Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Really, This Time For Sure!

After the roller coaster ride we went through with the last house we made an offer on Joanna and I were a bit more careful this time. She started bringing a flashlight to houses we were looking at, and we spent a lot of time looking at the deep dark corners of the basement and other similar locations that our home inspector had seemed to enjoy pointing out problems. Fortunately, this payed off, and the house we decided on had far less trouble with the inspection than the first one did. I'm not saying it was perfect, but lets just say Mike was orders of magnitude more positive in his report with this house than he was with the other.

So yes, this means we've found a house and we're through the inspection process completely. Paperwork has been signed and we'll be moving in on November 1st.

We decided on a lease to own agreement, which means that we put a small percentage of the purchase price down as a deposit, and then lease the house for a year with a percentage of our monthly rent going towards the eventual down payment. At the end of the year we decide if we want to buy or not. If we do buy we get the house at the price we agreed on now, and we've got the added bonus of having already lived there so we know what we're getting into. If we don't buy then we only walk away from a few thousand dollars worth of down payment, which is a nice option to have in the event that the housing market nose dives or we end up hating the place for one reason or another.

Some details on the house. It's in Dedham near the West Roxbury line. That means we're close to Joanna's office, near commuter rail lines to get into Boston if either of us ever needs to do that for work, about half an hour from Joanna's parents and about an hour from mine. The house itself is a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath colonial that was almost totally rebuilt 9 years ago (meaning it was torn down and a new second floor and a completely remodeled first floor was put on top of an existing foundation). The kitchen is awesome, the living room and dining room have these great cathedral ceilings, there's a wrap around farmer's porch in the front and a nice deck off the back overlooking a reasonably large back yard. Upstairs there's a master suite with a loft overlooking it (a spiral staircase provides access) and an office off of the loft.

I'll post some more pictures once we're there. There are some more from the listing, but honestly they don't give you a good idea of what the place is really like, as most of them are designed to show off individual features, not the whole place.

Anyway, we're extremely excited about the whole thing and just can't wait to move in. The house seems perfect for us, and now we're counting the days until November 1st...


  1. And don't forget 10 minutes from your old, obsolete roommates!

  2. Sounds fabulous!! Congratulations. I've never heard of the "lease to buy" option. Is that something used more often in the Boston area or something this particular seller was offering? It's a great idea, since you'll really get an idea of what you're getting yourself into if you've lived there already for a year.

  3. Sounds fantastic! Congratulations ;)

  4. rcolonna: An excellent point. In addition to only being 10 minutes from the old obsolete roommates it is also fairly centrally located among the various friends of ours scattered around the greater Boston area, which should make it excellent for parties.
    mersidotes: As I understand it lease to own agreements are more common for people with poor credit who are trying to prove to the bank that they'll be able to make the payments, but they also help in situations where you'd really like to have some more time to save up the down payment. We spend the year saving up (while living in the house we eventually want) and thus we can afford something slightly more expensive than we'd be able to comfortably buy right now. I mean it's not like we couldn't work something out if we had to buy the place now, but waiting a year means we can do it without eating up all of our savings, which seems safer in the long run.

  5. But it's waaaaay out of Cafe Nicholas delivery range!

  6. awesome. this is the market to pick and choose. it looks great now all you need is some kids.

  7. Congrats! A co-worker of mine from $dayjob just moved into W.Roxbury from N.Carolina, she seems to like it although isn't used to driving around here yet.
    My default advice on buying real property: get your *own* lawyer. Especially on the lease-to-own option, which is not that common around here. Sure, most people are pretty decent - but we're talking your (future) home and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    I have a recommendation on a Cambridge-based real estate lawyer. I only bring it up (it's a bit far for you) because talking to him is a treat - he has the broadest Cantabrigian accent I've ever heard in my life.

  8. Congratulations, Garret!
    I'll give you the advice I give to all new buyers (though it may not apply with the lease-to-own thing): There is a long period between contract and closing during which your memory of the place will fade slightly and combine with a realization of how much money you just spent, resulting in pangs of "OMG WTF did we do!" Don't worry, this is perfectly normal.