I truly don't think it's fully sunk in yet that that yesterday, we became HOMEOWNERS.
I have too many emotions going on right now to put the lessons we learned during this process into words, so here's the story for now and I'll do more of an informative post soon!
When we first talked about buying a home, I let myself feel a little bit excited. But, I knew it would be a long process and we've been hearing horror stories left and right about buying a home during the pandemic. So, I shoved my excitement way way way down in case things didn't work out.
Now that our closing day is finally over, I feel soooooo many things and all of the emotions are rushing in. Relief, excitement, nervousness (what if I pick the wrong paint color!), creative energy that's bursting at the seams (since I felt like I had to shove that down too - I didn't wait to imagine the space coming together until it was ours)... and a good bit of anxiety (per usual), but I like that its anxiety about a new thing and a fresh challenge. When you can't get out of challenges, sometimes you just need a new one!
Most of all, I feel truly happy. There's a difference between having moments of happiness and being happy in life. And while each year recently certainly has had a variety of happy moments, it's been a really long time since I've felt happy and confident about the direction life was going in (the weight of current events is still certainly heavy, but I keep reminding myself that it's okay to feel joy and sorrow together and that one doesn't always need to overpower the other).
Shaun and I have been through SO much. In both our personal lives and together as a couple since we first met. We've made it through some really dark years which held an intense amount of financial stress (don't get me wrong, we are still very very on a budget, but in a more stable, less-stressful way). So, owning a house isn't just buying property for us. It's a clear cut and tangle asset that validates not just how far we've come, but all the work we've put into ourselves and our relationship to get here. Proof of the strength and resilience we've been able to curate over our time together and that feeling feels really good.
While we're happy now, we definitely endured our fair share of stress, disappointment, and exhaustion along the way.
We cringe when we think about how much money we spent on rent over the past 6 years, so buying a home felt like a much smarter choice at this point in our lives. Also, it's important to note that we've both been living at our parents' houses since July, which was hard for a lot of reasons but ultimately put us in a much safer spot financially.
We started looking for houses back in October and actually fell in LOVE with the last house we saw on our first day of house hunting. However, it was an estate that needed a TON of work. We would have been SO far in over our heads, but it was just so charming, checked a number of boxes on our priorities list, and was very hard to pass on because we could see the potential. I actually thought about that house frequently during our journey and wondered if we should have taken the risk - until we found "the one" of course. We continued searching and fell in love with another home a few days later. This time, we made an offer, went under contract, and then backed out after a horrific inspection.
The hardest leg of the journey happed after that. It felt like we looked at a thousand houses (but really it was probably like 30). We even found another we LOVEEEED and put an offer on. Unfortunately, someone offered asking price and waived the inspection, which we wouldn't have been willing to do anyway, so it was another one we had to let go of.
At one point, I asked our realtor, "is there a limit to how many homes you'll show a buyer before you cut them off?" to which he jokingly replied, "you're getting close" (I knew he didn't mean it one bit, he was so patient with us). Luckily for him, the day I asked that question was the day we found our home. Actually, we found two houses that day that we saw so much potential in. That created another obstacle and challenging set of discussions that we certainly weren't expecting to have. We had just spent weeks trying to find one other home to fall in love with and then there were TWO! Trying hard to differentiate between our intuition talking verse our anxiety, our guts kept calling us to this charming brick cape code home. I actually had a really great feeling about it when we first walked through, but wrote it off and tried not to fall in love because it really pushed our budget.
However, the more we weighed the pros and cons, the more and more we became open to this one. Even though it was more expensive than what we were looking at, we decided it was more realistic for us in the long run. One of the major factors is that it has a lot of cosmetic updates that could be made on whatever timeline we want to make them, but nothing major that absolutely needs to be done immediately. It's "move-in ready" as they say.
Sixty days of uncertainty where at any moment something could go wrong and cause this to "not work out" was incredibly intense for me. I love to have a plan and I like to have my next few steps planned out. I actually function just fine if a plan doesn't work out as intended and I prefer a plan that changes over flying by the seat of my pants (that gives me so much more anxiety). I hated not being able to envision steps B, C, and D when we didn't even know if step A (the house) would be ours yet. Plus, I just couldn't stomach the idea of having to start this process over again.
But, we made it! We survived! The house is ours. We can't wait to renovate and decorate. I'm especially excited for the opportunities this is going to give me from a creative standpoint and excited to extend my creativity in different ways than ever before. I don't know how to DIY anything, so following along with this journey on Instagram is sure to provide you with top-notch entertainment. Plus, I'm SO happy that we're officially allowed to hang things on walls (which we could not do at the house we rented previously).
I think the biggest factor in our success was the people who were with us on this adventure. Our realtor, mortgage specialist/lender, settlement company, and inspector were the best people we could have worked with. They were incredibly supportive, answered all our questions, and made us feel like we could do this every step of the way (a reassurance we were definitely in need of most days). If you're buying in the Pittsburgh area and need recommendations, just email me and I'll send over contact info!