My family has been living in Colorado for 4.5 years. This whole time, we’ve been renting. First, apartments and, most recently, a rental house. But now that we have a baby, we want to settle down somewhere relatively long-term without having to worry about landlords jacking up the rent.
We want Baby Max to have a neighborhood that he can grow up in, neighborhood kids that he can play with. But perhaps even more important, we want to give our son predictability. He’s too young to understand it now, but the last thing we want is to start moving him from rental to rental in order to escape rising rents.
Anyone living in Colorado knows that it is simply too expensive for families to buy a starter home. New construction is going up and they’re asking $450k for 1,600 sq ft homes where you can reach out the side window and touch the house next to you.
My wife and I had talked moving for a while. Finally, this year, the stars aligned. We both had offers to keep our jobs and get new responsibilities and earning potential… but we would have to move to Texas to do it. While home prices are on the rise in Texas, we crunched the numbers and realized we could potentially buy twice the house for HALF the cost if we left Colorado for Texas.
So, in mid-January, I flew down to Texas and started house hunting. Armed with a pre-approval letter, I went around town with our real estate agent.
The first house I walked through was the one. Every house we saw after, I found myself just comparing them to that first house.
It is just shy of 3,000 sq ft, with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, AND a loft for a game room. The house did have foundation repair (with a lifetime transferrable warranty). At first, that was a huge turnoff. However, the more I researched, I found that it is incredibly common for homes with slab foundations to need foundation work at some point.
That got me thinking. Have you ever driven up to a gas station and seen the official Weights & Measures bag covering a pump? That indicates that a government inspector took that pump offline because it wasn’t accurately pumping gasoline.
I always used to see those bags and get nervous about using that gas station. But the only thing that means is that the inspector tested all the other pumps, and found that THEY were calibrated correctly.
Sure, this house had foundation work. But it wasn’t built on magic dirt. It was built on the same expansive soil as the rest of the houses in the neighborhood. I would far rather purchase a house with a warrantied foundation repair than purchase the house next door, built on the same dirt, that hasn’t had its foundation repaired yet.
The house needs a lot of work. It will need new paint, the wallpaper has to be removed, and we’re going to need to replace most of the ratty carpet. But this house was right in our price range and had 700 more square feet than any other house in the area at that price point (not to mention 1,500 square feet more than similarly priced new construction). But most importantly, this gives us the opportunity to move into the PERFECT neighborhood to raise our son.
We put down an offer that was not only under their asking price, but also asked the sellers to pay all of our closing costs and… they accepted it as-written!
Yesterday, we wired the earnest money (~1% of the sale price) to the title company and we are officially under contract with a target closing date set for second week of March.
Things are going to start moving pretty fast for us. We’ve already scheduled an inspection and will only have a week to review the inspection report and decide whether we want to go through with this. We purchased a 10 day option that allows us to walk away inside of those first 10 days, for any reason.
As I’m making all of these plans, I figured that this was a good opportunity to expand the scope of this blog to include more general information about parenthood, including home buying, moving, house upgrades, appliance purchases, and the like.
The latest stats indicate that 8% fewer millennials are buying homes, compared to the same rate of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers from when they were our age. With people taking on more and more student loans, it is becoming harder for young adults to buy homes. So, I want to document this whole process in the hope that by learning things and figuring them out as we go, we can help other parents navigate these waters too.