It’s been an amazing two-year experience as we went through the process of buying our first home. My wife Jenni and I were very informed buyers and determined to get what we need. This is the first part of the story of how we found our home. First, here is the back story on this whole thing.
The Back Story
The problem was that we wanted to keep our monthly payment same as we were paying for our rental, and we wanted something similar to it in a home. Basically the idea was to trade our rental to a similar home but so we would put the money into something of our own instead of throwing it in the wind.
We were comfortable with paying $1000 per month for our rental and we were set on finding a home that will have a payment of about that much. We were ok with it being a couple of hundred more per month if it’s just a perfect house.
When we sat down and counted how much money we’ve thrown away in the lat 5 years of living in this rental, it came out to $60,000… Shocked! We could have been putting this in our own equity.
So we thought we could realistically trade this rental for a house of our own, but keep the payments the same.
In Spokane Valley, (we even wanted to stay in the same neighborhood), houses are more expensive, so finding something that had our requirements was next to impossible. A type of house that we wanted to have had a price of about $40,000 more than we wanted to spend.
We played with compromising on this feature or that one but even with that, our most important check items were not met with any of the homes we looked at.
We searched for 2 years, and must have looked at over 100 homes. Our poor real estate agent (Hal Green) was so patient with us. He showed us so many homes but they were all less than what we wanted.
The Test We Passed
There was one house on the 21st street that we almost bough, but it fell through right in time. Thanks to God that He prevented us from buying it and had something better in store for us.
We prayed about it and asked God to block the purchase if for any reason we should not buy this house, even though I was very excited about this house and really wanted to buy it. I’m very compulsive, Jenni is my breaks, she’s more conservative and a realist. I don’t know what kind of mess I’d be in if it wasn’t for her balancing my stuff out.. Lol
So, miraculously, in the last minute, the mortgage lady calculated our mortgage payment to be almost $500 more per month and we backed out.
Expanding Our Horizons
Aside from Spokane Valley, we were open to anything to the East also, as far as the Washington state line. We considered looking in Post Falls, a small city right by the border in Idaho. It’s only about 15 minutes from Spokane Valley. We were just not sure about switching states.
We finally made a decision to look in Post Falls knowing that the home prices are a bit cheaper there.
We contacted an agent in Coeur d’Alene one of my friends recommended and asked if he could send us a list of houses in Post Falls that are within our scope. (Unfortunately, we couldn’t use Hal as our agent for this because he was not licensed in Idaho, which was also another reason we’ve been hesitating to look at houses in Idaho. We liked working with Hal and did not want to have to work with someone else. We highly recommend Hal for anyone looking to buy or sell their house in Spokane, WA). The new agent sent us about 10 houses, but only one was something we were interested in looking at.
We decided to go and look at this house. What we found out later was a blessing is that this agent was out of town, and he sent one of his co-workers to show us this house (Gretchen Vedel).
This house was really good, the only problem was that the main bathroom was too small. We have 4 daughters, they need space. This was a real test for us, everything else was really good. We really considered this house but stood strong and left disappointed.
Before we left Gretchen asked us about what we were looking for, and we told her “our story”. She amazingly remembered all those things without writing it all down. I seriously wondered, “How is she going to remember all this?” After our meeting, Gretchen went to work on this. Within a couple of days she gathered another list of houses, I don’t remember how many there were.
One of the houses on her list was a house in the same neighborhood in Post Falls where we saw the first one. The photos looked really good, the specs were good too and the price was just a few thousand more than our budget.
I called Gretchen and were were out there within a day. This house was perfect. We fell in love with it right away. Two years of searching and finally it paid off.
It was exciting and scary at the same time… After sleeping on it for a night we put in the offer of $180,000.
I will tell you the story about our mortgage in the next post. How Idaho state paid $5,000 of our mortgage and got it down to $175,000.