Friday, January 2, 2009

Home at Last?

I am pleased to announce that as of today, we are under contract for a new home. We read and signed over an inch and a half of papers, and turned them in on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008.

Turns out Santa came through after all. This home is almost everything we wanted, and much more. I never would have though we could afford a home like this, especially if you had asked me two years ago. My husband and I both come from modest working class families and paid our way through school.

I feel very blessed that the housing market has been so good to us, as I know countless others have not been as fortunate. We sold our home in 2006, after living in it for almost 5 years. With the proceeds we were able to pay off our ginormous student loans, and still have a substantial amount left over for a down payment. For the last two years, we have waited, not so patiently, for the housing market to become affordable again.

As I have maintained throughout my time as a blogger, we were not waiting for bottom. My daughter will start kindergarten in the fall which is a big motivating factor for us to purchase sooner than later. To be quite honest, I am also worried inflation will start to erode my purchasing power by the end of 2009. With low interest rates, it seems like the ideal time to for us purchase the ideal home.

Below is a picture of our majestic oak tree and the view from our backyard (which we will need to finish). Unfortunately, I don't have much time today, so I will post more details later.

Ironically, OCRenter at BMIT just posted today that he became a homeowner.


Husmanen said...


Very happy for you and your family.


patient renter said...

I never would have though we could afford a home like this, especially if you had asked me two years ago

Congrats :)

mbc said...

Congratulations on the new home purchase! I hope everything goes smoothly from here to move-in time. I can understand wanting to get settled before school begins. We moved to Portland from Rocklin in 2005 and bought a house in April of 2006 at the height of the Portland real estate frenzy because we wanted our daughter's school situation settled before she started Kindergarten.

It was more than a little scary because we had not yet sold our Rocklin house, and the market down there was seriously starting to tank at that point. On the bright side, having two mortgages seriously motivated us to get that house sold, so we quit fooling around and really slashed the asking price. Even with the cut, we eventually received at least $125,000 more than we could ever hope to get for that house today, so we consider ourselves fortunate.

Sold in '05 said...

Congratulations on the home!

We know how it works with the kids in school. Ours are both now in high school (freshman and junior). When we moved here from Vermont in 2005 we had a 6th grader and an 8th grader. We were fortunate to find a good stable rental in the Woodcreek High and Silverado Middle (Roseville) school district. We have constrained our home search to this school zone so have been fairly limited in choices. Fortunately there are very few stinker neighborhoods in the zone though. I'll ignore the Crocker Ranch developments north of Blue Oaks Blvd, which literally reek with the off-gas from the nearby landfill.

The economy is my major concern about buying now... both for and against. On the plus side are the items you have articulated; this may actually be as good of an economic time to buy as we will have for the foreseeable future. On the minus side, after living in stucco tract housing now for over three years, I'm not so sure I want to settle in it for five or ten more. Speaking as an engineer (admittedly not a structural engineer), the construction quality of these newer houses is just awful (the structural guy I'm sure would use the term adequate). If we stay renting for another three years, the kids will be finished with school and we could move into a slightly older or more rural area such as Loomis, GB, Lincoln or Auburn without caring too much about the schools. I think any of those would suit both my wife and I better. Of course if the bond market melts down or the rating agencies downgrade U.S. sovereign debt, then we may be looking at 20%+ interest rates by then.

In the end it looks like you have probably found a good solution for your family and I hope things work out.

Best wishes,


hip city mama said...

congratulations. we have recently started our home search after relocating to the area in october. we are patiently waiting for the market in the granite bay area to stabalize a bit. In the meantime, I was hoping to get a lender referral from you. We are new to the area and would like to work with a local lender.

whatever said...

Congrats. Looks like Pulte Laurel Oaks. Hope you realize you bought in Ponderosa High School...good luck on resale down the road. Nothing wrong with Pondo...but who wants to live in EDH and send their kid to Pondo (in Shingle Springs...or is it Rescue.. or Union if there's a difference). Ha ha....

Randy said...

Congrats! Is that house in Rocklin? I'd love to buy in Rocklin, but most of the places I'm looking at have Mello-Roos, and several have HOA fees... I'm still trying to hold out a bit longer. Just almost got enough for a 20% downpayment, but none for the property tax, downpayment, and new furniture.


PeonInChief said...

Congratulations! Be sure that you are careful when planting around the oak tree. Oaks do not like summer irrigation (unless they're raised with it from infancy) and that tree is well worth preserving. If I were planning plantings, I wouldn't do around it.

Sorry. Can't help myself. Gratuitous gardening advice.

PeonInChief said...

I meant that I wouldn't do anything around the tree. Gratuitous and sloppy gardening advice.

sacramentia said...


Mike said...

Congratulations!! Couldn't happened at more perfect time with interest rate at 5% or below.

I bought my house this fall after renting for four years. It certainly is nice to be homeowner again. However, if the price drops even more (likely) and interest rate stays around five, I may purchase another home next year.

Those Acre homes in Wilton or large lot homes in Cameron parks or Roseville look tempting with all those price dropped around 50% from peak.

I put enough down on my current home so that it won't have negative cash flow if it is turned into a rental. We will see, it will all depend on interest rate.

anon1137 said...

Congratulations, BT! That's a beautiful tree.

I know you'll be busier now, but I hope you continue to blog about your buying and moving experiences. Although you've been a homeowner before, it will be interesting to hear about your transition to the "other side". I wonder if and how your perspective will change.

Best of luck to you and your family. Please keep writing.

Curious said...

Congrats and best wishes!

Buying Time said...

Hip City Mama - I haven't ever used a lender in California, and we are going through the builder's lender this time (they offer incentives). However the husband of a mom in my mom's group is a broker, but I don't have any experience working with him (if you want his contact info, please e-mail me).

Whatever - We fit in better with the CP/Pondo crowd. Not as much $$. The EDH kids, all drive nicer cars than I do.

Randy - Sorry, not Rocklin, we bought in the foothills along the 50.

PIC - Thanks. There is a significant amount of mistletoe in the tree...I seem to remember someone saying that will eventually kill the tree?

Anon - It's highly likely I will continue to blog a bit. It's very theraputic for me, and I would miss you all too much.

Deflationary Jane said...

Congrats BT! Remember my email offers >; )

For myself, I'm still not buying yet. We had a buying spurt while the DPAs were still active and I want to see the loss of those 0 down loans roll across the markets.

I also wanted to see what "bidding wars" were producing as far as price increases. From the 200 or so listings I followed, most price increases were 0% to 3%, just enough to cover the closing cost contributions or the 3% DPA. Kinda makes you wonder if that underpricing strategy is working or if it's just another sound bite being pushed out by an industry that's whistling dixie pass the graveyard with it's fingers crossed behind it's back >; )

As long as I'm already sitting this one out, I might as well wait for the unemployment and under employment to be felt too. That will take some time to shake out, Sept 09 is my guess. That's not the bottom, just the period when I think the current round of job losses will be felt across the region.

Bottom? I'm sticking with 2Q 2011 for the 4 county region.

PeonInChief said...

How extensive is the mistletoe? One branch? Many branches?

Buying Time said...

Many branches. The tree isn't covered, but there are multiple well estabished clumps. Do you just climb up and chop off the mistletoe to keep it from spreading?

Ahh...the joys and frustrations of homeownership =)

Cmyst said...

Congrats, BT!!

Chop off the mistletoe using a golden sickle at the full moon ;)

Our own househunt is over. Sig is going to start seriously attempting to get back into his professional field after several years of brooding. If all works out, we will likely be relocating in about 18 months. We withdrew our offer on our friend's short sale, and we're going to start looking for another rental (hopefully with a much larger kitchen and a smaller yard- or one that really does have a gardener!).

I hope you do keep the blog going. It will be educational!

PeonInChief said...


Eventually the mistletoe will kill the tree. It's semi-parasitic, after all. Having read up on the options:

1. Leave it alone, realizing that eventually you will lose the tree. (If you do that, plan your landscaping around its eventual demise.)

2. Cut out the mistletoe and see if that works. Sometimes, apparently, it does. Mistletoe is semi-parasitic, which means that it also needs photosynthesis to live. So you're cutting off part of its life support.

3. Chemicals. There are a couple that might work, but you should get an arborist to do that. In fact, if you decide to do (2), you should have an arborist do the mistletoe removal. I don't think you should be climbing the tree with clippers and a saw.

One thing--if the tree is important to shading your yard, you should plan for a new tree or trees to take over the shading duties when this one dies.

norcaljeff said...

Congrats, but not sure how much of your list you actually got. And the price, who knows, anything over $200/sq is too high. And in that part of town you'd have to pay top dollar. Flat lot? Looks stepped up. No HOAs or Mello Roos? Not in that part of town. Fruit trees? 1/2 acre? Not unless top dollar is paid.
Mistletoe will take over and kill the tree, almost impossible to stop it. I've talked to 10 tree experts for me tree and none of them would attempt to remove it.