Finally. I FINALLY get to write this post.
I have been looking for a house since last July. That is a long time, especially as the months passed and I had to write a rent check every 1st. It’s like second-job syndrome–you know you’ll be gone from that job soon so everything that irritated you before just inflames you now, and the last two weeks are agony. That’s how it’s gone in this space. I have loved living here, and this small apartment was great for learning money and space management, but I am so ready for more.
When I first started looking, the market was good, if you were a buyer. Low interest rates combined with autumn (which is not house-buying season) gave me plenty of homes to choose from and time to look at them all. However, in the last three months Austin has undergone a remarkable shift and homes barely stay on the market twenty-four hours! If you see it on Zillow it’s too late–someone already has a contract on it. I am not exaggerating or making this up: there aren’t enough homes for sale and too many interested buyers (or investors) preparing for the incredible influx of people moving to our area.
This inventory issue has created a very cutthroat market, one which makes even shopping around for a home disheartening. Because so many people are looking at houses, homes which would normally have been glanced over are being bought for way over normal market values–driving up prices on all the houses on the market. Thankfully, my budget’s increased significantly since I started looking, or I would never have been able to find a decent home.
The home I’m trying to buy is in an area I didn’t really consider looking at. I wanted to find something up north, nearer to the derby warehouse. I considered Pflugerville and Manor, but everything was either snatched up or not in livable conditions. When I saw this house on the MLS, I loved the backyard, even if it was a little smaller and further south than I wanted.
Entering the home, I could tell immediately that whoever had lived there took really great care of it. It was clean and welcoming, and I think maybe they had cooked bacon within the last hour because the house smelled awesome. Seriously, if you’re going to sell your home, cook bacon. It’s SUPER appetizing.
I knew there were multiple offers on the table but the seller hadn’t considered any of them yet, so I had a few hours to get mine in. I offered $10k over the asking price because yes, the market does justify that sort of offer now, which is just ridiculous. But I loved the backyard, the rosebushes, the pecan trees, the two full baths, and the brand-spanking-new carpet and paint. And after reconsidering, I decided that it being smaller worked in it’s favor: since I don’t have a lot of furniture in this tiny apartment, more money would have been spent towards furnishing a large home. Plus there’s the long-term costs of heating & cooling a large home, costs I don’t want to handle on top of a new mortgage.
So after finally managing to get a home under contract, I knew what the next step would be, the step that has failed me twice before, as noted in previous posts, (here and here). I called my usual guy, but he was booked solid that week, and I absolutely needed it because my option period was only seven days long. Luckily my agent knew a back-up inspector, and he turned out to be just what I needed. I like to go off of recommendations, as just randomly picking someone off the internet can be such a disaster. If you need an inspector anytime soon, let me know and I’ll give you the hookup.
I arrived at the house about an hour before Jared would finish, which gave me plenty of time to measure the spaces I want to put a sofa, a countertop, dining furniture, and beds. I considered wall colors, compost piles, and rosebushes. When he was all finished we went over the report, and he was able to answer any question I had easily, as well as give me way more feedback than I thought I would get on a home. I discussed the feasibility of some projects and he provided some really good advice, which was nice to have a professional opinion.
It was so gratifying to enter a home with an inspector, and hear the words “foundation’s in great shape”. The only things he had to say about the house were minor things that can be corrected easily while I move in. It was such a pleasant feeling, to not be gripped by the fear of windows, floors, roofs, walls, foundations being rotten. Like I said, a house that felt well-cared for and solid.
I left the house that day feeling confident in the choice I’d made. When you look at a house for the first time, there are plenty of things you don’t notice: what kind of sink and tile is in the kitchen, what the faucets look like in the bathrooms, how many locks on the front door, etc. Going back over with more time and the house to myself let me plan a bit more, see the house as my version of home.
It was a good day.