Monday, October 29, 2012

The search continues.

So I continued the search for my new home even through the weekend. Ryan Ward, my realtor, was out of town showing properties to other clients in Dallas, Tx, and I needed time to interview local nannies to take care of the kids in the future, so it all has been working out. Although, I have been searching for two months now and am still struggling with finding the right home for my family and I.

Here's what all we have gone through so far...

The standard prequalification process where both my wife and I gathered all documents necessary to obtain our loan. That was easy thankfully. Just tax documents, W2's, most recent pay stubs, a current mortgage statement from the house we own in Louisiana, a copy of our bank statement, my DD214, and copies of our ID's and social security cards. Not hard at all, just time consuming and a little bit intimidating because it is a whole lot of personal information. The fact of the matter is though, when asking to borrow six figures from a bank, you have to be ready to turn over your financials in order to show the lender that they are making a smart decision by allowing you to borrow that kind of money.

Home and neighborhood searching on,, and  Each one of them has their own look and feel when searching for homes and neighborhoods. Since I am originally from the Houston area, I have not needed to spend much time doing neighborhood searches. I know pretty much what part of town I want to live in based on my desire to have a short commute for both work and "play." A new dynamic for me though is schools. I have been using to help me find out what parents rate their local neighborhood schools on a scale from 1 to 10.

Plus, we already had a home under contract and then walked away from the deal after an appraisal returned with the home being under value. The sellers had a stated value which we made an offer on, but they overpriced the home so much, that when the appraisal returned, it was 8 thousand less than our offer and they refused to negotiate any further. Thankfully, with my VA loan, I was able to walk away from the property and terminate the contract. The home was not nice enough for me to enter it under value.

After the contract on that home fell through, we decided to look at mostly builder properties. New builds and inventory homes from multiple builders in the area. We assumed that we would not have the same problems we had with the previous home and we were right, but we ran into new challenges with negotiating with builders. After speaking with Dave Mitchell, a VA loan specialist from my office who used to be employed as a builder sales representative, I had a new perspective.

Dave informed me that as a sales rep. he would take the total amount of materials used in home upgrades and multiply that number by 1.6 ... this was what the builder would attempt to charge all customers to earn profit. So if you know that going in, you are more armed to negotiate with them.

Well, even with that knowledge, the home we ended up liking was not going to be ours. The builder sales rep. Angela did not want to negotiate all with us and even attempted the "lender steer" towards a mortgage bank that is known for being predatory.

Yet another situation where we had to walk away. I'm not making a $200,000 mistake.

So here we are and its Monday. The weekend passed with hours spent taking care of my twins and searching for more homes in the Westheimer and Richmond area of Houston, just south of Memorial. I am focusing on the old adage, "location, location, location", in all of my current searching.

I figure that I can save some money on gas by spending a little bit more on my mortgage. Especially with rates being so ridiculously low. Take a piece of advice folks, buy now! I may sound like a salesman but you are crazy not to listen. BUY! Don't rent. Don't wait till a rainy day. Don't save for another year. Mortgage rates have not stayed this low for over 50 years. Look at the history behind it and you'll see. Now is the time to refinance and buy more. Real estate is an investment. Look at old Donald Trump. That guy may be crazy, but he's crazy rich because of all of his real estate.

I would love to own 6 or 7 homes and have them all be income generating properties. It's just good business.

Now, on to the next home. My American dream awaits!

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