Are we finally going to get out of the house rental game? I think we are!!
We’ve been trying to get a house now for about 6 months or more. The rent we are paying right now is what most people pay on a mortgage for a rather large home. We realized how stupid this is when you can own a decent home for less than half of what we are paying in rent a month. Right now we live in a very nice area located in the western suburbs of Chicago called Downers Grove. We would love to stay in this area but the taxes and house costs are very out of reach for us. So we decided to venture closer to the city. Moving closer to the city has it’s benefits. First off, Chicago is a great city and fun to be in. Secondly my partner is in the construction trades and does a lot of work in the city.
During our house hunting saga it seemed that at every turn something would go wrong and we’d be a day late and a dollar short. We’ve probably “lost” 4 houses that we really liked and wanted. The main issue we’ve been having is we can’t afford much. Due to our lack of funds we’ve been shopping foreclosures or looking for something really really cheap. A house that needs to be rehabbed and is on the verge of falling over basically lol. Due to our price range on the house we can afford we’ve been fighting against investors who are on a buying frenzy right now it seems. There are some major deals out there right now and we just don’t have the same cash flow that these companies do so we always lost out on the house we would try to get.
We’ve looked at some pretty scary houses and have been in some pretty scary neighborhoods that we knew we didn’t belong in. Some rather notorious Chicago areas that aren’t known for good things. While out in these areas driving around trying to find the house, being the only white person in a 5 mile radius can make a person stick out just a little too much. You begin to realize you don’t belong when everyone stops and stares at the two white guys driving past, or the people start hooting and hollering as you slowly drive past. Get me outta here!
One of the houses we looked at that someone previously tried to rehab and then ended up losing back to the bank, they dug out the basement and now the walls were caving in. Yikes! Idiots. Was an awesome lot to, oh well. Next!
So last week I find this cute little bungalow for sale that is smaller than we’d like with not much yard, but i figure you need to start somewhere right? This house is a stepping stone for us anyway as we plan to rehab and sell in 3-4 years and hopefully move into our forever house, or a better second stepping stone. So off we went to look at what seems the hundredth home.
After spending time inside the home we realized that so far this was the best house we’ve looked at. It is in an ok neighborhood, livable, and has potential. We conversed a bit and decided we are going to try to buy it. It was only on the market two days so we knew we had to move fast before we lost out on another house.
This is where things get interesting…
The home is bank owned. No big deal we thought, as we were prepared for all the bumps in the road that were potentially ahead of us. What we weren’t prepared for was the house being listed with a third-party auction broker. This was very new to us and our agent. Let the headaches commence!
So because the house was being auctioned off all offers were shown to the public on the auction website. This concerned us as we thought that gave us less of a chance of getting the house in our set price range. We proceeded with putting an offer in slightly above asking price hoping no one else would bid. The website was cumbersome, customer service outsourced to India, and was an over-all scary experience. So we hoped all this would scare the majority of buyers away. Our bid was the first, later that night another entity placed a bid slightly higher, crap! After awhile the listing info changes and says “Buyers should submit their highest & best offer by 10:30 am the following day”. So at about 10am we place our final bid a couple hundred over the other bid. Hmmm our bid isn’t showing as the highest offer, whats going on!? Emails, texts and phone calls are sent in a mass panic..and then we wait.
Fast forward a day and we are still on pins and needles. The listing hasn’t changed and our bid still isn’t showing as the highest. Just shoot me now! Later that evening the listing is updated to “This property is now under contract…”. We start to freak and again the emails, texts and phone calls start flying. Is it us? Did we get it? Nobody knows anything and their customer service is zero help. I get bummed because I’m sure we got outbid somehow since nobody has contacted our agent. Then I get the best email of the day..”You got it!” At this point I think I was so drained that I had no energy left to jump up and down or do anything but sit there and stare at it. I was so glad that it was over and that maybe now my three-day headache would go away. Whew!
The house is structurally sound but needs a ton of work. Lets just say what we paid for it you could barely buy a car for that amount. The home has 865 sq ft of living space right now. When we finish the basement and attic that will bring it up to 1600 sq ft. Much better! We haven’t been into the attic yet to see what the head height is but it appears to be tall enough from the outside viewing. The basement is a full unfinished basement with high ceilings. Huge bonus since I am a work at home glass artist and need a place to build my studio.
So after all the headaches, swear words, and gas spent trying to find a home, I welcome you to our new home! It isn’t much but it’s ours, feels good just saying that.
I will post the inside photos and some more outside photos soon. You’ll see just how much work needs to be done and the reason why I decided to start this blog. It’s going to be so much fun. Probably full of a lot more headaches but in the end will be worth it.
This is going to be a very long process, thinking at a minimum of 2 years before we can sit back and relax. It’s a good thing having a hubby who is a builder/contractor/carpenter. That means we will be doing 99% of the work ourselves which will save us a ton in repair costs.
Stay tuned for new updates!