The house was listed at 218k, we were able to get it under contract at $203,029 which we felt was super awesome. However, there was no inspection contingency with this property. Meaning that we could do any inspection we wanted but we would not be able to get our earnest money back in the event we decided to back away from the house. (Earnest money is held by the title company and used towards your downpayment-usually 1-2% of the house price- but this can be lost if you walk away from the property.)
Zach and I bought our first house during the big housing crash of 08′. During 08′ a lot of people were not buying homes in fear of housing prices continuing to plummet and with major lack of trust in the housing industry. Because we came out of college at one of the worst economic downturns our country has ever seen, when we bought our first house, and subsequent houses, we had this question in mind “Could we live here forever?”
History has shown time and time again that after a housing crash, with enough time, the housing market will recover. This gave us confidence that buying would be ok. But of course, like others, we were concerned that we hadn’t seen the worst of it. So, each time we purchased a house, even though we weren’t planning on any of these houses being our “forever home” we wanted to make sure that if Zach lost his job or the market worsened, we would be able to stay in the house as long as needed.
When Zach proposed to me, he defied all rules. He didn’t ask my Father’s permission, he went against his parents advice, he didn’t kneel down on one knee, and he asked me to marry him with a simple, white gold band- no diamonds. We were sitting in his car parked on a street that had maybe a little bit of a city view and that’s where our eternal commitment to each other started (I later found out he was so nervous he was just driving around with me in the car looking for a place to propose).
When you are a part of a gift exchange at work, or with your extended family, and there is a max budget for the amount to be spent on the gift, what happens? Most people feel like the max budget is how much they have to spend. If the budget is $30, most likely everyone spent the full $30. Even if that budget is simply to make sure people don’t over spend, it somehow becomes the minimum budget for most people.
This is what can happen when you get pre-approved for a home loan. You fill out your application, give all the information and documents needed to get pre-approved and you are told the maximum amount you can borrow for your home purchase. I can tell you from first hand experience that a lot of the time, this amount becomes the homebuyer’s budget. But, when getting pre-approved, does the bank take into account how much you want to save towards retirement or how much you need to save to go on the awesome trip you’ve been planning to Brazil? Nope, they only look at your debt to income ratio, and your credit score (of course there’s more to it, but these are the big ones).
Too often in life we are swayed to do things, or not to do things, based on what other people say. Of course there is a time and a place to look to people we know, love, and trust for advice… but sometimes, even these people can’t know what’s right for you.
An example from our personal lives took place when we purchased our second home, that was smaller than our first home, we decided to keep our first house as a rental. We had numerous people who we looked up to tell us that we should just sell our first house, then use the equity to buy one bigger house. We were determined to keep the first property to rent it out and did just that. We continued to get this advice (as well as other reasons to not purchase) on each and every property we bought, but we stayed on course with our long term plan. It would have been easy to sell and get a nicer home. However, we always had a detailed, thought out, business plan. This plan helped us see past immediate wants and needs and allowed us to stay focused on our end goal.