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She Did It! Sarah Bought the House!

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Sarah Buys a House chronicles Sarah DeGiorgis' journey along the road to becoming a property owner in West Philadelphia.

Last time we left off, I was trying to figure out how much I wanted to lower my offer after the inspection revealed the house needed a new roof and furnace, among other things. I thought about the house: It was a nice house with big, open rooms and a great backyard that faced south for my vegetables. But it was only worth so much and needed work put in right away.

So I took the inspector’s high estimate, around $15,000, and subtracted that from the original agreed-upon price. I tried to make clear that I wasn’t just trying to get the most money off but that there were some things left out of the inspection report: the electric was left off because it was functioning and I could technically move in with it. But lots of places won’t insure a home with knob and tube at all so it would need to be replaced, uh, soon.

Of course, $15,000 wouldn't cover all the repairs (it’d be awesome if it did, though) but it did drop the price enough so that it was lower than what most other houses had sold for in the area recently. Also it would reduce the closing costs enough that I could afford them on my own and use the entire loan I got from Penn towards repairs.

So I submitted my lower offer, and waited for the seller to agree, counteroffer, or refuse. If they refused to drop the price I’d have to terminate so I prepared myself for that—by now I probably don’t have to tell you I’m one of those people who always prepares for the worst. But! They countered with an offer that wasn’t ridiculously high. I think by this point they were excited about selling the house and, well, I was excited about buying it. But I had a number in mind and I told myself that I wouldn’t go over it. I gave that number (just $1,000 more than my previous offer) as my final offer—either they take it or I terminate.

I don’t know if it was me finally finding a number and sticking to it or the seller just getting fed up and wanting this thing off their hands but somehow they agreed to my final offer! What?! The range of emotions actually went something like this: from shock (oh my god, I got it!) to excitement (I have a house!) to straight fear (oh my god, now I have a house and a mortgage and a whole lot of debt and responsibility!). But that’s what I wanted, and after I told my boyfriend the news, we decided it could be made very pretty and was a great space with a big yard and a front porch in a good neighborhood. Soon the fear was turning back into excitement as I thought about fun things like paint colors and garden planning and finding weird cheap furniture at flea markets. But, of course, the process is far from over. We still have closing to deal with...
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