In my last post, I shared the story of how when my husband and I began our married life in 2016, we were renting our current home from my parents, who had purchased it as an investment property. We were incredibly grateful for the opportunity to live in really nice home, which normally we could have barely been able to afford (my parents were generously renting it to us at a discount). Nevertheless, it definitely was not our “dream home.”
As we worked hard to increase our income, we started dreaming more about the kind of house we might actually buy one day. I figured that buying and selling a house is expensive (not to mention moving costs!), so at the time, I assumed our first home would be our forever home. This was one of the reasons that I discounted the townhome we were living in—I knew it could serve our needs now and even for the next 5-10 years, but I wasn’t sure that it would be big enough down the line. However, we live in an expensive area on a modest income, so there honestly wasn’t much else we could afford that we would actually want to live in.
There were a few other really nice townhome developments in the area that I had my eye on—condos that were similar to ours, but built a bit more recently, with vaulted ceilings in the living room, crown molding, and a large master bathroom with a big jacuzzi tub (one of my life goals is to live in a home with a jacuzzi!). So we went to a few open houses in the summer of 2017, and to my surprise, as nice as these homes were, they were really no bigger than our townhome, and at nearly $100,000 more than ours would cost, I wasn’t sure that all those fancy features were really worth it. The more I thought about it, our townhome started to look like a really good deal.
By the beginning of 2018, my husband and I had both received significant raises, so we asked my parents for their financial advice (since we are still no where close to making enough money to pay our own financial advisor—hah!). We had been scrimping and saving for what seemed like forever, so it was an “odd” problem to try and figure out what to do with our “extra” income. To my shock, my dad said out of the blue, “Why don’t you buy a house?” Of course, they didn’t mean just any house—they wanted us to buy the house we were living in! They were at a point where it was advantageous for them to sell it, and finally, we were at the point where we could actually afford to buy it!
All the sudden, things just clicked for us, and we realized that this made so much sense. We could buy our house now, start building up equity in it, and even if we sold it 5-10 years down the line to buy our “forever home,” we really couldn’t lose money on it. The other very important factor was that interest rates were really low, which is why my parents strongly encouraged us to buy sooner rather than later. As it turned out, because we got a 15-year mortgage with over 20% for the downpayment, our bank was able to offer us an incredibly low interest rate, which is saving us thousands of dollars in the long run.
So, in February we met with a real estate agent and began the process of applying for a mortgage, and on March 20th, 2018 we closed on our home! I still can’t believe it happened so fast! It felt like a huge decision (and it WAS), but we felt so confident about it, that I really wasn’t nervous at all. And exactly one year later, I still feel like it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made (other than getting married of course!). We have grown to really love our home, and we discovered that we look at it totally differently than when we were just renting it. We are really excited to continue investing in fixing it up (like our upcoming basement renovation project!), and it is incredibly fulfilling to see the fruits of our labors pay off. Owning our home changed my mindset in so many ways, both big and small—like planting bulbs in our garden, because I knew we’d be around long enough to enjoy them. We’ve learned that one’s “dream home” really is built over time—it doesn’t just happen overnight—and even a home that we didn’t love at first can become a “dream home.”