We did it! Crack the bubbly. My husband and I took the giant/scary/exciting/emotional leap of faith known as real estate. We bought our very first house! (see pictures at the end of this post!) It only took me 33 years to commit to such a massive milestone, but then – I’ve always been on my own life schedule.
As a homegrown Michigan girl, I never ever – not in a million years – thought I would ever buy my first house in Seattle, that is until we moved here for work four years ago and fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. It wasn’t until six months ago that my husband convinced me to ditch apartment life for the joys of homeownership. He gave me the nudge I needed despite a long list of hesitations: the gigantic expense, the enormous responsibility, the yard work, the upkeep, the commute, potential crime…
I eventually came to the realization that I had to get over my intense fears and embrace the positives that come along with getting on The American Dream Express: more space, owning something, painting walls, drilling holes, more space, the investment, and the all-important MORE SPACE!
I know the process moves at vastly different paces for each buyer, but for us it was a total whirlwind. From the first open house to turning the key, it all happened in a span of about two months! In that short amount of time I got a crash course in what goes into this crazy/wonderful experience called buying a house. Some things I expected, some I didn’t. Here are a few of my nuggets of knowledge.
Seattle Real Estate is Expensive: There’s no beating around the bush or getting around it. Sticker shock? You bet! It took me a good long while to accept the fact that if we wanted a move-in ready, semi-spacious, middle-class house anywhere close to downtown, we were going to have to pay for it. For sanity’s sake, I have stopped comparing the price of my house to home prices in Michigan and Florida. LaLaLaLa, I can’t hear you.
20% Down is HOW MUCH?! : Goodbye life savings. We had a good run, but now you have to move out of my bank account and into something called equity (which I still don’t fully understand). Watching all that money, our blood and sweat money, drain out of our account was a day I’ll never forget. But now I have something totally kick ass to show for it!
A good realtor is a treasure: My first experience working with a realtor was a fabulous one. My husband and I are both major procrastinators and she kept us both on track the entire way. Worth every penny.
It’s WAY easier to put stuff away than to box it all up: Packing is the worst. I think you’ll all agree with me on that. For me, putting stuff away is the fun part. Finding new homes for all your knick knacks. That feeling of “newness.” It’s the opposite of going on vacation when you’re SO excited to pack but dread the unpacking part.
YOU HAVE MORE SH** THAN YOU THINK YOU DO!!!!: Honestly, where does it all come from?! I always think it’s going to be easy peasy to pack everything, but then I forget about all the stuff hiding in the crevices that I’ve been ignoring or too lazy to get rid of. It all has to come out and stare you in the face when you move. That’s the most frightening thing ever. However, it’s good motivation to (FINALLY) purge all that old, useless stuff you’ve been hoarding!
Packing Gives You Dry Hands Damn those cardboard boxes! They dry your hands out faster than the Sahara. Plus, I have cuts all over my hands from the cardboard and the packing tape cutter. Ouch!
There is no office/repairman/handyman: Sometimes I have panic attacks thinking about what we’ll do when something breaks or goes wrong. I totally trust my husband and I know he’ll handle it like a pro, but I will miss the days when I can just call the apartment office and say “come fix this” and they have to do it – without charging me. That was a wonderful luxury.
Solicitors are ready to pounce: – I don’t know how, I don’t want to know how, but within 3 days of us moving in we had dueling home security guys come to our house and solicit business. One of them trash talking the other. One of them literally came to the door as I was typing this post! This is going to test my patience. BTW: Girl scouts, you may come knock on my door any day, every day. Bring on the cookies!
Space is a wonderful thing: At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Our own slice of land. Our own piece of the pie. You can decorate however you want to.. and then change it… and then change it again. We have many projects to tackle. But that’s a good thing! I hope to keep you updated on the “Before and Afters” along the way. Cheers!
As promised, here are a few pics of the new digs!