Since this blog is primarily about having a family of our own, I don't see why I shouldn't mention our home and house hunting stuff here as well, as a house can be a home and a home is where you and your family are.
Hubby and I have been hoping to move into a house for well over a year now.
We currently live in a decent sized 1 bedroom apartment in a pretty decent neighborhood with a great walking/bike path just around the corner from us. Compared to the 1 bedroom apartments I knew of down at college, our place is actually a pretty nice size - we have a full size bathroom, a galley kitchen with a nice big eating area and a huge living/family room; there's multiple closets, including a nice sized walk-in closet in the bedroom, which is also a pretty nice size! We casually joked how if we needed to, we could move the clothes out of the closet and put them elsewhere and turn the walk-in into a nursery if we had to!
Anyways, as I mentioned in the past, we had a plan - we'd get married, hubby would finish his Associates up that semester and then get promoted to full-time at UPS soon after. Then we'd get a house and start trying to have kids. Unfortunately the plans we make for ourselves don't always work out.
The week we were on our honeymoon in Vegas I remember turning on the TV one day while getting ready and they were talking about the stock market crashing and the housing industry crashing - the economy seemed to be going to hell rather quickly!
Since this post could get a bit lengthy, with me bringing you up to date, I'll insert a cut here so it doesn't take up the entire page on my blog!
In the time to follow, UPS made some major cutbacks and layoffs themselves, as well as a hiring and promotion freeze - in order to get promoted to full-time, a full-timer needs to leave or get moved up and with things being how they were, no one in their right mind was leaving so there honestly hasn't been any full-time positions open for hubby to move up to and knowing that no one is getting promoted to full-time soon, they just haven't finished training anyone (hubby only has his driving/ride along training left to do, as all full-time supes need to know how to work the trucks in case the union ever goes on strike).
Obviously, this has been a pain for us, financially. It also didn't help that after 11 months at my new job (which paid the same as my awesome old job but was half the work and didn't require me to drive over 30 miles one way) my hours and pay got cut in half. I tried finding a 2nd job, but aside from working seasonal last winter, I just didn't have any luck as there's so much unemployment here right now (it ranked #14 on Forbes' Worst Cities to Live In list this year, mainly because our unemployment rate is so high). I tried Mary Kay for about 6-8 months, and while I enjoyed it, I felt like I wasn't really making money but just putting most of what I made back into the company so I decided to get out of it. Hubby was fortunate to get a part-time job for a Verizon retailer that sorta turned into a full-time job and now as a store manager, he makes more than enough there to cover the income I lost when my hours and pay got cut in half. The owner there would like to have him work more and make it so he can quit UPS, however there's no way they'd offer him enough for us to even consider it, as hubby makes more a month at UPS as part-time than he does for this Verizon retailer full-time, plus UPS gives us benefits including medical.
Anyways, before my hours and pay got cut in half, we were talking about getting into the house hunt, as they had that $8k tax credit for first time homeowners going on, however any money we had in savings that would go towards a down payment got depleted to help pay bills in the months after my hour/pay cut, so we kinda gave up on it at the time... until my dad learned about the tax credit and told my mom he wanted to help us out with a down payment so we could take advantage of the tax credit. They said they'd loan us the money for a decent down payment on a home and any additional costs we might need in order to get a house (ie: help with closing costs, etc) until hubby goes full-time at UPS and we can start paying them back over time.
Sounded good to us, so last fall we met with a realtor from church who is good friends with my parents and helped them sell my grandma's house months before. He showed us around to a few houses we found online (one of the 3 was decent, the others were total dumps on the inside), but then told us he'd prefer if we could get pre-approved for a home loan before we looked anymore so he knew exactly what our price range was and said that once we were pre-approved it makes the rest of the process go a little smoother than finding a house, falling in love with it and then trying to get the approval after.
So we went to the recommended bank (it had the best rates out of the list of ones he strongly recommended for us) and tried to get pre-approved for a home loan.
Turns out, hubby had some old, old debt from years ago that he had forgotten about and didn't know was bringing his credit down. Also, we had been the victims in a car accident 7 months prior (guy ran a red light as we were 3/4 of the way through the intersection) and we were told we had GAP insurance on the car that was totaled which would cover the remainder on the loan and the loan company told us not to worry about it, they would take care of it with the insurance company and to consider that loan closed. Well... seems they didn't take care of it, as it showed we had an outstanding balance of nearly $7k! We called and after doing some work of our own we were able to get it finally cleared off, however the holidays were right around the corner and they said the things we paid off could take nearly 60 days to clear so we figured we'd come back and try again after the first of the year - the tax credit had been extended to the end of April, so we still had plenty of time.
Well, we go back in early February I believe and we couldn't find the card of the lady we met with previously, nor could we remember her name, so we met with whoever they set us up with at the same bank. While hubby's score did go up a good bit, it still wasn't high enough, despite clearing up a few major things (a car he had co-signed for had been paid off and cleared which helped too). Also for some reason, the Mary Kay Chase Visa card I opened to get my initial inventory was somehow affecting hubby despite him never signing anything or giving them his social security number... strange! There was also some "newer" stuff on there too, which I was afraid might show up this time around (mainly the great cell phone mess from the previous Spring). The guy we spoke to suggested I get hubby off that card if I could, and then he suggested that we ask my parents to pay off all our remaining debt (including our car loans) and give us a lesser down payment in return. I was a bit appalled by that, to be honest - they offered us the down payment, not to pay off our debts, and while I know they might consider it, I don't feel right or comfortable asking them to do that.
Frustrated again, we figured we'd get our stuff in order, clear up what we could and try again in the summer, although we ended up taking out a small loan to pay our taxes this year and wanted to get that paid off before we went back in, so we didn't end up going in for our 3rd try until just a few weeks ago.
And his score is like 16 points away from being where it needs to be. Grrrrrr
We met with the lady we originally met with the first time (I refuse to go back to the guy we met with and the lady was much more friendly and helpful). For some reason, despite me calling Chase last spring and them assuring me hubby's name was off my MK Visa, it's still showing up in his name. Fortunately though, it's been long enough and we've paid enough of it down that it's actually helping his credit, as he previously had no revolving credit. The bank lady tried to use her credit simulator to figure out what we could do to bump it up, however in the simulator it showed that Visa having a $1300 balance, when in actuality it has a $300-something balance. She put in a balance of $200 to see what that would do, and it put it his score over more than enough to get the loan, but wasn't sure what was going on, as the credit report was saying otherwise. Her "credit guru" girl had left promptly at 5pm that night, so she was going to go over it with her in the morning and call us back the next day to let us know what was going on and where we go from there... however we never heard back from her! And we called and left messages too and she hasn't returned them... I'm so confused!
Regardless, hubby paid off the last thing he could that was affecting his credit and we paid my MK Visa down to under $250 (she told us not to pay it off completely yet, as it hadn't quite been a year yet and having a little bit of a balance was actually helping both our scores). Both seem to be reporting to the credit bureau monthly so hopefully as soon as they both report for October things should be good to go - we're hoping to go back one last time in the very beginning of November.
Ideally, I would like to find something quick and be able to get the process going by Thanksgiving and hopefully move in by Christmas (or as I'd prefer, before it starts snowing like crazy around here) so we'll have at least a month or 2 before Jay gets here to get things set up and I can do his nursery the way I'd like to.
If we have to, I suppose we can wait til early Spring, as Jay'll be in a bassinet for the first few months, but still... I'd rather have a house as there'll be much more room for him to play around with his toys and stuff.