Messy.

Let’s talk for a minute, shall we, about home ownership. Specifically, first-time home ownership. Even MORE specifically, YOUNG SINGLE WOMAN first time home ownership.

Because there aren’t too many people out there talking about that. Sure, they’ll mention housing statistics showing it’s a seller’s market, and there are plenty of HGTV shows about buying your first home together, but that’s the catch–it’s usually two people handling this massive project together, juggling the stress between the two of them.

Nonetheless, I had heard that home ownership was a difficult thing, that it was hard and wasn’t nearly as nice as you’d imagined. I simply brushed it off, deciding those people didn’t know me and that I would be different. had taken classes and seminars and read books and blogs and I had all my financial ducks in a row. I would be awesome at this.

I’m not.

It’s hard.

Sometimes it’s as nice as I’d imagined, especially when the rain is falling and I’m wrapped in a blanket on the back porch watching the ducks play in their pool. Or when I finish painting the guest bathroom that perfect shade of plum and I know installing the wood floors was totally worth it the pain of ripping up the 30 year-old tile. Those are the moments when I decide it is better to own than to rent.

But there are other times, times when it is much worse than I was prepared for, times when the bathroom pipes start leaking, the fridge goes out on me (TWO back to back!) and the A/C won’t turn on for six weeks and there are ants and roaches invading the house and some of the wiring is NOT connected to a power shutoff and just when I think I can’t do it anymore, the door to the garage falls off it’s hinges and I flipping lose it. All over my screen door. (This just means I lost my temper and ripped the screen door off its hinges and now it’s dented and I have to buy a new one of those too).

Those are the times I reevaluate my determination, try to figure out if I could just go back to living in a tiny apartment with two cats and no garden or clothesline or chickens or sewing room, if I could go back to Lamar traffic and no responsibility for the air filter and a utility bill that’s a third of what it is now. Those are the moments I realize doing this with a partner would make a lot more sense, when I see how much easier it is when you have someone with whom to share the stress of replacing the enormous air conditioning unit. I can see why so many people wait to be married before doing this. I start to wonder if my realtor would think I was crazy for selling the house five months after buying it.

Just to make this perfectly clear: home ownership is SO MUCH MESSIER than you think it’s going to be. Replacing baseboard and installing new floors and removing popcorn from the ceiling will show you the ugly, not-well-built side of your house. You will see how the walls are not straight, how buggies and spiders will still find a way between the walls, and you’ll shudder when you find a squished roach between the vanity and the wall (I’m still trying to figure that one out). Everything will break at once, and it’s never as simple as putting up a fresh coat of paint on the wall.

But you know what? Despite the overwhelming frustration and feelings of “I cannot possibly do this”….I am doing this. Daily. I turn on the fans, open the windows, and drink cool water–who needs A/C? I scour Craigslist and find an amazing deal on a fridge. The bugs…well I vacuum a lot and do my dishes every night and I set out ant bait. The chickens are taking care of the roach problem (If that were the only thing they did to pay for their food I would still keep them!) I work for hours every night until the bathroom is not broken and all my extra money is tied up in paint cans and baseboard, and I learn how to set a toilet seal and use a jig saw. I am being shaped, I am being molded, by this 35 year old house.

I will never again paint a room without buying three or four sample colors to walk past for a few weeks. I can install a light fixture all by myself, and I’ve learned the differences between a circular saw, jig saw compound miter saw, and table saw, as well as the necessity behind each. I now know to pull the sink off a vanity FIRST, and next time I’ll just buy a door new instead of trying to rehabilitate an old one. I have to remind myself that hardship is part of the adventure too. I tell myself that it will be a funny story in 6 months, and that part of living is getting your hands dirty, messing up the sheetrock texturing, and buying another two feet of baseboard because you didn’t measure right, even the third time.

I guess my “advice”, if you want to give this blog post a point, is to say: it really is as hard as everyone else promises. Things WILL go wrong and you WILL screw something up. You will run out of money and be uncomfortably hot and cracks will appear in your guest bedroom. Your houseguests will have to brush their teeth with water out of the shower tap, and roaches will find a way into the bathroom no matter how many drains you re-caulk. Make sure the reasons you want your own place will give you more satisfaction than the stress a house will give you, because both are bound to happen.

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An Overflowing Cup

There is so much I want to write about. So much to catch up on from the last few weeks of silence: completing the purchase of my first home (!!), navigating the first five weeks of intense New Girl training, a knee injury I was sure would be my downfall, and finally, surviving the first round of cuts in derby.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude, so incredibly thankful for the things that have happened in my life (Also, a bit stressed). I have worked, planned, saved, stretched, skated and sacrificed, all in the pursuit of two very different dreams. And when they BOTH became possibilities literally on the SAME DAY, I knew I was living under a blessed (rhymes with stressed) star.

As I’m not being too subtle about it, let’s just address the stress and have done with it. Since I have tried hard to maintain a chronicle of the different stages of both dreams, I don’t expect it is much of a surprise to hear that these past five or six weeks weren’t all rosebuds and rainbows. I don’t really want to relive the stress in detail, because then the journey becomes more negative than positive, but I do think it’s important to acknowledge its existence. I’m still trying to recover from the very real physical consequences of that much cortisol flooding my system for so long, and I’m trying hard to reestablish my workout and eating routines. I do not like chaos, and that seems to describe most aptly the last few weeks. I am a creature of order and routine: I have always been a person adverse to change.

BUT. I have been amazed, astounded really, at how a little hard work in your life can yield such fruitful results. I don’t know how or why I lived my whole life in such a state of laziness, because this whole “accomplishing things” kick I’m on is pretty damn awesome. While positivity can sometimes be impossible (especially in the face of a title company or a bench of evaluators), making sure I always did what needed to do was the key to surviving and mastering these challenges.

Because that’s what dreams are: challenges. They aren’t easy or for the faint of heart. There were so many hurdles, every day, that needed to be faced head on. Making the best eating choices. Choosing Pilates over thrifting. Getting together the W-2s and tax returns from the last 3 years. Facilitating a monetary gift. Making your dreams come true is something you have to do EVERY DAY. It wasn’t the one moment I signed my name (or rather, the eighty times I signed my name), and it wasn’t Monday night’s evaluation. It was every time I laced up my skates or did a squat pyramid. It was saying “no” to shopping sprees and “yes” to more money in the savings account. Our daily choices are what get us there. One step on a very long road is still progress.

This last weekend was very very full and while I felt overwhelmed at times, there was still a layer of gratitude blanketing it. Sure, packing up and moving is no one’s idea of fun, but I had so many people there to help me, people who love me and were only excited and proud of me. It didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought it would to get out of that tiny space, and the house I thought was smaller than I remembered turned out to be enormous compared to my tiny, apartment-sized furniture.

Leaving the apartment was a surreal moment. As everything finally went out the door, I turned around and felt like surely two whole years couldn’t have passed since I first walked into that place. I was not sad to leave it behind (who could be, moving to this fantastic house?) but I had lived a very good life in that apartment. My time there was sweet and full of nothing but good memories; memories I will carry with me for a long, long time. So saying goodbye was bittersweet.

Finally buying a house that satisfies so much of my wish list is only half the magic that is my life these days. Of course, what has dominated my blog since October? I don’t think i need to tell you how much derby has come to mean to me. It represents a side of myself I didn’t know was there: a bookworm who could become an athlete. I have worked hard and learned discipline and accomplished things

More than a few people have said “I remember when you saw the first bout, and now look at you!”. It makes me smile and I get a little mooshy inside when I think about how excited and inspired I was, seeing these amazing women. Now, I get to skate alongside them (practice only, really). And while I am not yet a league member, I am so much further than I ever thought I could be in such a short time.

We had our first round of cuts this past week, and I wasn’t really nervous about them until I was on my way to the warehouse. I think most of that was due to the fact that I had just spent the entire weekend moving, and my heart and mind were playing in my new house still. But once there, the nerves came back quick and fast. The first portion was identical to the tryout, and I didn’t do NEARLY as well as i would have wanted to.

i injured my knee two weeks ago, and don’t ask me how it happened–I woke up one morning and it was inflamed and painful. There was the constant feeling of needing to pop it. My chiropractor confirmed that the kneecap was out of place and was due to an over-developed quad muscle. Yes, my muscles are so hardcore that now they are PULLING MY BONES OUT OF PLACE. Well, let’s not be dramatic about it. (Even though that’s what’s happening). I had kinda slacked off on keeping all my other leg muscles strong as I kept skating, and it cost me quite a few points during my evaluation. I couldn’t do the falls right (or rather, the recoveries) because my knee didn’t want to hold my weight when I needed it to, so I looked like a girl who just fell down a lot. But luckily, I did well enough on the second part to survive the first round of eliminations. I know I didn’t look like a rockstar or anything, but I take comfort in the fact that my eval scores aren’t really indicative of my abilities–just an injured knee.

My friend Theresa and I began our Level 1 classes together last October, and I remember some of our conversations riding home about what we wanted derby to be in our lives, and what kind of timeline we were working with. She was ok with taking a year or so to really learn it, but I was determined to get in at my first tryout. Well, I wanted it badly, and was afraid it would just end up being another disappointment. It is incredible to me that eight months later, this crazy ride is still going and the thing I had hoped for most is the thing that is happening to me.

My tagline, “She turned her can’ts into “cans” and her dreams into plans” has never felt more appropriate in MY LIFE. A month or so ago I mentioned that I was overcome with happiness and satisfaction with myself because I had managed to accomplish something. Today that has never felt more true. Today i am bowed over with gratitude and pride and humbleness and determination and love; love for the life that is unfolding before me. Thank you for coming this far with me. I am so excited for what’s next.

Tips From A First-Time Homebuyer

DO

-Hire an agent you can talk to. Make sure you’re not afraid to communicate HONESTLY with them about your feelings about a house. It isn’t their house so their feelings won’t get hurt if you voice a complaint or concern. You are under no obligation to like a house just because they show it to you. After all, you’re the one paying the mortgage for 30 years, not them.

-Trust your gut. Your first instincts are usually the best. Research has shown (read Jonah Lehrer) how much our subconscious picks up on things before we’re ever aware—and you shouldn’t discount your first impressions. If you feel like you just couldn’t work with that layout, trust that eventually it’ll drive you nuts.

-Take your time through a house. Even after searching for 7 or 8 months, I would still forget major details of a house only a few hours later. Eventually I learned that it’s a great idea to walk through the house for first impressions, but then go back over and start paying attention to things that would affect my overall enjoyment of living there: Where were the entrances to the house? How tall were the ceilings? Were they popcorn ceilings? Was there a linen closet? A hall closet? Did all-tile floors really bother me that much (yes!) Were there windows in every room? Because you only get two chances to look at the house before you move in: the initial showing, then inspection. There are so many things I wanted to remember about the house that I couldn’t. This is where PICTURE-TAKING is so important. I wish I had done more of that.

-Drive around the neighborhood a bit to get a feeling for where you’ll be living. Are there lots of big dogs? How many cars does each house have? Are there lots of big security gates? How close to major roads is this house–will there traffic noise? I used Google Earth/Google maps a lot to “explore” each neighborhood before I’d go look at a place. It helped give me a feel for somewhere before I’d even get in the car.

-Understand what things are the most important to you—what will you ACTUALLY have a need for? For me, I knew I had to have a yard big enough for a garden and chickens, as I want to begin my journey into sustainable living options. I looked at several great houses with backyards that simply wouldn’t work. There is nothing like living in 400 square feet for two years to give you an idea of what it is you NEED versus what you WANT. For example: A large dining room would be nice, but the reality is that I don’t have too many people over, and rarely eat at the table. However, I DO like to leave my sewing machine out as I work on a project, but my cats love to play in the fabric, so a sewing room/second bedroom was a must. It is super important to understand & to be honest with yourself about what’s necessary and what isn’t.

-COMPLETELY understand the requirements of any loan you use. I made the mistake of skimming over the basics, and offered to pay closing costs because I thought they were covered in my bond program. Turns out they weren’t, and it almost became a deal-breaker. If I had understood exactly how I was going to finance this rodeo, I may have been a bit more cautious and willing to negotiate. Explore all your options with your lender, and don’t be afraid to ask him to work for you. Believe me, they’re getting paid for it.

-Be open to a house you didn’t expect. My house is only 1000 square feet, something I wouldn’t have considered looking at when I first started my house search, and yet it turned out to be the best decision: I don’t have to buy a ton of furniture for it, and it still feels enormous! Sometimes the homes that are the best fit are the ones we didn’t imagine. Don’t let a lack of granite countertops or a garden tub be a deal-breaker–instead, look at the overall structure: open plan vs several walls, galley kitchen vs open, exposed brick or smooth walls.

-Understand that there WILL be bumps in the road. Even on the day of closing, I still heard “There’s a problem.” It was a problem resolved easily enough (patience), but it was still stressful and frustrating. The key to managing this stress is to take it one day at a time. When I first put an offer on the house, I knew there would be several weeks of stress ahead, and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and obligation coming my way. By dealing with TODAY, and that day ONLY, I ended up saving my sanity, and getting the house, even when both felt impossible.

DON’T

-Try to talk yourself into liking a house. If you get bad juju from the house, it’s not going to go away. I backed out of several offers because I felt I should like the house, not that I actually did. This goes back to understanding what you want vs. what you need.

-Assume everyone else knows what is going on. Everyone is working for YOU; YOU are the ringleader. It is super important that you ask questions and keep on top of things. Don’t be afraid to check up on your lender—is he getting your stuff turned in on time? What does he need from you? What might cause problems down the road? Even if you think your realtor and lender are talking, it’s better to CC: them on everything. Who cares if they hear it twice? It keeps everyone in the loop and things are cleared up quicker.

-Accept the first thing you find. This means looking at more than one house, calling more than one insurance broker, getting pre-qualified letters from more than one lender. The likelihood of you finding the best deal with your first phone call is small, so don’t be afraid to say “No thank you”.

-Hold back on an offer. I put six or seven offers out there before I finally lucked out. I offer this advice with a caveat, because the market here in Austin underwent transition while I was looking. At first it was a buyer’s market: several good homes available, not too many buyers. Then with the new year it flipped and suddenly there were more buyers than homes. Each home I wanted to look at was usually under contract within a day or so of being posted, sometimes sooner. So if I liked something, I had to submit an offer right away.

-Be afraid to voice your concerns. If you feel something’s not right, you don’t trust someone, or there’s a nagging feeling that you can’t quite overcome, TRUST IT. Say something to someone, call out the BS. This is YOUR party, and YOU are paying for it, so make sure it’s everything YOU want.

The Last Sunday

I close on my house the day after tomorrow. The DAY. after. TOMORROW.

That seems so unreal, so impossible. How can this actually be happening?

Since Thursday evening I have been living in a (very stressful) state of high alert. There was an unexpected issue with my financing that, while resolvable, was enough to send me into “panic mode”. I spent Friday & Saturday taking care of it, and this entire weekend praying it is all worked out by closing time Tuesday.

But this is Sunday, and today, I can’t do anything about it. It is completely out of my hands and it is all up to the underwriter now. Besides, I don’t know if there are any potential homeowners out there who aren’t nervous a few days before closing (aside from the paid-with-cash weirdos). I can’t imagine anyone who enjoys this anticipation. I’m trying to remember that while simultaneously trying to forget all about this. Or maybe I’m just having difficulty finding the excitement under the anxiety.

So, I am trying to relax as much as possible on this last Sunday before I move–the last Sunday to not have any house projects to do, the last Sunday of a place that’s too-small to do anything. Sure, there are plenty of things to be packed, but then again, there are plenty of evenings this upcoming week to not only pack, but move. Today is about slowing down, icing my knee plenty, and enjoying this afternoon of pajamas, leftover Indian food, Adventure Time, and naps. I ate an entire pint of Bluebell Ice Cream and regret nothing.

Two Week’s Notice

No, I’m not quitting my job. I would have to be clinically insane to quit at this particular point in my life because a) best job of my life b) derby and c) I’M BUYING A HOUSE.

I have two weeks until my closing date (12 days if we’re being exact). As May 7th draws closer and I cross another day off my mental calendar, it becomes more and more real. This week, a former office mate dropped off an enormous load of boxes, complete with packing materials, for me to use to start packing. She has also just purchased a home, and was generous (or smart) enough to donate her empty boxes to me, saving me many hours of dumpster diving and scavenging. I stored them away in the shed at work, however, until things are a bit more…settled.

I could have taken them home, because lord knows I have plenty of stuff and I’ll feel rushed there at the end, but the thought of living in a sea of boxes is both overwhelming and nerve-wracking. But in all honesty, it’s really because I don’t want to start packing just yet. It seems silly, when it still doesn’t seem REAL. I know that conversely, packing would probably make it finally hit home, but I still can’t bring myself to start sorting things out. Of course I want it to be real–I am constantly daydreaming about having so much more space, with so many more opportunities. I have even begun to say “WHEN I move into my house” as opposed to “IF I move into this house”, which still feels a bit like a jinx but as I am trying my best to really embrace this time, I say it anyway.

It’s only that I have this fear that as soon as I start packing up, I’ll get a phone call that will effectively end any and all planning. Things haven’t passed all the way through the underwriter’s, I haven’t heard back from the appraisal guy, and my lender said everything still has to go through the bond program’s office, all in the next TWO weeks. So forgive me if I’m a bit hesitant–it seems as if this just isn’t going to work out (and there’s a pesky pessimist living inside me who just won’t shut up).

But.

That hasn’t stopped me from browsing Craigslist for a gently used sectional and guest bedroom furniture. I’ve started looking at the pet adoption websites to see who’s out there. I like to look at the Farm/Garden section of Craigslist to look at the chicks for sale, or to ponder if I should get a push mower or if I could justify a riding? (I’ll probably get a push, just because it’d be such a great workout). I’ve started actually reading the gardening & sustainable living books I’ve bought over the last few years, and my Pinterest is filling up with home maintenance tips, “how-to’s” on painting, crown moulding, and planting schedules. I gave my friends a virtual tour of the property, detailing some of my plans, and that made me feel the most vulnerable, similar to sharing my expectations & disappointments here in this space.

So with all this planning and tentative preparation, I’ve started to move forward, in my own way. All of these things aren’t permanent: they’re steps I can take that won’t adversely affect me if this doesn’t go through. It doesn’t hurt anyone to browse Craigslist, I haven’t committed to a dog, and Pins can always wait. The only pain comes from feeling like it’ll be for nothing, but I’m so ready for this I’m willing to chance it. And that’s the important thing, right?

Needing Vs. Getting

Anyone who says buying a home is easy is either a liar or very, very wealthy.

This has been one of the most stressful things I have EVER done in my life, including applying to college, college itself, pledging a sorority, deciding not to go to grad school (two weeks before it started), moving to a new city where I didn’t know anyone, moving out on my own for the first time, and even roller derby.

If you read my last post, it’s pretty obvious that I was not in the most positive frame of mind when I wrote it. Today I wanted to clarify something, since some people have seemed to get the wrong impression from that post. After two AMAZING New Girl practices this weekend, I realized that I didn’t really understand how much of my stress about the first two practices was actually stress from home-buying. It probably isn’t important to anyone but me, really, but it is my story to tell and this is an important part of it.

The week before I started New Girl, I found out from my lender that even with all the assistance programs I’m using to buy my house, I still needed to come up with $5000 extra. As in, in order to buy this house and not default on my contract (two very important things to me), I had to figure out a way to beg, steal, or borrow five grand. FIVE. GRAND. That is a small number in the grand scheme of things, but a grand number in the small scheme of MY things. That is money I DO NOT HAVE, hence the down payment assistance programs & first time homebuyer loans. I was so upset the evening I found out I laid awake most of the night, crying and scheming and going crazy. I spent that next week talking it over with very important people in my life, and still couldn’t come up with a solution that worked. I worried I’d have to end this ride before I’d even got on, but I didn’t want to throw in the towel just yet.

The best things in my life have come to me gently, floating into my current without invitation or manipulation. I am NOT saying hard work isn’t ever involved–I would point to derby as a perfect example. It very unexpectedly came to me at the perfect time in my life, when it was appropriate and best. I am such a firm believer in NOT forcing or ‘striving’ for something, because it has been proven to me over and over again that when the timing is right the thing you need will come to you. [Case in point: Jon is my first real relationship, and it is a healthy, successful, mature, loving one because I didn’t agonize over finding a boyfriend at that time in my life. He appeared when I was happy and loving to myself, when I was interested in discovering new things and learning more about myself. Our relationship came about easily & organically, and it continues because we adjust ourselves fluidly to the changes in our lives.]

But I am also learning, throughout this whole process, the difference between “forcing” something, and working hard for it. My old boss Lisa has really been an encouragement to me in positive thinking & working hard to achieve your dreams, and I have to say, she’s converted me. I believed I could get into New Girl even though six months ago I had difficulty staying upright on my new skates, and today I write this recovering from a late-night practice. Of course to get to this point took hard work & self-discipline, but it was about making the choice to go work out when I wanted to go home, or skating for another fifteen minutes, or waking up even earlier on Saturday mornings to get some alone time on the track. That’s the difference between forcing your life versus working hard. One is dangerous and the other is laziness, and wisdom is knowing the difference. When I found out about the extra money that was needed, I was afraid I had reached an obstacle that I couldn’t overcome, something that would necessitate “striving” and would ruin the beautiful thing that had come to me.

So there I was, so stressed about money and watching one dream slip through my fingers, trying desperately to save the other. I was sleep-deprived and hadn’t been eating very much, and everything seemed impossible–work, sleep, Primal eating, relationships, DERBY. I was in a sad sad place where I felt like crying at the drop of a hat. Luckily, I was able to recognize at the time that the reason everything seemed so dark and dreary and unconquerable was mostly because of this whole home-buying situation, but that didn’t make it any less miserable. To add the stress of an even more disciplined workout/lifestyle felt impossible, an insurmountable mountain.

I feel very blessed that these times in my life have been very brief, although they feel like a consuming eternity each time. Approximately a week after that initial heartbreak, I was able to work out a deal with a very generous person that will still allow me to purchase the house. The relief I felt was overwhelming, although it took a few hours for the stress to start seeping from my body.

When I thought about writing blog posts that would help other people through this first-time home-buying process, I envisioned each post looking much different than this. I thought maybe I’d tell you what forms were important to have on file, let you know what & when your lender will tell you or need from you. I wanted to give out useful information to other people like me–young adults who think they want it but aren’t sure how to get it. But it is being revealed to me with each lesson, each life event, that I am such a creature of sensuality & emotion that the emotions and feelings of an experience overwhelm the logistics of it. I am not saying this is right OR wrong, simply that this is how I experience the world, ergo my writing can only reflect that.

This evening finds me exceedingly grateful, as I am still on the path to home ownership (so soon!) and I am thoroughly enjoying New Girl training. Each day brings its own challenges, physically, emotionally, and financially, but am I also learning how to handle those challenges: one day at a time. Each day has it’s own trouble, and it doesn’t make sense to worry about what might happen tomorrow when I can only do something about what’s happening TODAY. I am being pushed further than I ever expected but I am actually growing as well, and that is as astonishing as anything in my life.

What It Feels Like To Pass Inspection.

Finally. I FINALLY get to write this post.

I have been looking for a house since last July. That is a long time, especially as the months passed and I had to write a rent check every 1st. It’s like second-job syndrome–you know you’ll be gone from that job soon so everything that irritated you before just inflames you now, and the last two weeks are agony. That’s how it’s gone in this space. I have loved living here, and this small apartment was great for learning money and space management, but I am so ready for more.

When I first started looking, the market was good, if you were a buyer. Low interest rates combined with autumn (which is not house-buying season) gave me plenty of homes to choose from and time to look at them all. However, in the last three months Austin has undergone a remarkable shift and homes barely stay on the market twenty-four hours! If you see it on Zillow it’s too late–someone already has a contract on it. I am not exaggerating or making this up: there aren’t enough homes for sale and too many interested buyers (or investors) preparing for the incredible influx of people moving to our area.

This inventory issue has created a very cutthroat market, one which makes even shopping around for a home disheartening. Because so many people are looking at houses, homes which would normally have been glanced over are being bought for way over normal market values–driving up prices on all the houses on the market. Thankfully, my budget’s increased significantly since I started looking, or I would never have been able to find a decent home.

The home I’m trying to buy is in an area I didn’t really consider looking at. I wanted to find something up north, nearer to the derby warehouse. I considered Pflugerville and Manor, but everything was either snatched up or not in livable conditions. When I saw this house on the MLS, I loved the backyard, even if it was a little smaller and further south than I wanted.

Entering the home, I could tell immediately that whoever had lived there took really great care of it. It was clean and welcoming, and I think maybe they had cooked bacon within the last hour because the house smelled awesome. Seriously, if you’re going to sell your home, cook bacon. It’s SUPER appetizing.

I knew there were multiple offers on the table but the seller hadn’t considered any of them yet, so I had a few hours to get mine in. I offered $10k over the asking price because yes, the market does justify that sort of offer now, which is just ridiculous. But I loved the backyard, the rosebushes, the pecan trees, the two full baths, and the brand-spanking-new carpet and paint. And after reconsidering, I decided that it being smaller worked in it’s favor: since I don’t have a lot of furniture in this tiny apartment, more money would have been spent towards furnishing a large home. Plus there’s the long-term costs of heating & cooling a large home, costs I don’t want to handle on top of a new mortgage.

So after finally managing to get a home under contract, I knew what the next step would be, the step that has failed me twice before, as noted in previous posts, (here and here). I called my usual guy, but he was booked solid that week, and I absolutely needed it because my option period was only seven days long. Luckily my agent knew a back-up inspector, and he turned out to be just what I needed. I like to go off of recommendations, as just randomly picking someone off the internet can be such a disaster. If you need an inspector anytime soon, let me know and I’ll give you the hookup.

I arrived at the house about an hour before Jared would finish, which gave me plenty of time to measure the spaces I want to put a sofa, a countertop, dining furniture, and beds. I considered wall colors, compost piles, and rosebushes. When he was all finished we went over the report, and he was able to answer any question I had easily, as well as give me way more feedback than I thought I would get on a home. I discussed the feasibility of some projects and he provided some really good advice, which was nice to have a professional opinion.

It was so gratifying to enter a home with an inspector, and hear the words “foundation’s in great shape”. The only things he had to say about the house were minor things that can be corrected easily while I move in. It was such a pleasant feeling, to not be gripped by the fear of windows, floors, roofs, walls, foundations being rotten. Like I said, a house that felt well-cared for and solid.

I left the house that day feeling confident in the choice I’d made. When you look at a house for the first time, there are plenty of things you don’t notice: what kind of sink and tile is in the kitchen, what the faucets look like in the bathrooms, how many locks on the front door, etc. Going back over with more time and the house to myself let me plan a bit more, see the house as my version of home.

It was a good day.