You see, we are new to this whole house-buying thing, so we contacted a local bank (with the initials W.F.) to get preapproved, since a friend did that and had no complaints. The man preapproved us (well technically just Mr. Converse Sneakers) for a modest loan, and then we set out to find a house. Two moldy, heck-no houses later, and we were pretty sure we would be waiting until I was working full-time come the summer or fall to look again. However, this beauty popped up on my screen after our realtor expanded the search to homes a little over our price range thinking that most of them could be brought down through negotiation.
I showed her like this yesterday:
Now that she’s not ours and never will be, I’ll show other photos, so you can understand just how heart-breaking this whole things was. Here is the un-altered photo of the front:
Do you see the red shutters? The nice roof? The two car garage? I thought, “This is way too good to be true, it must look like crap on the inside,” when I saw this exterior photo pop up in my emailed listings.
Until I saw these:
The light! We aren’t used to seeing any light in our dark little basement.
This is when my heart started beating a mile a minute. Wood floors throughout the entire main floor. Not just an updated kitchen, but basically our dream first kitchen with custom cabinets that extend all the way up to the ceiling and have undermounted lighting!
Small, but completely reasonable two bedrooms on the main floor. The master bedroom’s closet was a great size with custom closet shelving and dresser inside.
The cutest little bathroom that we wouldn’t change a thing about. It even had a great linen closet.
And, the mother-of-all-man caves for Mr. CS downstairs, complete with a built-in mantle/media center that actually was a great use of space since the room was fairly narrow.
And, to totally add the cherry on top, it had a tremendous third light-filled bedroom that probably would have been our office/my craft room.
Even the backyard was pretty perfect, with a beautiful deck, a garden shed, and plenty of space to roam. The back of the house even had the same red shutters!
We just had to see and try for this house. When we saw it two days ago, it was even better in person. Nobody could find anything wrong with it! It had every one of our “must-haves” and basically all of our “wants.” We never thought we would even find a house like this close to our price range, so we knew we had to try for it.
We headed to a local coffee shop (that was surrounded by literally every one of our favorite stores only 2 minutes from the house) to go over our offer.
Our plan was to submit the offer for what we were preapproved for and ask for closing costs. Well, apparently the house had an offer on it that fell through about a week ago, so the seller (the bank in this case because it was a short sale) was not willing to even look at any offers less than the full asking price. We were left in a bind. Our realtor asked if our lender had said anything about the preapproval amount being “conservative,” which I admitted that he had said, so our realtor got us on the phone with a different lender who normally gets the job done. We were so close to being approved for the asking price that we were willing to do just about anything because this was our DREAM first house.
Due to the many upcoming showings on the house and the other offers that were being worked on, we fought hard to get the offer submitted that night. Our realtor got it submitted and we worked hard to figure out a way to get all of the necessary paper work over to the new lender so he could work on an approval amount for us. We also had to come up with “earnest money” to show the seller we were serious and set up a home inspection, which my dad was going to do. We worked like crazy people all night, scanning and faxing, calling my parents to discuss all the details, and pacing back and forth in fear. We were not expecting everything to turn into a huge stressful dilemma so fast. Not only did that bank have to sign the offer saying they would consider it and later accept our offer (which could take 30+ days), but we also were waiting on an approval to say we could even afford a mortgage of the home’s price.
Yesterday morning, we were a wreck checking our email constantly and jumping at the sound of anything that resembled a cell phone notification. We got a call from our realtor saying the seller had signed the offer, meaning we were the first offer in and we would probably get the house since they weren’t accepting any offers lower than the asking price.
We were ecstatic. Surely, we thought, we would get the house because we were already preapproved so close to the price of the house.
Well, a few hours of dreaming about how we would decorate and floating on cloud 9 later, the new lender called. The phone call started with, “I’m not sure your previous lender knew what he was doing . . . “ and from there, the tears started to well up. He told us far more than the first lender had told us, about debt-to-income ratios, and how the whole approval process works. We knew a lot of this stuff, but figured the first lender took it all into consideration when he was preapproving us. Well, apparently not. The new lender told us that he would not even approve us for what we were originally preapproved for, or even close. It was devastating news, but we knew that he was very good and worked his hardest to preapprove people for as high as possible in these types of situations. He told us our options (have someone co-sign or come up with a larger down payment), but neither of these we could do or would consider because we knew it was not the house for us. Plus, we didn’t really have time to shop around for different lender or even contact our first-lender since we needed to know that day if we could afford the house.
We got off the phone and sat in silence. Then the tears came. As much as I tried not to get attached to the house, as soon as our realtor told us that we basically had it in the bag once we got preapproved for the amount, we were attached. We already named our new puppy we were going to buy! Not a good idea, people!
So, that’s where we are right now. We decided to wait until I’m working full-time so I can be considered on the loan and we don’t run into these types of problems. We now know not to focus on houses above our preapproval level and to shop around for a mortgage lender who knows what he is doing. You may be thinking that we should have stuck with the first lender since he preapproved us for more, but he never looked at any of our documents, so we think had we gone with him and even been approved for the asking price of the house, the loan would have been denied once he collected that information. I’m glad we didn’t have to drag it out that far.
This was definitely a learning experience and something I don’t even want to think about doing again for a long time. I’m not the kind of person who can detach myself from things I’ve dreamed of my whole life. I’m going to get emotionally attached to a house we love and think we can afford (which technically we could have made the payments on but could not get preapproved for) no matter how much I try not to. It’s the “passionate” person in me. I just hope the next house we fall head-over-heels in love with is just as nice and we are able to call it our first house.
Now on to apartment-hunting! :P