Wednesday, February 22, 2012

House Hunting and the "Feeling"

When talking about buying a house, M and I hear all the time about the "feeling." Some people swear that they know what house is the right house based on the feeling. It is a simple as walking in and knowing this place is right. However, for us it doesn't seem like the feeling has made an appearance. We've made our list and have been diligently going through houses to see what best fits our wants and needs. There have been times where we have felt a certain affinity towards a home, but I don't know if that really constitues the feeling that people describe. I just wonder if we will ever reach this level of clarity that others seem to get when looking for a home.

I think that overall we are just trying to be rational about the decision. It is a big, important decision and there are a few unofficial motto's that we seem to be using:

"No step is better than the wrong step." Int the book I'm currently reading one of the people said this about Vietnam, and I thought that idea also seems to apply to house hunting. It is one thing regretting passing on a great home (ex. the Remmington home) and thinking that maybe we should have bought it. It is a completely different thing regretting buying a certain home that didn't fit what you wanted. For us if we end up passing on many good homes then that is ok as long as we avoid buying the wrong home.

"Be willing to walk away." This is the basic rule of scalping tickets, and I think it also makes sense with purchasing a home. We've been willing to put offers on two homes, but when we couldn't work out a price we didn't chase them. The latest home was something that I certainly could see us living in, but there were a few changes that we wanted to make. If we were able to negotiate a lower price then those changes would be a lot easier on the budget. However, when the seller was focused on getting their listing price for the homes then we were willing to walk away.

"Location, location, location." We could get everything we wanted in terms of a house if we were flexible on location. However, we aren't. Location is non-negotiable for us. We want a place with a good school district and we want a location that fits our personalities.

"You can never do too much analysis."  If you are reading this then the odds are pretty good that I've asked your advice on our house hunting. I might have asked about the qualitative (how you feel about homes, what's important to you, etc) or the quantitative (% of gross pay that should be devoted to home, negotiation strategies, etc). M and I want to be over-prepared. You might think we are being too particular or too involved in this decision, but I think a decision this important requires a detailed and lengthy analysis. I don't want to buy a home that we don't like at a price we can't afford. If you have any concerns about the type of home or the price of the home, then I am open to hear those challenges. My guess is that we have thought about them and have our reasons for our decision. With buying a home, I just don't want to be surprised later on by something that I didn't consider. From that I wanted to get as much advice as possible from my friends & family members.

With all that being written, we might be getting closer to finalizing a contract on a home. There is a remodel/rehab home that I've talked about before and it seems to be more and more of a possibility. We really like what the contractor is doing with the house and can see the advantages of living in a remodeled home. It is on a great street with the character homes that we wanted. Also, since it is being remodeled, we should have the advantages of a new build. There will be new windows, a new kitchen, etc. The goal is to sit down with the contractor and work out the details of our agreement. I want to know specifically what we are getting for the price we are spending. I'm crossing my fingers that this home works out and that come May/June we will be moving in to our new house.

Maybe then I will get the feeling that I feel like has been missing with our house hunting expedition.

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