Moving Towards Moving

>> 10.25.2011

Guess who has a house under contract?! We've completed the inspection and option period and, well, are pretty committed to getting this new home (next month!). The funny thing is that the day after I posted about shopping for houses and whined about being outbid on three homes over the last few months, a house came on the market in our price range... in an amazing neighborhood... with a lot of our our wants and most* of our needs!
*more on that later...

Obviously, if I showed you pictures now or went on and on about my amazing new house, a tree would fall on it or my lender would deny my pre-approved application or something and I'm just too superstitious to go that route! Anyways, this all means that it's officially time for us to start working towards the big move. After reading back over my thrifty moving tips from almost two years ago, I decided to cut back on boxes, truck space, and gas by donating a ton of stuff:

Luckily, we've been planning ahead for this move and realized another thrifty moving tip earlier this summer...

Thrifty Little Tip: Use pots for all of your new plants. Your house will still look nice when you sell, but you'll have the added bonus of bringing over a little housewarming gift to yourself on moving day. Thankfully, we thought of this back in July and potted some of our extra wedding flowers (2nd pot) so that they'll move with us (and yes, we should probably continue to rake the lawn until then).

Have any thrifty moving tips of your own?


FAQ Why now?

>> 10.20.2011

My mother absolutely loves questioning and re-questioning my (our) decision to buy a new house... so I figured I would go ahead and answer her questions in one easy to reference spot. Besides, being nosy is fun so I figured you all might be interested in some of the same answers:

Q. Why are you buying again after only two years in your current house?
A. This is really a strategic financial decision. We've never thought that we'd live here forever and it would be nice to have more space. Besides, interest rates are at record lows right now and we happen to have the 20% down (and emergency fund) just sitting in our savings accounts and there are houses that we like within our budget so now seems like a good time to start looking.

Q. But you've worked so hard to make your house nice, why not enjoy it a little?!
A. Trust me, I have enjoyed it! It has been a great starter home. I bought it before Nate and I were really seriously dating and there was no way that I would have guessed that we'd be married right now and in the financial position to move on. We do love the location and current condition of the home, but there's just no legal way to expand it at all in the ways we'll need in order to eventually raise a family in it.

Q. What are you going to do with your current house?
A. We're not 100% sure. Fortunately and unfortunately, Austin is currently booming- so many people are moving here that rents and home prices continue to rise. Would you believe that the rental prices in my neighborhood have increased 20% since last year?! So, obviously renting it out is still an option on the table. On the other hand, we might decide to sell it and have already received a fair offer from an interested family member. Either way, we can afford the monthly carrying costs with the new home's payments (mainly because I bought it on one income) and don't want to make a final commitment until we move so that we're not rushed into buying the wrong house.

Q. When are you going to take that honeymoon?!?! You better not skip your honeymoon for a house!
A. We're taking the honeymoon after we buy the house and before our 1-year anniversary. We're just not sure what we'll end up with and don't want to pass on an opportunity for a great house because we don't have enough cash up-front to pay for the improvements.

Q. What are you looking for?
A. This is the fun stuff! We (I) obviously love a good project so we're interested in getting a home with the potential to become our dream home with a little sweat and creativity. What it all boils down to is...

Must-haves (or could-eventually-haves):
*A fantastic location
*1,500-2,000 sqft
*3 bedrooms, 2 baths
*A good flow- two separate living areas so that the living room doesn't have to be the tv room/ office/ playroom/ dining room/ etc

*An outdoor space for our dogs

*An excellent walk/ bike score
*A nice front porch
*A place for a king-sized bed for the 6'4 guy that will be living there
*A laundry room that isn't in the garage
*A dining room that can seat a lot of people

We've already thought that we found the place three times and have been outbid by others (which is the unfortunate part of the Austin boom), but we're working on the fourth right now so I'll be sure to keep you all updated! 


On the Hunt

>> 10.13.2011

We're looking for a new house. Actually, we've been looking for a new house for the past few months. If one of the three homes that we put an offer on had accepted, we'd be moving in about now. Really, I wanted to share the big news with a reveal of a new house, but instead the blog has been close to silent over the time that we haven't been able to find anything. So, now you know that we weren't exactly skipping house projects and going on a spending freeze because we were broke from the wedding, but because there are going to be big things in the future!

Oh, and while I'm on the subject, I have to give a shout-out to my favorite thrifty home-buying discovery. I know that it isn't available in every city, but check out Redfin if you can! The site is really user-friendly, but more importantly, it also gives you access to stats that normally only real estate agents have available!

In Texas, we're a non-disclosure state, which means that the actual sales price is normally only reserved for buyers working with members of the MLS. With Redfin, signing up with a free account gives you those same privileges and lets you make your own decisions on what similar homes in the neighborhood might be worth. I can probably blame Redfin for letting three other buyers outbid me on homes because I've been using comps from the past six months as motivation to keep looking for the better deal.

Oh, and as a bonus, it has a direct link to the Google Street View of the home. Call me a late bloomer, but I didn't know until recently that there is a full screen option in Street View. I can't tell you how much gas money I've saved by using Street View to "drive" around neighborhoods instead of my own car!

In addition to the site, Redfin has also partnered with local agents to offer commission rebates on sales made through the site. I've decided to use another agent, but this could be another great way to save $$$.

I'll admit that I do have fun searching for homes, but after making the decision to buy earlier this year and saving up every extra penny we had, I'm ready to make the big purchase! Sure, it might be easier if I wasn't so picky (more on that later) and if I didn't feel the need to get a good deal...

Anyone else on the hunt for a new home? How long did it take for you to settle on a house?
(Of course, I have no connection with Redfin and I'm not being paid to mention their site.)


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