My home buying timeline - Michael McVinney
Contact Michael McVinney, a NY licensed Real Estate Broker. Michael McVinney is also licensed in PA.
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My home buying timeline

This sub was such a huge help to me while my husband and I bought a home, I thought I would type up a timeline/our story of being basically our first time buying a home and getting a mortgage. Hopefully someone will find it helpful.

Approximately a year ago, we began the process of selling our 20 year old double wide mobile home. Mobile homes are awful and selling them is not easy. Ours was paid off and we were tired of our hot water heater pilot blowing out, pipes freezing, an a/c that was so loud and right in our living room, etc. We ended up selling for less than $10000, but felt such relief. It needed a lot of work (flooring, one ceiling panel had been destroyed by a water leak, hot water heater access door was falling apart) and we didn't want to put anything into it because we knew we wouldn't have any return on our investment. We moved into a new construction townhome that we rented. [Spoiler alert — I really struggled with the move. And the other half of our duplex is rented by people who don't seem to have any respect for their house, play loud music at all hours and also have a pit bull that tries to attack my dachshund through the fence.] We were happy renting and had no desire to change that, but we are in the same area we lived previously and we had been talking about moving closer to town (we live in a suburb). We had started talking about different apartment complexes that were in the area we wanted to be in. My husband wanted to buy a house, but I was not at all entertaining the idea.

May 4, 2019 One of my Facebook friends posts a house that's for sale in their neighborhood. I look at the pictures and think that maybe a house wouldn't be awful, given my dislike of our current rental. My husband works in the area of that house and drives me past it to see where it is. It is not at all where I wanted to live.

May 5-12: We talk more about buying a house, start looking at Zillow, talk about where we want to live.

May 13: My husband has a minor medical procedure in the AM and that afternoon we see a condo we like on Zillow. I hit the "request a showing" button on it and not even 5 minutes later, a real estate agent calls me and we agree to see it in a few hours. My husband works 11 am – 8 pm Monday through Friday and I'm a teacher, so it was a rare time that we both had off on a week day. We hated the condo, but liked the agent and agreed to set up some appointments with her for the weekend to see other properties.

May 17: Applied for preapproval for a mortgage through our long time bank. Had it within 2 hours.

May 18: We see three properties. Hated 2 of them. Felt like the other one was the right place for us. We are in our late 40s, have 3 adult children, only one of whom lives at home (still in college) and this was a little patio home with no lawn maintenance in a very quiet neighborhood. Perfect for us.

May 19: Went to 3 or 4 open houses. Disliked one of them, I liked one but my husband hated it. We decide to offer on the one we saw the day before that felt right. It was being offered for $218,000, we offered 208, we agreed to $211. Closing is set for June 28.

May 20: Everything signed and loan officer starts working on it. Appraisal is ordered by bank; we set up an inspection for May 30. When loan officer gets into it, she realizes that it's not a single family home/patio home as we thought, but it's a condo. Interest rate raises .5%. I am upset because sellers had just bought the house eight months before (they lived in neighboring house and had bought this one to flip it) so they had to have known it was technically a condo, but had listed it as a Single Family Home. We decide to buy anyway.

May 30: Inspection. We had a father/son team and they were great. Every window had a broken seal. One of the shower heads needed changed. The garage floor had cracked (and the sellers had put a rug over it in the middle of the garage). The HVAC was 31 years old but still worked. Strangely, it was on heat at the end of May and all the vents were closed on the upper floor. Then the son saw what looked like a damp spot. They looked at it through a special camera (looked like something from Ghost Hunters) and measured the moisture in the area. It was 60%. After they saw that, they found two more spots like that on different walls. The unfinished part of the basement had extensive repair due to foundation starting to fall in (steel beams) and waterproofing wall cracks. Because this moisture was seemingly coming from inside the wall, the only way to figure out what was happening and how to fix it was to tear out all the drywall. The sellers had already regraded the yard to help with drainage, so that should not have been the issue.

June 1: Based on the inspection findings, we decided to walk away. Due to the way the contract was written, we still had to give the sellers a chance to make repairs so we asked for a ridiculous amount of repairs. The sellers reject them all, we get our earnest money returned. (The sellers took the house off the market and it continues to be off the market.)

June 3: I go with our realtor to look at 2 new homes. One was a regular home in an area we liked and the second was a patio home but on the wrong side of town for where we wanted to be. I liked the patio home but it was very brown. I like it enough that the realtor makes another appointment to view it the next morning with my husband (I was substitute teaching summer school this week from 8-noon so my husband and I weren't able to see anything at the same time.) That afternoon, my husband sees a new home posted on Zillow that is right in the area we want to live and in our price range, so I make an appointment to see it with our realtor the next day after I finish teaching.

June 4: Husband sees the patio home. He likes it just fine but has concerns about no fence and the homes are very close together. At 1 pm, I see the home he found on Zillow. On my way to the appointment, I tell him that if I like it, I'm going to tell our realtor to put an offer on it. I really, really like it. I sit with the realtor and we discuss what to offer. It's listed at $219,900. She says offer $217K, ask for $2K toward closing and a home warranty. I decide to offer full price but keep the closing and warranty. That night, she calls and says they have 2 other offers already, have more showings the next morning, and are asking for highest and best by 2 pm the next day. My husband and I talk and drop the closing credit and warranty. We are putting down more than 20% and using a conventional loan. I'm hoping that makes our offer strong enough to be picked.

June 5: I chew off all my fingernails, especially after 2 pm. Around 5, my realtor texts me with a "hinting" message but doesn't outright say we have the house. She says she doesn't want to say it until she has a signed contract in her hands from the seller. About an hour later, she calls and says we got it. The husband is travelling and not able to sign until late that night, but they chose our offer.

June 6: loan process begins again, I get home owners insurance set up, and we start it all over.

June 8: The sellers are nice enough to let us see the house with our realtor again because my husband still hasn't seen the house we now have a contract to buy. He likes it. The location is amazing, but the house is quirky and fun too.

June 10: Loan processor emails me because I sent the wrong tax returns. They asked for last two years and I was looking at the date I saved them, not what year the return was for. I send the right documents.

June 12: My husband's employer uses a website (maybe through Equifax?) to confirm employment and wages. He is working and not tech savvy but he's supposed to go in and request a "wage key" and then send the link to the loan officer. I am no longer sub teaching so I have his log in info and try to do it, but cannot get it to work. He calls the website and they say it's his employer's issue. He calls HR for his company and they say, yes, it's our issue but they don't know how to fix it. He's been employed with them for 20 years so he should be in the system. Finally, they reset it and it works and I get the link to the loan officer.

June 13: Home inspection. The best inspection our team has ever done. One window is painted shut in the master bath and the HVAC filter needs changed. We do not ask for any repairs and we move forward. The appraisal comes in within the week for $224,000.

June 19: Loan processor says the underwriter needs documentation about where we got the money for our downpayment. My husband's parents both passed away in the last six months and it was inheritance from multiple places. My in-laws had invested in a lot of obscure outlets. My FIL was a pastor and the one that kept sticking was that he had invested in his church's loan fund. I assume what he did was invest in it, the church gave loans to other pastors as needed, they paid interest on their loan, my in-laws made money on their investment. Anyway, it was called "AG Loan Fund" and we had to prove that it was not a loan to us, even though the check we received was from that fund. We managed to do that with copies of the letters he received and actual checks and check stubs. My husband saved every piece of paper he got relating to his inheritance and we deposited our checks via the mobile app, so we actually still had the checks to scan and submit.

And then… a whole lot of nothing. I set up utilties, a locksmith for the day after closing, schedule for a spider spraying before we move in (there were tons of dead spiders in the basement and my husband is deathly afraid of spiders). We pack up most of the house; a lot was still packed from last year's move. I'm a minimalist and we keep it pretty clean and uncluttered.

June 30-July 7: we go on vacation. My husband has to request vacation on January 1 and we had no idea we'd be buying a house this year. So we go on vacation. On the first day, we buy furniture for the new house and set it up to be delivered the day after closing. We pay cash. Only problem was that our debit card has a daily limit and I had to get them to raise it for a day. We have a great time on vacation.

July 2: We get a closing disclosure from the bank. We esign while on vacation. The next day I get an email from our loan officer saying we are good to go, she'll see us at the closing. I get a final CD from another loan officer on July 5 with a new number on it. (Our original loan estimate was for $56,000 cash to close, but the final disclosure was $53,000. Still not sure I understand why it went down when most people seem to have it go up, but I wasn't going to argue.)

July 9: We go get a cashier's check for our cash to close. I plan to go do the final walkthrough on the house at 6 pm, but our realtor texts me to say they won't be out of the house until late that night. Apparently the wife is a night owl. So we reschedule to do it before closing.

July 10: 7:30 am We do the walkthrough. They left some random things, but nothing that's a problem. In fact, since we are renting currently, the ladder, garden tools and small vacuum are great. We get to closing site at 7:50, we almost immediately start signing papers, we're done by 8:30. We meet our loan officer (who I had never actually met) on the way out the door.

We go back to the house and take a selfie because hey, it's our house now. I'm planning to go back after lunch, drop off a load of boxes and clean toilets and wipe down cabinets. It's clean, but not as clean as I would like.

Tomorrow: We're having the regular door locks rekeyed and installing keypad deadbolts. I need to figure out how to reprogram the garage door openers. Furniture from 2 different places is being delivered. Spider guy is coming to spray.

Friday: Movers show up at our rental at 8:30 am. All 3 of my adult kids will be here to help move. My husband is going to work, so he'll leave the rental in the morning and go home to our new house at the end of the day.

Next week: we're adopting a rescue puppy. 🙂

Again, just our process and not indicative of anyone else's situation. Not a realtor, lawyer or have no advice. I just thought someone might learn from our journey to home buying.

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