Friday, November 14, 2014

One Time We Bought a House

I've been putting off this post for months now, but I think if I just sit and start writing it out at least it will have begun, and then it's much more likely to be finished.  The Wife already posted a very good summary/photo tour on her blog, and also a great rundown of some of our projects so far, but I've been planning this in my head all summer so I'm just going to get it down anyway.

So there we were in our 2bd/1bth townhouse apartment in Provo that we really liked, going along our merry way, but then one day little Bobo was not so little anymore, and we realized the shared nursery/office space situation wasn't going to work out indefinitely.  It was getting harder and harder to schedule naptime/worktime, and besides that we knew that before TOO long we would have another little one on the way (and also our landlords rather frown on people having more than one child while living in those apartments).  Also, our contract was about to be up.  So, we started our long and in-depth process of househunting.

I'll spare you the gory and tedious details, but in the end we talked to two real estate agents and two loan officers (one of whom worked at a bank, and one of whom was an actual loan officer and also a relative) and looked at over a dozen houses over a month or two, narrowed it down to a couple of frontrunners, and then decided on what features were most important to us, what we could expect considering our budget/desired mortgage (and learned the difference between settling and compromising), and finally, some three to four months later, and just in time for our fifth anniversary, decided on this place:
It's a 4bed/2.5 bath on a nice 1/3+ acre of land that has really been great so far.  The negotiation process was pretty tiresome at times, but luckily our agent Jared was really great to work with and managed a great deal.  The poor house was on the market for almost a year without a buyer, and after dealing with the seller and even our very first experience with its curb appeal it's not too hard to figure out why, but it's also amazing what a nice mow, a thorough weeding, and a fresh coat of paint in some key spots can do for the overall look of the place (and it makes you wonder why they didn't do that in the first place if they really wanted to sell...).  I guess it's because this house was waiting for US to come along and give it some love and attention, which we knew was all it needed.  It's so nice to have a place that's actually ours, and although homeownership comes with some (pretty expected) big differences compared to renting, we're up to the challenge.  Of course it's been an adjustment in some ways, but we thought, we're done with school, we have a little guy, we're ready to move on in this next big step.
This wasn't our truck, it was our neighbors', but it's always fun to be surprised by my mom and sisters smiling back at you on the back of a U-Haul.

We took care of a few things after signing and before moving in, including getting a few appliances and even painting The Boy's room before putting everything in it.  Then we rented a U-Haul for the first time ever (since we were moving farther than a mile west, which is what we've done for the last three moves), which I had fun driving, and thanks to some family and neighbors, and NEW neighbors, we were able to get out of our apartment and into our house in just a matter of two hours or so, which was awesome.  It took a little while longer to get unpacked and finish up with all our boxes, but it was great to get most of it done so quickly.  Moving in general is such a huge pain, and really ever since we moved into our last place I've been dreading it, but it was nice to have help and to just get it behind us and check off the big things, and then it didn't take too long to feel like we've lived here for a nice long while and for it to feel like home.
Yes, well... this was SOME of our stuff.  Oy, moving.

Such a good little helper.
Too cool.

Seriously, how often do I get to drive a truck this big?
I've been learning a lot about homeownership already, like what to do about a clogged toilet (answer:  don't throw a Sharpie down there in the first place, whoever lived here before and did that).  Thanks for all your help, Handy Matt!
We thought we might get a trampoline next summer sometime, but then Matt said he had one just laying around waiting to be put back together, and asked if we wanted it.  Yes, inDEED!
We really love the yard.  Actually one of the main things The Wife was looking for was space, so she could feel like she's not TOTALLY surrounded by neighbors and feel a little more like her home in the midwestern woods.  This back yard has a lot of, erm... personality, but it's been a lot of fun to get to know it better.  The neighbors keep saying that they've been praying for someone to buy the house and take care of the lawn, and it's true what they said -- turn the water back on and it actually does come back before you know it.  The first time we looked at the house we almost didn't even bother looking inside because the lawn was in such terrible condition, but even a mow of the dead grass and waist-high weeds made a huge difference, and a couple weeks of sprinkling and it was even better.  It still needs a lot of work, but it's in great shape to be a more or less blank canvas come spring.
Nursery no more.
This is where I spend a significant portion of my weekday waking hours, and it's nice not to have to work around an increasingly alert and aware toddler's nap schedule.  It's also nice not to have to worry about being too noisy for neighbors downstairs or next door, and to do whatever we want to the place, whether it's paint or plant or replace things or whatever.
Our housewarming party approximately two months after moving in was the impetus that finally persuaded me to put up our art wall.
I think Julie's talking to Melody at the bottom of the stairs.
So many delicious autumnal snacks and cheeses (sans cheese!).  Nice work, Wife.  Also, lawl, The Boy back there.
Mom and Dad reading Roller Coaster (a very favorite around here) to the little boys.  Thanks for the pictures, Matt!  I didn't take a single one.
Oh, there was also that time when we were THIS CLOSE to being on House Hunters...  Yes, Julie applied, and they actually wrote back.  They emailed back and forth a few times, talking about us and who we are and what we're like and why we're moving and what we're looking for, and in the end it was just a matter of timing.  They said we wouldn't be able to move in or make any changes to the house by a certain date, and that day was past our closing date, and we thought it was just better to go into our house as soon as we could (especially since our contract was about to run out, and I did try to extend for a few days, but that turned into a pretty big hassle and mostly it's just a terrible and annoying story about how our landlady said some really rude and unprofessional things to us about losing money on us [not our fault] and how they'll be glad to be rid of us [ideal tenants], and yikes, it wasn't pretty, and mostly I'm just glad we managed to recover ANY of our deposit).  If only HH had written to us sooner!  It's a shame it didn't work out with our timeline, because I am telling you, we would have been great TV.  And that makes the third TV show I've applied for (two of them twice).  One of these days!  Ha ha.

Anyway, that's about it!  We were so close to becoming TV stars, and we had some kerfuffles with landlords/sellers, and we're slowly working through our little project list, but the end result is that we' like our house.  Not long after we moved in The Wife's (almost) entire family were in town, and although it was tight, we all fit for a couple of nights, which wouldn't even have been possible at all in our last place.  Then, some two months after moving in, we finally had our housewarming party, and it was so fun to have a lot of guests, and to have a place to fit them all, and to have a great backyard where we could send the kids to play on the swingset and the rock wall and the trampoline (thanks, Matt!), just like I always pictured.  As I've said before, I hope we really love it here, because we are NEVER moving again!  (At least not for like ten years, ha.)

Written 3 November 2014.


  1. You've done fantastic job on the new pad!

    1. Thanks, Mattie! You've been such a big help!