Buying a house sucks.
Let me rephrase that, everyone you have to deal with while trying to buy a house sucks. I think the best advice we can give to anyone planning to buy or even browse for a new house is to PLAN AHEAD.We are rather laid back individuals, we don’t like confrontation and we tend to trust others when they specialize in something, such as realtors. Do not do this. Do your research and question anything you do not know. Getting trapped with a deal that you regret is going to be yours to deal with in the end.
Find and research anyone you may need for the house buying process; a realtor, house inspector, lawyer, mortgage agent are all people you will need to be in contact with. While you might not need all of them immediately have a good idea of who you will be contacting. Once you find that house things are going to move fast.
For us everything happened very quickly, after a couple of disappointing house showings Katie came across a property she thought was perfect in terms of location and size. Something that would let us stay near family, work, and allow us a bit more "country" living. Unfortunately the house already had an offer made on it that the seller had accepted. A couple weeks later we noticed the property was listed again and sure enough the previous offer on the house was dropped. We immediately sought a showing and things rolled quickly from there.
Our initial offer was a lower offer than the previous offer that was dropped, after seeing the house, we saw that it needed a lot of love to bring it into this century (the house was built in the 1950s). Additionally there were lots of other concerning things that added up such as destroyed carpets, deteriorating gutters and vermiculite (asbestos) in the attic. While not all vermiculite contains asbestos the state of Wisconsin requires it to be considered asbestos unless proven otherwise. Owners must then notify any potential buyers of the asbestos present in the house. We were not happy to find out they were hiding this information from us and our realtor didn't even know what vermiculite was (how do you not know this when it is your job to show houses?). Regardless the asbestos situation can be covered in a later post.
They rejected our initial offer and insisted they would not accept any less than the previous offer. Realizing that several other people were looking at the house we decided to bite the bullet and put in a new higher offer, it was quickly accepted. I was so thankful to Katie through this entire process, she did EVERYTHING. I was on a 3rd shift schedule for this entire process and slept through almost all of it. Katie had to continually call and wake me up to get signatures or opinions on things, I was not very helpful.
The one great person throughout this entire process that we hired was our house inspector. He came from a recommendation from my sister who had recently moved into a new house and we couldn't be happier. The inspector walked us through the entire process and pointed out issues, future issues, and how to prevent common problems if we got the house. He found all the issues we had noticed in the initial showing and more, allowing us submit an adjustment to our initial offer. This saved us a couple thousand to save for repairs later. Observations by the inspector were numerous but nothing serious, I can definitely see why the previous offer on the house was dropped. It was not a house that you could simply move into and be happy with, it required updating and lots of work.
Our now house is far from a dream house and the state of the house in which the previous owner was living was rather unbelievable. It was clear they hit a bit of financial trouble and from the first viewing they were ready to move out. In-fact we later found out the house was scheduled to go into foreclosure the week we closed. The only furniture left in the entire house was a bed and some random junk and mostly inhabited by spiders. Lots and lots of spiders.
In my next post about the house I will cover the things we did prior to move-in.