Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lists, Houses and Chipotle

Looking for a home can be frustrating, intimidating and scary. It is the biggest financial investment most people ever make in their life, but it can be a truly satisfying and exciting experience.

Bryan and I are just in the dipping-the-big-toe-to-test-how-cold-the-water-is stage of buying a home. A few months ago when we were frantically trying to find another rental home, we were told about a local grant that gives a loan (with great incentives) to first-time home buyers that meet a specific income. We weren't even thinking about buying a home at that time, but we figured it couldn't hurt.

So, I met with a broker one evening after work armed with all of our personal information. Unfortunately, the news was not good, we weren't qualified. We made "too much" money for a family of two people. I'll never forget, she looked at me hopefully after telling me that we were denied for the grant, "Do you have a child?" I've never seen such disappointment on a strangers face when I said I didn't.

The good news was that we both have good credit and were approved for a loan. GREAT news. So, I filled Bryan in after the meeting and we decided to try to find a home.

After we find me a new car.
After we buy him a new truck.
After we pay off all of our credit cards.
After we start up all of our new insurances and create a new monthly budget.

Finally, all of that is done and we are ready so start looking!

We had plans tonight to go to Guitar Center and Chipotle. I heart Chipotle. It's delicious. Bryan and I always share a burrito now and we sometimes spring for chips and guac. Mmmmmm.. Oh, sorry back to the point of this post.

During our meal I pulled out my handy-dandy notebook that I keep in my purse. I started writing down things that are important to me about a house. Obviously, you can't get everything you have ever dreamed of in your first home. But there are some things you are willing to let go of and some things that you are adamant about.

My list (below) included four items that were important to me, in no specific order.
1. Bathrooms - Are the big enough? Is there at least one tub? Would we have to renovate? Is there potential to expand?
2. Kitchen - Are the cupboards in good condition? Are the appliances older/newer? Is there a gas stove? Is the kitchen roomy enough to actually cook in? Is there enough counter space?
3. Location - Is the property in a nice/safe area? What school district does the house fall in?
4. Fireplace - Does the house have a wood burning or gas insert?

Of course, every one has different priorities when thinking about purchasing a home. But those things are important to me personally and I am obviously not saying the above four things should be on every one's list.

I turned the page to a fresh sheet and hand Bryan the notebook after explaining my list and I say, "Don't be flip. I need to know what is important to you."

Here is a picture of Bryan's list.

Apparently, the only thing Bryan cares about in picking a house is if I am going to be there and if there is a big backyard for his dog.

I definitely have my work cut out for me.


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