Monday, August 12, 2013

Rookie Mistake: Home Edition

Happy Monday, everyone!  I already started the day by paper cutting my finger to the point of needing a band aid, so that is fun.  No place to go but up, yes? :)

Today I am sharing my rookie mistake, re: house hunting.

All the number crunching considered, Aaron and I will be qualified to get a little mortgage in the October-November neighborhood.  So that will be the time when we get a pre-approval, and THEN should be when we start looking for something.
Well I am just excited and an eager beaver, so I am searching the Houston real estate website right now.  It started as a 'lets just see what's out there for what our price range is going to be' searching, but it got out of hand pretty quickly. 

You see, I fell in very deep like with this house right here.  It a REO (real estate owned) foreclosure property.  The houses surrounding this one are a good 30K more so it was a steal of a deal. 

When I looked at the pictures of the property it looked like it needed major cosmetic updating, and new floors throughout.  So of course I go pricing all the things, and figure our budget and a timeline of when we could get things replaced that weren't emergency things.  Why?  Because I am insane, and thought this was a great use of half my Saturday, duh.  
So Sunday rolls around, I am still obsessing about the house and décor ideas and researching different flooring options, it hits me.  There has got to be a catch.  It has been on the market for nearly a month, which is long in Houston summer when houses in this price range turn around in a week.  I decided to take a trip down to this house just to check out the neighborhood.  I figured it must be sketchy or run down, or half the roof was missing or SOMETHING.
So I go do a drive-by, and I totally am in love with the neighborhood.  It is older and full of giant trees and every house on the block looks very well maintained and nice.  The 2 other homes for sale in the neighborhood are out of our price range, so I am even more sold that I was before.  I only had to pray it would stay on the market for another month or so.
I was in the neighborhood so I popped by my trusted advisor's (my Mom) house to show her the listing online, see what she thought.  I think I got her on board a little bit, but I decided to take her back out to the house to show her the area and see what she thought.
We pull into the driveway and so far so good.  The house is mustard yellow and brown, so we make note that the outdoor paint could use a change.  We peek in the window into the kitchen and it is so large and spacious.  The tile is in good looking condition.  We laugh about the crazy wallpaper in there that would come down immediately.  The cabinets look better than the pictured indicated.  We continue around the front and see the porch light fixture is hanging by a thread and a bird had taken residence in there.  No biggie, we can clean that out. 
We peek into the front door, and my heart sinks.  The ceiling in the entire den is coming down in sheets.  There is water damage over the kitchen nook.  Check around the side of the house and the A/C unit looks like it had been ripped to shreds by vandals.  All in all, our guesstimate to getting the house to a livable condition was around $40K.  And that was only what we could see with our two eyes, no telling what catastrophe was hiding in there for us to find.
A little bit beyond our skill level and our bank account.
I am still depressed, it is a really great house with a great layout in a great location.  I keep trying to re-crunch numbers to see if we could somehow afford to renovate it if they would lower the price a good $20K.  If I were using my brain and not my heart, I'd laugh it off and never look back.  But as we stand now, I am still holding out hope that I will figure something out.  I know though, a few months down the road I will find a new house to love, it just sucks.  Why did I have such high expectations about this place??  Ugh. 
As for now, I will tend to my wounds of forlorn house lust.  Moral of this story: I decided I need to stay away from the real estate listings until we are locked and loaded and ready to make offers. 


Alexandra Marie said...

That house sounded perfect, until the ceiling was caving in. When all the money business gets settled, hopefully you will find the house that is perfect for you! And not have to spend months getting it repaired!

Amanda said...

I have done the exact same thing! I fell in love with a cute little farmhouse and started making plans before I even saw it in person. Big mistake. The entire kitchen was gutted, not a single cabinet in place, flooring was ripped up, it was awful. Like they started a remodel and gave up halfway through. Of course, none of this was reflected in the photos! Oh well, we found a great house later.

Megan said...

Yeah, I remember going through all of this. My suggestion is to not even look until you are pre approved for that loan. I know that seems difficult, but it really is for the best. This way you don't get your heart set on something that might not be there when you go to start looking. And once you have put an offer in on a house, quit looking too. If you liked a house enough to put an offer in on it, than you probably won't find much else to top it and if you do, then you will be upset that you can't go after it. You will figure it all out. Good luck with everything!

Bekah Loves Blog said...

Oh, I feel you. Looking at houses (or anything) before you're ready is such a fun but dangerous trap! I get all excited until reality hits when I'm looking! Just a few more months though! Yay you!

And So I Did said...

It's so hard house hunting. We're about to begin the journey, and I keep getting my hopes up, and then remember that we're not even close yet. Our lease expires in April, so our goal is to have a house by April 1 so we can move out slowly before our lease expires. I keep wanting to look at all the beautiful houses, but I know they won't be there when we're shopping.

Good luck and keep your chin up.

Chelsee W said...

O gosh that really sucks!

Judy Conaton said...

Blech, I hated house hunting. Chris and I did marathon house hunting and it make me not trust the pictures that realtors put up on the websites.

There are several houses that I really liked but that required more work (and money) than we were willing to do. There were two houses that we wanted to put a bid on that we were too slow to win. We switched realtors after that. :p I still remember those two houses and think about "what if" sometimes.

The only thing that I wish that I had paid more attention to was the direction that the windows face in the house. Every single window in our house (except for the three little bathroom windows) face North/South. This is great for keeping the house cool in the Summer, but I do miss out on the bright sunlight that comes from having East/West facing windows.

Lindsey said...

ohhh house hunting can be a total heartbreak. Believe me, we just went through it. Just keep telling yourself over and over that it'll work out if it's supposed to.

We were going to get one house and were all about it and it fell through but we ended up with a house 10x better.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I promise there will definitely be other houses that you love :)

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh... this sounded all too familiar. When my husband and I were looking for houses, I found what I thought was the "Perfect" house. I dreamed of where all the furniture would go, how I would decorate, etc. We did have our financing approved. We had a budget in mind. We didn't want to max out what we were approved for. We placed a bid. The seller made a counter offer. Which we in turn counter offered as well. This went back and forth a few times, when all the sudden I realized wait a minute we are getting further and further away from our budget. $1,000 here; $2,000 here was quickly adding up. My boss gave me the best advice ever. He said, "Brandy, it's just like poker. Sometimes you gotta know when to fold your cards." He was right. This house wasn't worth what we were about to bid on it. I struggled all day and night with what to do. Finally I called our agent and said, pull our bid off the table. We folded! I can honestly say I felt peace like never before about our decision. Looking at where we are now and what we almost got ourselves into- wow what a difference. Be patient in the house hunting and know when to fold. Best wishes- you will find the right place soon enough.

Megan said...

That stinks. I'm definitely the type of person who gets my heart set on something and get very disappointed when it doesn't work out.

Annie said...

I'm so sorry to hear that :( You're right about how there always seems to be some sort of catch.. we are talking about maybe starting to look around at houses and find out how much we could get on a mortgage and it's scary!! Big life change!

Your dream house is out there and I can't wait to see/read about it :D

Unknown said...

No doubt buying is stressful, but I know you guys will find the perfect house!

Allie @ The Practically Green Mom said...

I was so excited for you until that part about the ceiling caving in! :( I know you'll find something else that you absolutely love when the time is right!

On a side note, my sister is a Realtor in the Houston area, if and when you need one. ;)

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