This has been in my list of blog posts to write for the past few months. Well, here it is: a rough summary of my home-buying experience.
At the end of January, I got the notice for my apartment lease renewal, which would happen in mid-April. The lowest was $1330 for 13 months and the highest was $1667 for 1 month. The rent I was paying at the time was $999/month, so to say that I didn’t like a $300/month increase at minimum would be a serious understatement.
Since I had quite a bit of money saved up, I decided that the best thing to do would be to seriously look for a place to buy. I first went to my credit union to get preapproved for a mortgage (they have a sister company that handles mortgages) and got preapproved for the amount I wanted at the time (a $150k mortgage)…and the broker said I could easily get preapproved for twice that.
Except there is absolutely no way I’d be able to afford a $300k mortgage on my income. My entire take-home income would literally be going to the mortgage and nothing else. I wouldn’t even be able to buy groceries!
This is apparently a thing brokers say, because my parents said they heard the same exact thing when they were buying their house. And their reaction was essentially the same as mine: wtf, no, I definitely can’t afford that.
Anyway, the brokers placed me with a realtor from one of the companies they partner with. I went out and looked at places – condos/townhouses – from mid-February to the end of March. I found a place I really liked and placed a bid on that exact day – a Sunday – and got notice that the bid was accepted the very next day when I was at work. I then spent the whole next month actually buying the house, which included getting an inspection & appraisal. I absolutely didn’t want to waive those since the condo was built in the early 1980s.
I had a clause in my bid saying that I’d automatically pay $10k above the appraisal price as long as it didn’t go over the bid price. Thankfully, it appraised low – my bid was $257k and it appraised for $237k. That $10k got taken from the down payment, which dropped me slightly below the 20% down I had planned on paying. All that really means is I have to pay PMI for a couple of years, which isn’t nearly as much as I thought it would be.
I didn’t get the keys for another week because the owner was still in the process of moving out. Then I spent the entire next month moving in. This was partially to allow for utilities to get switched over & set up, partially because I didn’t want to pay for movers, and mostly because my apartment complex required a 30-day notice in order to vacate.
So I moved the vast majority of my stuff by myself on the weekends. My parents & sister did help me with moving during the last 2 weekends. By that time, all that was really left was the heavy furniture I couldn’t move by myself. May 22 was the day I finally, actually moved in.
Also, this place sold for $115k in 2019, to give you an impression of how much house prices have inflated since then.
Buying during a ridiculous market was an incredibly stressful ordeal, especially since I was working mandatory overtime for the first three months of the year. It was a nice chunk of cash that went right into the down payment and closing costs. This isn’t something I really want to do again. If I ever decide to buy a different place to move into, it definitely won’t be during a ridiculous housing market if I can help it.