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Real estate, Portland Oregon

Home Buyer’s Diary:
Buying our First House, Part Two

I’m documenting our adventure buying our first house here on the blog, in hopes that it’s helpful to other first-time homebuyers. This is a pretty long and elaborate process, and it’s different for everyone. For the first half of the story, see this post about Part One.

November 29, 2012: The Moment of Truth

As part of the process of being approved for our mortgage, the house has to be appraised. Wells Fargo sent an appraiser out to the house, and the next day we heard back that she had appraised the house for $3,000 more than the purchase price. Had it been less, we’d have had to do more negotiations since the bank won’t let us borrow more money than the house is worth. We breathed a big sigh of relief — one more step in the right direction.

At this point in the process, the waiting is starting to drive me crazy. I have visions of all the projects I’m going to do, where I’m going to start and how long it’s going to take me. But for the moment, I’m stuck with paperwork and the photos I took of the house during the inspection. At night, I lie awake imagining what the house is going to be like once we start working on it. I’m nervous and excited, but most of all, I feel very impatient.

Real estate, Portland Oregon

You’re looking at my future kitchen. The question is: What’s first to go? The wallpaper or that fluorescent light fixture?

December 6, 2012: Another Step Forward

We hear from our lender: Wells Fargo’s underwriters have approved our application, pending a few small things. Those small things have me hunting for more paperwork (namely, proof that we’ve paid our rent on time for the last 24 months and a paper trail of where our down payment money is coming from). They also require that we will insure the property, so we’ve been talking to our homeowner’s insurance agent.

In my impatience, we spend a few hours during the weekend looking at hardwood floors and tile, since our first project will be to rip up that ugly carpet. My husband Eric has pretty severe allergies, so even though it can be expensive, we’re considering re-doing 100% of the house in hardwoods and tile to keep the dust down. This means we’re having to shop around and get competitive quotes, since this process can cost a lot of money and we only have a small amount left over after putting down our down payment.

December 19, 2012: Final sign-off

Today we visit the house for the first time in weeks with our inspector. As part of the deal, the seller has had some repairs done to the house and we want our inspector to look them over and make sure we’re good to go before we sign the final papers (which we do tomorrow morning!)

But — ROAD BLOCK! — our inspector has issues with the work. Gulp. We spend 12 hours negotiating a guarantee on the work (after a few tense phone calls and canceling our appointment to sign the papers), and in the end we settle the issue and we sign the papers. Just like that, we’re homeowners!

Every buyer’s story is different, but this is how ours is going so far. Questions? Want to share your own story? E-mail me at sara@saragray.net.

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