I was hesitant to do much blogging about our house search, partially because I didn’t want to sadden our friends and family in South Dakota and Minnesota who may have perhaps thought we’d be moving back soon. But, I think writing about our experience may be helpful since it’s such a stressful, emotional thing.
In March 2010 we were on the verge of buying a house in Minneapolis. $500 away, in fact. At that time we had no real incentive aside from the nice tax break to buy. We were comfortable in our apartment in our month-to-month lease and just were looking for the sake of looking, and if something amazing that couldn’t be passed on popped up, we might act on it. In the end we decided to cash in our savings and pay off credit cards and other boring stuff and wait till later.
Who would have guessed at that time that “later” would be 28 months later, and over 1000 miles away. But that time has come, as our apartment lease is quickly coming to expiration, and as I’m a month away from turning 30, I think it’s high time we move on from the carefree maintenance-free rental lifestyle.
Unfortunately for us, House Search v2 is not going to be as easy or fun as the first, I suspect. Unlike when we were looking in Minneapolis, Austin’s house market is booming. With 5,000 outsiders relocating here every month, there’s hardly anything available in our price range in the areas we’re looking. If something good hits the market, there are hundreds of people waiting and it gets snatched up the same day. It’s going to be a challenge.
You’d be surprised at the area we’re looking. In relation to downtown Austin, it’s the equivalent of living in New Brighton or Fridley in the Twin Cities. Yet, due to lack of suburbs, we’d still be in Austin. Given how fast Austin has grown over the past couple decades, the houses are at least 50 years newer than the ones we had looked at in Minnesota. I know Lauren is sad to sacrifice the character and craftsmanship that comes with an older house, but there simply aren’t any that old in this area!
On our first night out we were both head-over-heels over a particular house, the third one we saw. So much so, that we asked our realtor to contact the sellers’ realtor. We were absolutely giddy–we had found our dream house after 33 minutes of searching! And then we received the news that the contract had just been signed and it was off the market and we were crushed. That is the harsh reality of the Austin house market. In Minneapolis we might have been able to stew on it for another three weeks, it seemed, but here we couldn’t even get the call in to express our interest! So Derrick “Hard to Get” Geiszler, next time you go making fun of me on Facebook for such things, make sure you have all the facts!
The other houses we saw weren’t very good. We got home that first night very dejected.
Luckily, on the second night out with the realtor, we walked into two great places right off the bat. They each had their quirks and flaws, but I think we both considered them strong candidates. Having just had our hearts ripped out the night before, I was instantly in panic mode. “If we both really like this house, we need to ACT NOW.” I know, that may not be the traditional, practical, non-psychopathic approach to take to the most major financial commitment of our entire lives, but there are so very precious few options, it seems, and we really do have to move fast with our apartment lease ending.
The next time it works for us to go back out with our realtor is Saturday morning. That’s like four whole days. I just know those good houses are going to be bid on by then! I’ve always been a rusher with things–I always had to be the first one to hand in a test, I always have to be the first one to arrive at work/school and the first to leave later in the day. No. Having someone beat me to the punch in something is not something I take lightly.
Much like my whole “we-need-to-be-to-the-airport-three-hours-early-for-a-domestic-flight!!! AAAHHH!!!” reaction to upcoming flights, or screaming obscenities at baseball players on TV, I know very well that I’m probably overreacting and making the much more sensible, relaxed Lauren feel stressed, pressured, and overwhelmed. But most every couple must have one person on each end of the spectrum, to some degree, I’d think. Maybe not Alex and Ann, they both seem very laid back.
Anyway, we’ll be taking a few days off to “perculate,” as our realtor explained. It may have been a slight sensory overload right off the bat. Wish us luck…
Ryan, you and I had better not go house shopping together without Lauren, or you’ll be in a contract in no time! I’m just like you, I want to buy right away. Luckily, RJG is usually right there, being the calm, thoughtful one. Good luck!