Seventy-two hours ago, we bought a house. After a five-year wait that began with our wedding, then two births, one loss of income, an IRS audit, and car problems galore, we saved up for a downpayment and signed the papers.
We sat in a little room at the title company, signed papers, shook hands with the owner, handed our downpayment over to the lady with all the signed paperwork, and left.
When my husband and I got back in the car, we just sat there, numb. We looked at each other and one of us said, “Did that really just happen?”
It was just like the day we left the hospital with our firstborn.
“You mean we can just leave?…..With this baby?……….No one is going to try and stop us?!”
No one came chasing after us when we left the hospital that day, and no one stormed after us when we left the title company with house keys in hand.
So, now we’re knee-deep in renovations (in fact, as soon as I click “Publish” on this post, we’re loading up the car and heading back to the house to resume priming.
First, I wanted to share some lessons we learned as we waited for our house.
2 Lessons We Learned While Waiting (and Waiting and Waiting) for a House
1. “House Fever” can cripple your finances. Don’t let it dictate your decision.
For example, six months ago, we walked through a move-in ready house that was just right for us. It was attractive, had an open floor plan, a fenced in backyard, three bedrooms, and needed VERY little work. House fever set in quickly. All of a sudden, I could see my children playing in the back yard while I cooked dinner in our finished kitchen.
The problem was it was at the top of our budget ($18,000 more than the home we just purchased), only 1350 square feet with one bathroom, and we simply didn’t have a large enough house fund yet. It would have been extremely risky saying yes to that house. Turns out, it received an offer the next morning and the decision was made to not counter offer.
So glad we waited.
2. Ask your mortgage officer about 20-year and 15-year mortgage rates.
When we met with our mortgage officer to apply for a loan, we assumed we could only afford a 30-year mortgage, even though we would have loved to do a 15-year. We finally just asked him about the numbers and we (including the officer) were very surprised at them. Not only did our quoted rate drop from 3.75% to 3.5%, but the payments only went up about $100 per month. That the was 20-year.
The 15-year was an even lower rate, but we felt the monthly payment was too high and too risky, so we decided on the 20-year with the plan to always pay an additional $100 on the mortgage each month.
By doing those three things, the 20-year loan, the lower rate, and paying $100 extra, we’re going to save $32,948.34 in interest.
It’s worth asking.
I’ll dive more into our big project, but I’ve got to sign off, grab my roller, and get to work.
Have a wonderful day and Happy Saving!