Went through and signed the mortgage pre-qualification papers yesterday. (My friends are probably going to give me hell for the lender we went with but quite honestly no other lender was willing to give us a fixed 100% financed mortgage. We checked about 8 different ones including our own bank.) But the loan looks good - max $250k at 6.5% completely financed. Not too bad for our first loan. We rolled the taxes into the loan - that was a personal decision. I hate paying multiple bills for the same thing and really really want to write one check for the mortgage every month. I’m sure we could probably save some money in there somewhere but it’s more important to us that we get this ball rolling. It’s bad enough that we’re going to have to get homeowner’s insurance on top of all this. I’m hoping that won’t hose us too badly each month.
So now we start the serious search for houses. It’s a buyer’s market but I still want to get something below $150k because that will put the payments well within our means without giving us a problem. It still means no serious spending after we move but that’s a given with first-time homeownership. I watched my parents do this dance and quite honestly I remember the steps well.
I think the hardest thing for me will be giving up going to the restaurant every day for lunch. I enjoy the meal, it gets me out of the office, and it’s pretty damn healthy for me compared to lots of other things i could be eating. But give it up I will have to do. I will still leave the office during lunch but I’ll probably just go out to my car or something or find a local park that I can eat at. And that’s probably a good thing too because it will help me get what I eat under control.
Anyway we’re looking for 3br with a basement and a garage but a 2br with a basement and a garage will do just as well. I’ve got to have somewhere to put the computers and somewhere to put my bike and the lawn tractor. Of course if the basement is big enough then I can empty the shed into it and put the bikes and the lawn tractor into there and then a garage is not so necessary. I can be a little flexible...
One thing I’m definitely going to look into is putting in solar panels. Even here in the Midwest they can significantly lower my electric bill and are well worth the investment. If I’ve got a garage the first set will go there to test using them and see what kind of efficiency I can get out of them using the standard inverter setup. Once that’s all worked out I’ll then put them on the house. I don’t think anybody will have a problem with that.
That’s another thing I’m going to try and avoid like the plague - HOAs. I will _NOT_ tolerate someone telling me what to do with this multi-thousand-dollar thing I just bought. Let them tend to their own devices. :-(