On Tuesday Mark and I closed on our house.
To say I am excited is an understatement. Getting here was definitely a roller coaster ride, but after signing all the papers I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and know that this is really happening instead of just hoping like mad.
We don't actually have possession yet. The sellers couldn't close on their new house until we were ready to close, so they are in the process of packing up and moving too. We will have the keys in about 2 1/2 weeks, sooner if they are able, but I'm not holding my breath. If we get in earlier than expected it will be a pleasant surprise.
I always used to like watching those home buying shows on HGTV like Property Virgins or My First Place. I know those shows show complications sometimes, but overall I found the whole looking at houses and deciding which one we wanted to make an offer on the easier part.
The mortgage was the tough part. No matter what anybody tries to tell you, student loan debt DOES hurt you. Our biggest challenge in getting approved was our debt to income ratio. With the helpful suggestions of our mortgage rep, we were able to pay some things down and make it work, but even though he was optimistic for us I was really nervous the whole time that something wasn't going to get approved.
Putting the offer on the house was more exciting than scary for us. Maybe it helps that we didn't low ball them. We wanted to get a good price on the house, but it had already been reduced twice and they were asking less than they paid for it and we thought the asking price was fair. We offered a little less and asked them to pay some closing costs. They accepted our price and agreed to pay about half of what we had asked them to pay in closing and we accepted.
Then we had a couple things that we wanted the sellers to fix after we had the home inspection. There was a little back and forth there, but those got fixed.
Then came the appraisal and home inspection from the bank. THAT gave me a headache. The appraisal came back fine, but the bank wanted some (well, actually a lot and a lot we hadn't noticed) peeling paint on the exterior scraped off and repainted. Which wouldn't have been a huge deal in summer, but in Ohio in November? Not a great time to paint when even during the spell of warm weather we were having it was getting below freezing at night. The suggestion was that WE do the painting, and we balked at that. We both have to work during the day, and what was I supposed to do, get up on a ladder to paint window frames on the attic windows with E strapped to me? Not to mention that we don't exactly have all the knowledge, experience, or tools to get a big job like that done in a day or two. In the end our agent found someone who could do it and we split the cost with the sellers.
Anyway, everything eventually got settled and we were cleared to close and we did.
Later I thought about it, and it does seem kind of strange to take out a mortgage for a longer period of time than either of us have been alive.
We are both really happy about this. It was time. I think it was an unofficial goal of mine to own a home by the time I turned 30. I'm within that and so is Mark. When we moved here a couple years ago we said that we weren't going to move for at least two years. Well that was December 2008 so it will be exactly 2 years.
When I got pregnant with E we started getting a lot of pressure to buy a house. Even with the tax credit, it just wasn't the right time for us. I kept telling those people that we wouldn't get approved for a mortgage (Mark didn't have a long enough work history at that point) and they kept acting like I was making stuff up, but hey, after all we went through I found out that I WAS RIGHT. It was hard enough now, last year it would have been impossible. Anyway, I knew we would want a house and a backyard eventually, I said by the summer he was 2 I definitely wanted a backyard. This past year was no big deal since we had a patio and enough grass too put a blanket down and be outside. Now that he is practically running, I'm glad that we will have the (fenced!) backyard next year. I needed a place for a kiddie pool too, you know?
This summer I started having some serious house envy too. Some of the same people who had been pressuring before were putting pressure on again. It felt like we were second class citizens for renting instead of owning. Which is silly, but that is how it was starting to feel. Then my co-workers daughter got engaged, and her fiance's grandmother owned a house she offered to rent to them after they got married. I have to admit, that kind of did it for me. Here were a couple of 20 year olds who were going to have a house (even if they were renting, not buying). Our friends here all have houses. I felt it was time we had to at least try.
The thing about all that is that if you go to college, meet someone there, graduate and both get full time professional jobs and get married, settle somewhere here in Ohio, you can probably buy a house within a couple years. So most people do. If after graduating from high school you or your spouse started working right away and either didn't go to college or only took classes part time, you can also probably buy a house, and for a lot of people here that is what they do too.
The "problem" is that if you do graduate school of any kind it is really going to delay your ability to buy a house because instead of earning income you are probably racking up debt. Of course our other big thing was that we were living in the Chicago area where things are totally different. At least they looked totally different to me. Where as here most kids are getting married in their very early twenties and buying a house right away, where we spent our early-mid twenties people are age were often times living with their parents and just trying to save enough to rent their own place. I guess that isn't so different when you consider that rent on a one bedroom apartment somewhere on the north side is probably more than most mortgage payments (with tax and insurance) are here. Heck, our mortgage payment (plus tax and insurance) isn't even $30 more than the rent on my one bedroom apartment in the 'burbs was three years ago.
Anyway, my point in all this was that as happy as we were to move back to Ohio and as much as we like this area, it did kind of suck to go from being in a similar place as our peers were out in Chicago to moving here and feeling way behind everyone else. Not that buying a house was to keep up with everyone else or something like that, but when there is something you really have wanted and everyone around you your age has it and it looks like something you still can't attain, well, that sucks.
Enough ramblings on this for now.