Buying a Home (Part 2)

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We didn’t mean to wear matching pants…

This is Part 2 of our story of buying a home. If you haven’t already, hop on over to Part 1 to get caught up, and then delve into this nail-biter of a story that many have called “the best thing since the Sham-Wow!” (fake quote).

Our First Offer

When we put in our first offer, we were advised by one of Mrs. iHB’s co-workers to write a personal letter to submit with the offer…you know…butter ’em up a bit (see attached pic).

We offered $20k less than asking price in our initial offer as well as the seller to pay closing costs, based on some comparables, and honestly just hoping for a sweet deal. After our first offer, we were anxiously awaiting “the call” from our real estate agent telling us that the sellers accepted our offer, bought us round trip tickets to Jamaica and a bottle of wine.

Names removed for privacy, and just to make you wonder.

Counter Offer

Instead of our dream call, we received a kind email response from the sellers noting that they were excited that we were interested in their home, but they were unable to sell the house at our offer price due to financial reasons. They made a counter offer for their full asking price, but they were willing to pay all of the closing costs, which would be about $10k. So the ball was then back in our court.

We prayed over this decision overnight and were both in agreement in the morning to move forward with their proposed offer. It was a very well kept home, newer and in better shape than the neighborhood comps, priced just below what we could afford, and definitely where we wanted to be.

We filled out a revised offer and sent it over to our agent that next day. We got a quick response from their agent the next day, and they had ACCEPTED THE OFFER!!! WOOHOO! Pop that bottle of vino (aka: 3 buck chuck from Trader Joes) and get the party started (but only until 10pm because of our noise curfew…).


We received a recommendation from a contractor friend to use his inspector that he’s worked with on multiple occasions. We got him out there within a couple of days to do a full inspection.

Now, let me tell you, reading your inspection report can be a bit unnerving. Our was at least 10 pages long, and included friggin’ EVERYTHING WRONG WITH THE HOUSE! AHHH!

It honestly scared us a bit, not knowing how we should proceed. Luckily, our awesome agent prepared us a bit before handing it over, and explained away most of our concerns. He was able to talk to the inspector during the inspection and get some ideas on what it would take to fix some of the issues.

Our agent walked us through the house, pointing out the issues, and was able to put a dollar amount to most of the repairs that would need to happen, and told us what we shouldn’t worry about fixing if we didn’t want to. We then made a list of the items we wanted to fix for sure. Our agent took that list of items and submitted it on a form which allowed us to request these items be resolved/fixed before the sale was fully approved. The sellers agreed to make all of the requested changes!

I really appreciate our agent pushing this one, because the sellers stalled for a few days. Our agent called their agent and told them that though we wanted this house, any stalling on this process might lose them a buyer. We were still looking around at comps, so this was completely true. We got a response the next morning!

O.M.G., Paperwork!

After the excitement of getting the offer approved and moving forward with the sale died down, it was off to paperwork-land, where we killed a small forest to process this transaction (not really, we did a lot through email and PDF docs). This is where we had some potential hangups. We were gifted part of our down payment, and we were required to have a signed letter from the gift giver, stating that this was a gift to NOT be repaid. Still not sure why that is, but it was required. We were bummed, because we thought we could just borrow this money, but it had to be a gift.

We then had to provide tons a paycheck stubs, bank statements, ING Savings account statements, other savings statements, proof of down payment money residing in account, our promissory note signed in blood and our first born. We also had to pay for an appraisal to get the loan approved. Then more paperwork. We somehow ended up providing Mrs. iHB’s school transcripts and a letter from her employer explaining why she is paid what she is! WHA? Just weird.

At closing, we sat down, our lender handed us a couple beers, we stretched our writing hands and we tackled probably 100 pages of paperwork in a few hours. Our lender was super awesome, explaining each page to Mrs. iHB as I dove headfirst into the legal-speak ( I LOVE THAT STUFF!). When we finished, we were absolutely exhausted, but well informed. It was a great feeling to be finished!

The final step was getting the title signed over to us. I honestly don’t remember what happened here, but I do drive by and see the title company on the way to work everyday. I’m sure I signed some stuff, and understood what I was doing, but my brain will not conjure up the circumstances at the moment. So let’s just say I walked in like a boss, signed the crap our of those papers and walked out like I owned a house.

Getting The Keys

It took us almost exactly 5 weeks from the day we started looking to getting the keys for our home. Our agent brought the keys to my work with a balloon attached (lol).

We were so extremely excited to move into our house. Our lease was up just in time, so we didn’t have to pay for any extra months of apartment living.

On March 25th, 2010, after I got home from work, Mrs. iHB and I were so excited to see our new home that we went and bought some good bread with a garlic spread and the most expensive bottle of wine we’d ever purchased ($50).

We stayed the night on the living room floor of our new home in sleeping bags. We felt extremely blessed and grateful for the opportunity, and super excited for the possibilities. The next order of business was to fill up the space (even easier with a complete new house checklist!) It was time to make this house our home.

We love our home, and I can confidently say that we both feel the same way after over 2 years in this home. It has served to help us follow our priorities and host many get-togethers with family and friends to enjoy. And we hope it will serve us well for years to come.

Comments: How did your first home-buying experience go? Did you have any major roadblocks along the way? What was it like when you received your keys and entered the home you owned? If you don’t own a home, what would you like your home buying experience to be like? Also, is anyone hoping for the Black Eyed Peas to make a surprise showing  at the Olympics Opening Ceremony?

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade

Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past decade. He has written professionally for The Balance, The Spruce, LendingTree, Investing Answers, and other widely-followed sites. 
He’s also been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance.

In 2018, Jacob quit his job and his family decided to sell everything (including their home) to take off on an adventure. They traveled the country in an RV for nearly 3 years, visiting over 38 states, 20+ national parks and eventually settling in the sunshine state!

36 thoughts on “Buying a Home (Part 2)”

  1. Congratulations!!!

    I agree that the first home inspection can be very scary! They make it sound like a house is completely falling apart when really most things can be fixed easily. When we bought our first home, I totally panicked after the home inspection…but everything turned out okay.

  2. This sounds awesome. You’re still really happy with the house? I can’t wait until we buy a home. It’s super exciting. I kind of hate apartment living and renting, so it’s going to be SO SWEET.

    • We LOVE our home, and feel so blessed everyday to have it. It is absolutely a financial burden, but one that we are glad to carry. You will LOVE every minute of home ownership if you do your research, find one that you love and take care of it :). Plus backyards are awesome!

  3. Congrats! I can’t wait until I’m ready to go house hunting for a “real house”. I don’t mind renting right now but I’d love to own my own house eventually. (I’m really not sure if that last sentence is grammatically correct or if I spelled it right–it looks funny.)

  4. You tell a good story Jake. I felt like it was me buying the house, then I looked around at my crappy apartment and remembered I’m not ready yet. I really like how you sent a personalized letter to the owner. I’m sure that helped win them over and make them want to sell to you. The inspection does sound pretty scary. So when I buy I’ll have to make sure I have a good realtor to can explain all that crap. I only hope my home buying process goes as smooth as this.

    • Lol. You’ll dig having a home when you’re ready. I just know it! I did like writing a letter, I think it may have helped, but I really don’t know if there were any other offers.

      We feel very fortunate that everything happened so smoothly, I know that buying a house can be a longer, more difficult process. Our agent rocked it for sure. Once I get his approval, I’ll be putting his contact info on here 🙂

  5. Jake showed up at my work with the keys (balloon still attached) where we bought some wine glasses (ours were packed) and an extra cork screw. Off we went to stay our first night in our new home 🙂 That will always be such a fun memory for me! Though we may be stretched financially right now, this was definitely where God wanted (wants) us and we are so happy here!

  6. OMG paperwork is right! Everyone always says that, but I was *not* prepared for the crippling arthritic pain after signing 18 million documents. Your wedding pic is so cute! Your wife is hot! lol

    • It’s true, I thank God for my “smokin’ hot wife” (Talladega Nights, anyone?). I think the beers helped us a bit, but definitely had some cramps after all those signatures. On the bright side, my signature got more and more efficient towards the end of it.

  7. Wow! Y’all put a lot more thought into buying a house than we did. I actually just wrote about us hopefully refinancing our home soon which may be one of the smartest decisions we’ve made in the housing industry. Good job planning and congratulations!!!

  8. There isn’t anything more exciting (and nerve-racking) then waiting on that call from the agent. Frankly, I’m pretty excited for the day we get an offer on this house and can then negotiate, as well as looking for a new house on our own. I’ve referenced it a few times on my blog, but buying/selling a house is like a big game to me. It’s a lot of fun and annoying at the same time.

    • It’ll be interesting when we have to/get to do it again. We’ve never sold a home, so that will be all new to us. Treating it as a game is how I manage my money as well. It’s like monopoly, except with reall dollars 🙂

      You guys looking at Park Place for your new home, or more of a Baltic Ave?

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  10. Well that’s an awesome story. 🙂 My wife and I bought our house so many years ago I don’t really remember how it went anymore! I do know we’re about 5 years away from paying off our mortgage, so that’s pretty awesome. It’s a good lookin’ house you guys got, nice job!

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  12. 5 weeks from browsing to homeowners is super fast – Congrats! We bought our first home in 2009, then a rental duplex in 2010, and an empty lot in 2011, and they all took months of looking, (and for the duplex months of waiting) before we got to closing. But ours were all forclosed properties with pretty significant fix-up needs, so I’m sure buying from the banks and not from a ‘normal’ seller slowed the process somewhat.

    • We thought about short sales or foreclosures, but after hearing a few nightmare stories from people, we decided against it. I hope to own a rental at some point. Do you like being a landlord?

      • The Mr does most o the day-to-day landlord stuff, and I handle the finances of it, so it’s not too bad when you split the work. He’s there to mow he grass and check in every Saturday morning, and we’re really picky about renters. We charge maybe $25-50 less than similar units nearby, but for the most part are getting great renters, mostly quiet studious college kids from the university that’s a short drive away. Our most recent renters were leaving their jobs as dorm RAs in the honors dorm AND had mom and dad as co-signers on the lease. We’re hoping they are going to be good ones and stay a couple years.

        That said, we had a month a couple months ago where we nexpectedly had to put $4K into one of the units. (Both the AC and the washer kicked it right about the same time.) So it’s not for the faint of heart and you definitely have to build up a cushion for when stuff like that happens.

        • Sounds like you’ve got a great system worked out. I’ve always thought that if I become a landlord, I’d hire a company to deal with the details. And I think you are doing it the best way. Being very stringent on your rental policy and getting good renters is the best case scenario. Bad renters can make any money you might make not worht it!

  13. I think the personal touch always helps – people relate to stories. A friend’s brother just bought his first place and met with the seller for afternoon tea and a get-to-know-you chat which I think swung the deal in his favour (like you guys they were a young married couple looking for their first house). I definitely would consider doing the same thing when we’re ready to buy 🙂


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