Monday, September 07, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Sorry it's been so long...again. After a week or two of no activity I get a couple of FB messages asking if I'm ok (much appreciated). I'm perfectly fine, and so is Butterbean as far as I know. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I just recently got internet back.

First off, before I forget, I just want to say thank you all so much for all your encouraging words from my last two posts. When I wrote that first post, I wasn't sure if anyone would even come back to read it, since I'd been gone so long. I was shocked to see that an hour after I had published it, I already had 14 comments. Sometimes I can't believe the outpouring of support in the online running community. :) And trust me, with all the stress we have been under for the past few months, it truly means a lot. But I do have some wonderful news to report (finally), which is the reason I have been MIA for the past couple of weeks.

Two weeks ago, Jeremy and I had the pleasure of closing on our very first house!!! YAY!!!!

The process has been a total roller coaster and something we never thought we would see happen, but it finally did and we are beyond thrilled.

We started looking for a place to live in Miami a few years ago. Unfortunately, at the time, the homes we would afford (condos with high association fees) were all ridiculously overpriced. But little did we know, our disappointment was a blessing in disguise. Had we bought one of those condos two years ago, we would have lost SO much money last year.

Then we thought for a few months we were going to move to Sarasota, FL (where my parents live). Jeremy had a job opportunity there and for a couple of months, we looked for houses again. But that job opportunity unexpectedly fell through at the last minute and so did our quest for a home.

Here in Philly, we decided it was a good idea to rent for a year while we tried to figure out where we wanted to live. We knew it was a good time to look again once we heard about the first-time homebuyers credit. We figured out that we would qualify for the full $8,000 and we knew we could get a decent place for almost the same amount we were paying in rent. So we set up a time to go out with our realtor who helped us with our rental (he's the best) in late March to start looking.

But the Sunday we were set to go look with him was the same weekend I had the miscarriage. Jeremy offered to cancel, but since the worse of it was over, I insisted on going (stubborn much?). I needed something to look forward to and focus on besides the baby. So off we went.

We spent the next two months looking at properties with our incredibly patient realtor, Michael Steele (I love saying his name, it sounds like a superhero). In total, we saw over 70 properties. We fell in love with one house, saw it twice, then decided the neighborhood was too far from the city and we wanted to be on a train line. Then we fell for another house with a great backyard, deck and view of the city. We saw it twice, but we realize it needed too much work and the upstairs was too small.

The third house we fell in love with was a total rehab, huge, close to a train line and in a great part of the city we wanted to live in. We didn't totally, LOVE it, but we liked it and were at the point where we figured we would never have that "feeling" everyone talks about when they walk into a place and know "it's the one". We were so sick of looking at that point that we decided we liked it enough to put in an offer. We negotiated back and forth with a shady realtor and seller, but finally settled on a price. We were thrilled.

But on the day of the inspection, I had the strangest feeling I couldn't explain. Everything inside of me was telling me not to get this house. I don't normally get feelings like that, or think much about them, but this one was overwhelming. The inspector found a ton of things wrong with the place. It was nothing that couldn't necessarily be fixed, but it was way too much for us to be comfortable with on our first home and it would have cost a LOT of money. We left the inspection totally confused and scared we were about to make a horrible mistake. As we left the house, we drove by another place that had just come up on the market the week we agreed on the last house. As we drove by it, I remember thinking how cute it was and if we were still looking, I would love to see it. After two days we decided we didn't want to renegotiate and pulled out of the deal.

The next night I broke out in a horrible case of hives. HIVES!!! I have never had hives in my LIFE! I was so stressed out from looking for a house, and the agony of a bad inspection and deciding whether or not to take that bloody house, my body reacted by turning into a giant red, itchy MESS. It was so awful.

So the next week, we dusted ourselves off for another Saturday tour of homes with Michael Steele. We had 7 houses on the list. The cute house was number two.

As soon as we pulled up to the house and stepped out of the car, I knew this was where I wanted to live. It was a gorgeous, 1920's, tudor-style rowhome surrounded by huge mature trees on a wide, beautiful street. It was also four doors away from one of the best running trails in the city.

As soon as we stepped through the arched doorway and entered the home, I had "the feeling". It was the best feeling ever.

While we had to compromise on a few things with this home (mainly square footage), it had a lot of the things we were looking for (a ton of character, huge trees, close to our favorite park and train line, renovated, but not in cheap, shady, flipping the house sort of way). We decided we could size down a bit if the house had everything else we wanted, and this one did. We were in love. The best part is, the sellers were not some shady flippers looking to make a buck, but a nice family who loved the home and planned on being here a long time. The husband is a contractor and carpenter and renovated everything, so it's all done beautifully. It's a great feeling to buy a place and feel confident with the purchase, not scared that the master bathroom is literally going to fall off the back of the house (just one of the many concerns with the last house).

We negotiated back and forth, went through (and paid for, ugh) another inspection, got the house appraised, renegotiated again and after three months of waiting on this house, we FINALLY closed two weeks ago. We have been waiting for this moment for so long, that as I sit here and write this in my very own living room, I still can't believe it. I am at a single moment in my life where I feel totally blessed.

The past few weeks have been spent moving, painting, sewing, unpacking, shopping etc. It's been exhausting and wonderful all at once.

There is so much more I want to write about it, but I'll save it for another post (probably with pics). Until then...








MCM Mama said...

Awesome house! Congratulations!

When we walked into our house for the first time 13 years ago, I knew it was the one. We're still here and still happy with it, even though it's stuffed to the gills with now having two kids in it.

Enjoy your new house!

X-Country2 said...

Aww, congrats! You deserve all the happiness coming your way. I remember getting our keys to our first house and being SO excited.

rburns said...

Congratulations! We are so excited and proud of you guys. I'm so glad you found your first house and had that special "this is it" feeling. I can't wait to see it. When is the race in Philly next fall (2010)? I'll work on getting out there for it! Love you guys!!!

Abby said...

It's so funny seeing pictures of my old house on someone else's blog :)

Welcome to the neighborhood - we're so happy to have you guys here!

CJ said...

Yay! It looks amazing!! I LOVE the style of your home! Congrats!!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! House hunting can me so exhausting. I am very happy for you and Jeremy. The house looks fabulous!

Unknown said...

Congratulations. It was a long time coming, but it sounds like you found just the right one. :-)

Marlene said...

Congratulations Laurel! It looks and sounds WONDERFUL! What a great home. Enjoy every minute!

Anonymous said...

Congrats!! What a fantastic looking place!!

Denise said...

I hope you're getting settled!! It's such a cute house! Congrats again.

Jolene said...

New house, new city, new baby on the way and an always wonderful baby daddy... Life sounds wonderful for you right now, you deserve it! Relish every moment!

Chic Runner said...

WOW that is SO exciting!!!! :) Congrats to you too. You have so many great exciting things going on in your life and I'm so happy for you both. That house is AMAZING too. I can't wait to see more pictures!

Julie D said...

That's great news... congratulations once again!

N.D. said...

Yay s o happy for you!

Before I'm 35 said...

Congratulations on the big purchase :)!

joyRuN said...

Congratulations & best wishes in your beautiful new home :)

That Pink Girl said...

What an adorable house! Love it!!! Congratulations - what a great place to call home!!!

Jeri said...

omg it's BEAUTIFUL. congrats on the new home!!!

Aron said...

what a BEAUTIFUL house!!! congrats i am so so so happy for you guys :)

NancyPants said...

Oh what a cute house!!! And really close to a great running path....even better. Congratulations!!!

Can't wait to see more pics.

Michelle said...

I'm dying here because I can't see the pics!! It says bandwidth exceeded!!! Help!!!!!!!

That being said, congrats on the house!!! Hubby and I are in the process of selling our second house, and we (FINALLY) have someone who is interested. It just really needs to get sold, because we're paying the mortgage and rent for the place where we are actually living, and it is breaking the bank!!!

Bert said...

Congratulations! Closing on one's first house is such a big step. Would love to see the pics.

Dori said...

You two are so cute. :-)

Wishing you many years of happiness in your new home.

Bob Hazen said...

Beautiful Home - Congrats!

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