We Bought a Home // The Most Stressful Summer + Fall of My Life
We are home owners again!
But it was a long. stressful. summer and fall to get to this point.
Let’s Start with the Exciting News
We closed on a two-story home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota on Friday, October 26th, 2018! It is funny how things turn out, our search was wide, spanning basically every Twin Cities suburb from Plymouth to Bloomington, even Minneapolis condos. And when it was all said and done we ended up one mile from our first home. I guess we enjoy the Eden Prairie/ Chanhassen boarder.
Our home is a forever home, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, with plenty of space to grow. And while no rooms are currently to my liking, the home is clean and move-in-ready! Less than two weeks in and the family and dining room painting project are in progress. I cannot wait to see the rooms completed. I love how paint total changes a room… and new outlets and covers, ha! Goodbye yellowish cream-colored outlets, hello white and USB compatible outlets! The project list is growing and our savings account is not, but hey that’s homeownership, and we are beyond thrilled!
Now, small disclaimer, stress is of course relative. We’re both healthy and happy and I am not trying to compare the stress of buying a home to the stress of anything much more serious. But it was a stressful summer + fall, here is why:
Our Starting Point
For us, a constant negative about living in Ireland was that we were renters. We were homeowners before we moved, and we wanted to be homeowners upon our return, and quickly. We moved home from Ireland Labor Day Weekend, but the house hunt had virtually started months prior.
Now finally back home we quickly learned that the Twin Cities housing market was/is MAD! I’m talking crazier than when we sold our home two years ago, and that home sold in 30 hours and had 4 offers. To help paint a picture, if we would have kept our first home and sold it in 2018 versus 2016 we could have sold the home for 33% more. Want crazier…we purchased our first home 5 years ago (lived in it for 3, sold it 2 years ago), it was a fixer upper, a starter home, we initially wanted to purchase something similar only to find out the exact same home would cost 100% more 5 years later. Is this all making sense? I want it to…so lets put some easy numbers to it, say we purchased our started home in 2013 for $100,000, in 2018 the same (dirty, needed a ton of work) home would be $200,000. It was mind blowing to us and as I’m sure you can guess, stressful!
The 2018 market completely shifted our purchasing plan. In our opinion, the market is reaching its peak, these prices cannot sustain forever. And we started to fear purchasing another starter home. Thinking we’d outgrow the home quickly, need to sell again in a couple years, but two years from now the market might not be this high and we’d be underwater, preventing us from moving.
Enter forever homes, and higher purchase prices. After 1 month of looking at starter homes and coming to the realization of what I shared above, our real hunt began.
Are you ready for this? It’s lengthy and spans 4 months and 6 offers.
Offer #1, July 5th:
We put an offer on a West Bloomington rambler. Our offer was accepted! We joked, “What are people talking about this market is easy to purchase in?”. We spoke too soon, way too soon. The thing about a sellers’ market is that a seller believes their home is the best home and they get offended easily. After our offer was accepted we moved on to the inspection process. And unfortunately, the inspection report came back with multiple safety issues. The seller was offended and shocked, and not willing to negotiate. We weren’t comfortable taking on major safety projects. We walked away.
Offer #2, July 29th:
We found another home in West Bloomington, this one was 2 minutes from my sister’s home! It was a 2-story home, original hardwood floors on the first and second floor. It was charming. We submitted an offer. There were multiple offers and ours was not accepted. 5 days later the seller came back to us, something had fallen thru with the other offer, if we were still interested we could move forward! We were and we did! Inspection time. Inspection number two presented mold in the basement. It was bad and there was a lot of it. We walked away.
At this point we had just spent over $1000 on inspections and were not moving forward with either property. All the while living between my parent’s home and my mother-in-law’s home. On the nights we would stay at my MIL’s, Mathew was driving 2-hours to work round trip. We are also at an age that we quickly learned is much too old to be living with parents no matter how comfortable the living arrangements (which were very comfortable, thanks family). The stress was starting to compact. The hunt continued.
Offer #3, August 2nd:
I was starting to get desperate. I figured, what the heck I would search on Zillow for homes over our budget but that had been on the market over 60 days. In this crazy sellers’ market, 60 days is a long time. Hopefully the seller would be eager to sell, at any price, and we’d get a great home in our price range. Enter a two-story Eden Prairie home on a cul-de-sac with a fenced in backyard and gazebo. This home had been on the market over 100 days, we saw the home, liked it, and decided to low ball ‘em. The seller was not amused. However, they did counter but it was at a price we weren’t willing to pay…yet. Keep this home on the back burner.
Offer #4, August 26th:
This time we move to Minnetonka. This was MY house! I loved everything about it. Especially that fact that it was fixer upper! Everything needed to be remolded. From the roof to the garage doors, you couldn’t even walk on the deck, the kitchen and main bathroom were complete gut jobs. I got excited picturing a beautiful brand-new kitchen that we designed in a great neighborhood. But guess who else was interested in this home’s potential? Investors, with all-cash offers. We submitted an offer, hoping the seller would prefer an actual family to move in. They did! Or so they pretended they did while they wheeled and dealed their cash offers and strung us along. Three separate times they said, “you’re out” only to come back to us each time saying, “you’re back in.”! It was the strangest real estate transaction and our realtor actually filed an ethics complaint. We walked away or they moved on, I’m still not completely sure.
As September rolled around we decided that it was time to take a break from the house hunt. We needed our own space. It was time to rent an apartment. On September 9th we moved into a 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment. As my brother-in-law said while moving us in, “I feel like I’m moving you guys into your first place out of college.” It was very anticlimactic. Then six days after we moved in we received a noise complaint, apparently we walk too heavily and were waking our neighbor below us…house hunt back on.
Offer #5, September 30th,
Another charming two-story in Eden Prairie. It was on a corner lot; the exterior had recently been updated. We liked the home and if you haven’t caught on yet, we were eager to buy. We made an offer! The seller countered, and the counter was pretty far off from our initial offer. We decided to sleep on it, and then something clicked. When we woke up we remembered Offer #3. Time is a funny thing. In the beginning of August the counter was too high, at the end of September is was actually lower than Offer #5. We thought hey, what if home #3 is still available? It was and we quickly switched gears.
Offer #6, October 1st:
Our final offer, Offer #6 was another offer on Home/Offer #3. This time we both agreed on a purchase price. The inspection went well! And our closing date was in less than a month October 26th! We did it!
My Take Aways
You still here?! Man that was a long story.
If you don’t have to purchase a home right now, don’t! Ha, I stand by what I shared earlier the market cannot sustain these prices, wait it out if you can.
If you own before moving abroad, consider renting your home. In our mind it was going to be so easy to jump back into homeownership. It was not.
Don’t sign a 4-month lease then purchase a home in the first month of that lease. Are there any quiet people looking to sublease an apartment, let me know? ;)
And there it is, the reason why my blogs been quiet, or why I might have been a little off when you saw me in person. Not having a home to live in was stressful and VERY time consuming.
We are so excited to feel settled again and to be home!
Thanks for reading,