Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Good News, Everyone!

We bought a house!  The wait is over, and if you were one of the three people who knew about this, you may now break your silence.  We started looking at houses before we even moved here, but we were mislead by websites like Trulia and Zillow.  It looked like we would have a variety of huge houses to choose from under $100,000.  It turns out that many of the listings on these websites are outdated or inaccurate.  When we first contacted a realtor, we were jolted out of that fantasy the first time she sent us the selection of houses available under $100,000.  There were about five choices, each of them old, run down, tiny, and in less than desirable neighborhoods.

  After getting over the fact that we were not living in a paradise where they were giving away mansions, we increased our budget a little and got realistic.  Our realtor would send us listings daily, and although the selections were better, most of them were still not great.  Because we had increased our budget, we knew that there would not be very much extra money to put into improving the house.  The other frustrating thing is that the fixer-uppers seemed to be selling for basically the same price as newer, move in ready homes.  And if there was a perfect fixer-upper for a good price, an investor would come along and make a cash offer. 

We learned that the Phoenix housing market is improving, but that is partially because it is flooded with investors.  These are people who come in, buy a run down house for cheap, fix it up and then turn around and sell it.  When you don't have $100,000 plus to throw on the table, you can't compete with that  So, our search was not without frustration.  Soon, we found a few places that we wanted to look at.  On a Saturday, we had three houses that we planned on looking at.  I felt like I was on an episode of House Hunters.  One of the homes was having an open house, so we went to that one first.  I already loved it - I had looked at the photos in the online listing and it was the best house I had seen so far.

When we walked in, we were smitten.  The house was bright and pretty.  It was beautifully staged - which means the seller had decorated it specifically to sell it.  We recognized that it was staged, but had to admit that it looked good.  Nice carpet and tile, granite counter tops, fresh paint job.  Two bedroom, two and a half bath, and the cutest patio.  Now get this.  It has fake grass.  I am normally completely against fake plants.  But the thing is that in the desert, having grass is kind of ridiculous.  It just isn't natural - do you know how expensive it is to water it?  I don't, and I don't want to find out.  I'm also not a fan of the desertscapes that are often used in yards here.  Really, more rocks?  Doesn't that just reflect the sun, making you even hotter?  I swear, whenever I stand near grass it is 10 degrees cooler.  So I was very pleased with the fake grass - no maintenance, and it actually looks real.  I wouldn't dream of having something like that in Oregon, but here it just makes sense. 

Despite the fact that we were basically in love with this house immediately, we decided it would be smart to look at a few other places.  The next place we visited was much larger.  It had three bedrooms, was freshly remodeled, and lots of space.  We were intrigued by the fact that it was big and new, but we really didn't like the neighborhood.  Nothing we could really put our finger on, but it just didn't feel right. 

So, off we went to the next house.  This was an older house that had been remodeled.  We loved the huge tree out front - you would not believe how rare large, shade giving trees are in Phoenix.  The kitchen had been remodeled and was very nice.  The backyard was also quite large.  But this was obviously a much older home - about twenty years older than the other two.  The AC unit was old and very loud.  And although this was listed as a two bedroom plus bonus room, we couldn't figure out where the bonus room was.  And the "second bedroom" was really a bonus room, as it had no closet.  Overall, we felt that this home was way overpriced.  It was there, in the kitchen of house #3 that we decided to make an offer on the first house.  After looking for a long time at what was available, we knew that finding a house like this in our price range was rare.

After making our offer we weren't sure if it would be accepted.  We made a strong offer, but because it was such a nice place we expected other people to make good offers as well.  After waiting for what seemed like FOREVER (24 hours), we got the good news that our offer had been accepted!  We were supposed to close in a month, but of course not everything went according to plans.  We ran into a few roadblocks along the way, but we were always able to get around them.  And after almost two months, we have finally finished the process.  The house is ours!  We have our key.  Now that we have gotten through that process we have a whole new set of hurdles to jump.  We have our rental until the end of November, so we have about a month to move into the new house.  We have a few things that need to be purchased for the new house - like blinds, a refrigerator and a washer and dryer.  And of course, the joys of packing and actually moving.  Meanwhile, I'm preoccupied with what color I'm going to paint my new, huge walk in closet. 
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Hareford Earlington said...

It must've been so troublesome to have outdated sites with inaccurate information about their house for sale. But at least you were able to pinpoint which sites have mislead you so we could learn to be careful with these named sites. Glad you were able to move swiftly and safely.

NW Girl said...

Thank you, Hareford. It was a learning experience for us!

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