The HGTV Deception

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Ok, so before you flog me, I will admit that “Property Brothers,” “Beachfront Bargains” and “House Hunters International” are some of my favorite shows. So, no, I don’t hate HGTV, but I do dislike the false picture it seems to paint when it comes to the house hunting and purchasing process.

“House Hunters” paints a picture of a happy couple looking at several houses, picking one and then closing. In one episode, they actually showed a couple who purchased a short sale and were able to close in about 4 months and they bought the house for $85 thousand less than what it was listed. The only frustration that comes into play is when a wife complains that a closet or bathroom is not large enough or the husband complains that the house doesn’t have a 3 car garage or the basement isn’t large enough. At the end of every single episode there is a happy couple in their new home.

I have found this process to be anything other than what is shown on that show. It is long, frustrating and it depends on other people doing what they need to do. Many tears have been shed up to this point and I am pretty sure more will be shed before all is said and done.

Let me back up and give a quick review of where my hubby and I started for some of my newer readers. When we were first married, we made some horrible financial decisions and lived off of our credit cards. We ended up consolidating and had no idea that making that decision would be the equivalent of filing for bankruptcy where our credit scores we concerned. When we moved from TX to TN, we were in a rental and when our landlord announced that she was moving back to town and was moving back into her house. We applied for a home loan because we wanted to buy a home. The lenders laughed at us. At this point, we found a lease/ purchase. We had to repent of the way we handled finances and started to loosely follow the Dave Ramsey Plan. The lease/ purchase fell through at the end of June and we had credit run again. At this point, our credit scores were where they needed to be!

This brings me to the whole point of this post. The house hunting and purchasing process is not easy and can be down right frustrating. When we received the great news about our credit scores I was on cloud nine. My hubby and I were on line and looking at houses that night. Our long time friend and agent also started sending us listings.

The following week, we started looking at houses. There was only one that my hubby and I agreed on. When we went to the house, it had some amazing upgrades. It was in a neighborhood where I really wanted to be, plus it was only 10 mins from our church. After a walk through, we made an offer. Again, I was on cloud nine. After 9 years of marriage we were finally going to be home owners. Then, after 2 days of waiting and fretting, it all fell apart. Not only did the home owners not want to budge on anything, our lender told us that we were not approved for a home loan large enough to cover that house. The would be the first of many times that tears would be shed and disappointed would prevail.

During this time we frantically looking on line at listings as well as looking for rentals because we were running out of time before we had to be out of the other house. 12 houses later, we found a house that I loved and could see us raising our kids in and just enjoying life. This house has everything that we need and several things on our wish list, including a huge walk-in closet in the master, a bay window, a screened in back porch, a fireplace and a TIN ROOF!!! Yes, I am a country girl at heart and have always dreamed of owning a home with a tin roof. This house looks like it belongs on about 5 acres of land, not on a random side road where 2 major roads connect. My kids saw it, loved it and refer to it as the “Blue House.”

Yep, we fell in love with a short sale and made an offer at the end of July. Cue music from a horror flick. I can’t for the life of me understand why they are called short sales when there is nothing short about this process.

When we made the offer we knew we would not be able to close before we needed to be out of the old house, so after a long and frustrating search, we moved into a 2 bed, 1.5 bath, 1000 sq ft apartment. Roughly half of our stuff is in storage. All 3 of our kiddos are sharing a room and the worst part of the whole thing is that we had to surrender our dog.

When we moved in, we knew that it would be a temporary stop. At first we thought we would have the ability to close in early to mid November and be moved in by Thanksgiving. In the middle of Sept, we received a call from our agent that the agent on the other side was not doing all that needed to be done and that if we were lucky, it would be Thanksgiving, the first of December before we could close, meaning almost Christmas before we could actually move our family in. Cue another round of tears, but at least I had hope that we would be moved in and spend Christmas in our dream house.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday, 9/23 and we received an email from one of the agents working with us that the sale may not happen. (We are actually the second offer on the house, but the first is only an investor and our offer is much higher). The seller has not done much of what needs to be done and the investor’s offer still has not been rejected. Cue, yet another round of tears and frustration in trying to explain our kids that the “Blue House”  may not be our house.

On Thursday, 9/25 we met with our agent. I had mixed emotions about our meeting. He was honest with us, in that if the seller and agent don’t do what they need to do by the end of October, we will have to let the “Blue House” go and look for another house because there is no way that we will be able to close before the 6 month lease on the apartment ends.

My husband and I are determined to be in our new home no later than that because we want our kids, especially our daughter, to have the remainder of the school year to adjust to the new house while having the security of their normal church and school routine. My daughter will start kindergarten in the fall and we don’t want her adjusting to a new house and a new school all at the same time.

We have since looked at a few other listings and have driven by 2 of those homes. One home we found online and felt that it would be a great contender for the “Blue House.” I sent a text to our agent, he did some checking, called me back and told me that it had actually been closed on that morning. More frustration.

My birthday is in 10 days and I am praying for what I call the “birthday miracle.” I am praying that on my birthday, our agent will call us and tell us that things are progressing and that we will have a time from to close our “Blue House.”

In the meantime, we will continue to look at listings on-line, while praying that we won’t need any of them as our back up plan. There is another house, slightly above our price point that we are kind of hoping will stay on the market, so that if the “Blue House” falls through, we can negotiate this one down to where we need it to be. The best part of the second house is that it has a huge front porch and the back yard has some amazing potential.

NONE of what I have shared is ever shown on “House Hunters.” While I wouldn’t take joy in knowing that others have walked or are walking in our shoes, it would be great to know that we are not alone in this process. It would be reassuring to see a couple of episodes where the deal falls through and that the couple ends up with house D instead of house A. It would also be nice to see where an agent tells a couple that their budget is not what they thought it would be, so looking at a house $50 thousand above budget is a waste of time, unless they have that kind of money sitting in the bank. I also wish they would do more shows on short sales.

It hard when you have been looking forward to the house hunting process for so long, only to have it turn out to be a long and frustrating process. It’s also hard when you have to figure out how much to tell your children and how much to withhold. At this point, we will not be looking at any more houses with the kids and will only tell them what we feel like they need to know. I am also not watching another episode of “House Hunters” until we have signed on the dotted line and moved our family into our new home.

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