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A good time to buy a home
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How has the housing market affected you?

Here in the Life department, three different staffers have three very different issues.

Have some experiences you'd like to share? Call editor Kristen Morales at 770-718-3427 or e-mail

With record-low interest rates, an $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers and a market full of well-priced foreclosed homes, my husband and I are poised to get the best deal out of this wacky housing market.

But it hasn’t been all fun and games. Buying a house is hard.

I knew there would be aspects of the process that wouldn’t be fun, but I didn’t know buying a house would be the most stressful thing I’ve ever done in my life — by far.

We began searching for homes in February after a supposed deal on a home offered to us by a friend turned out to not be such a great deal.

It’s hard to know who to trust in making such a big decision. We’re first time home buyers. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’ve never done this before.

First, we found the perfect house only to learn there was a contract on it. Then we waited for what seemed like months (it was probably just one) before there was anything new to look at in the area.

I found a house I liked by searching online listings, but not wanting to waste time looking at just one, I waited for a few more new listings. Then that house went under contract. There weren’t many houses on the market, but the good ones went fast.

Then a week or two later the house was listed again. This time we jumped.

We saw the house, loved it and made an aggressive offer reasoning that there could be other offers on the house.

There was, in fact, another offer on the house, but finally after much anxiety we learned the seller, a bank, had accepted our offer.

If only that was the end of the story.

The house is being sold as-is, typical for a foreclosure, I believe, so the home inspection was crucial. The house also didn’t come with a termite bond, so we got a termite inspection. The house is on well water so we got that tested. There’s a lot of unknowns with a foreclosure.

The house seemed to be in good shape, though, so we moved ahead.

Our finances are in order, and we have what we feel is a sizable down payment. But buying a house takes a lot of time, or at least buying a foreclosure does.

After the appraisal was done — valued $20,000 less than what it was in 2008, by the way, but more than what we were planning to pay — we thought we were in the home stretch.

The seller had pushed back the closing date once already, saying they could not be ready that quickly.

Then our mortgage consultant gave us a date a couple of weeks later. Then he said he didn’t remember telling us that date. Apparently he got confused.

Then he set another date for the next week. Then he said the underwriters didn’t have enough time to get the documents to the attorneys so we may have to push it back a day. Then, the day before closing, he said the attorneys office needs three days with the file and scheduled closing for Monday.

Then we found out that lenders double check everything on on a certain percentage of files. And of course, we are the lucky ones. They are getting another appraisal now, just to be sure.

We may close this week.

Maybe this is normal, I don’t know. Maybe this is because it’s a foreclosure and there’s just a lot more paperwork than normal. Maybe they’re really busy dealing with this glut of foreclosures.

At the end of the day —hopefully a day this week — I think we’ll get a great deal.

We’ll be able to paint the walls, plant a vegetable garden, stop throwing money away in rent payments and, finally, own our own home.

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