1.) Find realtor
2.) Tour 103 houses in a matter of 13 days
3.) Select home you like; write offer
4.) Make sure your home printer doesn't work, therefore guaranteeing you multiple trips to your husband's office in order to print documents. Then proceed to transport said documents to the realtor's office (i.e. the Other Side of Town) during your child's naptime. Do this as many times during the week as possible, especially during rush hour. This will yield you a fussy kid along with a mild case of road rage.
5.) Get your offer accepted. Hooray! The rest is smooth sailing, right?
6.) During your 10-day due diligence period, have the house inspected by a professional home inspector. Try to schedule him at a time when your child is not napping, thereby guaranteeing your nap-striking child will, in fact, be sleeping during this time. You will miss the entire home inspection (including the part where water drips from the kitchen ceiling whenever you turn the master bath shower on) and have to rely on your detail-shy husband to give you all of the information. Proceed to bang your head against a wall multiple times.
7.) Pay for an appraisal. Freak out when it comes back too low. Pray your realtor can negotiate with the seller's agent to bring the price down, or you will have to start all over.
8.) Celebrate when your realtor successfully barters the price of the home down.
9.) Now, let's move on to financing. Find a lender with a weird name who talks like a muppet and says 'cal-COO-late' instead of 'cal-Q-late.' Giggle with your husband every time he says 'calculate' this way. Be sure to drag your fussy child to your first lending appointment so the baby can scream during the entire meeting and you are required to change the baby's diaper on an empty desk on the other side of the office. Smile when other employees give you dirty looks. Place dirty diaper in open garbage can in passive-aggressive manner.
10.) Now that you have your financing secure, back to the house. When the seller's contractor does the least amount of repair work possible, report him to the contractor's board. This is only after your husband spills an entire 32oz. soda on the carpet of the stairs of the new house right before you are scheduled to meet with the contractor. You will again miss the entire meeting since you are going to have to race off to Walgreen's to buy paper towels and carpet cleaner and then spend the next 40 minutes scrubbing diet Pepsi out of the rug. Did I mention the carpet is beige? And you don't really own the house yet?
11.) Close on the house! Sign all of the papers. Wire the down payment into escrow.
12.) Wait for the keys.
13.) Wait for the keys...
14.) Still waiting...
15.) Keys? Anyone?
16.) Hello? Is this thing on?
17.) Discover there are still outstanding liens on the property the seller has not yet paid off.
18.) In the time the seller pays off the liens, make sure your financing falls through. Since you had originally agreed with your lender that the lender will pay mortgage insurance, they now have decided they do not want to do this, despite the fact that you have already closed.
19.) Talk with realtor regarding the definition of 'closing.' Apparently, closing isn't what it used to be. One can close but not record, which isn't really closing. It's just signing. Cry. A lot.
20.) Begin multiple conversations with muppet-talking lender. Look into FHA loans. Look into new conventional loans. Look into possibly egging lender's home since he screwed this up.
21.) Ask realtor to beg seller's agent to please extend escrow and waive per diem ($100/day that you do not close by *this* date).
22.) Bang head against wall when realtor confesses the entire problem to seller's agent. So much for 'poker face.'
23.) Question why you now have to produce yet another 300 copies of documents you had already submitted to your lender. Justify, in writing, every single deposit made to your bank account. Find old bank statements. Dig up pay stubs. Give yourself a big pat on the back for your sound filing system (i.e the famous 'pile it in the garage' method).
24.) Secure home insurance. Again.
25.) Lose sleep at night when the extension for escrow runs out (again) and this time, the seller's agent does not agree to waive the per diem.
26.) Cry when your realtor tells you she is going on vacation for a week. As in, next week.
27.) Curse when you find out your lender is now on vacation (the week after your realtor's vacation) via his lackey assistant. The assistant who looks like he's about 22 years old and uses a gmail account for his work email.
28.) Ponder if you are ever going to really close on this house, or if you have simply made your life more complicated (and expensive) by trying to buy a house in the worst housing market in decades.
29.) Consider taking an anti-depressant.
30.) Consider shelving this whole mess and moving the entire family to Europe. After all, 'House Hunters International' is your new favorite program and you could easily secure a little French apartment for a mere 600 Euros. Tre bien!
31.) Pay for a second appraisal on the home, per the advice of your lender.
32.) Work out three different financing scenarios, all of which require you to pay more per month, re-finance next year (based on the house appreciating in value and rates staying stable), and pay mortgage insurance. Um, no thank you.
33.) Find out your original financing is, in fact, secure, and the last 32 days were simply an exercise in patience and futility. Celebrate mildly. Because at this point, you don't trust anyone or anything.
34.) At 3:30pm, get the word that you are closing at 4:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. Wait, what?
35.) Delay closing until the next morning since no one in their right mind can actually make the appointment at 4:00pm.
36.) Go back to the title company, ensue evil looks by the manager (because she had been dressed down by your realtor for not getting the paperwork together fast enough), and sit through yet another meeting where people use words like 'APR,' 'clean title,' 'HUD-1,' and other nonense. Try not to fall asleep; after all, you've been up since 3am with stomach pains and mild nausea. Illness or just the housing market? Not sure.
37.) Close. Again.
38.) Wait for the keys.
39.) Still waiting...
To be continued...