We Bought A House (Again) + Answering Your Questions
In a wild turn of events Derek and I are under contract on a home that we will move into in about six weeks. We honestly had zero intentions of buying another home for a couple more years, and were content to keep renting like I mentioned in our financial goals blog post I wrote a few weeks ago. The reality is that things just fell into place in the most unexpected ways, and that is the story I'm going to tell today.
For a lot different reasons, we were originally planing on trying to rent a single level, single family home when our lease ended here at the end of July. We're currently in a three story townhouse and it's getting difficult to carry Kinsley up and down all the stairs, plus she might be having surgery in the next year, and carrying her up those stairs while going through recovery seems miserable. Also, we'd really love to have a backyard for our dog to poop freely and not have to take him out on the leash several times a day.
We also really wanted to stay down here in southern Davis County so Kyle could continue going to his private school, and Kinsley could go to her same school without much disruption. A few weeks into quarantine we found out Kinsley's teacher who she was supposed to have for three years wasn't coming back next school year, which made us less dedicated to keeping her in her school because a new teacher is a new teacher. However, we were still wanting to keep Kyle in his school and since I had to drive him every day we were still thinking of staying close so that the drive would be manageable.
We had been looking at rental options for weeks and weeks and nothing came up that met our one level home with pet criteria. There was one house, but it was going to be demolished in February, so it wasn't a good long term option at all. Even still when I look on Zillow in our current area there isn't anything there.
Then Derek and I started playing with the idea of "Well what if we bought a house?" and "What if Kyle switched schools one last time and then really never again?" We also didn't have much in terms of a downpayment saved up (we only had 1% saved because we'd been purging basically all our income into student loan payoff for the last year), and didn't really know how that was going to pan out. We had actually looked at using a down payment assistance program in January to possibly buy a home, but the interest rate on the loan would have been almost 6%, which was why we decided to hold off on buying.
Then I saw a Facebook ad for downpayment assistance programs in Utah and we got connected with a lender who was offering a program to give us 3.5% for a downpayment and a 3.7% interest rate, and the downpayment money didn't have to be paid back as long as we lived in the house for three years. (If we leave the house before 3 years we have to pay back the downpayment money at 8% interest). (For anyone local, I don't know the name of this program, but I can get you in contact with our lender if you're interested.)
So with a loan that was a lot better of a deal than we'd ever had previously, we started cautiously browsing Zillow. Another hurdle was that the Utah market is so crazy that houses go really fast and unless you put an offer on something the second it's listed you likely won't get it. This was an entire other fiasco we didn't want to get into.
We started looking all over the county at various places we could live, but I kept getting this nagging feeling about Kyle going to a new school and really didn't want to send him somewhere completely new that we knew nothing about. Derek and I agreed at that point that we would either stay down here so he could go to his current school, or move back to Layton so he could go back to the school he went to for Kinder and first grade. We knew we loved that school, and that Kyle had a ton of friends there, so going back would be a really positive thing.
On May 2nd I went to tour a new construction neighborhood down here where we're currently living, but wound up getting locked out of the model home, so then I decided to drive up to Layton and see what some new construction options would be like up there. There weren't any new builds that would be ready before school started in the fall, but after looking on Zillow I noticed one of my friends was selling their house. It had been on the market for 40 days and I thought for sure she'd had an offer at that point. I texted her and she said she'd had no offers and that I could come and look.
I went over to her house, looked around, and instantly knew we wanted the house. I texted her back and asked if we could have it, but that we couldn't close until July 1st because of our current lease. She said she wasn't in a hurry and that closing then wouldn't be a problem. Within a couple days we'd given her the earnest money, and were officially under contract.
We had our inspection last week and there was nothing majorly wrong with the home, just the tiny little things that tend to always pop up so that the inspector can write something on the report. It was literally things like painting window wells, move these plants, adjust this gutter, etc...
It's honestly just insane to me how all the things lined up the way they did. Even since going under contract things have worked out that I've gotten paid for past blog posts that we'd forgotten about, and Derek's pay checks will shake out that we'll have the perfect amount of money for our closing costs without being dirt poor and eating cat food for three months afterwards.
Pro tip: even if you're doing a downpayment assistance program, you still need money for closing costs, which can be between 2-5% of the price of the house. Derek and I had already had savings for first and last month's rent, and a deposit for a new rental which is what really helped get the ball rolling for the upfront costs... again timing is everything. Just beware that even if you have enough money for 3.5% down on a home, you almost need to double it to cover closing costs. Some sellers will pay the buyer's closing costs, but in Utah the market is so competitive that most do not.
I asked on Instagram what questions you had about our house, so I'll quickly answer some of them now:
How old is the home? It was built in 2003.
How big is your lot? It's just under a quarter of an acre.
Are you going to be doing major renovations? It is move-in ready which is amazing. We do have dreams of painting home's exterior, inside walls, cabinets, etc... maybe adding some built-ins, but mostly just a lot of painting projects for right now. The carpet I'm assuming is original to the house and is probably ready to be replaced in a couple rooms, which we'll do slowly over time.
How far is the new house from your current house? The home is 20 minutes north from where we live right now.
Can you have roosters on your property? Sorry Karen, we do not want your rooster haha!
What made you pull the trigger? Honestly, if it wasn't for the loan program we got with the amazing interest rate, along with our friends selling their house and it being a super seamless and EASY transaction, we probably would not have bought right now. Buying a house in Utah is not fun, and the idea of throwing in offers on houses that already have seven offers is so daunting. If the process wasn't as easy as it was for us, I doubt we would have done it.
Why are we going back to the area we just moved from? When we decided to look into buying we decided we would either say in the North Salt Lake/Woods Cross/Bountiful area so Kyle could keep going to his current school, and the only exception was going back to Layton for him to be at the school he went to for Kinder and First. All the pieces just aligned well for us to go back to Layton and be in a home we love and can see ourselves in long term. #FamilyJournal #HomeDecor