I’ve been browsing real estate websites for a good while now, maybe even a year. Most of the time it has been just to “see what’s out there”. I’ve taken down a few MLS numbers now and then, but I’ve never followed up with any since I’ve been waiting for “the right time.” Well, I really feel that the “right time” is coming up soon.

Last month I finally went out for a drive to look at an area that I had been interested in. While I was a little disappointed with what I saw (actually driving into the complexes, they looked a bit dingier than I was hoping they’d be), it finally started to cement into my head that I want to buy a home within the year.

Anyway, on Sunday my boyfriend took me out for a drive (even though it was already dark and we weren’t too sure where we should be looking), and after that we sat down and looked at some listings. I can’t help but notice how pessimistic I sound when I bring others into the process. In my head my thoughts make perfect sense, but when I try to explain it to anyone else it just sounds like I’m finding faults in every listing. Here are my thoughts though, gas isn’t going to get any cheaper (at least not back down to $1 or $2) and so I want to be close to mass transit to have that as an option. I want to have access to main highways, because traffic going home after work can get horrendous if I don’t take them. I don’t want to live way out west, because everything is closer to the east here. And I don’t want to pay the maximum I’d be allowed to, even if it still limits the payments to just 30% of my income. Ok, I digressed a bit….but I sat down again on Tuesday night with a pen and notebook and started looking through listings. I ended up compiling a list of 7 or 8 houses/apartments that interested me.

Yesterday I sat down with my real estate agent aunt, and I showed her a few of the listings. I sent her the MLS numbers and she said she’d start making calls so we can start viewing these places.

Eeek!

Now, some clarifications on the listings. At the advice of my sister and my brother-in-law I searched a little bit above my ideal price range (max $175k, I searched up to $200k). I found the same old apartments in the same neighborhoods I’ve been seeing for months, but I also saw some new ones. Mainly, a 3 bedroom HOUSE (?!!) with 1,600 SF for $186k; a 3 bedroom apartment (in a relatively more expensive neighborhood) for $182k. The problem? The house, first of all, is pretty far south and west (two of the things I didn’t want)…but its a house!! Would it be worth letting a few of my prerequisites slide and consider it? Its also a short sale, and they say the process for those is longer and more complicated. (Plus, my skeptical self can’t help but think there’s GOT to be something wrong with it!) As for the apartment, my biggest concern is the HOA fees. That neighborhood can get pretty pricey.  A final concern on both is that I’m not sure I could prequalify for a mortgage of that size. Naturally I’d try to bring down the price, but I’m pretty sure the initial evaluation is based on the “value” of the house….right? (I have no clue). I’m pretty sure I can get approved for $175k or so, but not almost $190k. Plus my downpayment right now is only enough for a $160k house.

My aunt says that her friend still thinks prices are going to come down. Eventually many of the houses under short sale currently will come into foreclosure, and they will come down in price, plus the process is simpler. For now though, we’re making those calls and will start visiting places.

I’m pretty excited, but (as usual) NERVOUS!

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