Monday, February 13, 2012

Enjoying a Bit of House Hunting

Ok, so we aren't officially looking to buy a home.  Well... maybe.  That is, if all goes well and according to plan.  Currently, we live in a really nice neighborhood with my husband's dad and grandfather.  I wouldn't mind staying in this neighborhood.  After all, it is a sought after area of town.  Houses don't really go up for sale often, which means people move in and stay.  When a house does go up for sale, let's just say, they don't last long on the market.

Today, Travis went off to work.  I was bored, so I took a drive around in this part of town.  I saw quite a few "For Sale" signs.  I grabbed a piece of paper, a pen, and I started jotting down the addresses and who was the realtor.  I came home and jumped onto my laptop.  I looked up each house.  Only 1 out of the 5 houses was not in our original budget.

A while back, Travis and I thought that we were going to buy a house in Bloomington.  Good thing we didn't.  We were racking up some serious medical debt, and our credit was far under par.  However, a good friend of mine is a broker in Bloomington.  She found out that we qualified for $70,000.  Yeah, that's not much - but we are first-time home buyers AND our credit was out of wack at the time.  Since then, we've used $70,000 as our budget for when we do decide to buy a home - regardless if we qualify for more.  It's good to have a number in mind, even if it isn't the actual number now.  Besides, we don't have to take out a loan for more than what we really should.  We're being frugal here.

So, $70,000 was my budget.  Only 1 was over that (and that was $99,900 - and trust me, the outside of the house didn't look like it was worth $99,900).  The other 4 houses were jaw droppers.  I was surprised how much they were after looking at them in person.  Granted, I'm sure they are going to be fix uppers.  But with a family of construction workers and DIY'ers, I'm not too worried about some fixing up.  I'd rather fix it up just the way I want it anyways.  All four houses were LESS that $70,000.  And here's why:

Most houses in this neighborhood were built in the 50's and 60's.  The families that built these homes stayed in them until they passed or moved into an elderly home.  Families don't leave this area.  But when a person passes away or moves into an elderly home - the children are desperate to get rid of the house.  Yes, the homes have some wear and tear on them - but they are very nice family homes.  They are great starter homes.  And after having friends move into this area previously, we can see that most homes are not money pits.  This area of town has a great reputation.  The prices on these homes drop quickly because the family members cannot afford to keep a second home that their parents' owned.

Here I am getting all excited.  Travis asked me the other day how I felt about buying a home instead of renting.  That's a huge step to take - and honestly, I'm scared because I don't know a thing about home buying.  But believe me, I would love to have a home to call our own - to have a place where we can settle ourselves down and live for years.  In this upcoming year, we made a promise to get established before the year ends.  We made a promise that living with family members is temporary.  In 2012, Travis and I will be getting careers.  Travis already has a pretty decent job.  I'm getting interviews.  Maybe buying a home is a step in the right direction.  I'm not talking about buying a home tomorrow or next week or next month.  But after I get a career and we establish ourselves with a decent income, maybe it wouldn't hurt to keep our eyes open for a home.  Maybe it wouldn't hurt to go to a broker and look around.  We can take our time.  We don't need to jump the gun.  But maybe now is the time to take that first step towards home buying.

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