Thursday, June 23, 2011

Home Sweet House

Buying a house is a really disorienting process. Not that I expected it to be easy but sometimes I’m in awe of the swimming in my head. Between banks, realtors, open houses, and trying to compromise with new husband about what we’re looking for, it’s just become all-consuming.

I firmly believe that no one really understands all the lingo. We just all smile and nod and pretend like we know what it all means. When I was in high school, I worked as a receptionist at a family services organization that held classes for low income first time home buyers. I would sit at my desk between answering phones and try to learn about the process while assembling the homework packets for the people in the class. It was worse than trying to teach myself a foreign language but I didn’t worry over it because I figured when it was time to buy a house, some would explain it to me or I’d somehow know by then. Like it’s a skill you develop in college or something.

It isn’t. Or maybe I was sick that day.

My bank could just make up terms, tell me what it costs, and then reel me in by telling me that it’ll be waived because I’m already a member and I would have no idea.

On that note, I hate banks and the loan process. Our realtor says that they ask for everything but your blood type. If giving them my blood type, or a gallon of my blood for that matter, made the process go any smoother, here, drain my veins!

Technology works against us in the whole loan process. If it were fifteen years ago, any bank would look at our application and just throw pre-qualifications at us. We are in awesome financial shape. We pay all our bills on time, have enough money for the down payment, and have no debt. But the computer sees that we each only have two forms of credit, not three, and puts a big red X on our names.

It doesn’t mean we can’t get a loan, we just have to go through the entire pre-approval process before we can put in an offer. After filling out a million forms, writing exemption letter after exemption letter to explain why were are awesome, and paying $400, we still haven’t heard back. We’re supposed to know by tomorrow. Ugh, I’m so sick of waiting.

Once we know about the loan (and fingers crossed we can get a conventional loan), we’re putting an offer in on a house. Done.

Oh wait, is anything in this process ever that simple? Nope. It took us months of going to open houses and looking at dozens of houses that weren’t anything we wanted until we compromised on one. It’s actually an amazing house (and I’m not bragging but I totally found it without the realtor. Points for me!) and I can’t imagine living anywhere else now (not like I’m getting my hopes up or anything). But before we put in an offer, we want both sets of our parents to see it. Just to have a new set of eyes see everything in case we’re blind to something glaring. Scheduling has become a pain though, as his parents live five hours away and my parents are driving five hours away this weekend. So next weekend, entertaining the in-laws and being critical of the house we love. Yay…

The most frustrating about this process is that I know we’re still relatively early on in it. I just want to sign some more papers, fork over the entire contents of my savings account, pack up all my crap that I just finished unpacking, and live somewhere new. I want to lie on the floor in my own house, in the sunlight from the big, beautiful windows (maybe I’m part cat…) and feel at home.

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