My mom told me buying a house is one of the most exciting times in your life. You spend hours searching for your dream home (or semi dream home on a budget) by pouring over real estate sections of the paper, looking online and meeting with realtors. Of course, my mother is not a military spouse and did this twice. Once for the house I grew up in and once for the house they now retired to. Something tells me my experience may be a little different...
Most people know military families move around a lot. Every three to five years you can expect to be sent to a different base, possibly even a different state, time zone or country. Depending where you are headed, living off base may be more financially practical (or if you're stubborn like my husband the ONLY way to go) but it is a whole different can of worms.
Since finding out last month we received orders to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina my husband and I have been in a frenzy trying to find a place to live. House hunting under normal circumstances can be stressful. I have friends already stationed down there who are looking for houses during all of their spare time and not having a lot of luck. Meeting with their realtors they are going from house to house and crossing their fingers hoping for THE ONE.
I'm kind of jealous.
At this point, I have never met my realtor. My dad has though! My mother in law found him through the network of lawyers she knows down in the area. Ryan has spoken on the phone with him multiple times and I have emailed back and forth with them as well. I had my first phone call with them this week when we were placing an offer.
My husband is in California. I am in Virginia. We placed an offer on a house we have never laid eyes on based on what we were looking for, pictures online and pictures and word of mouth from my dad.
Is that crazy?
Ryan and I both spent hours and hours looking at houses online. Whether on the laptop or on our iphones using the realtor.com app and zillow we compiled a list of twenty plus houses. My dad eventually went last week and looked at about seven of the ones we narrowed it down to. Two were under contract before he got there. One had foundation problems. Three were in not the nicest of neighborhoods. One was a short sale that would ba amazing but had 8 other offers on it and would probably dry up our savings account trying to heat and cool! So what now? Desperately we searched again and emailed more listings to my dad.
Two passed the test.
Looking at the pictures he sent, one stood out.
We put in an offer.
Ryan called from California to North Carolina with the offer. I signed and used my power of attorney to fill out paperwork and scanned it from Virginia to North Carolina. They counter offered. We offered again. They said no. We tried one more time and they accepted. This involved a series of phone calls from North Carolina to Virginia to California to get everyone on the same page... and it happened somehow.
Now the inspection needs to happen and the appraisal. We have to apply officially for the mortgage we were preapproved for. We know the roof needs to be patched/possibly replaced. Carpets need to be replaced. Painting needs to happen. Ryan has to graduate, come back to the East Coast and we have to pack up our lives (with help from the military) and move to North Carolina and hopefully settle in the house that sold us by pictures alone.
I hope it passes inspection. I hope we can get the repairs done in time. I hope it all can be ready for mid April when we want to move in.
I hope we like it and will be happy there.
For at least three to five years.
Unlike other couples who buy that dream house, we know this one is temporary. In a few years time we will rent it out to other Marines or sell it and go through it all again.
Hopefully next time we will all at least be in the same time zone.