fast and we saw that happen quite a bit. There were actually a few homes we really wanted to buy, but before we had a chance to see them (and sometimes only a few hours before we could see them) they would be taken off of the market. We also had to raise our price range a couple of times. I'll reassure you though that we aren't buying a home that will make us house poor. We are still well within our budget for everything. But after going through and figuring out finances we decided it was best to raise our price range to find a home that we actually love. Needless to say the day after we did that we found a home! It had only been on the market for three days and Jonathan could only see it on his lunch break. I didn't even get to see it, but our realtor said that if we wanted this house we needed to put an offer in that day. So that's what we did. We offered a few thousand more than asking price and also threw in to pay closing costs. Which was something we were prepared to do. The evening after Jonathan saw the house and we put in an offer, the sellers met with their realtor and discussed our offer and another family's offer. Later on in the evening, Jonathan received a call from our realtor and was told we should raise our earnest money (something to show the buyers we are very serious, but would go towards closing costs) up a couple thousand dollars. So we gave him the okay to do that, and our realtor told us they would be meeting again the next day around noon. Mind you, we are still in an early bidding war for this house with another family. The next day rolls around and I am so nervous. Jonathan was at work and we were waiting for a phone call from our realtor. Right before noon, Jonathan received a call from our realtor about the home. He told us that if we can, we should raise our offer and earnest money up a couple thousand dollars and also write a letter to the sellers. Jonathan called me afterwards and asked if we should do it and we both agreed that this house was worth it and that we should go all in. I also quickly typed up a letter to the sellers and sent it over to our realtor. We were told the sellers and their realtor would meet for the last time mid afternoon that day and we would hear an answer shortly after. Finally right before dinner we got the call that our offer had been accepted! We were so happy and still very much are that we got this house! It's in the perfect location and it's perfect for our needs.
Week 4: This week will bring us up to the present. Exactly one week after our offer was accepted, we had our inspection. There were some minor things that need to be fixed, but overall there wasn't anything major. The boys and I got to see the house for the first time as well! I was honestly nervous about it because Jonathan told me it was smaller in some areas than our current home, but overall I love everything about it! And watching the kids play in the backyard was a dream come true for me! During this week we landed on a tentative date to move at the end of October, but that is subject to change depending on how fast we can get the next steps done.
The next steps for this home and what I will update you on in the next part: We need to have our appraisal done, we also have to find home insurance, and our lawyers need to do a title search. From what I understand, having an appraisal done takes up the majority of the time as well as having everything fixed before we close on the home. But we are so hopeful that this will be a smooth process and we will be in our home, making it ours, in no time!
I hope you have enjoyed this first part of us buying a home. I can't wait to update you all in the next part and hopefully show you some sneak peeks! Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with us! Also, if you have any name suggestions for the home, comment below!