We be buyers!

A bright shot of the comfy living room of our new home.The second house we bid on did not get away! As you can see from the picture at right (a view of the living room w/the seller’s furniture), it’s not as grand as the fixer-upper we decided not to bid on, but it’s in tip-top shape, has a huge fenced yard for our dog, includes a garage and a dishwasher, and has more room than we’ve ever lived in, so it has everything we were hoping for. We’ll have an inspection next week and have to get insurance and finalize the financing, but I’m pretty confident we’ll be moving in by mid-June.

It feels a little crazy to be buying a house we’ve never seen, but Mother Imbroglio looked and liked, so that’s reassuring. It’s probably even crazier to be buying a house before I even have a job, but there you go. Besides, L. has a job, so I’m sure we’ll be ok. She said she wanted me to sponge off of her for as long as I wanted. Really. She’s just that sweet. [tags]homebuying, montana, real estate, realtors, L.[/tags]

Will another get away?

The living room of a big fixer-upper we did *not* bid on.So that house I mentioned the other day? It got away. The seller refused to drop below $100k so we let it pass. Good thing, too, because yesterday two more good options popped up on the market. The living room for one of them is pictured at right. Check out the huge size and that beautiful wood trim! And a fireplace! The house has over 2500 square feet! And a fenced yard for our dog and a 3-car garage! And it’s mere blocks from L’s job!

Now I know what you’re thinking: We could never afford a great place like that. But we’re talking Montana, here, where all that and more can be yours for little more than $100k! Now do you understand why we’re moving to Montana?

But, ok. Let me be honest. All of the above is true, but also true is that this house is a major “fixer-upper” that probably needs most of a new kitchen, a major rebuilding of the staircase leading to the second floor, and various other things too numerous to mention. And we don’t even know the condition of the plumbing, electrical system, furnace, roof, or foundation—you know, the important stuff. So that explains why it’s so cheap. But still, it’s pretty tempting. Just look at that living room! The dining room and one bedroom are in about that condition, too. The rest of the house? Another story altogether.

So we didn’t bid on that house. Instead, we bid on another which is almost in the same block. It’s much smaller but it has everything we’re looking for in terms of location, yard, dishwasher (very important!), garage, price, condition, etc. We’re currently waiting to hear if the buyer is going to respond to our offer. But while we were on the edge of our seats all of last weekend because of the anxiety of our first bid, now that we’ve been through it once we’re trying harder to stay relaxed. House hunting is just like going to the mall, only bigger, right?

As for the issue w/the statutory broker v. the buyer’s agent, we solved by simply asking our realtor about it. She explained that she can act in either capacity but had chosen to act as a statutory broker on the first deal b/c we were dealing at a distance and she thought we might prefer that b/c it meant we would not be obligated to use her as our agent if that particular deal fell through. However, for better or worse, we decided to contract w/her as a buyer’s agent (aka, a buyer’s broker) in order to make sure we’ll benefit from the additional obligations such a contract implies.

See all this stuff they don’t teach you in law school?
[tags]homebuying, real estate, montana, realtors[/tags]

The house that got away?

Life is moving pretty fast around here: Just over a week ago I was still in law school and didn’t know where I was going to live starting this June or where I was going to sit for the bar. Then, one week ago today L. got a job in Billings. A couple of days later I finished law school, and just a couple off days later we made an offer on a house!

Talk about stress. The seller was asking $105k, we offered $95k, and immediately wished we’d offered $90k as a starting point. The seller countered at $100k (not really surprising), but since we’d already offered basically what we wanted to pay, we had no room to move. After endless debate and mulling, during which we considered whether to counter the counter at $97.5k, we finally decided to stay w/our original offer. Of course, immediately after making that decision we wished we’d just gone for the $97.5 b/c then the house would be hours (we assume) and all of the stress and uncertainty would be over and we’d have ourselves a nice little home w/in an easy walk to work for both of us (if I get a job, that is). Second-guessing is great!

Now, as we wait for the seller to respond to our unchanged original offer, it seems certain he’s going to tell us to take a hike and we’ll be back to square one. Not cool.

One reason this deal has not gone so well is that we ended up working w/a “statutory broker” instead of a buyer’s real estate agent. We didn’t realize that until we were making the offer, at which point we were too interested to back out and find another agent. But once we learned that our agent has so little obligation to us and is not bound to keep any confidence w/us w/regard to finances, etc., it became pretty difficult to trust her advice as to pricing and what might be a fair offer. Was she telling the seller everything we said about how much we could afford or how high we might be willing to go? Maybe not, but that would probably be in her best interest. Does anyone know how a statutory broker gets paid? Would the broker’s fee depend on the sales price of the home? [tags]montana, homebuying, real estate, realtors[/tags]