We've been on the hunt for a new home ever since we gave our notice last month. Now that February is here, we are just a few, short months away from needing to be out of our current home here in the "North Country" of upstate New York. I like this area. I'm an East Coast girl, and to be honest, the lake effect weather here really doesn't affect me much. I never envisioned that this would be a forever home for us, though. I grew up in the orchard country of south-central Pennsylvania, and we have lots of friends and family there. It's funny because I spent a lot of my young adult years trying to get away from the place, and now I want us to raise our own family there. I realize now why my parents were so attracted to moving there-- it's a perfect place for a kid to grow up. There is so much to do, too. And while I took a lot of that for granted as a young adult (because, lets face it--NYC is just too exciting to pass up at that age), I definitely want my little one to get a taste of the history and agriculture that rural America has to offer while she is still young.
To be honest, buying a home is a lot harder than I thought it would be. It's certainly not as easy as going to the store, picking something out, and dragging it home with you. I think that our being in a different state has also added a little pressure to our search. The first step we took was to ensure that we had already been pre-approved by a lender. Since my husband is actively serving in the military, we decided to take advantage of his benefits by applying for a VA Loan. From what I have been told, they are one of the best loans on the market today if you qualify for one. The amount of paperwork associated with getting a home loan is surreal, though, and we haven't even made an offer on a home yet!
Next, we sought the help of a realtor in the area where we intend to move. Sometimes you land a great one on the first try, and sometimes things don't exactly work out. I'll admit that I am a demanding person. I have pretty high expectations. Not just for myself, but sometimes for other people, too. I can be difficult to deal with (just as my husband), especially when stress is involved. And let me tell you, with a move-out deadline breathing down my neck, I am feeling pretty stressed. But who wouldn't be, right? We had to try a few times, but so far I think we've got a keeper, thanks to a suggestion from our lender.
Our realtor has been sending us some listings that match what we are looking for in our new home. We also have been browsing online sites like Trulia.com and Realtor.com to see what is available in our area within our price range. I really like the Trulia app that I downloaded for our Ipad. If you're in the market for a home, check it out. I love how it has a city map layout of what is for sale within the parameters you set. I've been told by our realtor, however, that sites like these may not always be updated or accurate with their listings. Sometimes they do not distinguish whether or not a home is under foreclosure or if it is still even available. As it turns out, a lot of places we had seen online weren't available. Womp, womp.
Our next plan, now that we have narrowed down some listings that appeal to us, is to take a trip down to Pa and check things out in person. I'll be honest. Looking at pictures in these listings drives me INSANE! I have a hard time getting through some of them as they really do not showcase the homes they are trying to sell. Who really submits blurry or misaligned pictures and thinks it will give a potential buyer a good impression? I am far from a superb photographer, but gracious! At least try to take a more flattering picture!
So that is where we are at this point. I am still packing little by little. I am really looking forward to our trip to Pa. We've planned to go down in a couple of weeks. Hopefully we will find THE ONE! I know at this point we have our heart set on a particular place (and even a contingency home as a runner up should the first one be a bust). It's so hard for me not to get my hopes up, though. I have a serious problem with becoming quickly attached to things. It's a sickness. I've already had dreams about this home that we want. Does that make me weird? I'm trying not to "jinx" it, so mum has been the word. Let's hope that everything works to our favor, though! It might save me from acquiring a few early grays. :)
Anyone else care to share their experiences on purchasing their first home? Was it a stressful experience for you, and were you just as annoyed at the bad pictures provided on the listings? It's becoming a peeve of mine!