Home Run

Sometimes I feel like people think I have it easy since I have this cushy job where I live that affords me the luxury of not paying rent. It’s like they forget that I had to apply and be selected for the position, that I worked for 3 years solo as the manager while holding down another full-time job, that I have had to deal with all the bullshit that comes with managing people in a shared living space. I chose to take this extra job on for financial reasons- who wouldn’t be lured by the opportunity to not pay rent? But I’ve never slacked off and always done this job to my highest standards.The reward of being able to pay down my debt and save is well-deserved. We don’t get places without effort, planning, and commitment. And for the past 4 years, there has been a lot of that for me.

For the past couple months Mr. Darcy and I have been putting into our joint savings what we think the high-end of a mortgage payment might be for us. I didn’t want us to buy a house and all of sudden feel like we had no money- going from paying zero rent to a mortgage plus utilities plus all the stuff that inevitably will break and we’ll need to repair on our dime. Right now we want at least 3-6 more months of aggressive saving before we’d be comfortable moving. A huge bubble of fear rises up in me when I think of leaving the safety net of not having to pay rent. All those years where I struggled financially and ultimately filed for bankruptcy gnaw at me and I can’t always think clearly when that old fearful voice that freaks out about money is yammering on in my ear. (Shut up, fearmonger!)

It’s a big leap going from apartment managing to home ownership. Sure, we’ll no longer have to manage noise complaints among neighbors but we’ll now have to pay out of our pocket when the toilet isn’t flushing properly or there is an electrical problem. We’ve decided that we’re okay with that though. We’re at that place in our life where we’re willing to do take on those risks of home ownership rather than continue to live in a cramped, albeit cozy, one bedroom apartment. We want a yard, a dog, a guest room, a big kitchen with lots of counter space (ok, that’s all me), and a place big enough to throw dinner parties (again, that might be all me). We’re ready to leave the urban life for one that might be a bit more residential. We’re past the days of going out drinking until all hours, stumbling home drunk, and our biggest priority being proximity to clubs. We’re 38 years old. That isn’t our lifestyle anymore.

It’s taken me some time to swallow that truth because I’ve been fighting against getting older. The gray hairs, the laugh lines, the fatigue by 10pm, the idea of going over to a friend’s house for a small dinner party sounding way more appealing than a night at a bar- these are my truth. I used to think I was so behind- having not met my person until later in life, being a financial fuck up for most of my 20’s, not owning a home or having a kid as I get closer and closer to 40- but everyone has their own path and this one is mine. I’m slowly accepting that where we are at- two people who found each other in their mid-30’s who want to get hitched, pop out a kid, adopt a dog, and make a house into a home- is the best place for me.

We met with a realtor last night. We liked her a lot and are going to move forward with her representing us. We’ve been clear that we’re not in a hurry and don’t want to settle for just any house. We’ve got a good situation here managing the building and can take our time to find the perfect house for us. The excitement of what’s ahead is outweighing the fear.

 

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27 thoughts on “Home Run

  1. Big changes like that are so exciting. I think it’s so admirable that you’re not just rushing forward to meet some arbitrary deadline—take your time, enjoy the process and I’m positive the perfect home will come forward. Excited for you!

  2. You’re doing a very smart thing by getting yourself in the habit of putting the money back now. By the time you get there, it will be second nature and won’t be as scary. It’s also good that the two of you have acknowledged the costs of homeownership — I think so many people gloss over that when they decide they want to buy a house, but you sound like you’re in the right place! Good luck making the transition. It’s scary but most things that are rewarding are scary.

  3. Don’t be afraid of the suburbs. if you are considering children, schools should be a consideration. We live walking distance to a great school, can walk to the grocery store, and have lots of trails for hiking. It is so QUIET at night — you can hear coyotes, owls, and frogs. We know all our neighbors and help each other out all the time. You might also consider a short-term rental in an area you are interested in, to get a feel for the neighborhood and see if it suits you.

    Do you ever watch those “house hunters” and “house hunter international” shows on TV?
    http://www.hgtv.com/house-hunters/show/index.html

    Great fun for learning what to look for and what to avoid.

  4. Have fun looking! It could probably be quite enjoyable when you’re not in a hurry. Happy House Hunting! I hate it how financial concerns can sometimes paralyze me – although I’ve gotten a little better at dealing with this in the past few years. Stupid money.

  5. I love how you put this… “everyone has their own path “…. that is so very true and I love how you’re working together towards your future 🙂

  6. Wait, who thinks it’s easy being manager of an apartment building?? That’s actually a very difficult job and I’ve never even been one! You have to deal with all sorts of people and a variety of personalities! Eesh.

    But you’ve done so very well and have come so far that I know you two can move forward and do even more.

  7. Good for you two! Very exciting stuff. We bought in Seattle a year and a half ago, and prices are much better now then they were then. You are going to find a great house for the two of you.

    Oh, and use estately.com for fun house searching! I found it to be the easiest and most comprehensive.

  8. When I was in college, I spent a year as a resident adviser. I got a single room in the dorm, paid nothing for it, got a small stipend, too. But, with it came a huge amount of responsibility. And that’s only a drop in the bucket compared to what you’re doing as an apartment manager. Your journey has been amazing, Sizzle. You’re a beautiful person who has a beautiful life that you’ve worked hard to achieve. There’s no shame in working hard for all the amazing things you’ve gotten. Now, you just need to remember to enjoy them once in a while. =) Can’t wait to hear about the home hunting/buying adventure – what a great time to be a first time buyer!

  9. This is awesome, and it’s so nice that you can take your time until you find what you REALLY want. Have fun! It’s so cool to shop for a house.

  10. I have to admit there are many times when I wish that I was a renter because my house just loves to go wacko on me. But there is something to be said about a place of your own that you can do whatever you want to. Paint the walls any color. Tear the wall down if you want to. If I were to offer you any advice, it would just be to go with a very reputable and trustworthy inspection company. It’s worth the money. When you throw a bunch of money into your house, you want to be able to see it (kitchen upgrades and the like). Instead of replacing things like water lines and furnaces and whatnot that just make you mad.

    And of course, copious amounts of HGTV is great for helping you get a feel for what you want and what to look out for.

    So exciting! I can’t wait to see the house you guys end up buying. I’m sure I will sleep just wonderfully in the guest room someday. 🙂

  11. This is one of my favorite things I’ve read all day, in fact, I’ve had it open it it’s very own tab for hours, re-reading parts and just glowing at The Happy and how much you have overcome. It gives me hope. 🙂

    xox

  12. Anyone who thinks your rent is actually free is stupid. Think about it. Let’s say your apartment is $1k/month and you work about 672 hours a month b/c you are on-call 24/7. If you work that out hourly, it’s less than $1.50. Sure, you don’t actually “work” all those hours, but you are RESPONSIBLE for all the shit that goes down in your building for those 672 hours. That’s one big ass job.

  13. I’m totally flying up for the housewarming party. 😉

    This is a great post and so true. We all have our own paths and timelines. And man alive bars just get louder and louder with every passing year! Very excited to see where you and Mr. Darcy land. I know it will be somewhere wonderful.

  14. So happy for you to be starting the search. Now that we are nearing the end of the buying journey I have to say how surprised I am with how easy and smooth the process has been. I hope you have a similar experience.

    Send me the links of your favorites along the way. I love seeing the finalists!

    Amen to owning your own story. Isn’t this the key to a happy life?

  15. you are a big inspiration to me in a lot of ways. when i read your posts, i feel like it’s going to be okay. at this point, i am the fattest i have ever been, my relationship of 11 years is pretty much over and i have huge emotional problems to deal with. at (almost) 35 years old. i worry all the time that i might not find the right guy and eventually have a(an emotional and actual) home. seeing how far you’ve come in the last few years though, i think it’s going to be okay. if i work hard for it. but i’m willing to do that! thank you for sharing so much of your life! it does help me (and i’m sure other people, too) and you’re a great inspiration! xoxoxo

  16. Thank you for reminding me that everyone has their own path. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that this morning. And I’m excited to read all about your house hunting adventures!

  17. Congratulations…it’s a big step but a good one. I work for an inspection company and 2nd what Carissa said, get a GOOD inspector (check them out) and go to your inspection.
    As a former Realtor, you guys are doing awesome on saving as the lender will likely want you to have 3months PITI in escrow or maybe even want to see 3 months mortgage in your personal account.

    Again Congratulations, owning a home is a big responsibility but it’s fun and you can make the house into your “home” The process will be a fun one I’m sure.

  18. My wife and I also met in our 30s and will be buying a home in our late 30s. Your path is not that different from ours, so it’s encouraging to read. If it’s any consolation, we wouldn’t have given up our 20s as we lived the, — even if separately — for anything.

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