Day 1: – It’s our first time looking at homes to buy. I’m really excited, but at the same time pretty nervous. I have no idea where to begin so I just typed in “Panama City Homes For Sale” into google. Much like typing in your health symptoms into google. I don’t recommend it. Th
e amount of information I uncovered was incomprehensible. There’s Zillow, there’s Trulia, there’s Homes.com, Houses.com, realtor.com…. I clicked on all of them to the extent that my browser froze and I was forced to restart my computer, and my search. It’s day one, I haven’t left my computer and I’m already overwhelmed! This is going to be a long process, but – we’re in it for the long haul. We decided to map out a few homes we like around the area. Our first day out looking at homes will take us to Lynn Haven, St. Andrews and The Beach. Let’s find a house!
Day 2: – It’s a beautiful Saturday to look at the homes Brittany and I have picked out. Our first home is in Lynn Haven near the bridge to Southport. My first thought before we even got to the house was “how does Melissa drive this far to work everyday? If I were her – I’d still only be half way to her house right now”. Once we got to the house – it was a different story. A beautiful home with beautiful landscaping and big mature trees, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a nice lawn for the kids to play. Plus a garage for me. This is perfect! If there wasn’t a voice in my head saying “you have to look at other homes, too” – I probably would have written a contract on it right then. But, it was the very first house we saw – it would be irresponsible. (ok, so that wasn’t a voice in my head – that was actually Brittan
y…) The next house in St. Andrews was equally as perfect. A little smaller but full of character. The final house of the day, on the beach side had bright colors and starfish cutouts on the fence. We could really see ourselves in all three of the houses. We’ll sleep on it tonight and see which one we like in the morning. Maybe this won’t be so bad, after all!
Day 3: After a little research on the net, we’ve found that the beach house doesn’t allow fences in the neighborhood, so we won’t be able to do that because of the dogs. While I was looking up the beach house, Brittany found a new favorite website, it’s called Crimereports.com. She looked up every city, every street and every house that had or potentially had a sex offender or violent criminal. Heck, by the time she was done with the site – if you had downloaded a song off napster – she knew about it. What all of that lead up to, 3 hours later (while I watched re-runs of home improvement) is that apparently there was a sex offender in the same neighborhood as the house in St. Andrews. So, that’s out, too. Oh, I almost forgot to mention… the beautiful Lynn Haven house….. contract put on it this morning. A major blow to the first week – but it’s still early and we’re still pumped!
Day 4: Today is a pretty nasty, rainy Saturday – but because we really want to move out of the condo and into a house, we’ve stacked up quite a few homes to look at this afternoon. If everything goes as planned, the realtor will be showing us at least 6 houses. These may be quite literally the only 6 houses that are left that are within Brittany’s “safe zone”. Her “safe zone” by the way is a newly created map with a radius showing the nearest sex offenders and just about anyone that got arrested in the last 3 to 6 years. If these 6 homes dont work, I’m pretty sure we have to live on a boat in The Gulf. Which I really don’t want to do… I had a water bed once.
Day 5: So While we continue to look at homes, I’ve been simultaneously getting all of my personal documents to my loan officer. Things I discovered about myself while going through personal documents:
#1: For the life of me, I can’t remember the security question for that bank account I haven’t used in 8 and a half years. “What was your favorite game as a child?” – Oh god… was it Kickball? Monopoly? UNO? Hide and don’t bother mommy? Who knows what I answered 8 and a half years ago. But I assure you – if it’s Case Sensitive, I don’t stand a chance at figuring it out.
#2: If it’s a piece of paper I need, I don’t have it. If I dont need it, I have 2 copies.
#3: As certain as death and taxes – As soon as you think you’ve given the loan officer enough information, they will immediately ask for more.
This is getting exhausting. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting to hear back about the 6 houses we saw on Saturday. We liked most of them – and we’re hoping at least one or two are available!
Day 6: So after last Saturday, when we saw 6 houses in one day …. we learned that 4 of the 6 had contracts put on them. That leaves us with 2 houses left. Luckily, it’s two that we, A. Can afford. And B: Actually kind of like. So, we have to decide which one we want to put a contract on. One is a beautiful 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch house in Lynn Haven with new hardwood floors and an updated kitchen. It has a great yard and even a little one car garage where I can work on all of the projects I wont finish. It was literally everything we were looking for and more. It was perfect… and it just so happened to be available. … … … that’s not the house we put a contract on. Noo…… I guess I watched a little too much “This Old House” as a kid because the house we put a contract on, is the barn shaped one with rotted siding and a wobbly, crooked fence. The one we put a contract on, has the original carpet from 1984, Wood Paneling and where the dishwasher is supposed to be, there’s a nice hole in the cabinets. That’s the house we put a contract on. But, hey – like my uncle always used to say “It’ll be fine!” (by the way, when he said that…. it rarely ever was) But its our first offer on a home and we’re looking forward to getting our hands a little dirty! We find out tomorrow if they accept the contract – fingers crossed!
Day 7, 8, 9 and 10: Havent checked in here in a few days. 4 days ago we had put a contract on a house in Bidawee beach. Remember, the beach shack with the wobbly, crooked fence? Well – we still haven’t heard anything back from the Seller. Apparently, the seller lives somewhere in the middle of Kentucky with limited access to a phone, email or fax. I guess that explains the 1980’s shag carpeting. …… leave it to me to find the only house in Panama City Beach where the owner literally doesn’t have an email. My agent has warned me of a “long drawn out process” and so we still wait……
Days 11, 12, 13 and 14: After 3 more grueling days of waiting, we finally heard back from the seller…. and they’ve accepted our contract! Tonight Brittany and I broke out a bottle of champagne to celebrate! (Except it wasn’t champagne – it was milk) – But the point is – we celebrated! We’ve just made the first step toward becoming home-owners for the first time in our lives and we can’t wait to build our home together. While there’s still a lot that needs to go right before we can close on this house, it was the first big step in the right direction. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing from here on out!
Day 26: Today’s the day I’ve been agonizing over. It’s Home Inspection Day. We know the inspector is likely to find quite a few things wrong with the house – seeing as how much work we KNOW it needs. But just how much is the question. As bad as it may sounds – on the driver over to meet the inspector, Im thinking to myself that I’m actually kind of hoping the inspector isn’t that thorough. It feels like forever since we started looking for houses and I really want this one to stick. But if he finds too many problems, it won’t be do-able. As I rounded the corner to the house and it came into view – I noticed a tall, stocky man in overalls just buttoning up the last of his tool belts. Head to toe, he was covered in tool belts, a hard hat, go pro cameras mounted to his helmet pointed in every direction, measuring tapes, laser lights, infared detectors, bug detectors, stud detectors…. this guy was the Chuck Norris of home inspectors. If Bob Vila somehow had a child with Inspector Gadget – this is him. This CANT end well.
Day 30: Home inspection came back…. you’re going to need to listen to this one…..
How did this happen?
Day 51 : We got all of the repairs done. It was a miracle. In the mean time, Our appraisal came back good – so did the survey. Our tentative closing date is set for two weeks – I renewed the lease on our current condo for another month – which should give us two to three weeks of overlap which will be nice. We’ll be homeowners in no time!
Day 65: Closing is supposed to happen tomorrow – but I haven’t heard from my loan officer in over a week. After finally getting in touch – she informed me that not only will it not be tomorrow – it wont be for at least 2 weeks! That puts us right at the end of our condo lease! Starting to get a little nervous! She assured us it would close then, but I cant help but be a little worried! It’s coming right into the summer season – so I’ve been looking for other rentals just in case – either way too expensive by the week, or already rented out. Hopefully we’ll close next time around.
Day 78: Just got word that closing will be delayed again because of a disagreement between my insurance company and the bank. Bank thinks the name of the street the house is on is Pine AVENUE. Insurance company says it’s Pine STREET. Really? Both refuse to change their documents. REALLY? This would happen to me. My New closing date is now set for 3 days after our current lease ends, IF they can work it out. In the mean time, I haven’t been able to find a suitable place to rent – so we’re officially homeless as of tomorrow. Tomorrow is Friday at least – so we’ll have the weekend to figure something out. We’ll go camp at the campground and have some fun while I try and figure something out. We hope to close early next week assuming we figure out what street our house is on.
Day 80: Campfires. Roasting marshmallows, clean fresh air. None of that is happening during our weekend camping trip (aka, homeless). What did happen? Tropical storm Colin. 3 inches of torrential rain. Our tent is soaked, our clothes are soaked…. and our weekend camping trip brought to a screeching, soggy halt. Both of our cars are loaded to the brim while the bulk of our stuff remains in a storage unit. Looks like we’re headed to the Sleep Inn. Closing is now set for Wednesday.
Day 83: It’s night 3 at the Sleep Inn. So far, Bobby told every staff member why we’re there. Every time I walk by the front desk I feel like they’re looking at me and saying “aww… that’s the homeless guy” We’re supposed to close tomorrow. Fingers crossed this time.
Day 84. Is it Pine STREET or Pine AVENUE? This has been the argument between insurance and bank that has kept me living in a campground and then a hotel for the last 5 days. It’s also the argument that has now delayed my closing a third time. Today I drove to the house and took a picture of the street sign to send to both the bank and the insurance company. By the way, for the record – it’s Pine Street!
Day 85: I’ve been trying not to make a big deal about living out of a hotel – but my coworkers are beginning to know something’s up. All of the boxes and clothes in my car has them convinced I’m living out of my car. I keep telling them I’m not – but when they ask for my address and I can’t give them one – it doesn’t help. Still Waiting To Close.
Day 92: 12 days in a hotel now. We still haven’t closed. If it’s not the street name, it’s an underwriter on vacation, or a file that went missing. The hotel Staff now know the kids and Brittany by name. I’ve tried to avoid the front desk since there’s a giant billboard of my face right outside the hotel. #awkward. Good news is, we should officially close in 2 days. I’ve been ASSURED this time it will happen. We’ll see.
Day 94: WOW. We did it! Today is the day I really thought never would come! We closed on the home! The house keys are fresh in my hand and I’m headed over to walk in to MY home for the first time! A homeowner. A piece of property to call my own and a house I can make my own. Plus, we can finally move out of the Sleep Inn!
…… 1 hour later…
Opened the door to my house….. Water heater exploded – water all over the floors, the walls and it collapsed a bedroom ceiling. Back to the Sleep Inn….
Day 98: Still repairing the damage from the water heater explosion. Today we moved out of the sleep in and into our dining room. Our bedroom is in our dining room, our living room is in our dining room. Our dining room is in…. pretty much every local restaurant. Also today, we had to get everything out of our storage units. So Literally everything we own is in our dining room or our cars. It’s pure chaos.
Day 128: Whew! Haven’t written in several weeks – I’ve been tirelessly trying to complete the upstairs bedrooms so we can move out of the dining room. Today we completed the bedrooms and can finally move upstairs and start doing the things we WANTED to do originally – like re-painting the lower level and making the yard look good! In fact, We started this past weekend finally doing those “first home” rituals – like decorating, changing room colors…. you know, making it our own! Flip came over to help with the yard – we cut and trimmed all the bushes, took up railroad ties, moved plants and flowers – the yard looks great! (even though Flip killed the weedeater) I could get used to this home owner thing. We leave for vacation tomorrow and it feels good to be able to leave and come back to a comfortable home finally!
Day 138: Pulling into our house after a wonderful vacation. The first thing I notice are 6 men standing in the driveway. Of course this piques my curiosity. As we pull closer, I begin to wonder if my eyes are playing tricks on me. The yard work we did last week, destroyed. The new plants, gone. Where my driveway entrance used to be, is a three foot trench. In fact, that 3 foot trench goes around 3 sides of my house. My yard is destroyed, my driveway is covered in mud. All of our lawn work – torn up and destroyed in the name of natural gas. A new line for the neighbor’s addition. Oh, the crews broke my water line, too. Won’t be repaired til tomorrow. No showers tonight. We get to sleep in our own car-stink. I hate life.