30 Days to Buy A House

We’re officially only 7 weeks away from our move and I have to admit that while I have had several days of worrying, at this point I’m not really feeling any anxiety at all. The fact that I’m not nervous is actually pretty crazy considering what we may be getting ourselves into. We’re going to try to buy a house…in the next 30 days.

Buying a house at our next duty station is something that we have talked about for the past two years. After finding out that we will be moving to Texas and realizing how incredibly cheap real estate is there, buying a house became very realistic and we began to constantly weigh the pros and cons. We’ve continued to weigh the pros and cons and while we’re not putting all of our eggs in one basket, we’re moving forward with idea of buying. Yesterday (after tons of paperwork filled out by my wonderful husband) we were pre approved for a loan. This really means a lot to us because it represents how far we’ve come in the past 3 and half years. When we moved to New Jersey we were in no way close to being in a position to buy a house.  We had a lot of debt and no savings. But we knew that this was something that we wanted and needed to fix, so we spent the next 2 and half years working to do so. We changed our behavior with money and made good decisions. We also worked on monitoring our credit so that we knew what to do and what not to do in order to secure better scores. Handling money the way we do now is light years away from how we used to live, but I am truly thankful that we went through what we did. We’ve both learned many lessons and will never make our old mistakes again. In other words, we’ve grown up. And this prospective mortgage is proof.

There are several reasons as to why we’ve waited so long to make a decision. It sounds crazy to even consider buying with such short notice when we’ve known where we’re going since November but we had a lot to research and think about. Originally we decided to buy, but after thinking about

  • the fact that we’ve never even been to Texas – what if we don’t like it there.
  • the fact that as of right now (and for the next 4 years) Josh is in the Coast Guard which means that by 2016 we’ll be moving again.
  • the fact that buying a house is risky in that we won’t have the cushion of a landlord who will fix any needed repairs.
  • the fact that buying a house is risky period.

we decided not to buy. The plan was to wait until around June 1st to start scheduling viewings for rentals because our realtor informed us that houses in the Houston area are only on the market for 2 weeks tops.  This has proven to be true based on the properties that we’ve been watching. Because of the 2 week rule, an early trip to Texas to look at rentals became pointless since we’ll be transferring there the second week of June. So June 1st we would give our realtor a list of properties that we want to see when we get there. He would communicate to the landlords that we would want immediate occupancy and make sure all would be available by June 15th so we wouldn’t have to live in a hotel (been there, done that). Once we arrived in Texas, we’d look at all of the chosen houses and make a decision within the first couple of days. We’d be moved in within a week and a half from leaving New Jersey.

Potential rental

Potential rental

But after making this decision we started thinking about

  • the fact that whether we like Texas or not, we have to live there for the next 4 years.
  • the fact that Josh may not choose to stay in the CG in 4 years, allowing us to stay in Houston if we’d like.
  • the fact that renting in Houston is FAR more expensive than buying. Our mortgage will be around $1000 a month, whereas if we rent a comparable property to what we’d buy, our rent will be around $1500 a month. This difference allows $6000 a year open for any potential repairs that a landlord would typically fix.
  • the fact that yes, buying is risky, but possibly rewarding as well. If we do need to move in 4 years we have three options. We can sell, rent, or live geobachelor style until either other options are possible. Geobachelor is when our family continues to live where ever we are currently while Josh moves onto his next station. This obviously isn’t ideal but it is an option. There are several places relatively close to Houston that Josh could get stationed to geobachelor so that the distance between us is doable.

Potential purchase

Potential purchase

Potential purchase

All of these, seemingly, answers to our original worries led us to once again start contemplating buying. Unfortunately, these answers came to us just a few weeks ago which is why we now have around 30 days to make an offer. Crazy but exciting. And now adding to the excitement (foolery, perhaps) is the fact that Josh is currently at recruiting school and will be for the next two weeks. This means that he can not leave NJ which puts us on a flight to Texas (buying a house is a little more serious than renting so we are in fact making an early trip in order to look at houses and neighborhoods before making an offer, have an inspection done and take care of any paperwork that will need to be done.) around the middle of May. We can write it in the offer that we want a 30 day closing date right? 🙂 So right now we are online house shopping, making a list of the properties we’d like to view during our weekend trip, scheduling flights and hoping that we find what we want during this short time frame. We’re keeping in mind that our house buying adventure may not work out the way we plan and we’re okay with that too. But one thing is for sure – the next 30 days are going to be a wild ride!


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