House hunting and waiting

This weekend my wife and I went house hunting. We thought we had our loan in hand—more on that latter—so it should have been as easy as finding something we liked and going from there. It wasn't quite so easy.

First, there is the little issue of how much home we could afford. We didn't want to stretch our budget too far. Unfortunately, an entire Saturday was spent depressing ourselves with just how expensive property values in Portland are becoming—or more appropriately how run down and off the beaten path an affordable home is becoming. We finished the day with a short list that wasn't all that reassuring.

With thoughts of rent dancing in our heads, we visited the first home on our list. Ack! While my kids thought an empty house with oddly shaped rooms and a floor that echos when you jump was great, Diana and I are a little more discerning. The house was at the top of our range, and we thought, "well, with another $20,000 we could make it livable." One down.

The second place was a long shot. We were only looking at it because it had three bedrooms. The outside was/is...1950's California ranch. Not bad from the street, but not the height of architectural elegance either. The drive by the day before was a fading memory, and we kept getting it confused with the 15 other houses we'd looked at. Then we walked up to it. Nice flower bed on the front of the house, well trimmed yard, it was beginning to grow on us. When we stepped inside, our attitude towards the day did a 180.

Suddenly, the thought of home ownership was exciting. The enterior had a few updates, but more importantly it was clean and spacious and had a kitchen that met all our requirements. The backyard was huge by urban standards. The only thing it lacks is a garage for the bikes, but it has storage and we could easily replace the carport with a garage.

It all seemed too good to be true. We followed the realtor to one more house that we didn't even want to see, then followed her out to her office to fill out the paperwork to make an offer. Things seemed to go from a lull to full speed in a matter of hours.

The next day, we were a ball of nerves. The realtor called to say the offer was in and the current owners were talking to their realtor. What seemed like days later, but was really just later that evening—when do they take off—the realtor called to say the offer was accepted. We were in the neighborhood—despite the new neighborhood being a 20 minute drive from our current townhome—and were thrilled.

Now, I'm sitting at the computer a little over 24 hours later telling this story. We still don't know if the whole thing will work out. The lender hasn't got back to us with some needed paperwork that we have to have by 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. We are stressed and excited and nervous and everything else you can be.