Other Things I Like

Modern-Day Home Buying Is Like Online Dating

In my last post I announced my intent to find a permanent home to keep my stuff, touching on budgeting tips and the different types of loans in existence.

Since doing the leg work on what it was going to take financially to do it, I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster of trying not to get overly excited.

Home shopping is a lot like meeting a “match” online.  You get to know the person through their profile, you look at their pictures a million times, you reach out to the person and maybe secure a first date; only to be stood up, turned down after the first date, or creeped out.  And like all other dating stories, it eventually has a happy ending.

I got stood up by my first “love”…

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My first “love” was a great townhouse that was a PERFECT fit… at least from its online pictures.  We ran all of the numbers, made an appointment to see it, and 20 minutes before we were supposed to be there, the realtor said they had a ratified contract (meaning the offer was accepted and it was onto next steps).  I was bummed out for a couple of days, wanted to give up,  but picked myself up and move on.

I made it to date one and then…

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While you can’t swipe left or right on real estate listings, you can favorite. So I told myself to be patient because the perfect home for me was out there. Each day, I went through the different listings on a few different dating real estate apps, favorited ones that I thought could work, and in the middle of that, found a condo that had been remodeled with me in mind.  It had almost everything I was looking for: turnkey with sleek, modern enhancements; more than one level, and potential to add some personal touches.  We got along great with the owners, it all seemed positive (I maintained little expectations), and I decided to put an offer on it. Unfortunately, someone else put in a much higher, more attractive offer (above asking price) and thus, I had to move on.

When you meet someone and you just know they’re creepy…

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In the area I’m looking in, it’s generally older homes because most of the area used to be military back in the day.  While most of the homes are renovated, there are some that clearly haven’t been touched since at least the 1960’s.  In one such home, it was as though the previous owner was in the middle of doing minimal updates when they just disappeared.  The minute I walked into the place, I was faced with a child-height closet that looked like the “victims” were kept there.  In the basement, some of the light fixtures were dangling, the floor was a sterile color tile, and the walls were a dark charcoal gray. Upstairs, the bedroom fans were on and were wobbling back and forth, while the paint looked slapped on in a hurry.  I really couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

A Perfect Fit

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A few weeks ago, I swiped right favorited a townhouse that had potential.  It wasn’t my first choice but I kept coming back to it (stalked it) over and over again.  I flipped through the pictures over a dozen times, I ran the numbers that seemed to good to be true, and finally decided I needed to meet this place in person.

On January 31st, I went with my sister to see it.  From the minute I stepped onto the stoop, I felt a sense of calm.  It was lovingly cared for by a woman who was called overseas for work and couldn’t rent it out.  It had warm wood floors, plenty of light (both from the windows and from the newly-installed lighting), and plenty of space to entertain.  While it needs small amounts of updating, it didn’t really matter.  I could tell this would be a place I could call a home.  So, we put an offer in… and it was accepted.

My Tips for Home Shopping

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  • Make your list of must-haves and nice-to-haves ahead of time but keep an open mind!  I started out wanting a garage, fireplace, and back patio but ended up with none of those things. Yet, I’m totally happy!
  • Know what you can’t change.  Sometimes, we get so sucked into a timeline of finding place that we might concede on major things, such as location and structure (condo, townhouse, house).  If you see a neighborhood or type of home you like – start there.  You can’t change those once you buy a home.
  • Much like any other big purchase or life event, you just ” know” when certain things are a fit but…
  • NEVER get attached.  Real estate moves very fast – at least in major cities and their surrounding areas.  If you don’t get it (because the home had competing offers) or you weren’t quick enough to put an offer in, it means something better is out there!
  • Someone will almost always offer more and that’s okay.  I always liken this to people who speed past me on the highway – let the cops catch them so I can go on my way.  The person that pays over market price is doing you a favor by setting the new price trend. At the same time, if there are other homes in the neighborhood going for less, during that timeframe, you get in at a great price and then watch the value rise!  The person that offered way over value on the first place I put an offer on, did me a favor. I paid market price for mine, which allowed for built in equity.  It was a far better move!

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Stay tuned for my post on the marriage closing process… on March 16th!

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