Friday, November 6, 2009

New home

We bought our first home today. We'll be moving to southwest Orem. I grew up in northeast Orem, and I never envisioned myself sticking around the valley so long, much less buying a home on the Mountain View side of town (I went to Orem High.) We had been looking off and on to buy a home for about a year now. We'd focused our search on Springville, where we currently live, since we really like this town for a number of reasons. However, we couldn't find a place that felt right.

We had been avoiding looking for homes in Orem/Provo, preferring to stay on the outskirts of Utah Valley. Actually, the home we ended up buying was the first home we even looked at in Orem. We saw it listed online one evening, phoned our realtor the next morning, saw the house two hours later, liked nearly everything about it, felt good, made an offer an hour later, and the sellers accepted our offer a few hours after that. It was amazing how quickly it went, after fruitlessly searching for months.

I wanted to make a few comments about the different people we interacted when we bought our home. We didn't know a thing about buying a home before we did it, so this is what I learned.

REALTOR: As a home buyer, it's hard to think of a reason to not use an agent. The seller pays the agent commission (the buyer's agent and the seller's agent split 6% of the price of the home), so you basically get the help of the buyer for free (as I understand it, if the buyer has no agent, the seller's agent gets the full 6% still). Additionally, you need an agent, as far as I can tell, to open up key boxes to look at houses. We used Donna Lee Henderson from Affiliated Realty Group. She is an old family friend that my parents and neighbors have used to buy and sell property. I appreciated her help and would recommend her. We felt bad because I think we must have looked at over 20 homes, but she was very patient with us, and there were a number of times that she was more excited to be looking at homes than we were, since we had started to doubt if we would ever find a house that we would want to move into at a price we would want to pay.

MORTGAGE BROKER: We initially worked with a traditional mortgage broker. However, I had heard ads for Box Home Loans on the radio and was intrigued by their tagline: "Your reward for great credit." We hoped we might qualify, so we checked out this company and realized that we would save about $3,000 in closing costs by going with them. That's really some incredible savings. I initially was a bit worried about using a company whose stated inspiration is In-n-Out Burgers--they want to be as efficient as possible and they only do "easy" loans. However, we found some good recommendations for them, so we went ahead. Honestly, Tricia and I didn't always feel like the loan officer assigned to us was always completely aware of everything, but he did a satisfactory job and it was evident that he always had a supervisor making sure he didn't mess up or forget something. (It seems that they recently made a rash of hires to meet the increased demand, and maybe we got a new guy). I would definitely recommend using Box Home Loans--that extra $3k that we saved will be mighty useful as we get ready to have our baby in January.

The weirdest part of the mortgage was trying to decide when to lock our rate. Box Home Loans lets you check the daily rate online, and it fluctuates every day, so we spent a week or two trying to get the pulse of the market so we could lock in on the very best day. We discovered that it's quite impossible to guess what the interest rate will change to each day (at least for us) so we finally just locked in a rate that we felt good about.

HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE: We discovered that we needed to get homeowners insurance before our loan could go through. Bear River Mutual turned out to have the best rates for us. It was really fun for me to discover as I tried to find an insurance agent that my friend TJ Bowen from college now works at LA Bowen insurance. We made him our insurance agent and it was nice to be able to reconnect with him. I'd always looked up to TJ in college and it was fun to be able to do business with him.


JPI said...

Mountain View? You trader! At least now you have less of a drive to play basketball.

Rachel said...

post some photos soon! can't wait to see it. how weird is it that we're all starting to be real adults: married, buying homes, having kids. i personally still feel like a teenager but i think it's time to grow up now :) CONGRATS!!!