Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There’s No Place Like Home

image I’ve been debating back and forth on when the best time to reveal my big news would be. Finally I decided waiting is best kept for Christmas and the doctor’s office and I’m tired of not talking about it.
imageAs some of you may already know, my fella and I have been on a treacherous hunt for a house over the past few months… 4 to be exact! (You can read about our many trials and tribulations during the process of our ‘first-time home buyer’ adventures here) Well, the days of grumbling and groaning while we traipse through other people’s homes is over! We have officially purchased a genuine bon-a-fide home of our own. What’s funny is the post I shared about our crummy experiences house hunting was published exactly one month before: A. We closed on our home that we love and B. My birthday!
This has all been an intriguing time of lessons for me in a number of ways and I feel the need to share what these said lessons are:
image #1: Quit complaining! We are so fortunate to even be in a position to consider buying a home. My fella is fresh out of University and hasn’t even been working a year when there’s millions of other people that don’t have the same blessing to own a home their whole lives. Of course, it wasn’t handed to us; we worked our rear ends off sacrificing and saving to do this all on our own but that’s one small factor in a much greater big picture. On top of getting our first home we also get to fill it with love and laughter and friends and family, so gratitude is certainly in order here and in all tough times to come. 
image #2: I learned a good deal about perspective. Throughout the gruelling process- that I had originally entered into with high hopes and bright eyes- I’ve come out the other side with the knowledge that what is suppose to happen will happen and it’s for a darn good reason. After many grumpy  phone calls spent complaining to my Mom about how it would never happen for us and it just isn’t in the cards *wah wah wah* she reassured me that if we haven’t found it yet, or an offer got declined, or a home sold out from under us etc. etc. it can all simply be explained as ‘it wasn’t what is meant to be.’ From the start of our search to the end, OUR home was quietly waiting for us to come claim it. And as you can imagine, we were more than happy to do so. Looking back now I should have relaxed and let the cards fall where they may.
 image#3: Don’t compromise when it really counts. Buying a house is not like trying a new dish from a menu. There are consequences big and small to everything. If it doesn’t feel right then turn and run for the hills! Of course compromise has it’s place and does come up a lot in the home buying process. You can be flexible in many ways that won’t matter much to the bottom line and still result in a dream home. We gave in on some things we wished for to get the ‘no compromise priority list’ checked off. But when the agent is done and the sellers move out, you’re left to live there and you have to love it. Our agent was great and really wanted us to be happy but it was a long process to get it right.  Our situation was we really wanted a house, not a townhouse or apartment but were working with a small budget and tight timeline. We desired a house because we’ve had years of shared walls and strata and no yard and lugging groceries through elevators etc. They have a lot of great qualities too but we wanted a big yard with room for a dog and BBQs and freedom to do the whole she-bang as we pleased. After feeling bested by the process we caved and viewed a few townhouses. We contemplated settling but I’m so thankful I stuck to my guns because I know now I would not have been happy living in anything but a house. (No offense to anyone who lives in them, they just aren’t suited for me.) So keep looking and don’t settle on the big stuff just to get it over with because you will regret it after the dust has settled.
image  Now let me share just how it all came to be that we found our little home. After the trying times we faced we were pretty well at the end of our mortgage period with about 5 days left to find a house or bust. A few days before seeing or ( knowing about the existence of) our current home we casually dropped into an open house just up the street. My fella and my mom, who tagged along for the open house, both loved this home and felt it was absolutely ‘the one’ for us. Although, it was beautifully redone and in a nice location something just didn’t feel quite right about it to me. I am typically a bag of nerves in any situation though so I chalked it up to me just being me and if Mom and fella were convinced then I’d get on board eventually. There was no obvious reason to not love the house yet, I was perpetually luke warm. Regardless fella called our agent right away and set a time to go back and see it that same night, whilst my mom danced with excitement (possibly because it was within walking distance to her house). I hadn’t seen either of them that gleeful in a long time so I tried to hide my nagging reservations as best I could. We went back that night and met with our agent outside of the home. Before we went in she said, “I’ve never encountered this before but I’ve spoken with the sellers agent and they’ve already accepted an offer three days ago. The house is sold.” Our hearts sank. So we went home with our tails between our legs, licking our ‘never gonna happen’ wounds. Needless to say, we were also a tad tiffed that they would have an open house AND have us come back for a second showing when the home isn’t even for sale anymore.
image So, with about 4 days left and no prospects in sight we happened to catch a glimpse of a new listing featuring a little white 3 bedroom rancher house. The listing left a lot to be imagined but we both agreed to go down fighting and if this was the last house we saw before time was up at least we can say we tried our best. (I’m sure that wouldn’t have been much comfort every month our rent checks went down the proverbial drain but I digress) So we met with our agent outside the little white home, fingers crossed and breathes held. Almost the moment we stepped inside I felt a rush of warmth and a feeling of home. Don’t get me wrong, the house was pretty outdated and not well decorated but it just felt like OUR home.  I thought it was a myth that a buyer decides within the first 30 seconds of being in the home whether or not they will make an offer but for me it was very true. I knew I was going to try my hardest to land this house long before my fella ever turned to me and asked the same question he had asked in every home we had seen, “whaddaya think?” When I said, “I want it,” he was rather pleased because I admittedly had been a stubborn obstacle in a few other prospective homes so for me to come right out and say ‘this is it’ was big. The offer was made the next morning (with some natural fears of just having signed our life away) and after some back-and-forth we finally came to mutual terms. I was on cloud nine, the hard part is over right? ….Wait, what? Ohhh right, that pesky home inspection. Well, I’m sure that’ll go just fiiiine.
If only it were that easy... 
imageWe got our home inspection, confident we had paid our “bad luck dues” and were destined for smooth sailing from that point on. Then the word I think feared most by home-owners alike came up. Any guesses? Well, if you guessed “MOLD” you would be wrong but only on a technicality. The word was never actually said. Apparently a home inspector isn’t legally allowed to use the word “mold” because he can’t prove for a fact it is mold solely based on the inspection. So instead he said, ‘immense amount of black sticky substance all over the attic beams, probably caused from moisture due to poor ventilation.’ AKA: MOLD!
I thought this got easier once you found the right house?!
imageLong story short (that ship sailed around 3 paragraphs ago!) we worked out a deal with very reluctant sellers for them to cover the cost of fixing the ominous ‘blacky sticky substance’ –later to be confirmed in fact as mold from the company sent in to address it- and we would cover the extra expense of ventilation additions to the attic so our mortgage folks would be satisfied. We’ve faced a few other hiccups and sleepless nights regarding details to seal the deal but this Saturday April 30th,2011 we pack up our teeny apartment, hang up our “renters” hats and walk off into the home ownership sunset. 
image Since securing the home, air has smelled sweeter, food tastes better and our obnoxiously loud neighbors suddenly don’t bother me so much knowing it’s all almost over. I will miss our little apartment for a lot of reasons, mostly because I am a sentimental fool. So part of me is sad but it’s a small part. I’ve dreamed of owning my own home for as long as I can remember. As a design nut it’s excruciating to be in a space that isn’t my own to be creative with. I want to paint and decorate and renovate and make mistakes and mow a lawn and hang Christmas lights and grow a garden and hand out candy at Halloween and get a dog without having to ask a landlord if it’s ok and yes I even want to pay property tax because that tax means I own property! So I look forward to sharing my home excursions with you; I plan on blogging a lot and sharing our new adventure in life with my lovely readers.
*Photo credits Google Images & Pinterest*


Sherri said...

Congratulations on your new home! You will have so much fun, no that the stress and worry is over! ENJOY!!

Amber @ fromtheseeds said...

<3 You are a great writer foremost! I know this experience has been trying but its amazing you see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm so excited for you to start your new life in your OWN home!!

KDot said...

Your post brought back memories for me . . . moving into your own house for the first time is such an exciting feeling.

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Congratulations on buying your first house! That's so exciting.

I can't believe that story about the open house for one that was already sold. What the heck was that about? I can see why you were feeling pretty frustrated and stressed by the end of it, but all's well that ends well. Hope you'll show us photos of your little white house soon! :-)

Lynda G. said...

Congratulations! What an exciting time for you! :D

Aaron said...

Congratulations! Decorating fun is just around the corner. Woo Hoo!

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Thanks for sharing!