Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wedding Details

Well we received the word-we officially close on our house January 6th! In the interim- a few pictures of some of my favorite details from the wedding...

Jason's name sewn into my dress

Jewelry! From my amazing friend Layne over at The Dashing Pearl

Ring bearer sign. You're That Girl Designs

I love this shot of us in the chapel!

Props to Kelly Lyle for this shot! 

Cupcake tower MAD House Cakes

Cupcake flavors-thanks to Simple Elegance for the idea and set up!

Centerpieces- Forget Me Not Florists

Table numbers- The Copy Shop

Head table

And they lived happily ever after...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Buying a House: Part II

Part II: Negotiations

You found your house! Now what?

The first step is putting together your offer. Since we bought new construction, our realtor was working directly with the builder to hammer out offers and counteroffers. One thing we did not expect was going in list price. We were actually THIS close to signing our offer and I finally asked what we were going in at!

From the market here in Washington, builders wont even entertain an offer that is under list price. A friend of mine in Florida had the same experience buying new construction a few months ago, so maybe it’s a national trend…that’s for the experts to figure out. Ultimately, our offer was for list price with $5,000 in closing costs and some minor upgrades for the house (such as hardware for kitchen and bathroom cabinets).

Next comes the counter offer. Unless the seller is desperate to sell, they will never accept your first offer (and if they do….that should probably raise some questions). Our builder countered with $2,500 in closing costs and no upgrades. This was pretty much what we expected and met our requirements of what we needed from them to be able to get the house. But of course this wasn’t good enough for us!

This next step is at your discretion-your counter offer.  In some situations it may not be in your best interest to counter back. In other situations, it is. Your realtor is there to help you make this decision. In our situation, we countered back with $3,500 in closing costs and to have the hardware “rolled in” to the purchase price- meaning instead of the builder giving it to us at their expense, the cost is added to the purchase price of the house. Not every builder allows this.

Depending on the number of counter offers, at some point the two parties will either reach “mutual acceptance” (you both accept the offer” or one party will cut their losses. For us, the builder accepted the above counter offer.

In our area, “earnest money” is widely needed to solidify the sale. It’s sort of like putting a security deposit on an apartment. It shows you are interested in the property. For us, our earnest money ($2,000) will be refunded to us at closing. We gave our earnest money to the seller (who then passed it off to escrow) when we signed our acceptance of the final purchase contract.

What next? See part III 

Photo updates!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Buying a House: Part I

Welcome to part one of how to buy a house! The number of parts in this series is TBD...I'll let you know once it's all said and done!

Step one: Get pre-approved for a loan

Even if you’re only casually looking, I highly suggest getting pre-approved. This will give you an actual price range for your budget as well as let you know how much money you need to have saved for closing costs, appraisals, etc.

Step two: Find a realtor

The best way to do this is simply by word of mouth. Our realtor was recommended to us by our loan officer who actually bought a house from him. Working with people who already have established business relationships with each other is seriously the way to go. Information doesn’t get lost in translation and they’re more than happy to help each other out.

Step three: Nail down a location

This was rather difficult for us as the hubs and I work in two different towns about 15 miles from each other.  Ultimately we decided on a location that will take hubs about 30 minutes to drive to work and me about 15. We picked the location because it is right off the interstate but is far enough away you don’t hear any of the traffic. The town also reminds us both of the town we’re from and has everything we want shopping and entertainment wise.

Step four: Decide new construction or older home

This was fairly easy for us. As first time home buyers, we didn’t want anything we would have to go to the trouble of renovating or potentially have to pay out of pocket for any necessary repairs. Plus my taste runs more toward granite countertops and dark wood cabinets which pretty much comes standard in new construction these days.

Step five: Find a house!

I suggest making a must have list and a wish list. This will help you separate the necessities (for us, minimum of three bedrooms, two car garage, etc) from the wants (four bedrooms, three car garage, etc). Then start looking! For us, it took no time at all (one day). For others, it may take months. If there’s even a small doubt in your mind about the house, it is not the one for you. For me finding the right house was like finding the right wedding dress-I knew as soon as I saw it.

UPDATE: More pics! The builders have made A LOT of progress in the last two days!

We have cabinets!

And a loft that just needs floors!

This shower and bath... :D