5.16.2016

First Time Home Buying

I'm sure that some day when Greg and I are all settled in a dream home that we have paid off, the struggles of buying our first home will be long in the past and difficult to remember. But today, the struggle is real.

When we got married, we decided that we weren't going to take on too much in our first year of marriage. So we rented a really small apartment, didn't make too many purchases or major life plans. We spent a lot of time working on our communication and planning life together, and took a couple trips, including my dream of traveling to Europe. Our second year of marriage has become much more stressful, even though we feel like our relationship is much more solidified.

We're trying to figure out how to take care of our families, when we should start our own family, and where to live. Last September we took a home buying course at our local community education center and we learned so much about the process. So in January, we met with a mortgage broker and got pre-qualified for a loan. After going through all of our numbers, he said that we are the most prepared first time home buyers he's ever seen in the 20 years he's been coordinating loans. So we felt great! On top of the world. We got a realtor, we figured out our budget, and which locations we were the most comfortable to buy in. We assumed it wouldn't be easy, but we did hope that because we were prepared, things would go smoothly.

Well it's been 5 1/2 months and we still don't have a house. Insert frowny face. It's been a rough-go. We've put in 4 offers (June update: 6 offers!) now but the market is very competitive and things move really fast. It's hard to get pumped for a place and then lose the dream of it a few hours or days later. I think the hardest thing has been all the time it takes. We spend at least an hour every day looking at the email list of what has become available in our search area. And then we spend at least 2 hours a week actually looking at the listings. And then I spend at least another hour each week looking at surrounding areas to see if something strikes my fancy.

Of course the best things in life usually require patience, planning, and little miracles. Last month we fell in love with a house that checked all the boxes and then realized that it was already under contract when we went to go see it- so it was never a real possibility.

It's been pretty hard and has required more of a sacrifice than we could have planned for, but the hopes of owning our own home is really, really exciting. It turns out, most all of our hobbies surround home life. We love to cook together, I love decorating and sewing, Greg loves working in the garage, we would grill our dinner every night if the weather allowed for it, and we both dream of having a big garden space with bees and a chicken coop.

We feel really grateful that we have such a nice rental and that we've been able to get a taste of that home life by renting a house, but it also re-enforces the dream to have something of our own.

Luckily we've been real busy with other things that we can spend too much time getting down on the house hunt. And rather then wait until we have a house, we're doing all we can to prepare for it. Bulking up our savings so we can make a larger down payment, getting a new bed, finishing the nightstands (Greg took a welding course and made these beautiful nightstands- he designed them, welded them, then we picked out the wood together and he finished them off!), and making some cute decor for now and for the future.

We have lots to be grateful for and I'm just glad I get to have Greg with me on these exciting and sometimes difficult journeys.




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