As you may have guessed from the title of this post, we are now homeowners! What a process it was, but it was fun (well, most of the time). We moved into our new digs about two weeks ago. Slowly things are coming together as we put our stamp on this place. You may have heard the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child". Well, while I do agree with that, I also think it takes a village to buy and make somewhere your home. From finding the right realtor to show you houses, to installing a new light fixture, to moving all that crap you have into your new place, you need help. We are so very thankful to everyone who helped us in our journey, we couldn't have done it without ya'll. So, what did we learn along the way? A lot. But- here are my top five things (in no specific order) to consider in the whole home buying process.
Don't stretch yourself. I'm married to a financial advisor. But more than that, I'm married to the budget nazi. My husband knows how every penny of our money is spent- its real annoying. However, I must say that I am thankful (most days) that he is so dedicated to having a budget and sticking to it. That's how we were able to buy our house and have some money to do some decorating/fixing up. Know what you can spend when you go into the process and don't go over it. Also, its important to take into consideration other expenses that you might incur after you've bought the place. For example, it didn't cross our minds that the door locks would have to be replaced. There was a $100 purchase that we hadn't thought about, so we had to take the money from another part of the budget. (Sadly, it was my decorating budget- boo.) Good planning will take you a long way.
You can change a house, but you can't change its location. So, I love old houses. Like, a lot. I am all into the charm and the old hardwood floors and something that was built circa 1850. In Richmond, those houses are in the city. I love the city, I want to live there, I want to be cool like those city folks. However, when you buy a house in the city, you're not just buying a house, you're buying a school district. And- while I am not hating, RVA city schools aren't notorious for their stellar reputation. So, while I loved, loved, loved every house we looked at in the city, we knew this wasn't our forever house and that we'd want to sell it in the next five to six years. School districts sell and so, we moved our search to the suburbs. And- here we are in our nice little cape in a nice little school district.
Be patient. I don't have a lot to say on this point because I'm not a very patient person. What I will say is make sure you take your time in looking for what you really want. More than that, be patient with the whole kit and caboodle. Finding your "right house" takes time, but so does getting a mortgage, decorating, and the list goes on. Take it one step at a time and be thorough in what you're doing. Trust me, it will save you time later.
Sometimes it pays to pay. Referencing back to my first point, my husband does not like to spend money in "unnecessary ways". This is where our paint debate ensued. Every place that we've lived, minus one, we have painted. We have done this ourselves and spent countless hours taping, trimming, and rolling. Fast forward to 2014. We have a baby. I have no time to think about if my shirt matches my shorts much less paint an entire house. Husband thinks, we've got this, we're definitely painting the place on our own like always. We go back and forth for weeks until I call a painter and get him in for an estimate. By a loving act from the Lord, the painter was very reasonable and husband agrees to have him paint the place. He gets it done in a day and a half (we're talking the kitchen, hallways up and down, stairwell, living room, and two bedrooms). On that second day, we walk in and it was the best feeling to come into a painted house and we didn't lift a finger. It was well worth the money for the time and headache we saved. It may not be paint for you, but sometimes it does pay to hand the job over to someone else.
Know what you want, but also know what you don't. You know what you dream of having in your home. You know things you are willing to compromise on. Often, though, you don't think of things you don't want. I knew I did not want an old kitchen. I knew that we did not have money to do a kitchen remodel and I didn't want to live with something I hated. I also knew that I did not want the baby to be on a different floor of the house than us. We had to have rooms on the same level. So, know things you just can't have too when you're in the thick of house hunting.
And now, the moment you've all been waiting for- some house pictures! We're still working on many of the rooms, but here are a few highlights from rooms that are pretty much finished.
|Our living room, including the coffee table my Daddy built!|
|Living room again.|
|Excited about this fire place tool hook find at Hobby Lobby.|
|Guest bath. Pinterest inspired color and hooks.|
|Guest bath again…my Dad and I made the frame for the mirror.|
|Another Pinterest idea put into action in our built-ins in the kitchen.|
That's all for now, happy house hunting to all you house hunters!