Marshall and I knew the general area we wanted to search for a house. With his job in Salt Lake, and mine in Springville, we wanted to split the difference and live somewhere in north Utah County. We spent a lot of time online looking at home listings in the Lehi/Saratoga Springs/Eagle Mountain area. Okay, okay, I had been spending too much time looking at house listings for about 3 years. But by November, I was able to get Marshall on board with at least looking at houses online. By December, I had lit that fire under him, and he was ready to maybe visit a few houses and speak to some mortgage people.
By the 2nd week of December we were feeling pretty overwhelmed. It was like we just didn't know where to start. We were being given conflicting information from realtors and lenders, and weren't sure what we could afford, or if we could get approved. We spoke to a few different realtors, and worked with a few different mortgage brokers until we found the right fit for our family.
When we finally found our realtor, she met with us for like 2 hours that first night and just answered our questions. How do you buy a house? How do you put in an offer? How do offers work on short sales? Pre-approvals? Earnest money?
I mean, we really knew nothing!
Then we had to decide what we needed and wanted in a home. Did we want only 3 bedrooms, and unfinished basement so we could expand later? Or did we want 4 bedrooms now so we won't be stuck later unable to afford construction? We needed a fence, but would we looked at unfenced yards and build a fence within a month of moving in? Did we want to live on a busier street? Were we okay with an ally-load garage? A grand master bath would be nice, but would we even look at houses without at least a standard master bath?
We went house hunting 3 different days within a week and a half with our realtor. Just about everything we saw were short sales, and we put offers in on most, knowing that we weren't the primary on any- just in the back up offer pool. On the third day of house hunting, we saw like 10 homes. While we were in our last house for the day, we got an email alert from the MLS that a house we had on our "dream list" had dropped price and was now in our target price range.
We drove right over to do a walk through, since it was vacant. On the way, we drove through a neighborhood we hadn't visited before. We drove past a pretty park with a splash pad and playground. We pulled onto a quiet culdesac lined with big shade trees. As we pulled up out front, I felt immediate excitement, and I remember telling Marshall that this was the best location and neighborhood we'd seen. We knew we wanted a house as close to perfect as we could find, since we didn't want to do the whole 'starter house' thing. We wanted to find something big enough and in a nice enough neighborhood that we could see ourselves there until all our kids were grown.
It was listed as a 4 bedroom 2 bath. As we walked through, we realized that it was actually 5 bedroom 3 bath. Super confusing! We checked and rechecked the listing, and counted and recounted the rooms. But it was indeed mislisted. And it was at a fantastic price for such a large house. It even had the unfinished basement so that someday we could expand if we wanted, but we also had plenty of room if we never had the cash to do that.
It was a day or two before Christmas. We put in an offer and waited nervously. A few days later our offer was accepted. And this was the only house we saw that wasn't a short sale- closing was just 30 days away! The next month was a whirlwind of inspections and appraisals, getting contractor quotes, and scrambling to pull together documents for the underwriter. Even with having 3 less business days than a normal month due to all the holidays, we were able to make closing on time on January 28th.
We had a few projects to do before moving in, such as refinishing the hardwood floors, installing a garage door opener and a few other appliances, and some painting. So we actually moved in on February 9th.
Here are the pictures of the house during one of our pre-closing inspections. Before any of our changes and before we moved in.
|Formal living room|
|Kitchen view from living room|
|Kitchen view from deck|
|Upstairs family rooms|
|5th bedroom- playroom|
|The mess that is the backyard (at least it's big and fenced!)|