One of my New Year's resolutions was to buy a house. I got my mortgage pre-approved, giving me a price range that would feel comfortable. I've been looking online since the fall, but really started looking for real after the holidays.
My real estate agent would send me listings, and I would drive through the neighborhoods, getting a feel for who lived there, what it was near, what the traffic was like, how it looked from the outside, etc. My first weekend, I drove by 24 houses, with the help of Pippa (my GPS with the British accent) and went into the model for new construction townhouses.
I was immediately in love. I wanted to stop looking. I could have everything on my wish list -- hardwood floors, gas fireplace, soaking tub, finished basement.
But my Doylestown big brother talked me down. "This is your first house. You can't jump at the first thing you like. You need to look more."
"But did I tell you about the tub?!" I said excitingly in his office. I think I might have even jumped up and down a little.
"Laurie.....Laurie....this is a big deal....you need to go slowly."
"And the hard wood floors....and the fireplace with the light switch." A little less excited, still a little jumping as I talked.
"Just look at all your options, that's all I'm saying."
And he was right. I needed to do my due diligence. That week, Linda and I went to two of the houses from my weekend neighborhood stalking. One was awful, even if it was in the neighborhood where Pink's grandmother lives. Possible Carey Hart sightings are not enough.
The other was a definite contender. The carpets looks good. It had hardwood floors. A finished basement. The walls would have needed to be painted, but unlike one of the open houses I stopped in the previous weekend, no wallpaper to scrape off.
And so went the next few weeks. Linda would email me a list by the end of the week. I would look at them online and then map out anything that looked promising. Sunday afternoons, after my work out, I would get in the car and drive all over, making notes. And then the following week, we'd see anything that was promising.
And then, as we were looking at a super cute townhouse. Colors on the wall -- all fun and appropriate. Hardwood floors on the first floor. Fireplace. But, not basement. No attic. Tight storage. I didn't want to like it as much as I did, but I knew I would outgrow it immediately. No place to put a treadmill. No place for a sewing/craft room.
I am not a hoarder by any means, but I have "stuff." And I've been very creative in all of my apartments with challenging closet space to figure it all out. When I buy something, I don't want to have to be creative with storage.
And so as I stood in that dining room, trying to figure out how I could make it work, I looked at Linda and said, "let's just buy the new construction. I think I've seen enough to know."
And so this past Monday, Linda and I went up to the model home and I signed what seemed like 167 pieces of paper for a house to be built this summer and I will be able to move in towards the end of the summer. The builder representative would explain what each page was and I'd look at Linda, she'd nod and I would sign and initial. On and on.
I bought a house. A brand new house. And I get my hardwood floors.
And a gas fireplace (anyone who knows me knows I'm always cold and how much I will enjoy that in the colder months).
And a soaking tub. When I lived in Baltimore, I have a claw-foot tub and I used it at least four times a week. A regular bathtub won't do after having something that deep. It doesn't need to be extra long or extra wide, but it needs to be deep. And that's what I'm getting.
And a finished basement. For my treadmill. And for a craft room. I can set up the sewing machine and leave it set up.
I've been pinning all sorts of things on Pinterest the past few months. And this week I made an expandable file just for the house. Each section is a different room. For decorating ideas. For figuring out the lay-out in each room.
Wednesday, I meet with the mortgage company.
And next Monday, Linda and I are going to the showroom to pick out cabinets, flooring, counter tops, etc.
It's coming along. I bought a house. I'm a property virgin no more.