Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Buying Our First Home

I wanted to make sure I blogged about us buying our first home! So this will be the first post about the process. I'm hoping to blog about all the details of getting orders, the moving process, finding schools, the home buying process itself, and all from a military family's point of view.

We are now about a month out from at least being out of the rental house in Kapolei, Hawaii. We have told the owners our last day will be July 1, 2009. We are still awaiting orders but have been given a verbal assignment to Norfolk, VA where my husband, Daniel, will be on a TRE team. That means he'll inspect submarines while they are at sea. So he will have some sea time there, but not a lot. We are really looking forward to this move. My husband has been extended on this sea tour once now and we are ready to get back to the mainland to be closer to family.

So far, I have done some research about home-buying in general, mortgages, VA loans, areas to live in Virginia, and researched schools -Elementary thru High School. I have a daughter that is 14 and a son who will be turning 11 in August.

Just this research alone has been a task. I don't trust too many people to tell me where to live, so I had rather do the research myself. It always helps to have other military families give advice on where to live and what schools to attend though. Most of my research has been for the High Schools. I have been tossing around the idea of private school or homeschooling for my son.

These are the sites I found useful in school research

This link ttp:// is the Chesapeake School District Adress look up. You can put the address of a house in and it will show you what schools your kids will attend.
I also use Google Earth to zoom in on the neighborhoods and to see what is close; water, stores, churches, schools, etc.

So far, I have narrowed my search to Chesapeake, VA. The High School that we're interested in for my daughter is Great Bridge High School.

I have been doing so much research on buying a home I think the fun in it may be gone. I'm sure It will be fun again once I get to physically look at a house. Internet shopping gets to be overwhelming! I do have an idea of the market now though.

I've been reading two books and I also downloaded book I found online. The books are really helpful! One covers the buying process beginning to end in great detail, one is a book of checklists to reference, and the downloaded book has actually been the most helpful. It was just an easy read. It was only about 160 pages and gave great detail about the most important things of buying a house.

So, from my reading, I understood that one of the first things I should be doing -after finding the area that is most appealing to us-is shopping for lenders and finding the best mortgage rates. As I began this step, I soon realized that I can't lock in a rate until I have a contract in on a house. This gave me stress because recently mortgage rates went up a whole percentage and will continue to go up as the housing market shows signs of stabilizing. I really hope there continues to be a lag until we buy our house:). We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Another important step is finding a realtor! This has caused me much stress! I've been in touch with an agent, but I don't really know much about him. I haven't committed to anyone, but I have said no to one. My friend just got her real estate license, but I just don't think it's a good idea to have a friend do such personal business with you. I also know myself, and I know that I would be taking her input in as a friend and not as a realtor. I have to be focused and make decisions for our family and this only. If my friend was there, I'd just be distracted. So I still continue to search for the right person. Hopefully my friend isn't too broken about it:).
So this is the stage that I'm at...
still waiting for orders- can't do ANYTHING without them
getting this house ready for turn-over
finding a realtor
checking mortgage rates (to make myself crazy!)
internet shopping here and there for houses
reading as much as I can about the process
We aren't sure if we can all go house hunting together, if it will just be me, or if my husband will go. The latest- he's working and I will have go find a house and come back here, or we wait for the house hunting until the kids are out of school (June 23) and the kids and I go - in this case we won't come back. The military life... living in limbo:) We're all used to it though!
Maybe I can do a house blog on Wednesdays! We'll see how it goes:)


Doreen said...

maybe getting in touch with the Chamber of Commerce in different cities will help also. they will have all the info you need.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

I live near Chesapeake! Our oceans are not as blue but I love living here in Virginia.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

wow, you have a lot going on. Good Luck. :)

I took that tulip shot with a 50mm lens. I take most my photos with my 50mm.