Monday, May 30, 2011

Washers, Dryers and More Questions

We've been questioned a few times now about whether Matt actually writes for this blog.  It is true that while Matt contributes ideas, helps with proofreading and is (obviously) involved in the home buying process as a whole, I do in fact do most of the actual writing.  Today, however, with Matt off from work for Memorial Day, I asked if he would like to write a post and he happily obliged.  So without further ado, Matt's first solo post.  -Caroline

Happy Memorial Day, everyone!  Memorial Day is a time for remembering loved ones and honoring veterans, but in our great American tradition it is also a time for some of the years biggest sales.  Fortunately for us, Memorial Day rolled around just as we came into the market for a washer and dryer.  This was an interesting experience as neither of us have ever purchased a washer and dryer before. The adventure involved price shopping all across Portland, several calls home for parental advice and even an offer from one salesman to fraudulently back date our purchase date so that we could claim an expired rebate.  Needless to say we did not purchase from that store.  Eventually, we found a good, and honest, deal on a great set we are very happy with.

Now where to put them in the basement?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sealing the Deal

So the big news is... this week we signed the final paperwork committing us to buy the house!  In the last week we had a few more inspections.  Our real estate agent's contractor came out and took a look at the chimney problem we were having and gave us a reasonable bid for the cost of removing it.  He also pointed out the option of removing the chimney all the way down to the basement instead of just to the roof line, which would give us more room to expand the kitchen.  Early this week we had the furnace and central air inspected and serviced.  The technician delivered the good news that the air conditioning is in great condition and that the ancient furnace should last us at least a few more years.  Finally, we had a concrete contractor look at the foundation wall that is crumbling away.  His price for replacement was right around what we expected, but his good news was that there is no reason to replace it immediately.  He assured us that the house was not going to cave in on us and that we should just make sure to do it before we finish the basement.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Follow Us!

Hi readers!  While we're waiting on more house updates to share with you we wanted to take a moment to encourage you to follow us here on blogger!  Just because we've found a house doesn't mean this blog is going anywhere.  We want to make sure that all of our wonderful readers are with us while we transform our new house into a beautiful home.

Clicking the follow button on the left side of your screen will help you find your way back to us and will show us your support as one of our readers.

If you'd like to be notified whenever we have new updates about our progress with our new house you can also subscribe to this blog.  By subscribing you can add our blog to a blog reader of your choice such as your google homepage or your google reader.  Then whenever you open it up you'll be able to see if we've shared something new!

Now you can now also subscribe by email!  This is the easiest way to find out when we've made new post.  Each afternoon, if we've made a new post that day, blogger will send you an email letting you know and a link to the post.  You'll never miss a house update!

Finally, if facebook is your chosen mode of communication, you can also follow us on networked blogs.  Check out our networked blogs page here:  Simply click the follow button on the right-hand side and if you'd like, you can rate our blog, too!

Following us in any (or all) of these ways will help us and you stay connected.  Not only will following us help you to return to twoseekhome so that you can continue to watch our progress as first time home buyers owners, but it will help us get to know our readers.  The readership of this blog has far exceeded our expectations in popularity in just a few months, and we would love to know who you all are! 

Thank you to everyone for reading, and watch for more house updates at the end of this week!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Status Update

We are learning that this process is ever-changing.  Yesterday afternoon our real estate agent called to break the news that on top of the five major problems we already knew about there are no permits for the majority of the electrical work that was done in the house in 1992.  Essentially, this means that there is no proof that the electrical work was done to code and if we were to have an electrical fire this might be a problem for insurance purposes.  This is a major problem because we need to seriously consider the possibility that the electrical wiring is a fire hazard and that in order to be completely sure that it is safe we would need to have the entire house rewired.  As you can imagine, this would not be an inexpensive undertaking.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Inspection Aftermath

So, as we mentioned yesterday, we really needed the inspection to go well.  And did it?  Sort of.  For a 101 year old house, it went very well.  The roof and structure are both in excellent shape.  The electrical and plumbing have been updated and are in reasonably good shape.  However, there were five major issues that will need to be dealt with immediately or in the near future:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Inspection Day!

Today is the big day!  Today we find out whether we will actually be able to afford to buy our house or whether we will have to back out and keep shopping.  The sellers have said that they are selling the house as-is and will not make any repairs, so the only good possibilities are: 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Speaking of Resale Value

Okay, so we've been feeling a little bad in the past couple days about all this talk about resale value. The very nice couple who were the previous owners of our pending house accepted our offer because we are going to live in the house.  We believe that they received many offers, some possibly higher, some possibly cash, but they wanted to pass it on to a young couple who could love it as well as they did.  They are giving us the opportunity to live in their beautiful long loved and lived in home and here we are talking about resale value.

The truth is, we really are looking for a house to live in for the next five or so years and we never would have felt right if we didn't find something that we really loved, regardless of the resale potential.  After all, no matter how much money we might make off any given house in the end, we still have to live in it in the meantime.  Remember our needs vs. wants list?  Here are a few things we were committed to (to one extent or another) for personal reasons:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some Other Houses

Sooo... while we're waiting on that inspection on Wednesday (Click Here if you missed the big house news!) we figured we'd share some other houses we've taken a look at in the past week or so. 

This is a truly beautiful house that we saw on the same day as the one we are (hopefully) buying.  It was in a great neighborhood just east of the one that got away.  We loved everything about the house except that with two bedrooms it was a little smaller than some other houses we had looked at and it had a lot more done to it, reducing our ability to increase its value.  Nonetheless it was a great house:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

How Quickly Things Change...

We've been going back and forth a little bit about whether we risk jinxing it by posting about our newest development just yet... but we think that this is an important part of the process and that's what this blog is supposed to be all about, so we decided to share:

On Friday we put an offer in on a house and we found out yesterday that our offer was accepted!  We signed the paperwork this morning, and scheduled an inspection for Wednesday so if all goes as planned we are on our way to home ownership!

Our real estate agent emailed us the listing on Friday morning and we got out to see it right away because she was sure this house was perfect for us and that it would not be on the market for long.  She was right that it was perfect, so we put in an offer right away.  We knew there would be other offers so we decided to offer the full asking price for the house.  Yesterday afternoon we found out that our offer had been accepted.  It turns out that the couple who was selling the house had lived there for 60 years and they were excited to sell it to a young couple looking for a home rather than investors offering high prices and cash so that they could turn around and sell the house for a better price.  Lucky for us!

The One That Got Away

Now that we're in serious house hunting mode we've been checking listings with our real estate agent every day to watch for any new houses to come on the market.  On Sunday morning this lovely house popped up in our listings:

Not only was it a good-sized and good looking house,  it was right smack in the middle of Hollywood, our first choice neighborhood!  What's more is it was the first house that we've seen in our price range in Hollywood in the three months we've been watching the listings.  We knew that in order for a house to be priced this low in this area it must need a lot of repairs, so the question was just how much.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Ever-Elusive Preapproval

The preapproval process has been much more fun then we expected.  And yes, even through the blogosphere you may have been able to detect the sarcasm there.  You can go to and read all about what your mortgage professional will need to get you preapproved.  For us, however, this list was entirely incomplete.  It turns out that since the recession with new concerns and new laws coming into place the loan process has become very complicated and thorough.  Underwriters want to make sure that they have completely filled every hole and answered every question mark before they will authorize the preapproval.  So our loan consultant did ask for pretty much everything on the fearless home buyer list initially, but once he reviewed them all he came back to ask for about a hundred more things.  Both of our employments had to be officially verified, rather than just verbally; Matt's work and school history had to be explained fully because he has been at his job for less than a year; Caroline's income had to be explained because it differed from 2009 to 2010; every little inconsistency in our finances had to be explained.  For example, we a gift in February that stood out as a deposit that was larger than normal.  We had to explain the gift, obtain copies of the check and as signed letter stating that it was a gift and that we were not going to be expected to repay any part of it.  In short there have been a lot of hoops to jump through!

Even now we are waiting for the underwriters to review our file and determine what additional information they need.  The good news is, our loan consultant has said that he is confident that once we jump all necessary hurdles we will eventually get the preapproval, and that he is willing to issue the approval at any time.  This means we can get really serious with our house shopping!  We're meeting with our real estate agent tomorrow to see some more houses and talk about what we've seen so far, so more updates to come!
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