2 Purchasing a Home Part 1

This series of home posts are events which occurred in the distant past, please bear with me until I catch up to the present.

Part 1, is our story.
Part 2, contains helpful tips and tools I used to make things easier.

Where to begin on the house buying experience? How about right here:

I was actively trying to purchase a home with a few failed attempts (Delayed, Postponed,  Disappointed anyone?). But everything happens for a reason right? Anyway, last winter and after D-day (you know the dreaded word: Divorce), I wanted to keep my home buying dream alive even if it meant waiting another year or so for financial obligations to clear up.
Graphic by: Trisha D.

So I contacted a new realtor (my previous realtor did not require a binding contract) that a friend suggested and inquired about showings. The new realtor had mentioned they required a pre-approval letter and a contract before showing properties. This was nothing new to me, but I didn't want to be restricted by price, contract and quite frankly I wasn't looking for a credit check after the big 'D' (to avoid any damage to the potentially fragile credit report). The realtor collected my contact info anyway. They got me started on an email listing of homes- also not new to me. This brought me up to two sets of home preference listings via email.

After reviewing some of the properties each realtor email program sent out based on my preferences, it became clear most of them were not within my few requests (computers get it wrong all the time). So I began searching on my own- by the way this process isn't nearly as bad as it sounds, I'll include details in part 2.

**Pics to come on some homes we viewed and what we named them.

Update 1/3/13- here are the pictures with their names:

We called this the Charles Manson Mini-Mansion because, well, it looks super creepy. We fell in love with the character of the home but it seemed like it was to be preserved with special care. That and I can only imagine that kids could probably make up some pretty ridiculous stories. It would be fun for Halloween. Here's a little creepy version for ya:

We called this the Christmas House because of the colors. Yes that is red and green siding.  We really liked this property for the LAND- it had something like 23 or 28 acres- yes acres. But it sold so fast and we just weren't quite ready to make a house purchase at that time. Bummer. I do remember the house had some crayon drawings on the walls, but we didn't get the chance to view it.

I also realized one doesn't need a buyer’s realtor to view homes. If you are a realtor or know one personally you may be shaking your head right now but hear me out (I totally understand the stiff competition).

So I proceeded by contacting sellers Realtors for showings and open houses. By this time, my boyfriend was interested in tagging along and has always considered buying a home. We went through our fair share of homes, big, small, above and below an estimated budget (again additional tips will be provided later), dumps, steals, and treasures. We politely answered all questions from each seller’s realtor like: what we’re looking for, let me be your realtor sales pitches, declined email listings, and made sure we didn't lead any of them on (sort of like a first date?).

Then we found some homes we were quite interested in, talked and talked and dreamed about them, viewed them multiple times, etc. We even re-drew a floor plan layout on one of the homes. Some were sold right before we had the opportunity to put in an offer and some- we found just weren't right. We didn't take it to heart, I knew the game and we kept the constant reminder that there are PLENTY of houses out there.
Graphic by: Trisha D.

All the while, the boyfriend and I had discussed preferences on homes, finances, how we could go about living together, etc. so the next steps were quite easy. We discussed worst possible scenarios and their resolutions (some tips for roommate and domestic partnerships in part 2), we ensured the house payment was achievable on one income alone, that no pressure was given on either side, etc.

And all of a sudden, we found one we were extremely interested in.  Seriously- we view it more than a half dozen times. It met a lot of our main criteria and if any minor pieces were missing we knew we could work on that later.
Graphic by: Trisha D.

We then proceeded with the bank portion and decided to pick one which didn't require any obligations for a pre-approval letter while continuing to shop around. We had asked if we needed a realtor to go through the purchase and she checked with her agency to be sure.  It wasn’t required but she offered since she was filling in for an ill co-worker.  Since we had started to feel comfortable with her- remember we revisited the home over a half dozen times to be sure of the purchase- and it would make the process easier, we went with it.

We proceeded to put in our first purchase offer and we entered the negotiation stage. We may have set their agency record for the most counter offers. Total negotiations: 5. Proudly, we stuck to our guns and only agreed to go slightly higher than our pre-determined maximum.

And a whirlwind of events began. It.was.go.time. Definitions are in part 2.

  • Nail down a bank- this is serious commitment people. You will be in this relationship for 15-30 years.
  • Deliver earnest money.
  • Schedule and complete an inspection.
  • Set a closing date.
  • Re-negotiate after an inspection.
  • Dig up and present ridiculous amounts of financial history.
  • Maybe sign away your first born child with the amount of paperwork and signatures.
  • Order an appraisal (which is for the buyer’s protection).
  • Discuss escrow options to set money aside for taxes.
  • Research and commit to home owners insurance.
  • Complete a final walk through.
  • Prepare for closing date- expect delays for this one. 

On closing date, there were yet another set of documents to sign and then the keys were handed over. After ups and downs, it was prime time to get excited. We immediately drove to the new place to find the previous owner’s son hadn’t vacated yet. Queue the wah wah wah. Technically it was our house and so as excited new first time home buyers we just walked in, basked in our glory while they were frantically moving. A bit awkward but eh who cares. The house was left with personal belongings, some trash, and grimy so cleaning was first on the list. Good thing we hadn’t planned to live there for another full month as the apartment lease overlapped. Boy was that well worth the extra planning.

And my little disclaimer: Please keep in mind; these are my honest experiences they aren’t meant to scare you away from purchasing a home rather to hopefully help you make informed decisions.  Every state, banks, and Realtors have their own set of guidelines. 


  1. I love your graphics!! On a different note, I wish we had a place of our own already, I'm creative damn it! I need to make stuff my own lol

  2. Thank you! You will own a home someday when the time is right.


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