Today marks the anniversary of my becoming a home owner. Although Joseph owned a house, it could never feel quite like home or like it was mine. Pure and simple, it was a bachelor pad. The kitchen was tiny and not very functional, the bathroom was supremely outdated and the house had major flaws that would keep it from being an easy sell. Mostly though, I had gotten no say in the matter and was living there by default since Joseph owned it and we got married.
Through and through, that house was Joseph’s. From the Brave’s colored office to the mix and match furniture it was everything male and bachelor. I had a hard time appreciating the house as any place other than a place to keep my belongings and return to every day. I can’t fault him for buying that house because it fulfilled his needs to a T. That doesn’t mean I had to embrace living in his house.
The biggest problem really was that, although the house was Joseph, it wasn’t very me. On my list of house must-haves, not a single box was marked off. However, it wasn’t until I lived in that house that I really came to realize not only what I wanted in a house, but what I didn’t want.
When 2011 started, I told Joseph “We can save up enough money to have a new house by my birthday.” He was skeptical, but supportive of me working the budget to save up for the down payment and all the odds and ends you end up having to pay at closing. Although he loved his house, he was also ready to have a home with me. Even before we had the down payment, a good idea of what we could spend monthly or even a realtor, he loved to look at houses online or drive around looking for “For Sale” signs and getting the free information.
As our savings grew, we discussed our must have lists. They were vastly different, neither of us really caring about the things the other found important. Joseph wanted a large yard, space for a man cave and relative privacy. I wanted a huge kitchen, more than one bathroom and a basement so I wouldn’t die in future tornadoes (phobia).
It was April when we started working with a realtor. I have to say, the house hunt is both exhilarating and disappointing. When you’re serious about buying, the thrill of looking at houses quickly wears on you when all you want is to just find THE HOUSE. During our first trip out we found an amazing house to put an offer in for. It was a house that was clearly worth more than what the realtor was asking and, of course, it wasn’t accepted and the house ended up selling for far more than our budget.
It was also on our first trip that our realtor took us to the neighborhood where we eventually bought our house at. Practically the whole neighborhood was foreclosed on and being sold by the same person. We looked at every house for sale except for the green one that was technically part of the neighborhood but on the main road and not in the neighborhood. There was a practically perfect house in the middle of a cul-de-sac, but there was no basement.
I debated whether I could live without a basement. I threw out the (genius) idea of putting a trapdoor from the coat closet to the standing crawlspace beneath it, but eventually decided I had to have a basement. Per our realtor only two houses for sale in the development had a basement, so we went to check them out. The first one was still being built, it was the only house still being built and although it had a long way to go, I already knew the kitchen would not be up to par with what I wanted.
The second one was the green house that we didn’t look at during the first pass through the neighborhood. This time we went in, walked around and fell in love. The kitchen was large with tons of counter space, tons of cabinet space and a dishwasher; a luxury Joe’s kitchen was without. A full basement ran the length of the house, perfect tornado hiding space and plenty of room for Joseph to man out. 2 bathrooms, laundry and master on main, three, relatively large rooms upstairs. An open floor plan so that you don’t feel cut off if you’re cooking dinner. A ½ acre lot with woods past the backyard, giving it some privacy from the neighborhood behind it and massive curb appeal sealed the deal.
To think, this perfect house was almost ignored by us simply because it wasn’t in the neighborhood. Seriously, let’s be honest, I’m not that friendly. Why did I have to live in a neighborhood anyways.
This was the house, we both knew it. We put in an offer and waited. The offer was accepted, we scheduled closing and I sent in practically every document that had ever had my name on it. We waited and waited and waited. Joseph and I would visit the house and break in and walk around, dreaming of what we would do in each room. We’d get dinner and eat on the front porch, pretending we lived in the green house.
We almost didn’t close on 6/24/11. There was a problem with getting someone from the seller to the closing to sign. They contacted me by email to see if we could move the closing to the Wednesday after. Who wants to close on a Wednesday.
Before I had a chance to reply my realtor was on the phone: You’re closing on Friday or I’ll eat my own poo.
I would have held him to it too.
Thankfully for him, we closed right on time. My paperwork was some of the cleanest and in order they’ve ever seen. I signed my name like a champ and got us out of there quickly. I spent the most amount of money I had ever had in the bank with the exception of an inheritance and I didn’t regret a minute of it.
There are so many differences from living in this house compared to Joseph’s. This house is OUR home through and through. We have put so much work in it, together; from paint to building furniture. A year out from buying it, I’m still just as happy about this purchase. I still come home in wonder that we have such an amazing house, such a perfect for us house. Not everyone would love this house, some people like one story ranches, houses closer to the interstate, bigger, smaller, more bathrooms, but with the exception of my parent’s house and my grandmother’s house, I’ve never felt so at home.
Here’s to, hopefully, 29 more awesome years paying for this house.