Closing Time
Feb 25th, 2010 by Mike

If you follow me on any social networking sites, this blog post won’t have any serious surprises.

In my last post, I mentioned that I was going back to look at a property. Long story short, I made an offer, haggled a little on the price and we close March 19.

I’m buying a two bedroom condo in East Boston a block away from the Maverick T station. On a Tuesday, I talked to my real estate agent and we discussed some properties I wanted to see. On Thursday, he had confirmed appointments for me to see those properties. On Friday, the seller of the property I’m buying dropped the price, by a very large amount of money. Saturday, we saw said property. Sunday, I made an offer.

This whole process has been pretty intense, and emotionally, I’ve been a big old mess.

Here are my key dates:
March 5 – Mortgage commitment due
March 6 – I head to Disney for a few days with the family
March 19 – Closing
March 26 – Movers

Yeah, Disney. My parents decided they wanted to take the whole family to Disney as a Christmas gift this year. The kids are beyond excited.

House Hunting, Part Two
Jan 30th, 2010 by Mike

When I first started thinking about buying a house, I made the decision to use a realtor who knows and lives in the neighborhood where I want to buy. That may have been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made recently.

My friend Ulli and I went house hunting again today. This time was a lot more fun because I knew what I was approved to spend and actually knew what was in my budget. Yes, I sat down and figured out what I spend monthly and figured out just what I could spend.

We met up with Ryan, my buyer’s broker, at the big park near Ulli’s house. It’s close to where he lives and close to one of the properties he wanted me to see today.

Our first stop was a block from the Maverick T station. It hadn’t originally been on my list of places to see, but the seller dropped the price and it was worth seeing. It’s a two bedroom condo on the first floor with a great kitchen. The living room is decently sized and has a pretty big bathroom. The larger bedroom has a door that leads out to the back “patio” and a small yard. It’s new construction in the past three years. The price is in my sweet spot and remains a possibility.

Our second and third stops were lofts in the same building, an old bra factory. Seriously. We’ll call them 104 and 147. Having seen the pictures and drempt of the places, I have to say that I was incredibly disappointed. 147 had a private deck, but the mezzanine had terrible steps and couldn’t really be used because the ceiling was too low. 104 was better, but the kitchen needed a lot of work. Both of these have been eliminated as possibilities. They’re too much money for too little space.

Next came a unit in the building where I met Ryan and Ulli. It was a HUGE one bedroom with lots of storage and a ton of light. The kitchen had high end fixtures but terrible cabinetry. It was nice, but the asking price was too high. The location is great, but I would end up being “house poor.”

The fifth unit isn’t actually listed on the market. This was really neat because I saw it pretty much how the guy lives, including where his two dogs occasionally pee on the floor. I can’t fault anybody here because Reggie has been known to pee once in a while. 🙂 It had fantastic bedrooms but not enough living space downstairs. The back yard and deck were selling points, but the kitchen didn’t call to me.

The sixth unit was one we saw last week. It’s the one that’s open concept with kitchen at one and and the fireplace at the other. LOVE LOVE LOVE this unit. As much as I’d love to buy it, it’s at the upper end of my price range.

When we were done, we left Ryan and talked over lunch. And we did pros and cons. And we crunched numbers. When Ryan called me back a couple of hours later, I told him what I’m thinking. Stay tuned for details.

House Hunting
Jan 28th, 2010 by Mike

If you’ve been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you may know that I’m looking to buy a home.

The lease on my condo in Salem is up, and I was not planning on renewing it. A few weeks ago, I was looking for a new apartment in Boston. For the first time in many, many years, a landlord checked my credit. Realizing my credit was better than expected, I pulled out of the process and stepped back, hoping it was time to buy.

Last weekend, I dragged my fabulous friend Ulli with me and went to a couple of open houses. One was really nice, near the end of the runway at Logan (which I like) and had a nice kitchen. The owner was also completely unrealistic in his asking price. I walked away from that without bothering to sign in. The second one, on the other hand is quite nice. It’s in a fantastic part of Jeffries Point in East Boston. The price was a little high, but it could be negotiated down.

During the whole apartment search phase, I had met a guy named Tom who is also friends with Ulli. We ran into Tom on Saturday, and he suggested I talk to a realtor named Ryan. Oddly enough, Ryan was the selling agent at the second condo we looked at.

On Monday, I called Ryan and asked him if he’d be willing to help me find a condo. (Buyer’s Agent) He’s happy to represent me and suggested I attend a first time home buyer’s seminar the next night at his office. It was time well spent. After the seminar, I sat down with Ryan, and we looked at a few properties on paper, and he has a pretty good idea what I’m looking for.

Saturday, I’m meeting up with Ryan again to look at some lofts. There is an old bra factory (yes, women’s underwear) that was converted into condos a few years ago. The pictures look really nice.

This whole process is incredibly exciting, terrifying, and stressful.

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