About 6 weeks ago, Nick and I made an abrupt decision to look for a house. This is something we've gone through before with a specific relative-owned house, and my step-father is a realtor, so we kind of knew what we were getting into.
However, the economy being what it is, and the state of foreclosures, we didn't realize how much more difficult obtaining a loan would be. We have some positives, but we also had some negatives in our application process.
When we went in, we were assured that it would be quick and painless, and that we would know within a week. Then a week passed. Then two. Sometimes there were phone calls, other times there were not. We went from having both our names on the loan application to just Nick's. We have brought in more paperwork upon more paperwork.
And still, no word from the lender. Honestly, we'd pretty much given up on getting a house this summer, and since our lease is up soon, we were looking at the rental options. We could do a month-to-month lease, but it's $100 more per month. We could do a 6 or 9 month lease at $50 more per month, or a 12 or 24 month lease at the same price, with $250 off of June's rent.
Another downside, we have to give them 2 months notice on the 1st of the month. They won't prorate the last month's rent, so it's a full 60 days from the 1st. We already passed that time if we wanted out at the end of our lease, May 31st. We're quickly approaching that date if we want out by June 31st.
Today, I was a bit of a sadist. Or is it masochist? I can never remember which one likes the pain. I digress. Today I looked up the listing of the house we both love. We have dubbed it "The Charlotte House". No, it isn't creative in the least, simply because it's a house located in Charlotte, MI. ;)
I was first pleasantly surprised to find it IS still listed. Then, I was further surprised to find the listing price has dropped $16k since we looked at it 6 weeks ago. It's now under $100k, listed at $98,800. When we first decided that house was -the- house, we wanted to offer in at around $98-100k, and hope they would give us a counter offer of $105k. That's what we were willing to pay, but now, it's under that, so good for us.
Nick called the lender today to kind of prod him along. I do understand the hesitation. Michigan is looking at record high numbers of foreclosures. You can't drive down any street in our city without seeing at least 1 house for sale per city block. Some blocks it's more like 2-3 houses. I know 1 block where all but 2 houses are for sale (with about 10 houses on that street section, 8 for sale).
Lenders are being MUCH more cautious. They are investigating how stable your income is, and scrutinizing credit as far back as 15 years. They also needed a letter of explanation about things that happened 10 years ago, and have LONG since been paid off.
The lender told Nick that he's just waiting on the underwriters, but sounded all right- he didn't make it sound there is just no chance in the world we're getting a loan. He told us we should know tomorrow, or Wed at the absolute latest.
We are at the point where we just want to know, and if it's good enough, put an offer in on that house immediatly, as long as it passes an inspection. We may have an overlap, but the house is also listed as a short-sale. That means that both the bank and the current owners have agreed to sell it for less than it's worth, and write off the remaining debt from the current owners. The bank loses some money, and the owners don't profit, but otherwise, the bank has to go through a foreclosure process, and probably lose out on more money.
We don't want to wait long. And from the sounds of it, short sale's tend to close fast.
Here's some stats on the house-
It has 2307 sq ft of finished, liveable space. It is a farmhouse built in 1950, and it has 3 bedrooms upstairs, plus a den. On the main floor, there is 1 more bedroom, plus 2 rooms that can be used as bedrooms, but without closets in them. Then there is a living room, a nook, a kitchen, a dining room, 2 bathrooms, a laundry room, and a walk-through pantry.
In the nook, pantry, and dining room, it has the Pergo (sp?) faux wood flooring. The carpet in the upstairs den, and in the living room has some minimal staining, but with 3 kids, it'll get stained more, so I'd rather have semi-stained carpet than something that looks fabulous anyway. Maybe in 3-5 years, when our youngest is 9-11, we can recarpet.
The one downside I can see is that the living room is a central hub- it has doors on 3 of the 4 walls. Wall one is the outside door, and the door to one of the non-bedroom rooms. Wall two has a door to the master bedroom, and the staircase on it. Wall three has a large opening to the kitchen. Wall four just has a window on it. It makes laying out the living room a bit rough. However, there are two doors off of the dining room going outside, and the dining room (which is on the opposite end of the house as the living room) is next to the driveway, where as the living room is not. So, we could block that door off, and just use one of the other two doors.
Off from the living room is a cement porch on the front, but no roof. Eventually, that would be something I would like to add to it. Off from the very rear of the house is a deck (again, no roof), and a fenced in back yard with a shed. Outside of the fenced in section is a wooden swing set, and another shed. The driveway is short and wide- you can't park a car behind another one, but it's wide enough to park 3 side by side.
There is a small cellar- just big enough to hold the hot water heater, and the furnace. The rest of the house has a crawl space. The only access to the cellar is by going outside. There is attic storage off from one of the upstairs bedrooms, though, along with 2 sheds for more storage.
The lot is a corner lot in the city. It has natural gas for heating, but electric appliances (though, honestly, I'd save up and buy a gas stove as soon as possible).
-sighs- This house is about perfect for us. The one downside is that it's a bit more of a drive for Nick to get to work. But, there is a co-worker who lives nearby, too, so carpooling some days is an option.
Here's some pictures of it from when we last went to see it.