A little known fact... Nick and I have been house hunting for 11 months now. I know, I know, we LOVE our beautiful apartment, but there were a few factors that led to this decision. First of all, with interest rates and home prices at a low, we knew that we might not have this opportunity to buy if we waited it out. Second, as much as Nick loves managing the building, it definitely takes a chunk of time. Plus, he's started a new job in March and with baby on the way, we wanted less on his plate, not more. Third, if he did quit managing the apartment, our rent would be more than a mortgage. Fourth, we are looking to put down more permanent roots with Teeny-Tiny's imminent arrival. So, although I've been more than a little reluctant to move, I agreed with my husband that now was the time to buy. So we began the search last May.
We have put in nine offers since then. Nine!! In the notoriously expensive Bay Area, we were limited to what we could afford/what we wanted to pay. At first, we said we wanted to stay in our neighborhood.... We quickly realized that's not going to happen! With median house prices in the 700K range, this neighborhood doesn't fit our starter-house budget. So we expanded our horizons... a lot! Every time we put in an offer, we were either outbid by investors with cash offers, or we ended being scared away from some serious structural issues. Since the new year, we have been putting in more offers, and it's become a joke in our family about what house we are offering on, in what city, this weekend. Since I don't feel like it's my right to share pictures of houses that don't actually belong to us, I'll give you a little mental picture of each of our bids, a la House Hunters:
1. The over-priced 70s bungalow complete with a sparkly popcorn ceiling and yellow shag carpet. Total DIY house - this was pre-pregnancy when I was more ambitious...
2. The too-good-to-be-true perfectly-priced bungalow in the right neighborhood with tons of charm. This one recently went back on the market after pending for 2 months and is now listed with "serious structural issues"at 75K more than the original asking price. Guess it's good that one didn't work out!
3. The hanging-off-the-side-of-a-hill, held up on stilts fixer-upper that had us running for the hills.
4. The adorable flipped house that came with an unfortunate view and sound of the freeway.
5. The cute bungalow that was remodeled with 10 too-many corners cut.
6. The 80s condo in our hometown that desperately needed updating.
7. The builder-basic condo that was a great price, but a bit too close to the freeway.
8. The freshly-updated townhouse in a good location, that was just a bit too tiny for our expanding family.
9. Our final offer, aka, the one that stuck: this one is a large townhouse, that feels like a real house. It has a yard for Lucy, two huge bedrooms, both with in-suite bathrooms, and a two car garage. Although it could use some updating, it's definitely livable for the time-being. It is also within walking distance of a great school (important to us now!) and a nice big park. Downtown Walnut Creek, with it's extensive shopping and dining resources is a quick mile away. Our new home is also in the same town as both our parents and the hospital where I'll be giving birth.
We snapped a few pictures the last time we were there for an appraisal...inspection... or something. As you can see, it's definitely a different style than our current 1920's apartment (much more builder basic). However, we are excited about the blank slate of this new place and doing bigger renovation projects- ones the go beyond just painting!
Who knew that buying a house would be so tricky? Frankly, the process is exhausting and some days I don't care where we live as long as I don't have to walk through another house. We kept the whole process under wraps, partly because we wanted to have a sure thing before stating that we're moving. Also, with the luck we've had, we felt like talking about it too soon would jinx the situation. However, with our closing date set for this Friday, it looks like this is the real deal. Fingers crossed that things actually move toward completion this week- as we have someone moving into our apartment until on May 1. Yikes! We'll of course keep you updated on the entire moving process- when it happens!