So we’re buying a house. It happened on accident, really. After we got back together a few months ago, Em and I were aflutter with possibilities and excitement and we were drunk with a sense of urgency about not wasting another moment of our shared life. So we decided we would look at a “fixer-upper” that we could work on over the coming months while we waited for our respective leases to expire.
We walked through one house with a great layout that may have been a solid purchase for a contractor or someone who works at HGTV. That same day, we looked at a terrifying horror shack with secret rooms and a torture basement and possibly a raccoon or the ghost of a slaughtered child living in the attic.
We had an earnest discussion about whether a fixer-upper was realistic for us. Each of us has a demanding career, working a combined total of somewhere around 100-120 hours a week. Clearly we were love drunk when we thought for even a fleeting second that we would have the energy to fix up a house when we frequently don’t have the energy to eat anything for dinner besides frozen pizza, Taco Bell, or a bag of chips. The BBQ Baked Lays carnage in this relationship is unspeakable.
Realizing our limitations, we let it lie for a while. But we had that looking-for-a-house itch that people get. Once you open that Pandora’s box, it’s hard to put the lid back on. Suddenly you find yourself scrolling through home-buying apps constantly, like when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or watching TV or sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night.
A few reasonably-priced houses came onto the market in our favorite neighborhood and we went to look at them. One was built by a local artist and was very obviously added onto by the same artist. It was fascinating in theory, but impractical. Another one was in a great location and had a killer garage, but the house itself was small and chopped up and outdated. One of the bedrooms was an “L” shape and we had to consider raising a family there; weird L-shaped bedrooms are no bueno when you plan to have 2-3 kids. One house we looked at seemed perfect. It was a craftsman, a style we excitedly discovered early in our relationship that we both loved. The living room had a gorgeous brick fireplace and hardwood floors, the dining room had great hardwood, the kitchen was all new with stainless appliances and granite countertops and the place was just stunning. Except it had one bedroom. One. Whoever bought the place was trying to refinish the basement to make that livable space, but the kids thing came up again for us. Do you want your very young children in the basement when you’re upstairs? Nerp.
Turns out the process of actually going to look at houses makes me want to take a coping nap for a few days, so we let it lie again. I deleted the home-buying apps from my phone for a while and focused my energy on scrolling through Pinterest and staring at things that I would almost definitely never build, cook, wear, or do. It’s a great pastime.
We started thinking about rentals. And we looked at one that seemed nice enough, but the floors were dingy and it was older than the photos had depicted and it was further west than we prefer to be. After that failed attempt, like a lovelorn and nostalgic teenager, I re-installed one of my home-buying apps for old times’ sake. And suddenly there were a couple of promising houses on the market in our price range and favorite neighborhood. So we got out in the snow on a crisp, bright Saturday morning and looked at three more houses. Before we even made it to the third, we decided to make an offer on the second.
Closing is two weeks from tomorrow. I have been silent and barely excited at all over the past several weeks because I understand that the loan approval process does not always go as planned, and I have grown so accustomed to living under a cloud of Murphy’s Law that my excitement mechanism seems to be busted. But today the lender told me she was confident in the loan and said, “Sweetie, you can be excited! I’m excited for you!” The only potential concern she had was if the termite inspection came back showing an infestation. Less than an hour later, the realtor called with a preliminary report that the termite inspection came back clean.
So we’re buying a house.
It is a three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath 1940s Colonial Revival. Or something. It’s a house. A big ol’ brick house with a beautifully landscaped front yard and a fully fenced backyard with a huge deck, two apple trees, a compost heap, and a raspberry patch. It was recently regraded and planted with Kentucky bluegrass. It has hardwood floors, and a beautiful hardwood staircase, and space in the basement for me to set up my home office away from the living space. My home office is currently IN my bedroom, so you can imagine that it’s difficult to separate my professional life from my personal one. It has a high-efficiency washer and dryer, a dishwasher, triple pane energy efficient windows (the power bills are less than what I pay at my 650 square foot apartment), and a whole-house humidifier.
It is modest: less than 1500 square feet with a one-car garage. But it is plenty of space for us and the family we hope to start. There is space to add on or remodel later if we want to, but it is completely move-in ready and there is no need to remodel anytime soon. It is four blocks from our favorite park in town. It is walking distance to Em’s job and our church and the downtown area where there are delicious restaurants, coffee shops, bars, entertainment. It is on a brick street with beautiful globe streetlights. It has a wood-burning fireplace. There are delightful, eccentric 1940s built-ins, which makes my heart terribly happy.
It is not perfect, of course. The kitchen is a little small and there is not a ton of closet space. But it suits our needs brilliantly.
I am finally a little excited. Because we are buying a house. But also, TERRIFIED. Because we are buying a house. Adulthood. It is happening.