Make No Assumptions

Three times a week I give information sessions to prospective students and families. It’s a general info session reviewing the university, admissions, etc. Of course in this is the topic of cost and Financial Aid and one of the biggest and boldest statements I try to convey to guests is to not make assumptions. Too often students don’t apply for scholarships assuming they simply won’t get it because others will; parents (the ones pushing students to fill out scholarship applications mind you) do the same thing and simply assume they will not qualify for federal funding. My response? It’s a free application, fill it out, see what happens, and you might be surprised. This year I decided to take my own advice.

We knew that owning a home was something on our bucket list but truth be told it has always seemed incredibly farfetched. Even though we have always known we could afford a mortgage, the assumption being that no bank would ever give us one. We had settled into the idea of being renters for life, even though we secretly wished it didn’t have to be this way. Being a female (yes, total stereotype-but who are we kidding? really.) I have always looked at what’s out there. Truth be told, isn’t that what you are supposed to do once you are done with your wedding? And thank you pinterest for the added push to design a dream house lol. Anyhow, as we embarked on this project of frugality we knew we had to do some serious analytics on our bills and our rent was inevitably just going to get higher, and it would have. So back in May we inquired with a local realty agency that does both sale and rental properties. I talked with an agent and very pessimistically said “listen I know we can’t buy but what can we do to get ourselves in a place to be able to buy in the next 5 years?” That was the magic question I wanted answered. She referred me to a mortgage lender she worked closely with and said you never know unless you try, don’t assume anything. HA! So, I played along. Through the entire process, never actually thinking the day would come. How’d it work?

Well, I called the lender and explained, yet again, all of my doubts and she said well let’s just see what we are working with. At no cost we can do a consultation and then go from there. So, they ran our credits and came back with a pre-approval. Skeptical, I said asked about the next steps and both the lender and the agent said “go pick out a house”…first of all this was too easy, what do you mean by that? Okay, enough! Where’s the hidden camera? Again, we played along. After looking at about 12-15 properties, damned and determined not to love anything, because I am well-aware that a pre-approval does not equate to an approval. Until we pulled up to a little foreclosure in Knightdale. I got this warm fuzzy odd feeling that scared the crap out of me. I walked into the house and I was chanting “don’t love it, don’t love it” in my head until B turned around and said “she loves it.” CRAP! It did need some work. Apparently people who are being foreclosed tend to treat their property like complete shit, unfortunately. But regardless I could see all of the potential and loved the very idea. It’s not a big house but a charming little home with a yard that is just big enough for the girls without feeling overwhelming. It doesn’t have all the items on our wish-list-but somehow it was better. The emotional attachment had been made. Then the hardwork really set in. After months of negotiations, emails, numbers and let’s face it ALOT of prayer today we closed on our first home.

Resampled_2013-08-20_13-36-41_207Key logistics: Turns out we are in a unique point in life where we don’t have a lot of money but we have worked hard on our credit and we happen to make just enough between the two of us to qualify and the mediocrity, well it worked to our advantage. For the type of loan and financing best for us, we had to jump on the opportunity because if in a single-year’s time either Brent or I are fortunate enough to make even slightly more than we do today we would not have qualified. We did have to compromise location and head outside the city of Raleigh but we have spent a lot of time in the area and I’m thinking it wasn’t much of a compromise. In terms of upfront costs, we were able to negotiate the selling bank taking care of about 97.5% of all closing costs, making all repairs, and we locked in a fixed interest rate with our monthly payments including taxes, insurance and HOAs. With all of that being said we are now looking at a reduction of monthly living costs by more than 1/3 of what we pay in rent AND the selling bank taking their sweet time to close worked to our advantage because now we have no living costs for the month of September allowing all of that money we would have paid in rent to be split with 1/2 heading straight to the bank and the other 1/2 covering the costs of paint and supplies to prep the house, Β in a diy fashion, to be move in ready. <—-This my friends, will be our next challenge! Stay tuned.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say ALOT can happen in a single year’s time and while I’ve probably had one of the worse days of my life in 2013 now we can also say was one of the best. Will there be challenges? Of course. Are we up for them? Well, it’s too late if not, lol. Regardless it is a chapter that I am so excited -over the moon really- to be starting. It’s going to be a whirlwind few weeks but all the best ones are!

Thanks for following along ox.


5 thoughts on “Make No Assumptions

  1. kerri, i love this! john and i are thinking about embarking on our first home buying adventure, and it scares the crap out of me. it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time πŸ™‚

  2. Congrats to the Fowler family!! It is so exciting to have a place to call your own!! The possibilities are endless, and Pinterest my be the death of you πŸ˜‰ — AND I have to be honest… a roadtrip to NC crossed my mind when I saw your note about needing some friends for painting and finish work!! Wish we lived closer!! xoxo

  3. Kerry, So, so, happy for you. Congratulations! Buying a foreclosure is no mean feat, it can, and I’m sure did, double the anxiety of first time home buying. Your tenacity is your best friend (apart from Brent!). Welcome to the property ladder, it does only get better, and fixer uppers are blank slates. When we were looking, I hated every house that had had the kitchen recently done as it was not exactly what I would have done and I wouldn’t have been able to change it. We had plywood floors for the first four years!
    Pictures PLEASE!

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