Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 4 of 365: Homeownership

My husband and I currently live in an apartment. More or less.

We closed on a house in mid July, barely days after we returned from our roadtrip. We had been casually looking at houses for nearly 6 months before we got a realtor involved, and continued looking at houses for an additional three. Between the casually-looked-over houses, the houses we visited with our realtor, and the houses we wanted to visit (but went off the market just as we brought them to the attention of our realtor), we probably had looked at nearly 50 properties. My mother-in-law compared house-hunting to wedding dress-shopping: when you know, you know. It'll just feel right.

This was definitely the case for us. We had originally said that our "perfect house" was a four bedroom house, same-level garage (as opposed to a basement garage), with tiled floors for the entranceway and kitchen, and an entirely carpeted upstairs. On a rather chilly May day, we walked into a three-bedroom, basement-garaged house with hardwood kitchen floors, and knew we found home.

When you know, you know. My husband and I making faces at each other and surreptitiously giving each other the thumbs up signal was essentially the equivalent of my bridesmaids and I crying together when I walked out wearing The Dress.

Ah, if only financing a house was as easy as financing a dress.

We quickly learned that the headaches don't go away when you make an offer on a house (and the original owners accept it). We quickly learned that it doesn't matter if you have great credit, or a good job, or are a standup human being with nothing so much as a parking ticket to your name (okay, I do have a parking ticket to my name. But it was a bullshit one in Boston for not pulling into my metered spot all the way).

The headaches going through the mortgage process was unparalleled. From nitpicking every transaction we had ever made in the last 6 months, to downright calling us on the day of closing, wanting additional proof that we could afford the down payment and closing costs (although, as anyone who has dealt with closing days knows, we already had that money in hand, as a cashier's check, just waiting to be pushed over to the original owner's side). It got so bad that we drove to the house, only to have to drive back and resign something because certain higher ups had changed their mind on how a certain document should be signed. Honestly, I felt like I was in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, because it felt that absurd.

But thankfully that's all in the past. The house is now (very much) ours. We have spent every weekend for the last 3 weeks coming up to the house, dropping off boxes in the basement on our way from the basement garage (because hey, every box we casually bring over is a box we don't have to pay movers to carry), and working on various home improvement projects. From scrubbing the overhead light fixtures to running three different sets of cable (television, cable, and stereo -- for a stereo system we don't even own yet). From picking out new paint colors to using the original paint colors to paint over where we cut open the walls.

With any luck, we'll be moving into the house by the end of the month. Actually moving. With movers (because this isn't college anymore and I'm not going to pay my friends to lug my couch across a parking lot for free pizza). We have our apartment until mid-November thanks to my leasing company's draconian lease-breaking law, but hey, the burn of 2 1/2 months rent for an empty apartment is somewhat ameliorated when we pretend that it's just part of closing costs. It'll be nice, moving into an actual house, with an actual kitchen -- a kitchen where I don't have to decide if I want to use the toaster OR the cutter board (because there's not enough room for both, lest you cut your food over the stove).

It's all yet another reminder that I am very much an adult now. A fact I will vehemently deny, even after I start having children.

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