We Bought A House!Sunday, March 26, 2017
I started doubting I'd ever write this post, but it's here and it's happened: we bought a house! After seventeen long months of searching, we closed last week on our brick fixer upper. We're still pinching ourselves and ready for the slew of projects we've got in mind for this old lady.
Some back story: We started searching for a home in October of 2015, naively thinking two months was plenty of time to find and purchase a home by the new year. I have to laugh now at how easy we thought it would be. We had no idea the learning experience we were in for.
The search started out smooth enough, but got bumpier when we started running into issues with our home loan. Turns out, banks aren't too eager to hand over money when you or your spouse are self-employed. I wrote a little bit about that here. It took a lot of patience, research, and tears before we made it all the way back to square one again, but finally pre-approved for a loan. At that point, we were feeling better about the process (if not a little leery) when the housing market seemed to shut down completely. There were no new listings for what seemed like months.
Mark and I would spend our evenings driving through neighborhoods, picking out houses that weren't even for sale! We checked Realtor.com daily and sent each other old listings that we'd passed up before, stupidly hoping that maybe we'd like them now. It's true we were feeling a little desperate. The good news in all of this was we were happy in our little rental house in Athens and weren't being rushed to move out. It allowed us to drag out this house search for as long as we needed. But patience, when you've been raring to move for months now, is not an easy thing. There were several times when I thought we were being too picky and convinced myself that we didn't need some of the things on our "must-have" list. The voice of reason always said it would pay off to wait, but I'd be lying if I said it was always easy to listen to it.
Whenever we spotted a new listing with some potential, we would instantly text it to our realtor who, in most cases, would get us in to see it on that very day. A lot of the houses we were interested in would go under contracts within hours of listing, it was crazy! We would hop in the car and drive an hour to the town we were looking in, pretending to not be hopeful but secretly falling in love with the house before we even got there. Listing photos rarely show the whole picture and my mind would easily fill in the rest on that hour drive, only to be sorely disappointed when we walked through the front door. We'd drive the hour back home feeling defeated and grumpy, only to repeat the whole process the next week.
One weekend, we went to look at a house in an area we really liked. The house was cute, but smaller than we wanted. As we were driving away, we spotted a For Sale sign in the front yard of one of the neighboring houses. We pulled over to the curb to call the number on the sign. It was priced way out of our range. We sat there looking at it for a little while, but eventually started the car and drove back home to Athens.
Several months went by before that same house reappeared on Realtor.com, this time for a much lower price. I instantly called our realtor and we set up a time to view the house. This was in October. We fell in love. It was beautiful in its original 1960s way -- pink bathroom and all. We still couldn't buy it, though. All that fall and winter, we continued to look for houses with this ranch always in the back of our minds. We knew we'd be able to make a move once the new year arrived, but it was too much to hope for that the house wouldn't sell by then. I'm not exaggerating when I say I checked the listing status every. single. day. each time expecting to see pending written in big red letters.
Four months went by and, by some miracle, the house sat there waiting for us. We went by to look at it one more time in February to make sure that months of fantasizing hadn't made it out to be better than it actually was. Nope, we were still very much in love. We made an offer on my birthday and the rest is history.
The house checks all of our boxes -- everything we were so picky about during the never-ending search -- down to the original hardwood flooring we discovered beneath the carpet. It has so much potential that we're excited to bring out. At this point, I have about a thousand lists of projects for this house. It's in wonderful shape for its age (built in 1963), but we have several updates we want to make. It's going to be a work-in-progress for quite some time, but we're still giddy at the thought of having our own house and turning it into a home.
Let the projects begin!