Three years ago, right before the birth of our third child, my wife and I started looking for a new house. After two years of saving, searching, and praying, last February, we purchased our new house. We love the house – and couldn’t be happier with out decision.
Before we ever started looking, we made a list of what we wanted in the new house. We have three kids, two girls and a boy, so we knew that we wanted a house with four bedrooms. We also wanted at least two bathrooms, a two-car garage, and a nice yard. We both wanted a newer home – and one located in a nice neighborhood.
For the first year or so, knowing that we needed to spend some time saving up for a decent down-payment, we spent our time driving through the neighborhoods that we liked, checking various real estate sites for prices. We found several homes that we liked, but as I said, we were saving up for our down-payment, and were not quite ready to buy.
In mid-2009, we started to search in earnest. At first, we concentrated our search in just one or two particular neighborhoods. On three or four occasions, we found houses that looked (from the outside) to be right for us – but upon viewing, they just didn’t fit. We kept looking.
Over the next few months, I spent hours using various real estate websites, searching for the “perfect” house. More than a few times, I would find a house that looked promising, and we would jump in the car, ride over and take a look, but we never found “the one”.
Just after Christmas, I was searching for new listings, and I stumbled across some listings for a neighborhood that we had never visited. One particular house really caught my eye. Encouraged, my wife and I bundled up the kids, buckled into my wife’s van, and headed off.
Immediately upon arriving in the “new” neighborhood, we fell in love with the place. It’s tranquil, with a good blend of older and newer homes. We took a few minutes to drive through the neighborhood and then headed to the address on the listing.
As we were driving to the listing, we noticed a “for sale – by owner” sign in the front yard of another house (not the house on the listing). Making a note of this, we went ahead to the address on the listing. That house didn’t turn out to be a fit for us – but the “for sale – by owner” house intrigued us.
By this time, it was late at night, but we couldn’t resist. We swung back by the “for sale – by owner” house and called the number on the “for sale” sign. It turned out that the owner was out of town, but that a neighbor had a key, and we could see the house, right then, if were willing to wait five minutes. Excited, we waited for the neighbor to come with the key.
As soon as she opened the door and we walked in – we were “home”. Seriously, it happened that quickly. (I read somewhere that most people decide whether or not they are going to purchase a new home within 30 seconds of seeing the property. For us, it was more like 3 seconds.)
We took a tour of the house – which just happened to meet (and exceed) all of the wants on our list, and quickly scheduled a meeting with the owner. Over the course of the next few weeks, we met with the owner, negotiated a purchase price, arranged financing, had the home inspected, and closed on the property.
It’s a little hard to believe that we have already lived in this house for a full year. We are working diligently to pay off our mortgage (early) – and very satisfied with our purchase.