Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.
Buy a house. / May 19, 2013
The perfect antidote to the desire to buy a house is the process of buying a house.
My process so far certainly hasn’t been standard, but even the best of sales seem to take their toll. You spend a large amount of time looking through listings and going on tours, trying to find something that is desirable, affordable, accessible, and usable. And, well, just has that *something* that makes you want to commit to such an insane undertaking. Then you put in an offer for an ungodly amount of money. And more often than not, you get rejected. I was told the average buyer has to make offers on at least 3 places. Say you find the house, and make a deal. The first thing you then have to do is get it inspected. This is the point where someone comes in and starts poking holes in all your dreams. Water problems, structural problems, pest problems, electric problems. If you aren’t put off by that, you start putting together the financing. This isn’t the cute little norman rockwell image of the local banker sitting with you in their office helping the young couple buy their starter home. This is a faceless person asking you for multiple years worth of finances, including full details on several months worth of deposits. (For that one little thing alone, I’ve had to produce over 200 documents). On the lender’s side, it’s multiple steps… any one of which could cause a problem. But if you make it this far, you really don’t want to give up. So you work your way through and agree on a date to exchange signatures. But first… lets clear the title, which is where we verify they owner actually even has a right to sell you the property. (Why this doesn’t occur earlier, I don’t know. Probably to be sure no ownership changes pop up at the last minute.) So… you’ve made it to closing day. Can’t go wrong now, can it? All you gotta do now is sign your name 40 or 50 times. But… first you inspect the house. You gotta verify that it’s in the same condition as you contracted for. Any change that wasn’t agreed to in writing ahead of time, becomes grounds for an argument with the seller, and could lead to either party walking away. (Probably not… but it depends on the scale of the modification).
And all of that assumes the people you’re working with are competent and well meaning. I’m not going to speak about my experiences, here. But it is a business transaction… you really can’t rely on people’s good will.
You survive all that. You sign the papers. You own a house. Tired yet? I hope not. As one of my clients recently said, owning a house is a lifestyle. Clean, repair, paint, maintain, grow, secure, finance,…