Who knew buying a house would be this hard? I did. Which is why in a way I didn’t want to do it, but my longing for my own place and a view of a yard, rather than a parking lot, made me take a deep breath and plunge in head first.
Why is it so difficult? Well first you have the money. What an enormous amount of money to consider spending! Youhave to get preapproved for a loan, and we have good credit so the lenders are going to give us any amount we want. They don’t care if you can make the payments. So it’s left for me to determine what we can afford, and getting a ball park figure of a monthly payment out of our mortgage broker was like pulling teeth. I sent him four e-mails in which I asked the question, can you give me a monthly payment estimate with this amount down and this price, and he kept skirting the issue. He finally gave me the numbers with the disclaimer that interest rates are changing all the time. Yeah. I get it. But they’re not going to go from 4 to 20, so just give me an estimate. That is in fact why they call it an estimate.
Then there are real estate agents. The last time we looked for a house, when we decided we couldn’t yet afford one, we tried two agents. We went back to the one we liked, whom we liked because she was low pressure. However, she has a hard time understanding what it is I am looking for and her efforts to find something for us have been off-the-charts wrong. (I do all of the searching and picking of houses to see on-line). After about three weeks of working with us she seems to be a bit frustrated. I guess I can understand because I am all over the map and have lots of little reasons and rules why this idea or that won’t work, but on the other hand she’s going to make a lot of money off of me eventually so I think she should just cool her jets. She was really pushing for us to buy this last house and when we didn’t, I think she was a bit disappointed. She really wanted us off her to-do list. I made a point of telling her that while I was excited to buy a house, I was in no hurry and I wanted to wait until the right thing came along. I’m not kidding you, an HOUR after that conversation, I get a call back from her and she wants me to run down to Federal Way in the middle of rush hour to make an offer on this townhouse that just came on the market. An HOUR. I didn’t go because I don’t want to live in Federal Way and I don’t want a condominium or townhouse, and she knows both these things. I haven’t heard from her since. I know I am allowed to find another agent if I don’t like her services, and I might because I have suspicions she’s not doing a very good job closing for us, but I don’t want to be anywhere near another agent who threatens me at every house I see, “Oh my God you must buy this ugly shack right now or it will be snatched out of your hands!”
The actual physical househunting takes lots of time and effort but may not even compare to the virtual househunting. I am glued to my computer all day long, searching endlessly on various websites to try and turn up one gem that I somehow missed and will make my life complete. Never mind that I’ve seen every house in my price range in a 40 mile radius and am signed up for new listing alerts with three, count-em three different websites. I’m still searching every day. My attentions are now focused on a house out in Browns Point, an area I love but which I had completely forgotten about until it turned up in a search on a website I hadn’t yet tried. It was at first too expensive for us, but the price just dropped $15,000 and I am convinced that this place is my new home, even though I have yet to see it and I know better than anybody that those pretty internet pictures are notorious liars. However, the price is still much higher than the estimated value, and still more than I was hoping to get away with spending.
I finally realized last night that I could channel all this househunting obsession into something useful, and I went to the HMBI website and finally figured out how I might get some money towards my new home. There are incentives out there for first time homebuyers if they are low to moderate income, and since it is based on what we made last year I think we will qualify. I had seen this website before and written to officials involved in the programs, but I had kind of given up because everybody was so stingy with the information. But I clicked on the right thing last night and I found out that if you go to one of these seminars they hold and you meet the income requirements, you are eligible for a lower interest rate. The seminars provide you with the info and a list of lenders who specialize in the House Key State Bond Loan program. We could potentially reduce our interest rate by over 1%, and while that may not sound like much, could save us maybe two hundred dollars a month. So now I’m channeling all my energies into getting this interest rate, and then I can get the house in Brown’s Point! (I have vowed not to look at it until I have the money in place, however.) There may also be opportunites for us to get money towards our down payment, but I’ve still had a hard time finding out exactly how to do this. Hopefully they will cover it in the seminar.
Until next time, Happy House Hunting!