Friday, February 25, 2011

House Hunting: The First Two Contracts and the Apartment

We've been in our house a little just at three months and we're loving it. We still don't have anything on the walls, the schoolroom looks like a storage facility and lots of things haven't found "homes" yet. Our big plans to finish up a lot of our projects while the kids were away at Nana and Papa's fell through when we got sick 4 weeks in a row (and still are). Someday, though, it will all be complete!

In the meantime, I wanted to document some of the time we spend searching, signing and buying our first house so I can look back and remember it many years (and probably many houses) from now.

We started thinking about buying our first house way back in 2006 when we had been married just under a year. We were both working and it seemed like a great time to stop paying rent, stop living in an apartment with noisy neighbors and no backyard and have something of our own. We did some searching and found a neighborhood where homes were just being built and we could choose all of our own finishes and the design of the house.

The neighborhood was full of young couples and families, the price was competitive and we were excited about the prospect of checking it out each week as it was being built. No sooner had we settled into our contract on that house when one of the other builders that we were considering came back to us with a finished house that was the same style neighborhood, same basic finishes of the house but the house was bigger and cheaper. Sold.

We got all of our financing lined up, got ready to finish our apartment lease, starting looking at Home Depot for all the fun extras and got excited about buying a house. We were nervous of course but ready-for-it nervous!

Just days before we were supposed to close on the house, Mike got a call offering him the courtesy officer job at an apartment complex. I was less than thrilled. It was a complex we had seen in our apartment search and decided against for lots of reasons.

Ultimately, it came down to a deal we couldn't refuse. I was very sad but I also knew that we could do it for any period of time and change our minds and buy a house. So we went from buying a 3-bedroom house and canceling that contract to buying a 4-bedroom house to canceling that contract and moving into a 3-bedroom apartment with a roommate (my friend, Rebecca) in just a matter of weeks.

From day one in the apartment, I HATED it. I had a very spoiled attitude and anything I could find to complain about, I did. I didn't realize until after we moved in how much I wanted to buy that house. Mike will agree with me that the apartment was far from perfect but it did have it's perks. The rent was great, it was brand-new and had fun things not normally in an apartment like a side-by-side fridge, granite countertops and all hardwood floors, we had a garage included, we had plenty of bedroom space for the two of us + Rebecca and it was close to everything we needed.

Over the course of time, Clay was born, Rebecca moved out, I quit my job and Carolina was born. Before we knew it we had been in the apartment for 4 years! Looking back, I grew up so much in that little apartment. Slowly but surely just as all three rooms filled up, my heart filled up with reasons why the apartment had helped our family.

We got to live in the same city where Mike works for the first couple of years of the kids' lives. After bringing home new babies from the hospital, I was so much more at ease knowing he was just a few miles away. Mike works 12-hour days so it was precious time that we got to see him home each day for his hour lunch.

When it came time for me to quit my job, I could do it with a sense of peace knowing that we didn't have a mortgage to pay each month. While finances weren't perfect, all the little things that add up over time just weren't as big because we didn't have a huge mortgage on top of everything else. Really more than anything, though, the apartment gave us time...

1 comment:

Anita/Nana said...

It was a nice apartment; you guys just grew your family right out of it! Plus, it was much easier to keep up with two tiny babies in a smaller area. You will always have a special place in your heart for that was the “home” you brought the kids to from the hospital.