I still can't talk about the second event that is going on, it is very private, but we should hopefully have a conclusion to that in a week or so...
What I can tell you is, as Petra and many of you probably guessed... We are buying a new house!
Unfortunately these are tough economic times and a lot of people have found themselves stuck with homes too expensive, not being able to pay their mortgages. This has recently flooded the real estate market with lots and lots of opportunities to get a great deal on short sales and foreclosure properties, if you are in the market to buy.
The house we are hoping to get is a so called short sale. This means the owner of the house can no longer pay their loan, and the lender has agreed to letting the owner sell the house to a significantly reduced rate. What this does is of course keep the owner from foreclosing (loosing the house to the lender) on the property. So no major credit flaw! The lender on the other hand usually gets a better deal through a short sale since they don't have to go through the lengthy and costly process of foreclosure.
But a lot of people don't want to buy a short sale property since it can take a looooong time. Actually, 3-5 months is the standard!
Lucky for me, one of my best friends is a Realtor, and she was able to negotiate with the Realtor of the house we are interested in, and if our offer is accepted by the seller, he will take the house off the market until we here back from the lender if they agree on the price. At least then we can be sure of no other offers coming in and potentially beating ours.
Our offer is going in today, and so far they only have one, very low offer, so we should be good. I guess we will just have to wait until Thursday to know if we are in or not.
But even if the seller accepts our offer, the lender still have to approve it. Since the lender is the largest lender in the US, it can take a month just for them to open and look at our offer. Then they will do an appraisal of the property to see if they will accept it. And THEN they will tell us yes or no. So basically we are looking at a closing date at the earliest January 15, 2010. Could be as late as March too.
Because of this procedure a lot of people shun away from buying a house that is a short sale. But they can be a real bargain, as is the case with this particular house. It has been on the market for almost 2 years now, and they have been lowering and lowering the price. Friday they slashed it finally another $100,000. From the original listing, the price has been reduced a total of $286,000!!!
And now for the fun stuff: the house is absolutely beautiful! It is in a quiet little community just north of us, a little closer to Tampa. It is right off the Manatee River, and there is a brand new school just 2 minutes away. Lots of things to do outside in the area, and the community itself has hiking trails along the river and a place to launch a canoe into the river. You can actually go all the way out to the Gulf of Mexico on the river.
There is a nice clubhouse and a pool for all residents to use, as well as the standard tennis and basketball courts and playground.
But what we both liked about the area is how right it feels. Very relaxing and surrounded by nature. No traffic, no noise...
The house is situated on a lot tucked in the back of the community, at an angle so you really can't see into the neighbors yards that much. The back of the house consists of a large grassy lawn, then a huge lake and behind it is a nature preserve with the river snaking through it.
The patio is pretty big, 36X12 (11x3.5 meter), and off the top floor is a huge 44 foot (13.5 meter) long deck/balcony overlooking the lake and the nature preserve.
The house is very big, almost 1.5 times bigger than our current house, so lots and lots of room for visitors (blink, blink).
Speaking of our current house, we decided to keep it and rent it out for a few years until the market stabilize a little more, so we can get back the money we put into it. That is another plus with the new house, it is only 3 years old, so not much that need to be done. It has tile and wood floors in all the living areas downstairs, and high quality carpet upstairs. I have a feeling we will probably get rid of some of the carpet later on, and we also want to add a little fence in the back for the dogs, but other than that we should be good.
3502 square feet (325 square meters), 4 bedrooms, 3 full bathrooms, 2 half baths (5 toilets to clean!), a formal dining room with a little sitting area, upstairs media room (will probably be a playroom for Sarah) and a large bonus room with access to the upstairs deck, plus indoor laundry room and a huge 3 car garage.
Here are a couple of pictures, not very good quality I am afraid. You can't quite see the lake from the deck in this picture, but the edge of it is right there in the upper right.
So as you can understand I am very excited. How I will survive waiting for months to even find out if they will accept, I don't know! And of course there is a chance we won't get it, but based on the information we have, it looks very promising. If not, there are lots of other fish in the sea... Bottom line is that when spring comes around, we WILL be in a newer, bigger house!