Ben and I began our home search in August. In Boise, the housing market has crazy low prices. It seems that 90% of homes are the market are either REOs (foreclosures) or Short Sales. Combine these deals with low interest rates, and it seemed like perfect timing.
We started out with a budget of $60k, looking at townhouses and condos a little bigger than our current apartment. As is often the case (if you watch House Hunters) our budget began to expand. There were a few options in our range, but I began to worry about if there would be enough room for kids, location, etc. After meeting with a loan officer, we found that we were approved for more - $150k. Thus, our budget grew to $100k.
Houses in this price range looked a lot better- now we could afford more locations, 1800 sf, and a small yard. Then we met Charter Pointe- a way south Boise neighborhood with a little extra drive time, a community pool, and tons of foreclosures. We found a 3100 sf home in need of some cosmetic repairs for $117k. We took a few days to research this huge decision, looking at neighborhood comparison sales and talking to our parents. We put together an offer of $107k, only to learn it sold the day before at $110k.
Armed with our new knowledge and ready to make a quick decision, we checked out some other Charter Pointe homes. The first had a CRAZY floorplan- the front door opens to the kitchen (!?), which led to the dining nook and living room. The master suite was also downstairs. Upstairs, there was a HUGE living area, big enough to play basketball in, 3 bedrooms, and a laundry room. The price was right- a foreclosure for 109k for 2700 sf, but we couldn't see beyond the wacky plan.
Next, we saw a home in Meridian that was in a cute neighborhood, no HOA fees, 3bd, 2 bath, 1750 sf for $119k. It had granite everywhere, a garden in the backyard, and a really cool master suite. Ben fell in love, but I was worried about the space. We run two businesses- Sorella Bella and Parker Planners - which means a lot of inventory needs storing. I hesitated, and the house went pending with three offers.
We decided to look at a house called Mossywood in hopes it might drop in price. Charter Pointe, 139k, 4 bd, 3 bath, 3555 sf. The day before we went to see it, it dropped to 134k. We instantly fell in love with the spacious interior- an exercise room, living/dining room, family room, huge walk-in pantry and large kitchen, and office downstairs. Upstairs were 3 bedrooms, a large game room, and a master suite with His & Hers walk-in closets and a spa tub. Ben kept saying "This is too nice for us." I agreed- it was well above our original budget, and we certainly didn't need so much space in a first home. After getting back to our apartment, though, we kept thinking about that house. We crunched the numbers and realized that it was actually within range. We put an offer in the next day and it was accepted!
|Mossywood Game Room|
|The spacious kitchen and huge pantry (see the door on the right edge of the photo?) are the biggest selling points to me.|
|Mossywood's Small Back Yard|
The one snag- it is a short sale! The offer was accepted on September 15th and moved into the second stage October 28th. Short sales can take up to 6 months to close, and we are struggling with patience. As the months go by, I am beginning to doubt our decision. Should we really take on such debt in this economy? Am I settling with the cons of the home (cookie cutter builder neighborhood, no fireplace, blah kitchen, location, tiny backyard, no 3rd bay in garage, price is max of our budget meaning little left over for decor and personalization), when the perfect home is just around the corner?
|Fixer - North Acre|
This weekend we are headed out on the house hunt again with our trusty realtor. Steve has put up with us viewing dozens of homes, often twice, as we learn what we like and to spot a good deal. We are going to see two smaller fixer foreclosures with much lower price tags, and another Charter Pointe short sale (Steve- "Haven't you learned your lesson?").
Most likely there is no perfect home on our tight budget- we will need to make concessions somewhere- size, location, condition. But where? Would I be happier in a smaller, perfect condition home in a mediocre location? Or a large fixer in a good location? Maybe a small fixer in a perfect location? While I expected to learn a lot buying a house, I never knew how much I would be learning about myself!
I'd love to hear your experiences about buying your home, concessions and decisions, or have you found your dream place?