Tyler and I have (almost) bought a house! We’ve made an offer, accepted a counter offer, implicated ourselves in a contract, applied for financing, and are waiting on our inspection. If all goes well, we close March 1. This date is not only convenient given the timing of our lease, it is also a 2nd wedding anniversary present (we got married February 28, 2009). Go ahead, celebrate. We aren’t yet, though. Whether it’s because we’re new to this whole game or whether we are just waiting until everything is (literally) signed and delivered, we are no more than cautiously excited at the moment. So go ahead and cheer a little for us, because we’re acting like it ain’t no thang.
The details: a 2006 ranch with a fully finished basement in a nice, newish neighborhood on the south end of the town I grew up in. 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2,600 square feet. More room than we need at the moment, but I am looking forward to having both a writing room and an office and Tyler has already claimed most of the basement as his (groan) “man-cave”. It will be nice to be able to make some permanent changes, living as we have for years now as renters. There are definitely some areas that need improving, but as a new house we are pleased that very few things need fixing.
I did not want a new house. I wanted an old house, with character. However, it turns out a new house works well for us. We are young. We are poor. Buying this house leaves us little left over for those massive repairs and renovations an old house can require. It will be my special challenge to learn how to infuse our new house with character. I’ve already spent many sleepless nights pondering what colors will look best with the oak trim (which at least initially we will not paint, even though I prefer fresh white). Try looking at a paint chip or a decorating magazine. I bet you don’t see much oak. There are always charming, wide, white borders in the show houses that help you compare and contrast “sandstone” with “glacial bay”. And yet, many many people live in houses with this ubiquitous oak trim. For me, this house presents the usual challenges; style and storage on a budget, finding ways to “make it ours”, creatively brainstorming cost-effective enhancements that will both add to the home’s value and make it a better place for us to live. The challenges are the same – but this time, my canvas is enormous.
Of course, there are other things we are excited about. We’re excited to live in a family-oriented community with excellent walking trails, parks, and schools. My parents live within walking distance just north of us, and my grandparents are only a couple of miles further in the same town. Our dog will have room to roam and a new dog park is in the works. I’m excited to make some new friends and get involved in the neighborhood; for the first time we will be living near other younger people – couples and families instead of cranky elderly people with yapping dogs and fetishes for garden statuary. (Note: Not all elderly people are cranky, but the ones that lived by us are.) Both of our commutes will be longer but our home will be more restful and we will be close to family and some of our great friends. Besides, anything that brings me closer to my lovely little niece is a plus in my book.
All in all, we are looking forward to this transition, despite the accompanying stress (which has already started) of moving, changing lifestyle, and increasing our financial obligations. I think it will be worth it. I don’t have any doubts or second thoughts; and that’s rare for me – I question everything, over-analyzing, making sure it is a good decision. This is a good decision. Now, to make it through the home inspection unscathed. Is it always this stressful buying a house or is this just a hurdle you have to cross?