…you know…just the usual. hanging out with friends and family, enjoying time with the boy…and oh yeah – buying a house!
interest rates are at an all time low, we were casually looking, and things just sort of fell into place – and rather quickly too!
there were several months of arguing and going back and forth about condo vs co-op vs house vs brooklyn vs queens vs staten island. ideally we both would have loved to find a house in our neighborhood in brooklyn. but prices for houses in our area turned out to be obscenely expensive and they needed so much work before it would have been livable. we considered a condo or co-op but the more we thought about it, the more we realized that wasn’t such a great idea. that left us with our only option…staten island. it was affordable and the houses were a lot newer than the ones that we saw in the other boroughs. our list of “must haves” was pretty long:
- built in 2000 or later
- 3 bedrooms
- finished basement
- bathroom in master suite
- half bathroom on the main level
- updated kitchen
- garage connected to the house
- laundry on main or upper level (who wants to haul the laundry all the way to the basement JUST to bring it all the way back upstairs when its done?!)
- formal dining room
- semi or fully detached
- central air
- NO pool
i’m sure there was more to our original list of wants…but i just can’t remember them all right now! i had contacted a realtor to check out a house that we saw online and it was a dud. it looked promising from the pictures but of course when we saw it in person it wasn’t what we were expecting – its amazing what a wide angle lens can do! we felt comfortable with the realtor and ended up exchanging contact information so she could help us find some more listings to check out.
fast forward to a few weeks later, the realtor gave us a links to about 10 houses and we chose 4 to look at. because of my ocd tendencies, i created a survey/checklist for each house we were going to see and stuck it in a large binder that i had started to keep track of everything real estate related.
house after house each one had too much wrong with it for us to even consider them a possibility. after a day spent looking at 4 houses around staten island we were loosing hope. towards the end of the day the realtor said that she had one more house that she really thought we should go look at. it was pretty far into the island and not in the neighborhoods that we were considering so we were hesitant…but we figured might as well go see it so we could help her get a better feel of what we liked/didn’t like so she could find some more listings for us. i was so tired at this point that after we parked the car, i didn’t even bother taking the binder out and just figured we’d take a quick peek at this last house and call it a day.
i was SO wrong.
even though this house wasn’t exactly what we were looking for, it turned out to be the one. there was so much else that we (read: I) loved.
a few days later the realtor emailed us with some more links to additional listings to check out, but instead we made an appointment for a second viewing of the house.
that was june 17th. i brought my dad with us to make sure he approved and things progressed pretty quickly from there.
the following day on june 18th we put in our offer and got accepted! we signed our binder and we were on the way! here’s how the rest of the timeline went:
6/21 – we hired an inspector to come to check out the house
6/22 – the signed binder was submitted to our attorney
6/25 – the listing was officially removed – the sellers only had the house on the market for 39 days. pretty lucky on their part!
we were away for almost two weeks in mexico so everything was on a short hiatus
7/10 – we met with our attorney for the first time to review and sign the contract and submit our good faith deposit
7/17 – the contract went over to our mortgage broker
7/18 – the mortgage broker sent us a list of documents to gather and we submitted them by the end of the day
7/20 – we stopped by the mortgage broker to submit our application and drop off a check for some fees
8/1 – we were notified that since the house we were buying is part of a community with an HOA, we needed them to fill out paperwork with their financial information.
8/4 – the HOA informed us that in order for them to fill out any information, we’d have to drop off a check for $100 to them…i know right?! so there goes another check…
8/10 – the HOA finally returned the survey to our mortgage broker
8/16 – our loan application was finally submitted to underwriting!
8/27 – we received our commitment letter from the bank
9/11 – there was a little hiccup with my student loans and my credit reports…an error on the bank’s side, it was fixed after going back and forth with them for over two weeks!
9/12 – mailed a check to pay for the bank’s surveyor
9/13 – mailed another check to the mortgage broker (see a trend here?? lots of checks…still no house!)
9/21 – signed our rate lock at 3.5%!
9/27 – finally CLEARED TO CLOSE!
10/16 – CLOSING! because of everyone’s conflicting schedules, we weren’t all able to get together until almost 3 weeks after we got the go ahead from the broker.
and there you have it…our happily ever after! or the first part of it…
its been two months since we’ve closed and besides being exhausted and broke, we are still not anywhere close to being done working on the house. fixing little things here and there…buying furniture…spackle, sand and painting! its never ending!
i can see this this is consuming my life for the foreseeable future!
till next time!