I BOUGHT A HOUSE: The Early Stages

During my work hours, I would browse online to search for communities. I had settled to 3 and went to look at their products. I finally had settled on the community I wanted but needed to see the floorplan because I had questions about the closet. I need it to be spacious enough that made it easy for two to share for resale purposes.

One morning I went to visit the builder’s sister community 10 minutes away from where I wanted to build. I get to mingling with the sales rep. I let her know that I am actually searching for myself and what I was looking for. I narrowed it down to space as a key factor for me. Space for storage is huge for me. She looks at me and says, “We can go look at that plan but I think I have one you’ll love.” In my mind, I’m just like that isn’t what I came here for. However, I’m a Realtor and I should check out the floorplan for other clients. What I love about HistoryMaker Homes is the amount of space you get for your money. Their tagline is “More Space. Less Money.”

Spec home that sealed the deal

This is the home we toured. I was like okay. When we walked in, I was in love. It was EVERYTHING I somehow all of sudden wanted.

Kitchen…Cabinets…Counter Space…WHAT!!!! I knew I wouldn’t choose those cabinets at all.

It had space for days and the kitchen was a great size for just me. It was what I imagined my very first house to be.

I went back to this house for the next 3 weeks showing anyone who wanted to venture with me.

I finally went one Sunday with my friend Lauren and she’s a sensible friend. She was like you just have to pull the plug. I was like I don’t know. Andrea, she said, you like this house. You’ve been out here 3 times this week you might as well buy the house. Conversation with my mom helped the situation. She said to me, Andrea, no one is ever ready. We weren’t “ready” to buy this house but we had help from my dad and another family friend. I’m sending you $1000 and you add the other and go build your house.

That was all the confirmation I needed. I went out the next day with my checkbook in tow.

I was building my house.

The day I went there with Lauren one of the preferred lenders was at the model home. He said I shouldn’t worry about student loans as I could possibly go conventional and be okay. I was nervous about the calculation of student loans and the taxes I’d owe from 2016 tax year. I showed him my profit and loss statement along with 2015 tax return. I asked how much income did I need to show to realistically buy the house. My CPA and I worked together to be reasonable on the tax amount owed and for qualification purposes as well.

When you are self-employed, your income for home purchases are based on a 2 year average on the adjusted gross income. That means you can’t write everything off as you normally would. You have to show some income.

I was approved for a home loan or so I thought. A few days later I get an email to start the design process of my home. I’m excited, nervous, and more. I setup the appointment for a Monday but go by on that Saturday to browse the design room on what they had to offer. By that Monday, I pretty much decided what I wanted my house to look like.

Cabinet and floor selections
Where all the creativity went…Maybe a little.
Debated back and forth with myself on 30″ inch cabinets or 36″ inch cabinets in the master. Went with the latter.
It’s starting to coordinate
Brick and stone options

By this time I had already chosen my lot. I decided to go with a premium lot which backed up to this high end community that would continue towards my neighborhood in a few years. Once I saw how the homes lined up, I was sold.

Preview of what my backyard could look like

Hey, those homes in that neighborhood were already in the high $300s on the other side of the highway. There isn’t any telling what they would be in the next few years which would be valuable for my home.

After the first design room, I was excited but nervous to tell a soul. The only people who knew were a few close friends of mine and my parents.

The second showroom appointment was supposed to be literally a week later to finalize my designs. However, I couldn’t schedule the appointment until my lender sent an approval. I call to see when he was and his answer: My dear, you aren’t going to qualify. I’m sorry.

If you know me, no is NEVER the final answer. Background: The income that I felt comfortable with paying taxes on averaged with 2015 tax income made my debt to ratio high. I assured him a 1000 times that I’d pay whatever I needed to to make the situation work. I honestly don’t think he believed me but he said we can do it.

For 2 more weeks, he still never sent the approval. We discussed this more than once. Every time we would talk he would say, you’re good to go. I’ll send it over to the design team. I would be ready for the second showroom appointment and they’d say, “Andrea, we can’t schedule the second appointment without the pre-approval from the lender.” Back to conversation #50 with lender one. I would say, I thought you said I was good. Why hasn’t the pre-approval been sent? (This is when I learned being the REALTOR on your own deal is hard…who is there to help diffuse the issue when you stress out?) He even told me to go back and edit the taxes and just bite the bullet to pay $25,000 worth of taxes. That would make my debt to ratio lower. Umm, come again? Let’s just say that was our last conversation.

I went back to my sales rep and said who’s the next lender on your list because this one isn’t working. I had too many incentives tied to the home. Initially I wanted to use one of my preferred lenders but the incentives to build and close were far too great to let it go. I went to lender number 2. He was quick and had me approved after our conversation. Final design room was appointed and my reality was becoming real.

However, the first lender’s words echoed in the back of my mind each time I went to visit my house. My mentality has always been to prove people wrong and damn it, I was going to prove that first lender wrong.

Future location of my house
First choice of front door
Kitchen faucet
Master tub sample
Separate shower
Sink choice in all bathrooms
Style of second bathroom with tile on the wall
Stain selection for front door

I went in thinking I was going to do white or gray cabinets. I saw these smoke cabinets and knew I needed them in my home.

Final front door selection.

It was all starting to be too good to be true…in this case, it was. Lender number 2 had inside issues that affected me. *deep sighs*

Stay tuned for Part 3. To catch up, read Part one of I BOUGHT A HOUSE.

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