House Hunting

Adventures In House Buying

Those of you that have gone through the process of buying your first house are going to smugly nod through this, while those of you that haven’t are going to try and convince yourself that this is a special case and it’s totally not that bad. You are wrong, but enjoy your ignorant optimism while you can for the rest of us.

One of the main goals in moving down to New Orleans and leaving our San Francisco life behind was to buy a house that costs significantly less than $1million dollars (something that’s challenging in the bay area). Another major thing on our list was to get a dog and that was super easy to check off the list and has been all that we’ve dreamed of and more.

First on the list was finding a mortgage broker. Or a better way to put that would be ‘selecting a mortgage broker’. It’s totally easy to find one, selecting one is a bit stressful. First there are like a gazillion line items they can try and charge you for, down to courier fees for them to file your paperwork. Luckily our good friend is a realtor so we didn’t have to go through the selection process for that and he recommended a mortgage broker who is solid. We did comparison shop and were relieved that this guy was the clear choice. I did have to fight the urge to make a comment to A. during our meeting about how we weren’t going to be able to run away and travel the world after this, but didn’t think the dude with the money would be amused. It’s kind of like making comments about security while walking through TSA.

Mortgages are complicated, or rather, all the fees that comes with your mortgage are complicated. Luckily A is smarter than your average bear with this due to some work he’s done in the lawyering world, because I felt a bit like a noob. I was able to talk about mortgage insurance, pros/cons of of 15 yr vs 30yr mortgages, and adjustable rate mortgages. I forgot what points are, but was able to ask about them like I knew so that it wasn’t obvious. All thanks to some internet research and some SF digital library loans. I think one of the tough things about a mortgage is thinking about the future long-term and what you want to be held to. A. and I are both secure in our reasonably paying jobs, but do we want to commit to them for 15 years? What if one of us wants to quit and write the next great america novel or be a stay at home Dad (either of us right?) or a teacher or something that pays significantly less than what we’re doing right now but would make us really happy in 8 or 9 years? It’s a big unknown. What if we decide we need 5 dogs? I mean obedience school, doggy daycare, and boarding isn’t free.

Then there is the house shopping itself. So I’ve been compiling a list and checking it twice on realtor.com for months because that’s how I do. We of course decided to get serious about this once our good friend and realtor was set to go off to the arctic for vacation. But anyways, now he’s back and we’re looking at places. So something that never occurred to me in scenarios of house searching is that the people have to get back to you about looking at the house. SERIOUSLY!? So I have to look through all these houses, make sure that they’re not too close to anything bad on the murder map, make sure they have the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, make sure there’s a decent yard, make sure they cost the right amountish, make sure it’s not a disaster inside, hope that no one buys it before we can schedule it, and now I also have to worry about hearing back from the realtor/owner? I just. I can’t even. Cut me a break here.

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