Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our house in the middle of the street

I don't know what closing costs are. I've had three different people explain it to me and I've googled it multiple times, but I still have no idea what they are. Same goes for mortgage insurance. And PPI. And APR. I really should know what all those letters mean because we just bought a house.

Every time our lender or realtor started talking numbers my eyes would glaze over and I'd start daydreaming about lunch. And then when I'd come to again I'd have to ask them to repeat what they just said, and the cycle would start over until I became Michael Scott asking Oscar to explain a budget surplus. But despite my complete lack of mathematical comprehension, we managed to buy a house.

I bet house hunting is really fun if you have lots and lots of money. Then you can say things like, "Is that fountain in the foyer made from French marble? We were really looking for an Italian marble fountain." But when you don't have lots and lots of money house hunting isn't that fun and you say things like, "Excuse me, that two bedroom, split-level home with the peeling Chicago Bears wallpaper is how much?". We quickly realized that there was a real discrepancy between the house we wanted and the house we could afford. We spent, like, twenty seven Saturdays in our realtor's car, driving all over Salt Lake City looking at homes, and each house felt like a treasure hunt. Except the treasure was whatever abnormality made the house within our price range, and most often, unlivable. Usually it was the "basement" that Stephen couldn't stand up in without hitting his head on the ceiling. Sometimes it was lack of central air. Sometimes, I'm not kidding, it was a house listed as a three bedroom with the third bedroom being a previous coal depository the size of a small dog kennel. We felt discouraged. But. Stephen and I have both spent that past eleven years as renters, which is a lot of years to spend handing over chunks of money to landlords. And we have very much outgrown our apartment. And we just felt like it was time to get some equity, whatever the H equity is, so we kept looking. Then we found a house we liked. We toured it, made an offer that same day, AND SOMEONE ELSE MADE A HIGHER OFFER THE VERY SAME DAY. Because apparently everyone else in our blessed city is looking for affordable houses that aren't super crappy. So our realtor sent more listings, we found one that looked promising, and we toured it the day it hit the market. We loved it. Three bedrooms with high ceilings all on one floor. A recently updated kitchen, a porch, a master bathroom with TWO SINKS. So we made an offer. One of many things I didn't realize about home buying before this adventure is that houses are like Oakley sunglasses in Tijuana in that the price the seller lists is not the amount they actually expect to get. Except this seller. This seller was in a hurry, so he priced the home at a level he thought would sell quickly, so when we heard that he would only accept list price we said OKAY FINE and made another offer. And just like that, we were home owners. 

There are some quirks to the house. Like, the floor is a different level in every room. The house slants to the right. The basement is a glorified cave containing a washer and dryer. The stairs to the basement are slightly less steep than a sheer drop. The chimney might crumble after a slight breeze. And the yard needs a whole lot of work. But for us, right now, it's perfect. 

We've spent the last month painting, replacing carpet, and making lots of trips to Home Depot which is why you haven't heard from me in a while. Well that and children and work and The Bachelor. We hope to be completely moved in by Saturday, so then maybe life will slow down a little? Probably not. Anyway, as I write this I really should be packing so I better go. But I'll leave you with some photos. 

The exterior:

Our empty living room:

Ivy riding her tricycle on the tricycle-friendly floor. Also, Ollie's bum:

Ivy in her bedroom painted the color she chose:

A not very good photo taken at night of Ramona's bedroom wall color:

New, fresh, carpet. It smells so good.


  1. Congrats! Doesn't buying a house make you feel like you are a real grown up now? ;)

  2. this is the most useful house buying blog post ive read in a long time, cause that's exactly how i feel about it. i love your little house!


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