Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Moving and First Time Home Buying

Well, ladies and germs, Scott has accepted a job in Columbia, South Carolina.  Columbia is where Scott and I met.  He was a student at the University of South Carolina.  I was a staff worker with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship there.  Eight years after we met, we got hitched.  In November, we'll be moving there.  This is exciting, thrilling, adventurous, and scary as crap.  It's exciting because Scott has been trying to get out of teaching for a while.  He's going to embark on the journey of becoming an actuary with an insurance company.  I'd love to explain that to you, but I hardly understand it myself.  

noun: actuary; plural noun: actuaries
a person who compiles and analyzes statistics and uses them to calculate insurance risks and premiums.

There.  Now you understand what they do?  Great.  Moving on then.  I am still looking for a new job in the Columbia area.  If you know someone who works at a hospital in that area, I'd love to talk to them!  I am so sad to leave my very comfortable work environment.  I love the people I work with and I really, really like what I do.  Transitioning to a new hospital will feel like leaving home.

Speaking of home, Raleigh has become home to me.  I lived here from 1996-2000 while I attended NC State.  I moved back in 2004 and have been here since.  That's a long, long time for an Air Force brat that never lived anywhere more than 2-3 years.  Although I'm having to dust off this emotion, I remember being intrigued and excited about moving to a new place as a kid.  I'm beginning to feel that way about Columbia.  The area is somewhat familiar to me from living there before, but moving back married with children is a whole new ball game.  I'm excited about the possibilities.

Also, I'm pretty sure my parents are moving with us, just a few months later.  My mom said she's coming.  My dad said he's going where my mom goes. :)  Fair enough.  Columbia, here comes an invasion of Davidsons and Acuffs!!  Watch out!

Since we've been married, Scott and I have rented apartments.  Well, we *think* we're finally ready to look at buying a house!  We've already found a real estate agent (through Dave Ramsey's website) and she's sending us tons of houses to peruse online.  We are still in the process of figuring out a mortgage lender.  We know it would be a fast turn-around, but we're hoping to find a house, get the financing worked out, and close on it by mid to late November.  

Tell me about your first home buying experience!  Or if you don't own a home, what your thoughts about owning are.  The whole thing seems totally overwhelming to me.  I grew up military.  We moved a LAWT.  We usually lived on base, so I didn't observe the home buying process as a kid.  I think it must be that military-kid part of me that is afraid of buying a house.  I'm afraid of being "stuck" in a house we can't sell.  Probably some of the recent years' real estate market has contributed to that fear as well.  

If I ignore the fear, though, I am really, really pumped to be in a house.  I want to be able to walk out my back door and play in the yard with my kids.  It doesn't have to be a big yard at all.  Just a tiny postage stamp yard is fine.  That would be more than we have right now (none)!  I want to not hear my upstairs neighbors at all hours of the day and night.  Pretty sure our neighbors will be excited for us to move, too.  Hearing kids crying (all hours of the day and night) has to be thrilling for them. :)  My 'requirements' list for my first home is surprisingly small.  I just want to be in a house we can comfortably afford.  That's what I care about the most.  Hardwoods, carpets, separate shower stall and tub, garage or not, two story or one...none of that matters as much to me.  Should make it easier to find a place right??

What advice would you give a first time home buyer?  I'll tell you the things I've heard already that sound reasonable to me:
  • Buy a little bit more house than you think you'll need.  I translate that to mean more bedrooms.  I don't want to have to move if we have another kiddo.
  • Pay attention to school districts, both for your own kids, as well as resale later.
  • Don't use the home inspector recommended by the real estate agent.  They are on the same team.  You want someone looking out for YOUR interests.
  • If you can do it, 20% down payment is best.
  • Visit the neighborhood at night.  Sometimes neighborhoods have a very different feel in the dark hours.
  • Ask about how old the roof, water heater, HVAC units are.
What else would you add to this list??


Jenny said...

ask how many trick or treaters the people typically have. Its a good gauge of the age of the children in the neighborhood and how active the neighborhood is

James Harrison said...

First of all make your budget to buy a house. Then, find the area on the bases of your requirements but don't forget to involve your all family members on it. Moving in new place is not an easy task so take a help from your friends & neighbours.

Rachel Tillie said...

Wow; I haven't been around in a while, you guys have a lot going on! Have you found a home yet? If you haven't my suggestions are, what is behind the house? Will it stay that way? For example, behind our home is a protected wetland that will always be there. I love not being back to back with another home and all the privacy/noise issues that come with that. Lastly, if at all possible try to avoid a neighborhood with a HOA. IMO, the "benefits" do not justify the dues and the hassle. Hope it all goes well!

Rachel Tillie said...

In the interest of full disclosure: protected wetland = snakes, spiders, and so on (but we also have bunnies -- baby bunnies!!). I'm not a fan of fangs, but the beauty of nature outweighs her cons for me.