Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wyoming Life - On the Hunt

We left our beloved Sholar Station last May. In June the boys and I arrived in Wyoming. We spent the summer living with family. September we moved into an apartment in Rock Springs. November our house sale in Mesa, Arizona was finalized. Now, six months later, I think we're FINALLY about to make the jump to home ownership in Wyoming. I've been looking at houses, very casually since last May. About every six weeks, I do some Internet searches, and drive around town, looking. Then about every three or four months, I call up the Realtor and get a list of current listings... usually it's just two sheets with all the houses listed, one per line, very utilitarian. Then, I sit down with a map and mark the houses, then I drive around and check them (and the neighborhoods) out. If I see any I like, I call the Realtor up and she'll take me into one to three houses. It's been a long, frustrating journey for me.

It's been odd getting use to all the differences. House styles, floor plans, room sizes, neighborhood designs, hills, slopes, snow drifts, yucky winter "blah" weather, multi-level living... these have all played into my lack of comfort with the houses and areas I've been exploring.

I've ALWAYS lived in a ranch style home... come to think of it, I've only known a few people who had actual stairs in their homes. I think that had a lot to do with it.

Then, there was also the fact that when we first decided to move to Wyoming, Arizona Real Estate was going through the roof, and Wyoming was stagnant. In the year of our move, the Federal Government released several hundred (?) new oil well permits. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Market took a dive. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a comparable cost of living, without the nest-egg we'd be counting on to fund our new home.

So. I had choices to make. They revolved around: size of dwelling/rooms, size of property, age of property, and quality of neighborhood. Basically, I was getting less of everything, or, at best, I could choose one thing to be good and the rest were bad. Add to that that nothing "felt like home" (probably because of all the differences) and it's been a discouraging hunt, to say the least.
Recently, I've made friends with some ladies... two raised in and raising their families in Rock Springs, and one recent transplant. The other newbie has been house hunting too, in a comparable price range. I think meeting and talking with her each week has really spurred me along to looking too.

Then, about a month ago, I found a new neighborhood and, specifically, a house I really liked. I liked it enough to get the financing approved (even though it was out of my price range). So, armed with a loan pre-approval, and a friend who was talking houses, I've started searching again.
Last week I went though over 100 listings. Saturday we drove by 23 of them. Then, yesterday the Realtor took us inside 9. Of those, I thought 2 would work for us, but again, one was quite a bit more than we feel comfortable spending.

The one left? Yeah. It's the one Tom's been pestering me to buy for a few weeks now.

Here's Tom (and the Realtor's Feet) in the Living Room
of the unit he likes... look at how he's "presenting it" to us! LOL. :D
Behind Tom is the Dining Area and Kitchen.
The kitchen hall goes to the stairs, a pantry, the water heater closet, a back door, and a 1/2 bath.

And after seeing it right alongside all the other way-too-small-and-too-expensive it suddenly looks refreshingly, GREAT! Oh... except for this one minor thing... it backs up to the freeway. And oh. This other thing... we waited long enough that the floorplan we like, there are just three of them, and the one we like is already sold... so's it's neighbor. So, if we get the floorplan we like, we get a back yard half the size of the first one... these are Duplexes under construction... did I mention that? Anyway, even with the smaller back yard, I prefer it to the other floorplan option.

I do kick myself (just a bit) for not moving faster to have come to this realization (that these Duplexes that Tom's been talking about for months... we could have had the floorplan and yard of our choosing up to about three weeks ago).

So. Now our hope is that the person buying our first or second choice will
walk from the deal and open it up for us to snatch... if that's possible while we make an offer on our third choice (so we at least get the floorplan we want!) I've got an email prepped to send to the Realtor in the morning to make a formal offer tomorrow. I just need to review a few of the points with Tom.

We're FINALLY moving along...

PS: Frank says he'd rather have the bigger yard, but, we just don't like the other floor plan as well, so, in this he'll have to make do with a yard of his own.


Becky said...

I'm glad that you finally feel settled enough to start working on getting a house. I have been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot lately like I told you and one of the things that he strongly recommends is that your house payment be no more than 1/4 of your take home pay for a 15 year mortgage.

Murray said...

Ugh, I remember the house hunt. Yesterday was our "Happy House Day" four years in our home(and it's a ranch, my favorite).

Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog!

Anonymous said...

thats a lot to think of. Good luck

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain........I am going thru growing pains due to a move too.

BTW, I'm your new best friend......but you can't know who I am I am your SAS partner! heeheehee.

I'd give you my blog info but that would wreck the surprise. I am having fun getting ideas from your blog!