Taking a break

My weekend in Chicago for St. Patrick’s day was a much needed break from my house hunt in Dallas.  I saw some of my good friends from college and stayed with my friend Stephanie who had recently relocated from Dallas. We enjoyed lots of  green beer, good food and new & old memories. And, I got to check off one of my bucket list items – see the Chicago river dyed green!

Chicago River

Chicago River

Once back in Dallas, the house hunt resumed. After a few more weeks I found it! My future home! Little did I know finding the house was the easiest part, the process that would ensue would be torture!

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Pulling the trigger

Over the next several days after my first day of house hunting, my personal search website was updated daily with new listings.  Each day I logged into my portal to review the new houses and decide if I liked them, hated them, or if they could be a possibility. Very few houses were coming on the market in my search parameters, and even fewer that I liked.  I started wondering how long it could take me to find something.

Meanwhile, the Dallas housing market was heating up – supply was low and demand was high. Houses were selling within hours of going on the market and for above asking price! What this meant for me: I had to be ready to pull the trigger when I found something I liked.

The second weekend of my house search, I had plans to meet my Realtor in the morning to go see 5 houses. Before I left my place that day I logged into my custom site and noticed one particular house that I really wanted to see.  It was in a great location, less than 1 mile from my good friend Annie, and backed up to a neighborhood greenspace that had a huge pool, tennis courts, playground and walking path, all for a low HOA fee of $600 per year! Saturday’s house hunt produced nothing exciting, but we made plans to go out again on Sunday morning and see the aforementioned house.

Day 3, Sunday March 10: met with my Realtor and went and saw the house. It was almost as good as I imagined it would be! The layout was okay, it had a great wall of built-ins which featured a wet-bar, and the kitchen was pretty spacious despite being a galley layout. The downside: it was FILTHY! They current owners had not cleaned in months! Everything was dusty, the countertops & cabinets hadn’t been cleaned in quite some time, and the closets were full to the brim of junk! Thankfully, I knew cleaning was an easy fix – a few gallons of ammonia would take care of all of the dirt and grime.  So we saw a few more houses that morning and went back for my “second look” and decided to put in an offer.

After the showing I headed to book club and await an update.  Within an hour I had an update: there were already 3 offers on the house. I decided to proceed with my offer – you can’t win if you don’t try. On Monday, I had my answer: there were 2 FHA offers and 2 conventional – they weren’t even going to consider the FHA’s because they knew there were issues with the house that wouldn’t meet FHA guidelines that they weren’t going to fix.

Although I was pretty disappointed, I knew my chances were pretty low to begin. It was time to take a break and regroup, plus I was heading to Chicago the next weekend to celebrate my favorite holiday – St. Patrick’s Day!

Let the games begin!

After the initial meeting with my Realtor, he provided me with a website that was customized for my search and allowed me to mark which listings I liked, hated and were a possibility. I had almost 100 houses to review before we went house hunting! Thankfully I was able to eliminate a large amount based on their location, then I eliminated based on # of bedrooms (less than 3), and anything without a garage. I managed to get the list of options down to about 25, which was a pretty hefty feat.

Saturday March 2, 2013 was the first day of house hunting.  I picked up my friend Liz (on HGTV they always bring a friend, so obviously I needed one too in order to find my perfect house!) and we headed north from downtown to the suburbs.  My Realtor presented me with a fantastic binder (I love when someone is prepared & organized!) that had an outline of our house hunt for the morning as well as the MLS listings of the 10 houses we’d be seeing.

Planned viewings for the first day of house hunting.

Planned viewings for the first day of house hunting.

The first two houses were less than 1,500 square feet and although they had some nice finishes, I quickly realized the rooms were too small for my taste. The other 8 houses we saw that day were okay – nothing that seemed to be a good fit. My Realtor was awesome about looking at the critical details – the roof, a/c unit, and foundation and telling me the good and bad about a house. I didn’t find my dream house that day, but I did get a good idea of more things I didn’t want in my future home.