House-aversary

Five years ago this week I signed my life away and bought my condo. As a single person, that was a scary step, but one I wanted to take.

mortgage-application-form

That step was a long time coming. With the housing bubble, the costs of home ownership were prohibitively high for years. But since I really wanted it, I saved … never truly believing that I would be able to afford that dream.

Then bubbles burst and prices fell.

I started looking and kept saving. I had a couple real estate agents before I discovered the one I needed. Steve is a family friend, and I’ve known him even longer than I’ve known Hillary!

Steve and Tammy

We looked at a gagillion places. Most in my price range required A LOT of work. Although I felt I could conquer the world, Steve helped keep my perceptions of project difficulty more in line with reality.

About a month into the process, I saw an online listing that had the potential to be either really good or really bad. The listing only showed pictures of the outside of the building, none of the interior of the unit.

The overall property was as nice as the pictures. As we approached the unit, Steve had me stand back as he opened the door, not knowing what was inside. It was essentially move in ready, with stained carpets being the only obvious flaw. All the stainless steel appliances were there, and just normal wear and tear.

Although I tried to self-destruct with the deal a couple times, Steve kept me on target. He even parked himself in the HOA’s lobby for more than four hours to get a form needed for escrow to close that they were already a week late in providing.

There was a tense moment when it looked like I’d lost my funding just as we were about to close. I started to pout and lick my wounds saying that it was all over. Steve told me to shut up and sign the form extending the escrow. Coming from one of the most patient men on the planet, I knew my whining needed to stop. I signed the form, and three days later my financing magically reappeared.

While there are definitely things I’d like to change about my place, I’m very proud that it’s mine. I’m also proud of myself for only buying something I could afford on my base salary. When my pay dropped nearly 40% a year later, that decision meant I could still pay the mortgage and keep the lights on.

My little place has served me well. Thanks, Steve, for making it happen.

8 thoughts on “House-aversary”

  1. That has to be a scary move. To buy a house or condo and commit to something for such a long period of time. I never had that. When I married my wife, I just moved in with her. I didn’t have to look for a place or sign any documents. Although we did refinance the mortgage after I moved in so I kind of know what it’s like to sign away on a huge property.

    I’m glad you have such a good friend to rely on. That would help a lot. You should be thankful for having a good place to stay, but also for having such a good friend to get you there.

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    1. I am so grateful to have had someone by my side that was always looking out for my best interest, even when sometimes it appeared that I wasn’t. He kept me on track and somewhat in line with reality.

      It was scary to sign a 30 year loan, but I knew I wanted to own my own place, so it made it worthwhile. So many forms, and I wasn’t signing anything I didn’t read AND understand. The poor signing agent was a bit concerned when i informed her I was going to read everything, but fortunately I was quite used to reading legal docs, and I flew through it in less time than her average appointment that didn’t read everything.

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  2. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your thoughtful comment. Congratulations on 5 years of home ownership and especially for the wise financial decisions you made to get there. My husband and I are looking for the last house we’ll buy–the house we’ll retire in. We are currently renting and I can’t wait to find the perfect sanctuary for us. Our new home will be our fourth–our last home (our dream home) was bought at the top of the housing market and we had to sell it five years later, after the bottom fell out, when my husband was laid off. Looking back, we invested our life savings and inheritance into that house and were living beyond our means, because the lay off caused the “house of cards” to fall. We were fortunate to be able to sell it…I’m grateful. But our next house will be purchased well below what we qualify for! Lessons learned.

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    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your last house. That market was crazy, and it was so easy to believe that prices would continue to rise. At least you were able to sell it. A minor blessing. I’m sure you will eventually be back in the market in a more affordable place and without the feel of drowning under debt.

      Your blog is wonderful. I look forward to the posts coming up on my RSS feed.

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  3. A girl needs a place of her own – what a great feeling that is. I know because i finally bought one in my 40’s after a divorce. It’s just a little place in Colorado, but it’s mine – and I love that. Congrats on 5 years of ownership and keeping the lights on too!

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    1. I’m so glad I made the investment. It is a good feeling for a girl to have her own place. Another pat on my back for not letting the fear keep me from what I wanted.

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