I feel bad.
We're so sick of house hunting and it's made our friends and family sick of it too. It's become the daunting question that no one wants to ask, like a big elephant in the room. "oh hey guys, errr...have a place to live yet?"

So, you may be thinking..."what the heck is taking so darn long. You did move to Michigan, right?!! Isn't it, like, super cheap there!? Aren't you by Detroit? Aren't they giving away houses there?!!"

1. Don't diss Detroit, I love it.
2. Michigan is on the up and up, just a side note to give the mitten some love.


So let me give you a picture of what we're working with:


1. You want what, for WHAT?!
Obviously, A2 is a college town of a top university, so the real estate market is completely different than the rest of the state. This is great for resale, but difficult for purchasing. We quickly discovered that anything that could be say, $150,000 in our hometowns, would be at least 20% more in Ann Arbor. At first, there wasn't a huge sticker shock considering we lived in A2 for undergrad, and knew the market was more expensive. Also, Charlottesville was pretty inflated because of the university presence.
Here's the kicker: The market is continuing to improve, to the point where houses that were listed in Spring, are now listed for at least 10% higher. We've seen over 80 houses, and I haven't walked into one yet that I (or our realtor) felt was fairly priced. Finding the balance between the purchase price, the updates involved and return is difficult. The majority of time, we would never get our money back if we updated a thing = bad investment.
On top of that, there is so little inventory on the market in the summer months, it continues to push the prices up.


2. How many offers?!
I'll be honest with you.
We've put offers on three houses. THREE. The first house, we were $16,000 over the asking price and still didn't get it. The second sold for $10,000 over the listed price.
You can imagine the frustration and roller coaster of excitement and disappointment involved. (Also some tears.)


3. SPACE!
The next issue (which I'll talk about more in another post), is space. B R E A T H I N G  ROOM!
There is something really fun about the thought of riding my bike to the grocery store, parking on the street and having charming curb appeal; the typical hipster Ann Arbor wife. In reality, we'd suffocate. I may be a curious person, but I don't want to look in my neighbors windows all day long.
Ann Arbor has some GREAT neighbors, full of charm, mature trees and space. Then you have other areas where the houses are so close they may as well be stacked on top of one another. No personal space to relax or area to have a bonfire in the backyard. Then, there are some areas in the in-between. We've felt a pull in each direction! Well, at least I have. Kyle has hyperventilated in at least two neighborhoods before he even saw the house.


4. The Difference of Value.
Kyle values land. Plain and simple. He wants to be able to walk out of his backdoor and hunt his land. I'm not so much on that spectrum, but I would ideally love a big backyard. The majority of buyers in A2 desire location (duh!), not land. So value is obviously placed on location to downtown and the University. The price that reflects the location is hard for my woodsman to swallow. When you personally don't value something as high as the market does, it's more difficult to spend you hard earned money on it.



5. We like your house, can we buy it?!
I'd LOVE your opinion on this. Considering there isn't one home on the market in the neighborhoods we'd like to be in (and if there is a home, it's way out of our price range), our realtor suggested writing a letter to the owners of the houses we love. Essentially, asking if they'd consider selling it to us.
Supposedly, one of Kyle's colleagues had this happen and they sold their house to the people interested! I can't decide if it's desperate, strange, stalker-ish or a compliment.
Any thoughts?!





At the end of the day, we know that no matter what house we are in, it's not the structure that makes it  our home. I'll talk about this more (maybe this week), but this has also been an incredible time for the Lord to teach us what we value and where our possessions lie. As crazy as it's been, and as much as I hate having boxes in every room, I somehow find myself being more thankful for each little thing that makes life so full, no matter where our heads lie at night.





11 Comments

  1. Hello! I just came over here from the Medical Monday's Blog Hop to discover you're also in Ann Arbor :) Me too. My husband is in his second year of residency (pediatrics). We didn't buy a house though, we're renting one. Renting is so expensive though. I would love to buy, but probably in Plymouth or Northville rather than Ann Arbor. Have you looked at all there or are you pretty set on A2?

    It's cool that you've already met some other resident wives! I'm the only resident wife from my husband's class. There was only a few guys in peds in general & none of the rest of them were married. How's intern year treating you thus-far?

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    1. HI! That's so great that you are in A2 as well!
      If you ever want to hang out with other wives, we'd love to have you join :) We try to get together once a week. It's so nice to have people who are able to relate to all the changes.

      We haven't looked too far out of Ann Arbor, except for a few in Dexter. Renting is super expensive here, it's more than our mortgage would be :(

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    2. I would love to hang out. Shoot me an email :)

      I know, renting is soo expensive. It is cheaper (on a month to month basis) to buy. How long is your husband's residency? My hubby's is 3... then we'll have to do another match for fellowship. We weren't sure it'd be worth it for 3 years, plus then we could be having to sell it fast to move. So we're stuck renting :( I REALLY want to move to Plymouth or Northville. If you've never been there you should check them out. My favorite towns in the area by far.

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  2. Do it... Send the letter. You never know. If you don't like the house you don't have to buy it. :)

    Good luck!

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  3. A friend of mine tried this in the Dearborn area. She did get some people to respond, but didn't get one--priced too high. I don't think it will hurt, but I'm guessing if the owner doesn't have the home on the market, then they aren't going to sell it for market value. More like you need to give them an offer they can't refuse. Good luck, God bless!

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    1. I was afraid of that too, the owners going way too high because they have nothing to lose. Can't blame them right ...
      thanks for the advice :)

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  4. I would def send a letter. Our house isn't on the market, but we're thinking of selling in the next 3-5 years. If a letter showed that someone was interested now and hte price was right, we'd totally sell now!

    Also, did I miss why you HAVE to buy? I understand wanting to be homeowners. I just wonder if you've considered finding a longer-term rental. Especially if you can't find a house you love for the right price. Just curious!

    -Kelly

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    1. Hi Kelly!

      We are actually already homeowners in the city that my husband went to med school in...so the "honeymoon" stage of that is long gone ;). However, Ann Arbor is SO expensive to rent in, that investing in a house is a much wiser long term financial decision. That's pretty much the reason. Also, we are here for minimum 5 years and plan to start a family sometime in that time range...so having more space would be great :)
      I'd be great to find a reasonable long-term rental here, but they are so overpriced.

      Thanks for the insight about your house situation...we are going to send a letter :)

      -Meredith

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  5. Hey Meredith! David and I are currently going through this same struggle in Southern California. It's so frustrating that I just want to give up, but I know God has a place for us (and you guys too) that just hasn't come up yet. It's tough waiting, but that's all we can do for the moment. Here's praying God brings something soon for you!

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    1. Hey Jackie! You're right, it's so tough playing the waiting game. Thank you for the prayers!
      So exciting for you and David too...I hope you find something that is perfect for your family. I'd love to hear when you do :)!!

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