Step 1: Do personal due diligence and decide we want to buy vs. continue renting
Step 2: Get finances in order (sample convo: K to P - "Do we have enough saved? You know I'm a small biz owner, right? I don't have a salary. What happens if we find killer mold in the walls? I feel like I need an adult chaperone. Are we ready to be the Peter Pan of homeowners? OMG, I really want a tent fort in our future living room! Okay, I'll focus ...")
Step 3: Find an awesome agent who gets our style (that was easy, we used my friend Dan)
Step 4: Look at properties
Step 5: Find a mortgage broker and get pre-approved
Step 6: Fall in love with a house and put in a bid
Step 7: CHAOS!!!!!
Besides looking at a major fixer-upper that I was convinced was haunted, we really had a very low-key home finding process. (In the middle of the night after viewing the fixer-upper property I woke Pete up talking in my sleep. Very calmly I relayed that the previous homeowner died in the living room and he didn't want us moving in ... and that his sisters didn't take care of him. And other spooky details no one told me. Then I proceeded to giggle and fall back to sleep.) So after looking at a few more duds our realtor, who Pete affectionately calls Handsome Dan in private, showed us a row house two doors down from his own home. It was staged beautifully, but needed a lot of updating. The downstairs bathroom stunk of mold and when I opened the door flies pelted my glasses in a mad dash to get out. The kitchen was spacious, but was also occupied by a very bold bunch of roaches who leisurely crawled across the countertops. Obviously we fell madly in love.
So we put a bid in and that brings us back to Step 7 and chaos ensuing. Right now we're in attorney review, which is the purgatory of home buying. AND we just found out from our mortgage broker that, oh hey, you know that pre-approval letter we gave you? Well we put all the same numbers in again and -- just kidding! -- you aren't approved after all. And then the attorney is all like "Hey! Paperwork is done and this baby is almost yours!" And now we're all: Mortgages? Huh! What are they good for?
Well, buying a house. I guess. So now we are trying a FHA versus conventional route. And fingers crossed the sellers don't tighten up and bail out. We have red lines on paperwork and mortgages being redefined. "It was going so smooth," I whined a little to Pete on the phone.
"Well, think about this," he responded. "You never hear people say: Sometimes, on the weekends, I get mortgages for fun!"
"True," I admitted.
"Or: Shit, that mortgage was easier than getting a high school girl drunk for the first time."
Okay, point made. Mortgages are the pits. Thanks for the perspective, Pete.