I used to think that buying a house was just like buying anything else. You go to the store, you pick out what you want and you give the money to the cashier. Even if you finance something the under riding concept is still the same- you pick what you want, you fill out the paper work, take a loan out with the bank, and voila! A brand new car! The key difference with real estate is that you’re buying something that has the potential to increase, or greatly decrease, in value. Unless you are paying with cash a mortgage lender has harsher conditions to impose on you before he gives you your loan…
And that is where we begin our story this week.
So we did it! We told everyone we know that we’re buying a house! No secrets anymore! Everyone is excited, but no one more than my wife. She has put up with our “wall-sharing” neighbors for the past three years and she can’t wait to have her nest. All of this almost came to a halt however, when I found out that I hadn’t submitted the 100 page long loan application with our mortgage lender. On top of that, the they are asking for paperwork from the VA, and we all know how fast and efficient they can be. In order to receive the VA loan I have to have an appraisal done on the house which costs $425. It was looking grim when I saw that we barely had that in the bank.
I texted with our mortgage officer this week about how the $425 payment goes through. I like to have control my money- where it goes, when my bills get paid, and how they get paid. My mortgage officer replied and said that it’s an automatic withdrawal- strike one! I begged and pleaded with him to get him to accept a cashier’s check, or cash, but to no avail! The VA expects people just to always have the right amount of money in the bank when they want to withdrawal it. I finally settled with the fact that I’d have to play by their rules, so I am keeping that money in the bank until they take it out.
In the mean time we have a lot of packing up to do. My wife has been picking up any type of box she can get her hands on. You never know how much stuff you have until it’s time to move! We’ve found so many things we thought we lost, especially after we cleaned out our storage unit. Oh boy, our storage unit. It’s been neglected for three years. We walked into a mess. All that stuff that I had found that we thought we lost, had to be thrown away due to water damage. Boxes of clothes and books, my old military uniforms and boots, an expensive model of the Titanic; we lost a lot. Luckily, we had insurance covering us, so I took pictures of everything and filed a claim. We should hear something about it in the next week or so. The storage place was very helpful, they allowed us to switch units until we’re ready to make our big move.
With all this stuff going on there’s one thing I’ve learned: real estate is expensive and it involves a lot of work. This is just the first step in our journey though, the toughest obstacles are usually during the beginning. As I go, I learn, and I will learn more and more of how the process works and how to effectively manage houses. I briefly brought up the idea of buying more houses with some colleagues and my in-laws. All I hear are horror stories from other people’s experiences. Most people quit the venture all together because they had bad tenants or they don’t know how to effectively milk their properties for what they’re worth- I’m determined not to make those mistakes.
Finally, I did have a good experience this past week that seemed to tell me that I was heading in the right direction. My wife and I went out to get Chinese with a friend and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the dinner they brought us our fortune cookies. We cracked them open and read our fortunes. Mine seemed to speak directly to the challenge that I was facing, and encouraged me that maybe renting houses would be a talent of mine.