January 6, 2012

Buying Our First Home

Time to Take the Next Step
It was around this time last year we were frantically looking for our first home. Why frantically? Well, we were getting married on May 29 and really wanted to have our first home by then. We lived with family before that, and we just wanted to be on our own by the time we were married. It was just time to take the next step.

We Weren’t New to the Home-Buying Game
It wasn’t our first time looking for a place to buy. Back in June of 2010, we THOUGHT we wanted a condo for our first place – for a nominal fee, which around here ranges on average from $125-250 a month, we wouldn’t have to do a single lick of outside maintenance, not much needed to be done to the inside, just move right in...sounds perfect, right? Well, it was a short sale, and by nature, those deals take FOR-ever to close. We knew when we signed the paperwork and put a deposit down, we were in for at least 3 months of waiting. We figured, what the heck, we aren’t getting married for another year and a half, we can wait. Well, 3 months came and went, so did 4, 5 and 6 months…promises were made but never kept by the selling agent who was just seemingly stringing us along. By late December of 2010, we excitedly decided to cut the cord and end the purchase and sales agreement. We were no longer contractually-bound because 6 months had passed, so there were no penalties and we were able to get our full deposit back. And we never looked back. It was refreshing.

Why a Condo Wasn’t Right For Us
Those 6 months of waiting for the condo short-sale to go through really made us realize a lot Like: we wanted a yard to maintain, to plant a garden, to grow flowers, to dig up old plants that were ugly or overgrown, to plant new life, to build a deck as big as we want, to just do what we want! When something breaks, we want to be able to fix it on our time with our choice of maintenance person, not the condo association’s. We just wanted something of our own...let alone the fact that condo fees equated to a lot of other things: a car insurance payment, 2 weeks of groceries, a one-night stay in a hotel somewhere, or lots of other things. Also, the condo was only 2 bedrooms. Add one child to the mix and we would have begun to quickly outgrow the place and have to sell. Again, we are thankful it didn’t work out for US. It IS right for some people though! Read more on to see if a condo or a house is right for you.

The Hunt Continued
After we cut the cord on the condo deal, we were referred to an amazing realtor Monique Robert with Weichert Realtors. She stopped at nothing to help us find our first home – she even showed us a house on Christmas Eve! God bless her. Completely responsive to all of our needs, she brought us to look all over Kent County, Rhode Island and we must have seen 20 properties within 3 weeks. Many instances occurred where one of us would say:

“Honey, I think this might be the one...”

And the other one would say:

- “Wait, is that a crack in the foundation?”

- “Is that a water stain on the ceiling?”

- “But, how old is that roof?”

- “That floor isn’t level...”

- “Oh, those are old radiators...we don’t want those if we’re raising a family here..”

- “There is way too much traffic on this street!”

It was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We had a budget, we wanted it to be a good old fashioned regular sale – not a short-sale, not a foreclosure. AND we wanted it to be in a great neighborhood where someday our kids could grow up, make friends and be in a good school system.

We Found The One!
So it was around this time last year we’d seen 3 houses in one particular day, and one of them stuck out in our minds. We didn’t even schedule a second viewing...with our good note-taking and images of the property online, we didn’t need to.

We knew going into the purchase of this particular property that it needed:
- a new, more functional kitchen
- wallpaper removed
- carpet removed - BONUS: there were original hardwoods in all three bedrooms!
- all three bedrooms, hallway, bathroom, kitchen and living areas would need paint
- all rooms needed ceilings painted

Monique got the deal in motion by filling out a Purchase & Sales Agreement and soon after we had an inspection scheduled. A few minor repairs were needed and easily made by the seller. The roof was covered with 4 inches of snow at the time so we didn’t get to have that inspected. But, thanks to the seller’s accurate records, we found out the date it was last replaced/repaired. So we signed, knowing we’d replace the roof in the summer. Our closing date was set for 2/18/11 and we couldn’t have been happier!!

After our closing, we went to our new home, popped champagne, and in our dress clothes, began to strip wallpaper! What an amazing feeling! More on all the juicy renovation projects to come :-)

Happy Weekend!


If you're looking for an outstanding realtor in Rhode Island, contact Monique { }

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