Timeline of Change
10:30 p.m. Friday
It’s Friday night and I’m waiting for my realtor to send me the paperwork to sign to make an offer on the house I love.
When the hell did I become such an adult? A year and a half ago, I was going through my quarter life crisis and making lists about signs you are an adult. When I read those old posts, I’m amazed at how far I’ve come.
The past few months, I’ve been looking at townhouses and condos with a realtor. You see, I wasn’t supposed to buy anything for another month or so. Because I am, um, currently under a lease at my apartment. But let’s not let that get in the way of the house I love.
The moment I stepped foot into this house, my stress levels went into overdrive. I loved the house. Everything about it. But it was a little (okay, a little more than a little) outside where I wanted to be on price, so I spent more than a week agonizing. I wondered if I should wait another year to get a house. Save more money. Then I couldn’t stop thinking about the house. And how much I wanted to build my life there.
I budgeted. Then I looked for savings. Then I budgeted some more. I finally decided I could afford it, but I would definitely have to make a few sacrifices.
Now I’m making an offer.
At some point today, I transitioned from agonizing over the decision to getting excited. Really, super excited.
Earlier tonight, I went out with my friend Megan and we walked through several art galleries and shops. I started to mentally decorate the house I haven’t even bought yet. The color scheme, the paintings I want to put on the walls, the type of hand soap I’ll have in the guest bathroom. I nearly lost it when we stumbled across someone selling terrariums. I’ve been obsessed with the concept of owning a terrarium since I saw these in Oprah magazine. I began thinking about what kind of terrarium I was going to buy for my house.
We ate from the food carts – delicious lettuce wraps and blue crab stuffed wontons from Thai Cabin – and I thought, “I’m going to make wontons in my new house!” Okay, I didn’t really think that. I never cook. But I wanted an excuse to share these yummy pictures.
The point is, I’m so excited. I’m buying a house! An amazing, beautiful, perfect house!
11:20 p.m. Friday
My realtor just told me that there is an open house scheduled for Sunday.
Any open house. In my house. AKA strangers walking through my house, messing up the brand new carpet and touching all the doorknobs.
Strangers possibly putting in offers, better offers, and buying my house.
For the record: I don’t think I could ever be a real estate mogul. This is just too damn stressful.
So I’m just here with my thoughts. I decided to write to get my mind off of it.
God, I haven’t written in so long. I have so many things I want to write about. You should see the list of blog topics I have on my phone. I’ve started calling it the “list of things I’ll never blog about because I never blog anymore.” I’ve been so busy with other things going on. I’ve been enjoying my summer. OK, I’m also super lazy.
Maybe I’ll write more once I have an office. The house has three bedrooms, and one of them is going to make the perfect office. Yeah, that’s when the blog will pick up. I can’t hardly wait.
10 a.m. Saturday
We have submitted our offer. I wonder how long it will take for them to get back with me?
I have a busy day ahead of me. I’m getting my hair dyed and cut. (I know, SHOCKING, I’m not a natural blonde.) I figure I could be homeowner at any time and I’ll need to be more careful with my money. Therefore, I should buy everything I need now.
Smart, I know.
While I’m getting my hair done, I tell my hairdresser about the different houses I’ve found. And by hairdresser, I mean a woman who mostly does men’s hair. Because she works in a barber shop. Gabe’s Barber Shop, to be specific. (This is the same hairdresser who set me up on a blind date when I was newly single.) People always think it’s funny when I tell them that I get my hair done at a barber shop, but I love my hairdresser and I would follow her anywhere. And sometimes a barber shop can provide good scenery. If you are looking, that is.
While she painstakingly applies a bleach-like product to my hair, I tell her about Murder House, the house that I sort of liked for like a minute. I found Murder House one night while scrolling through the house listings online. Everything in the house was white. The walls. The countertops. The cabinets. White, white, white. Chef and I are in the middle of a Breaking Bad super marathon, so I have illegal activity on the mind. I told my realtor I thought the previous owners had murdered someone and painted everything white to cover the evidence.
Clearly, that’s my future home.
But really, it wasn’t such a bad place. The upstairs layout was awesome and everything was workable. It had an amazing walk-in closet and a nice yard and deck. It had pretty hardwood floors and a big kitchen. But the downstairs living space was awful. There were two very small living rooms in which neither could fit a couch and a TV. And there was nothing you could do about the layout. It was just going to be like that forever.
Then there was Chinese Food House, named because it was on Magnolia Lane, and my realtor and I kept accidentally typing Mongolia on text, which made me crave Chinese food. Hard to follow, I know. That place had a nice kitchen and downstairs floor plan, but it backed up to a somewhat busy road and the upstairs bathrooms needed some serious work.
Neither of these houses were quite right. And neither of them had a pool, which I had decided was a must-have after laying by this all summer.
Pretty amazing, right?
3:30 p.m. Saturday
I’m blonder than I started the day. And I’ve lost about three inches of hair.
They haven’t responded to my offer yet. It feels like it’s been days. I bug my realtor and he promises an answer soon. I take a nap to make time go by faster.
6 p.m. Saturday
I wake up from my nap and think about how I totally wasted the afternoon. I should have gone to the pool instead. Especially considering I won’t have a pool for much longer. You see, my dream house isn’t my dream house after all. It doesn’t have a pool. Everywhere that had a pool was either way out of my price range, or they had homeowner association fees from $250-$400 a month. I want a pool, but I don’t want a pool that much. And I don’t want to give this house up – this house with everything I want – simply because there’s no pool. Luckily, the house is right by Pony Pasture, a place where Richmonders go to swim and lay out on the rocks of the James River. I could bike to Pony Pasture. If I owned a bike. But first things first. I have to get the house.
Finally a counter offer. We begin negotiating. Which feels sort of surreal because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I follow my realtor’s lead. It’s also kind of fun. I may just get my house today.
7 p.m. Saturday
I need a drink. I enlist Dawn and Dakari to go to Don Pepe (one of only two restaurants in walking distance of my apartment). I drink strawberry daiquiris and eat lots of chips.
Calories don’t count because I’m pre-celebrating. You only buy your first house once.
A sad part of the evening is when I find out my grandfather from my step-dad’s side has died. It’s been a long time coming, but I still feel bad for my step-dad and his family. I’ll miss Bummer (that’s what we called him). I really think he’d be proud of me tonight, though.
I bug Chef while he’s at work. I tell him how anxious I am to get an answer. I can’t wait for him to get off, so we can celebrate together.
9:30 p.m. Saturday
It’s strange to me how far I’ve come. A few years ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to live. Then I spent so much time traveling and really missed being near my family. I felt like I missed a lot of my sister’s pregnancy. I realized how much I love having family and friends nearby.
I started working with a really great client and developed a new excitement about my work. I was doing new things, learning a lot and working with wonderful people.
I began to hang out with friends in the city more and learned to parallel park. I started to like the city. I started to have favorite restaurants and shops. And now I’m putting a bid on a house with a Richmond address. The house is not in the downtown area, but just south of the city. Which gives me the suburb feeling I like, and I’ll be much closer to work and fun.
Best yet, I won’t have to see that look on people’s faces when I tell them I live in Chester.
For the record, I still love the hell out of Chester. I plan to come back often. When I sneak into my old apartment complex’s pool, that is.
10 p.m. Saturday
I’ve now thought all day about how much I love the house. From its hardwood floors to the sweet bathrooms to the renovated kitchen, I love so much about it. I can’t wait to park in the garage in the winter and grill out in the summer. I can’t wait for the first time I “give someone the tour.” I love how soft the carpet feels on my toes. Yes, I’ve already walked around barefoot, even before I put in an offer.
We head home from Don Pepe, full and a little tipsy.
My phone rings. I got the house.
While I’m calling about everyone I know, Dawn brings down some champagne.
I couldn’t be more excited.
I have so many other things to tell you about the past month, but I really wanted to share this news first. Buying this house is a huge milestone for me. It’s taken me so long to get here, and I’m incredibly excited about my future. Thanks for letting me share this time with you all.
PS: If you are looking to buy a house yourself and you live in the Richmond area, my realtor was fantastic. We had a lot of fun and he has been really helpful throughout the process. His name is Mike Hogan. Here’s his website and here’s his Twitter account.
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.