Well, that was a week.
We saw 21 houses in two days, narrowed it down to three, and finally offered on one yesterday. They accepted our offer late last night, while we were flying home.
Assuming the house inspection goes all right and Murphy’s Law doesn’t take affect, we’ll be closing right around the time we arrive in Michigan.
I’m a little woozy and hungover from it all. I would definitely not advise trying to find and offer on a house in three days, but if that’s your only option, it is doable. And for the third time in our home-hunting lives (well, apartments before this one), our plane tickets have been worth the expense because we picked a house that wasn’t in our top 5.
We also learned a lot from looking at all those houses. I can more confidently pick out a house on Zillow based on photos and description alone than before. But then, it really depends on the area/market/etc. Our experience house hunting in MI was vastly different from experiences I’ve read/heard about house hunting in Denver, Georgia, and even here in Arizona. You just gotta know what’s going on and how that affects prices.
For example, for us it meant:
a) Yes, overall houses are super cheap
b) But there’s a reason some are even cheaper than others, and
c) That market is still in the beginning of recovering from the foreclosure crisis
Meaning lots and lots of empty, abandoned houses. Lots of otherwise good houses in semi-empty neighborhoods. Lots of houses with pretty skin – i.e. new paneling, new paint, new windows – but really bad bones. Since the market is already pretty cheap, it just doesn’t make financial sense for someone to put a lot of money into repairing a house when that won’t translate to much of an increase in value. So you get slap-dash cosmetic repairs that look great in photos but don’t make the place safer.
All that is to say that after the first few really bad houses, we were able to just poke our heads inside and decide pretty quickly. Our priorities shifted from a cool kitchen and good looks to solid structure. And then when we finally found the One, we both knew it.
Yeah, but what about the house??
Well, it’s in our price range, which means it’s not super fancy. It was a rental, so it’s a bit of a blank slate, but it’s in really great shape. Two bedrooms, clean basement, big open kitchen, nice yard, in a great neighborhood, and close to Dr Lady’s new job. Honestly, not as Cool or Exciting as some of the other houses, but we won’t have to do anything to it and it’ll be a lot easier to sell when we move on.
Now comes the fun part of hoping there are no delays and everything comes together right when we get there.