We didn't officially close until May 24th, 2010 but we signed the documents on Thursday and were given the keys on Friday May 21st that allowed us to move in. One year ago we packed up our moving truck and finally got to move into our new house. I remember this overwhelming feeling of relief and happiness mixed with exhaustion as we pulled into our new neighborhood. We weren't there to sign some documents or measure one of the rooms. We were there to stay. The house hunting and home closing process was so stressful. You almost don't believe that the house is really going to be yours until the keys are in your hot little hands. By the time you get towards the end of the home stretch you are so anxious and you just want it so bad. You want to be excited that you are buying a house but it's hard to because for every step you bypass there is another step around the corner that you have to get through in order to make it real. Should we buy points? Would we get money towards our closing costs? Turns out yes. What will our interest rate be? It ended up nice and low. But getting answers to those questions was excruciating at times. At one point we had to scramble to get a back up loan in place then we didn't even know if we'd be able to close on time and move in when we had already scheduled our moving truck. The knowledge that at anytime something can go wrong and the deal could fall apart was always in the back of my mind but it got to the point where I just had to let it go. It was out of my hands. We provided every scrap of documentation that we were asked for, sometimes repeatedly and if this was meant to be then it would be. And it was.
Thank goodness because if the stress of buying a home wasn't enough to drive me mad then the stress of living in a too small home surely would. Two people, 400 square feet. Not good. I felt like I was being suffocated. I'd lived there for five years and had already outgrown the studio, street parking, community laundry lifestyle but now there were two of us and I was OVER IT! I hear all of these stories about a trend in mini houses and couples minimizing their lifestyle living in 200 square feet. That sounds all nice and good and I'm all for downsizing and getting rid of excess but c'mon. That is just not comfortable or natural on any level to sustain. Like your job, if your living situation isn't right it affects your whole outlook on life. Everything else is filtered through this lens of discontent. I was just aching for space. Aching to breathe and make my day to day life more functional. It's not just about potential investment so the decline of the real estate market did not sway us a bit. Like a lot of people out there. We still wanted to buy.
When I come home to our house I still love it just as much as the day we moved in. It might not be the ultimate dream home but I don't feel like we settled either. We got everything we needed and a heck of a lot of what we wanted. I remember when we first walked through the models. Our Realtor told us about this new development that turned out to be down the street from where we lived. As we walked through, many of the features satisfied a lot of must haves on our list but I would not allow myself to get excited or even really consider it. We were just looking. I checked out the walk in closet, dual sinks and the cute little loft area with longing. I remember walking out of there and saying, "That house would be perfect for us, but oh well. It's too much." We took the paperwork from the sales office but dismissed it as we continued with our house hunt.
We could already see how difficult it was going to be to find a house that we liked in our budget. There seemed to be multiple offers on houses within minutes of going on the market and you know what that means. A bidding war. And you will always lose against offers with cash or a hefty down payment. It was like a full time job. You had to be on those listings and you had to go see them fast which was hard to do around our work schedule and wedding planning. Some of the houses we were looking at were beat up and we are not the fixer upper type. We also started to get cold feet about the 1 hour Northbound commute to work every every day. Suddenly the new house started to look better and better. While still not centrally located, the Eastbound commute is only about 30 minutes, the HOA was low and there were no pesky Mello Roos like the other area we were considering. Oh, and wouldn't it be fun to pick out all of our design features? About a week later we went back to see if we could make it work. It was about 25K more then I wanted to spend but we wanted out of the studio and with our wedding coming up in six months we didn't want to spend a year house hunting. We couldn't get everything we wanted but I think we paid a reasonable price for the house we got. The payments are comfortable, once I got used to the number and I don't feel that we are house poor. Just regular poor!!
|All moved in|
We saw all kinds of horror stories on the net about our builder but it's been smooth sailing for us. Being a new construction we had a 1 year warranty period for them to fix up any little thing that needed fixing. No matter how small we called them because we could. It was like still having a landlord. We still have a long term warranty for structural defects and a lifetime warranty on the roof but we are officially on our own now. The home decor is an ongoing work in progress and we are enjoying the little projects we have done so far. Watching a house get built from the ground up is like watching your dream grow. I never imagined I could afford a home in California. It just didn't seem possible. Then Mj came into my life. He wanted the same thing and together we made it possible. There were so many bumps along the way but every hurdle and every mini anxiety attack was worth it. Now we have the things that a lot of people take for granted. Outdoor space, a laundry room, extra closets, a garage and enough space to stretch out. Our day to day life feels functional now. It feels right. I totally appreciate and work really hard for what we have and I will never take any of it for granted.