We had been searching for what seemed like an eternity (but in reality had been less than 2 months) for a house in Midland that met our needs: cheap enough for our savings to cover the down payment and closing costs, nice enough for us to move in ASAP, and in a fairly nice neighborhood with good schools.
Finding that in Midland, Texas -- in the middle of an oil boom -- seemed like an impossible task. If you don't know about the housing market in Midland/Odessa, let me give you a few facts.
1. Midland/Odessa was ranked in Forbes online (click for article) as the #1 & #2 small cities in the US to find jobs easily.
2. Median home price had gone up 12.75% in the last three years. Compare that to the rest of the nation where home values continue to drop.
3. Average days on the market for home sales: 48. Yeah, that's right. FORTY-EIGHT DAYS! Less than two stinking months! In DFW, the average is double that. When you find a house in Midland that you like and seems to be a good deal, you better pray your realtor can get you a showing in the next 24 hours because, otherwise, it's gonna be a goner.
4. A 1300 sq ft house, 50+ years old in a crappy neighborhood with no garage, can go for at least $110 grand. Sometimes more like $120-130 grand if they've updated the floors or kitchen. Put that same house anywhere in DFW, and you are lucky to get $80 grand for it.
5. There are very few homes for sale.
6. You are looking at at least $8 grand in cash to have on hand for closing/down payment costs. So if you can't afford that and need to find a rental property.
A) there are no homes to rent under $2000/month
B) Occupancy rates of apartment complexes are 98-100%. Yep. I said 98-100%!!!!!
C) Waiting lists for apartments can be up to two years long. Cheapest, smallest one-bedroom apartment in town costs over a thousand/month. But remember, that's if you can find one.
All my numbers for #2-6 came from here.
So yeah, it seemed like a daunting task.
We decided to try and find a cheap fixer upper. So far, every house that Jay had seen with the realtor had MAJOR structural or electric problems.
We finally found one that we both agreed we liked. It was a huge property (1700 sq ft on an acre of land). But it had lots of problems (no ceiling in the second living room, no stove or dishwasher, old flooring, etc). But it was "livable" and it was cheap enough that we could afford to make a few quick repairs. But, it was also in an industrial neighborhood with no neighbors (unless you count the tractor trailers that parked in our grass. Literally.). The road to the house also was unpaved. After viewing it with the realtor, Jay wanted to wait until his Dad could see it. But that wasn't for a couple weeks.
The house sold within one week.
I was more than just a little miffed.
But the Lord was working on it.
On Thursday, May 24th, I saw a house go up on realtor.com that was way too good to be true. It was in a nice neighborhood in north Midland (where there were currently only a handful of homes for sale and all of them for well over $200 grand). It had brand new laminate and tile flooring. No carpet (I was head over heels in love with that). Totally remodeled kitchen with brand new cabinets and appliances. One and 3/4ths baths. The list of goodies went on and on. And, get this. It was listed at $98 grand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Of course it was. And I knew there was no way on God's green earth we would get it because Jay would not be going back to Midland until Monday. There was no way in Hades that house would not be gone by then. We called our realtor and she set up a viewing for Tuesday (Monday was Memorial Day so that was a no go) at 5:30pm. On Tuesday morning Jay texted me at work to say our realtor told him the house was still available but was already in "processing" or something with another buyer. Fortunately, our realtor was BFFs w/the listing agent for the house and got the buying process stalled long enough for us to get our offer in. She also got us in to see the house an hour earlier so that if we needed to put in an offer we could do it before close of business that day.
Jay saw it, adored it, called me, and with our realtor, agreed on what we would offer. She called the listing agent and they accepted. But it didn't end there. The other buyer made an additional offer, but because our realtor was BFFs with the listing agent, we got another crack at it and outbid them. In the meantime, we were emailing paperwork and contracts etc back forth and handing over money that way we could get a contract done that night to seal the deal.
And guess what?
IT WORKED! WE GOT THE HOUSE!
View From the Street
As You Walk Up
Back Porch (BIG plans for this huge space and super large backyard!)
More of the Backyard