We have been living in the Salem area since mid-August and this whole time we have been looking for a new place to buy. We bought a house in Phoenix last March and then had to turn around and sell it when we found out Anthony had earned a promotion. Luckily its set to close right before Thanksgiving. But getting the house off our books meant starting the process of finding somewhere else to live.
Since moving, I have gone out with our Realtor at least once per week for hours at a time. More recently we have been going every day because the market has been HOT! Let me tell you, riding around in a car and traipsing through other peoples’ homes is exhausting. I saw a stunning remodeled 1890’s home in Independence I wanted. By the time we got back to Salem to make the decision on whether we wanted it, someone had put in an offer. Then we had our eye on a 1300 square footer for a heck of a deal but our mortgage broker was just waiting for some bureaucrat to stamp his approval on his paperwork. In the time it took for that to happen (3 weeks!) the house was gone.
That meant the hunt had to start again. So we looked and we looked and we looked. Nothing was exactly right. Since its a seller’s market houses that need work were the only houses in our budget. As we drove around we got to know the Salem neighborhoods and surrounding areas pretty well. There was a particular area in South Salem that I loved but knew most houses would be out of our price range. They had some new construction going on but we weren’t really keen on staying through the winter in the RV because its COLD. Today it was a whopping 36 degrees when I woke up. My Arizona blood is still not accustomed to these temperatures. So we put that one out of our heads.
Then a house near there came on the market. It was a little older and needed some work, but it was nice. As we were walking in and the seller was walking out she mentioned they already had an offer and had to decide ASAP. So our Realtor called the listing agent and sure enough they were getting ready to accept an offer. We weren’t ready to get into a bidding war over a house we just liked and didn’t love. So we let that one go.
This is when we started hitting the houses hard. We went out for at least 2 hours a day 6 days a week for three weeks straight. Then last week one came on the market a few doors down from the 1300 square footer that got away. This one was bigger and in better condition but the price reflected that. We thought it was still worth it and went in with an offer a bit below asking price. We were willing to pay full price but knew that most of the time people come back with a counter offer so we wanted a little wiggle room. Our strategic planning didn’t matter; they rejected our offer. No counter offer, no negotiations. Nothing. So there went that house.
So now we were not only looking at freezing our toes off this winter, but also having to dig through our stuff in storage to find our suitcases, empty them and then put everything back in storage just to pack for our wedding. Then we noticed the listing for the new build in the neighborhood we loved was still up. We found out that the corner lot with a wonderful view of the whole valley was still available, and in our budget! Construction wouldn’t be started until December and finished until April. So we put our thinking caps on and found a few apartment complexes that will rent for 6 months or less. Then we put in an offer. The builder was gracious enough to throw in a gas fireplace and air conditioning wiring for free (yay!). So we are going forward with the deal.
Buying a new build means we get to pick out the cabinets, floors, paint colors on the interior and exterior and counter tops. Who knows what else we will have to pick along the way but we have our first meeting with the builder on Friday! I am eagerly looking on Pinterest to get an idea for what combinations I like and what exterior colors look the nicest. I am so excited to watch our house as it is built from the ground up. Instead of settling for a house that needs some work we are getting to pick exactly what we want. This means we can stay in this house longer and not have to worry about remodeling right away.
I know there will be hurdles, but it finally feels like we can start settling in here. On the days that I’m feeling anxious about the timeline, or about how things are going with construction I can look back on the house hunting journey and know we made the right choice. The memories that are made in this house will be just ours and that is very special. It will be great to finally have a house to call home.