I recently read a post on another blog about home buying; that couple is looking to buy their first home, and so I started thinking about our journey to home ownership. My husband and I bought our first (and with the way our moves go, hopefully, last) home about a year and a half ago. Homeownership has definitely been interesting, and overall more good than bad.
It took us almost a year of looking to find the right home. Housing is somewhat expensive where we live, and there are quite a few 55 and older communities here, so that limited our choices. We had a wonderful realtor, who is actually a close friend. Her help definitely made the process easier than it might have been. I know realtors sometimes get a bad rap, but for us, working with a good realtor definitely helped us find the right home.
We began by looking at listings within our price range, and asking people to let us know if they saw or heard of anything. Some of our adventures were downright scary, some were funny, and some were just tiring.
We knew we didn’t want anything out in the country. I grew up in a subdivision in the city limits, with trash pickup, city water and sewer, and close neighbors. I didn’t want to find myself in what I term “the wilderness”. I also knew I wanted city water; my dad has worked in water my whole life. Most children grow up with a fear of things that go bump in the night; I grew up with a fear of all the diseases you can get from contaminated water. My husband has never lived in the city limits, and wasn’t very keen on the idea of paying city taxes for the privilege. He was also very concerned about distance from fire hydrants and the nearest fire department. Our schedules only line up about five days a month, so a fixer upper was pretty much out. After all, how much work can you do on a house by yourself while your spouse is trying to sleep? Yes, I know we had a vey odd list of things that were important to us.
So began our search. We looked at a house I dubbed the Silence of the Lambs House. All I could think about in the basement was “it rubs the lotion into its skin”. We looked at a house my husband dubbed The Firetrap. We looked at a house I was convinced would come tumbling off of its precarious perch on the side of a mountain. We looked at a house my husband was convinced was next door to a crack house. We also looked at several houses that just didn’t seem quite right to either of us.
We finally found what we thought was the perfect house; city water, close to the fire department, and even a fenced in yard. We began the process of getting ready to close on it. Then came the home inspection. The home inspection was more like a laundry list of things that can possibly be wrong with a house. There were moisture problems, problems with the roof, problems with the floors, problems with the pipes, and problems with the duct work. It was actually so bad that our realtor told us we’d have to use another realtor if we went ahead with buying it; she wasn’t going to be responsible for helping us get into a house with that many problems. We listened to her and didn’t buy that house. That was a very disappointing time; we had already started packing, but life goes on, and so did our search for a house.
We finally found the right house several months later. It’s just outside of the city limits, which means city water, but no city taxes. It’s close to a fire hydrant, and the fire department, and close to the interstate (read easier access to South Carolina). The home inspection didn’t turn up any major surprises, and the closing took place right on schedule.
Our house is small, but it’s just the two of us, and the fur kids of course, but they don’t ask for their own rooms. We have extremely nice neighbors. The location is very convenient for us as well.
There have been some adjustments and surprises. The roof started to leak about a month after we moved in, and getting it fixed has been an ongoing fiasco, though we seem to have finally stumbled across a roofing company that has been able to fix it once and for all. We’re pretty sure the air conditioning unit only has a year or two left, so we’re starting to save up for replacing it. We have learned that home warranties are pretty much a waste of money. We now understand why some of the things we did growing up were so upsetting to our parents. It’s true when they tell you you’ll understand when you buy your own house.
There are more things we’d like to do with the house; some very minor, some much more involved. We’d also like to fence in the backyard. Sometimes it’s a little disappointing that we’ve been here for a year and a half and haven’t done more, but then I remind myself that we’re here (hopefully) for the next 40 or 50 years. We’ll do the things we want eventually. In the meantime, the best part is knowing that one day it will be paid off, and it will be entirely ours. Sure the 28.5 years left sound like a really long time, but I think about how fast these 30 years have gone by, and I realize it will be here before we know it.