It’ll be just like Fixer Upper!
Yes, that’s a blog post title I never thought I’d be typing. Me, buying a house. It seems so..”30.” Honestly- buying a house wasn’t even on my wish list, because I’ve been in a perpetual state of rebellion since my life got turned upside down in 2014, and anything remotely close to settling down, simply felt like, just settling.
Now though, I’ve had some time to cool my jets, and I realized that having a home of my own would enable our both me, and the entirety of our little family, to grow to the next level. That and the fact that our entire spare bathroom, including the tub has now become the storage unit for Virtual Charity Runs, we’re getting a bit claustrophobic in our little apartment. You open the shower curtain and promptly close it again.
Luckily, in San Antonio, there’s actual HOUSES (yes, houses, with a yard) within my price range- so much so, I can even afford a small plot of dirt and maybe a tree to sit under.
I know a lot of folks wait until they’re married to buy a home, but I will tell you this is about as committed as I will be for the foreseeable future.
For those of you who manage to sign your marriage license, and a 30 year mortgage at the same time- kudos to you- but that ain’t me, babe. I’m happy in love, but as for this signing process, I’m flying solo baby! The future is female, or whatever that means.
In Chicago, the same budget I have now ($200-240k) would have gotten me a small condo, and that condo would come with some lovely association fees and no parking spot. Here in San Antonio, I have a community I want to be a part of, a steady job I see myself staying with for some time, and a dream to have enough yard to plant something edible and entertain.
Yes, I’m totally settling down- but I feel ownership in the decision. It doesn’t feel like giving up and going down the path that I see so many on (which is great for them, wrong for me), which is house, car, wedding, baby, and for me, that would spell gobs of debt and little satisfaction- but I see that I’m putting down roots.
I struggled for some time on figuring out what was next. You could probably tell on this blog, for the last year, I haven’t been personal. We left Chicago, and for the time before the decision to move to Texas was made- I struggled to make Chicago feel like the city of my future, and grappling with reconnecting with my past in California, the place I grew up.
I longed for roots, and though I had them now in both places, I knew I couldn’t afford either enough to really put them deep enough- I never felt free to make decisions since I was so limited by my budget.
Now, we’ve been in Texas a year. I make as much money as I did in Chicago, but our cost of living is significantly lower. I feel I finally have breathing room that I can afford the life I want, and still remain committed to being debt free and saving for retirement- without being worried that the city will hike up taxes or prices will be in flux like they were in Chicago. As much as I loved it there, I felt the city was going to leave me behind. California was always my home- but I was already priced out of comfortable living there, and the job offers were on par with Texas, but the dollar didn’t go as far. I miss home sometimes, but I knew it too wasn’t a sustainable future for us.
Now that it’s been a year in San Antonio, I still love Texas. Despite the fact the state bird is a mosquito and allergies are a thing for me again, the people are friendly and we’re constantly exploring.
This is literally what 30 looked like. Ordering a drink on the menu for 2 and keeping it all for yourself because the cup is free and will be great for your succulents.
The city itself is growing, and while it traditionally has been skewed for families and military, it is now developing pockets of my crowd- younger, no kids and working in emerging industries like tech, so I feel at home. I feel like there’s a place for me to grow, while still staying committed to living within my means.
I’m over 30 now, I’m not going to hide behind credit cards to prove myself, nor am I going to be ashamed I don’t earn some arbitrary number to make myself look good. I’ve come to a point where I can stand in my truth and I’m glad to live in a community that can make it work. I knew I was ready to buy a home..well, as ready as anyone really can be.
Despite the fact that I’ve been working my butt off to save up, it has been overwhelming at times. Going in to pre-qualify for a mortgage even though I was prepared was overwhelming- I had followed the advice and tips to get the best mortgage possible, but I still felt like a child playing dress up and asking for “big people money.”
It was an emotional roller coaster, going from “I totally got this, I’m proud of what I’ve saved,” to “Holy hell, how does anyone afford this crap” and “what do they think, I’m made of money?” There might have been some obligatory “coping wine” poured along the way- but I got my act together and now we’re hanging out with a Realtor, looking at listings like we’ve been besties forever. This is my life now.
I’m not sure when we will find “the house,” but we had our first appointments at some interesting houses this weekend. I’m sure there will be a lot more coping wine poured, but that’s another great thing about being over 30, you keep a well stocked bar with an assortment of blends for every mood. There’s “I’m going to celebrate how damned adult I am” sparkling rosés, all the way over to “I feel cold and dead inside” soul-warming merlots.
Needless to say, I now carry an emotional assortment of wine to get me through the home buying experience, and when that fails, I have a bar cart full of whiskies.
Take that anxiety!
So- if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been for the past year, I’ve essentially been flopping around, grasping with adulthood like a kid who is stumbling around in shoes that are a size too big, but in order to save money, mom figured you’d grow into them. It’s horribly uncomfortable at first, but you do, eventually, grow into it.
But here, I’ve also been here.