Aug 16, 2009

House hunting woes...

Shoot me now, please! We've been casually looking over the past several months, but have only recently begun seriously house-hunting. I'm getting a headache just thinking about this whole process. We always thought we were going to live in South Salt Lake county, like maybe Draper or Sandy. The more we looked, the more we realized that there are just fewer options in that area in our price range, and we can get a newer, nicer, bigger home elsewhere, so we widened our search. We have some friends who live in Daybreak and just love it, so we started looking out there. We kind of got our heart set on Daybreak, but the more we looked, the more we realized how many of the homes for sale are short sales, which take forever, and even if you made an offer and waited out the several months, you still don't even know if it's yours! We also came to the conclusion that we moved to Utah to be close to family and it takes forever to get out there. We revamped and started looking in the Traverse Mountain and Thanksgiving Point area. I really have had to get my head around the idea of living in Lehi. I know that kind of sounds snobish, but you have to understand that when I grew up in Highland, Lehi was hicktown, total podunk hicktown. It really was. Thanksgiving Point and Traverse Mountain, that whole area was actually Highland when I was growing up, then it was annexed to Lehi. Lehi has changed alot over the years and it's a very different place now, so I just need to get over it. (No offense to anyone who grew up in Lehi! :) We really like Traverse Mountain area (very close to the freeway), and were ready to make an offer if we found the right house. Well, we went to look at more houses yesterday and our eyes were opened to a few things. We were really excited before we went yesterday and now I feel like we're back to square one. We really like the look of the homes in Traverse Mountain(there are some really beautiful homes up there!). We love that they are relatively new, lots of young families, the neighborhood seems great and the people who live there really seem to like it (despite the wind and a little more snow in the winter). That area is definitely the best deal per square foot and it seems like you get a lot of bang for your buck. Having said that, we have found some problems with the lots, inaccessible yards, etc...so will those homes (with inaccessible yards, or weird lots) always limit/decrease the value of your home? It seems so. And because there is such a high number of foreclosures they have also had some problems with the HOA. They have had so many vacant homes they haven't had the $ to follow through with some of their promises. The particular neighborhood we have looked in apparently had a ton of investors buy homes, then when they can't get the return then they are just letting the banks take them. The builder also went belly up before it was completed, so they have had a huge inventory of new homes, which is part of why there are so many great deals up there. I have a friend who is renting there and loves it so much they are buying in the area. In fact, anyone we talk to who lives there loves it. The people who are moving from there aren't people who don't like the area, they are mostly investors and families who can't afford their homes. Another thing that is frustrating is that Dan and I value different things. We both really want to be in a great community. We seem to like the same areas. Dan wants the biggest bank for his buck, the best resale value. While I also take that into consideration, I don't think we need to have a 4,000 sq ft home, just because it's the best deal, the best price per sq. ft. I'd be happy in a 3 bedroom with an unfinished basement. That would definitely give us room to grow. SO...we are going to step back and rethink our priorities. Again. We may consider a townhome, so that we can just keep it as an investment and rent it out when we outgrow it and can buy a bigger place. I think we'll keep looking in Draper, American Fork, North/Northeast Lehi. I think we'll look in some other developments in Traverse Mountain as well. Oh, and then there's the financing issues, all the insane hoops you have to jump through. I understand why they have all these new guidelines, but it's still frustating to get caught up in the red tape. Well, because Dan has only been an appraiser for just over a year, he does not meet the consecutive 2-year self-employment history requirement (even though he has been in real estate for 10 years). So, even though we have a good down payment and we have the income to comfortably pay the mortgage, it's still crazy getting qualified. I think we have it worked out now, but it's definitely been a crazy process. My mom says to just keep looking and that eventually we'll find an area and a home that just feels right...but where!? Any insight? I'll definitely keep you posted!

7 comments:

Rachel said...

Holly,
I so happy that you are getting ready to make that move into purchasing a home. I would say be patient and the right home will come along. I am not a fan of townhouses because we didn't make any money on our condo while all my friends made 100 grand on their houses during the last housing boom. You really just have to be patient. Check the MLS every few days because a lot of the great homes sell quickly. Especially the bank owned which are great deals and you don't have to wait like a short sale. We would love to get together again. I want to try out Scotland Yard.

Dawn said...

I feel you sister! I am not buying a house again ever! ( or at least for a very, very, very long time)!! The advice about being patient is true. You're in the perfect situation--not having to sell something first, so just wait and that perfect thing will pop up out of nowhere!!

Bagozzi Family said...

House hunting always seems like it is going to be so fun. And then when it is over, you are in tears and never want to move. When Cory and I decided to buy, I remember driving around for hours and hours writing down numbers of homes we should go check out. We looked at so many homes it wasn't even funny. You will find the right place eventually, but house hunting certainly isn't what it seems!

Bagozzi Family said...

Oh, and btw, I still think you guys need to move out by us. There are some amazing homes in Herriman that are up on the bench and you can see from Lehi, clear up to almost Bountiful. The views are incredible! Also, we aren't far away from everyone, everyone is far away from us ;) There is so much new stuff out here, we really aren't far away from anything. Okay, I admit it, I just want you guys as neighbors.

Katie Hatch said...

Congrats on being in a postition now to buy a place! I can't wait to be in that position. Good luck with everything, and know the the right place will come around :)

Tracie said...

Just don't rush into anything because you're getting tired of looking. Oh, and the bigger the house the more there is to clean (I found that one out the hard way!)

Lisa said...

Dawn is right, be patient. People who know what they are talking about always advised me to buy the worst house in the best neighborhood. Now, I don't mean live in a dump but just don't end up with the most expensive house on the street unless you plan on staying there for a long time. I don't know who you are approved with but getting the loan underwritten should be an option for you. I don't know how different buying a house is in Utah though. Good Luck I know it's a bummer but it'll pay off.