Buying a House — Well, That Wasn’t So Bad, Enit?

One month after starting the housebuying process, the hubby and I have closed on the house next door today. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, probably because we’ve been neighbors with the sellers for nearly two years and that the advent of technology (especially email, cell phones, and fax machines) has made the fact gathering and paperwork side of things that much more tolerable.

And, yes, one month *is* pretty quick. All this spring, I was still window shopping houses (that is, lurking around www.ebby.com and www.realtor.com) with two criteria in mind: 3 bedroom, 2 bath, under $120,000.00, such that, with $6000.00 in cash from our end (in savings), we could have a potential house payment of $1000.00 a month ($700.00 for the house, $300.00 for taxes and insurance).

On May 15, our neighbors next door threw a *huge* crawfish boil party, and it was there that they mentioned that they might move into a bigger house. Their house is a wonderful three-bedroom, two-bath, one-car garage with a great backyard with a large brickfloor-and overheard trellised patio with lots of potted plants. It’s a great house, well-maintained. A couple of weeks later, in late May, coming back from studying, my household saw a “For Sale” sign in front of their house. “Hey, they’ve *actually* done it!” one of my housemates commented. Not too long after, one of my neighbors knocked on our door and said, “We’ll drop the price by $5000.00 for ya’ll.” I checked one of those two real estate websites: they were asking $119,800.00.

Well, hot damn!

I filled out a form on www.mortgageexpo.com, which found me two lenders online. The day, after Memorial Day, *both* lenders called me on my cell phone. I gave both of them preliminary financial and identity information (mostly so they could do credit checks on both me and my hubby). That night, they *emailed* me prequalification-for-a-mortgage letters — the hubby and I were prequalled for $115,000.00. I printed one of them, marched my little self (along with the hubby and my two housemates) over to the neighbors, knocked, and, without saying a word, held up the prequal letter.

To say the least, they were overjoyed.

They gave me the name and number of their realtor, Jan from Keller Williams Realty. We called, we emailed, we talked face to face. We wrote out a “deposit” of sorts, called “earnest money,” of $1000.00 to show that we were serious about the home purchase, which would go towards the purchase price. We wrote out a $200.00 check to our neighbors (an “option fee”) that allows us to back out of the home purchase process at any time without any penalty. It was Jan who arranged the home inspection (we paid $200.00) and the termite inspection (we paid $79.00). It was Jan who wrote up the purchase contract, which we signed on June 8, 2004.

Meanwhile, I chose PrimeLending as my lender, and it was Teresa, the loan officer, who arranged the home appraisal (we paid $490.00). It was Katy, the loan processor, who did lots of the paperwork. We faxed three months’ worth paycheck stubs, bank statements, retirements fund statements; we faxed two years’ worth of W2s and tax returns. We faxed drivers’ licence copies. We received, read, signed, and faxed back forms. We received via Fedex forms, which we signed, copied, and Fedexed back. We really have come to appreciate having a home fax machine. From June 4 (when Teresa first contacted me) to June 24 (when I faxed the last bit of financial documentation to Katy), we kept in contact with our lender at least twice a week. Our mortgage ended up being an FHA home loan, with 3% of the purchase price down, no points, locked in at 6.5%.

Finally, on June 30, we chose a home insurance agent, the same agency as our current housemates, Strack Insurance, and Donna, our agent. I gave her a call, gave some preliminary information about the stats of the house and some info about me, the hubby, who our realtor is, and who our lender is. We received in snail mail forms, which we signed, copied (having a home office copier is great, too), and mailed back on July 1. Our policy is the basic hazards policy, about $706.00 a year, or about $48.00 a month (rolled into the monthly house payments).

At closing, today July 8, we met the closing agent at the title company, America Title Company, and met Jim, the closer. Jan, Katy, Donna, and Jim had been in contact with each other, with Jan as me and my hubby’s spokesperson and middleman. Lots of paperwork to go over and sign, but Jan was there, and Jim was a hoot. A former late 1960s, early 1970s Texas hippie. We handed over a cashier’s check of $4000.00 and a five dollar bill (which Jim made change) for total closing costs (remaining house deposit and fees) of $4004.69.

So, we bought a house today. There’s no rush to move out and move in, however — our soon-to-be-ex-neighbors’ own closing day isn’t till Friday, and they asked and we granted another week for them to pack up and move, with their final moving out day being July 17. Meanwhile, they’ll pay *us* $38.00 a day until they move out (it’s on the purchase contract). I wouldn’t even think to ask that; our realtor came up with that.

So — we’re now homeowners, we’ll be landlords for nine days, and we’ll officially move in the house next door (*our* house next door, I must tell myself now — wow!)in a little over a week from now. Our house payment + private mortgage insurance (since we paid less than 20% down) + real estate tax + home insurance = $1056.00 a month, beginning September 1, 2004. The total, out-of-pocket expense for buying this house was less than $6000.00, that is, $5,973.69.

Remember my two criteria when I was window house-shopping? >grin

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About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
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