Last week, while I was traveling on business, my wife went house hunting with our realtor. She saw several houses and thought that a few were worthwhile for me to look at as well. On Friday, when I got back in town I left work early and we went to look at 5 of them. The score card: one really nice house, two reasonable ones, one horrible and one... no longer for sale. The owners decided to rent instead of sell.
Anyway, one good house is all it takes. While it has been on the market for about 4 months and the price has come down substantially, it is still about $80K above our budget. We asked the realtor to help us decide whether we should still put in an offer. She thinks we should, but I think it may be difficult to get that house with our budget.
The two other houses I thought were decent would also work, but each of them requires a substantial amount of improvement before I would be happy. In any case, both are substantially less attractive than the house we liked. It's just like I said before, it looks like the house you want is always just a bit above your price range.
In the meantime, our mortgage pre-approval came through for the full amount we wanted. The mortgage broker had to send us the pre-approval letter three times, because she kept misspelling my wife's name... I don't think we'll be using her services when we actually apply for a loan. If she can't handle the fine details of spelling a name correctly, how can she be expected to handle our loan application correctly? Call me picky, but I want someone meticulous to help me hunt for a mortgage and to handle my finances. Am I wrong?
One more step successfully completed: I transferred some funds into our checking account. Just enough to cover our down payment when we decide put an offer on a house... we are locked and loaded. Now it's just a matter of deciding when and how to pull the trigger. It's all about patience and a steady aim.
Exciting stuff. No?
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