Thursday, April 26, 2007

Home..Sweet Home

The last couple of months have probably been the busiest time in my life, given that my blogging has consistently decreased to "a blog once a month". But, that doesn't prevent me from spending my lunch hour reading some of the other blogs to keep up on the happenings.
Early this year, after a lot of pressurizing from my end, my husband and I decided to embark on the "Bay Area Housing Express" to make our journey through the tedious process of buying a home. As first-time passengers in this express, our requirements for reaching the destination of "Buying a Home in Silicon Valley" were different. K's need was simple- "You buy a house, pay for it to live in it and don't expect anything more." My desire was a little more ambitious- Given that the housing prices in the valley are much much higher than anywhere else in the country and don't seem to drop lower; and logic sans the already inflated housing prices versus steady salary growth, not knowing how unpredictable the future here is going to be, still, the tinge of hope that maybe, the home price may go up slightly and there is still room for a small profit to be made.
But, anyways, the entire process of home buying was an educative and eye-opening experience. Initially, our knowledge base on the topic was limited to conversations with some friends who have been experts in this area, buying and selling their 2nd and 3rd homes. Nevertheless, the process seemed scary. You know there's a lot of paperwork involved, and a lot of vocabulary that might sound alien. It was like doing school work, the evenings, K and I spent reading the material our agent had given us and learning the meaning of terms like Adjustable Rate Mortgage(ARM), Amortization, Annual Percentage Rate(APR), Closing costs, Contingency, Delinquent, etc. The easy part was spending the weekend afternoons going for open houses and then after a while, you realize that the more you see, the more you get confused. Not only that, you know that the ones that are in a reasonable condition are the ones that will be sold in a jiffy with mutiple offers and the fixer-upper types also had their bidders.
While several friends of us kept telling us that the prices have gone down now, the scenario during mutiple offers brought a jolt of unexpected happenings. While nation-wide home prices have declined, the valley still seems to be going steady, not great, but flat. When a house has multiple offers, it just seems that people are frantic enough to escalate the value of the home and make sure that the price is highly inflated, atleast 15-25K more than the listing price.
Anyways, to cut a long story short, we finally found a house that we liked and more importantly got. The hard part comes afterwards, gettting the home loan approved, locking it down at a good interest rate and closing escrow.
Once all those processes are completed and you get the keys to the home, you can finally call yours, one may think that you can breathe easier. The moving in, followed by seeing the huge mortgage amount go every month from your paycheck, makes you wonder, if you made the right decision.
But, seeing that you can slam nails into your walls, hang how many ever pictures you want, paint them and decorate them as per your wish and basically having the freedom to do anything, makes you smile and say, "Maybe, this wasn't such a bad idea, after all."
More on the home series to follow..................................................................