Saturday, September 9, 2017

home (noun): the place where one lives permanently

Well, it happened. Over three months went by without a new blog post from me. There are a lot of reasons for my hiatus, but one of them being... WE BOUGHT A HOUSE. Whoa, that still feels very foreign to say type. It all happened so fast but it was a few weeks after my last blog post that we were writing up an offer.  Where do I start? I guess at the beginning.

From the moment we arrived in SoCal, I knew this was the place for us. We had a bit of a rocky start getting adjusted to how things work here. But, it's California, you say and everything is so laid back and easy, right? Actually, not really. But, after a little over a year, I feel like we have figured things out at least a little. We are still rookies, but not the newest kids on the block by any means. 

We started thinking seriously about buying a house towards the end of last year and even though we weren't ready (I am not sure anyone is ever 100% ready), I was subscribed to daily emails from a local real estate company. Each morning I would anxiously await the daily digest email and get kind of depressed looking at how expensive everything was. 

One day in early Spring I suggested to Jake, "let's go to this open house". And he looked at me like he saw a ghost. I said, we aren't signing a contract that we are buying this house, we are just going to look and see what it's like. So, he agreed and we went. The house was a 'flip' and we were not impressed. We did get free subway sandwiches so they made it worth our while. That is when we realized that pictures online are not to be trusted. We went to a few more open houses on our own and then decided to get an agent. We had a meeting with her in April and decided to start going to open houses with her and start seriously looking for something. Our lease was ending in June so being the planner I am, I wanted to time it perfectly so we didn't have to end our lease early or have to figure out temporary housing. I was trying to make this as seamless as possible, but you know how that often turns out... 

We went to open houses a few times with her, but little did we know that on our first day of looking we would find our home. She brought us to an open house for a property that was already under contract so she could get a feel for what we like. We loved the inside but didn't love the outside as much (it wasn't modern enough), I think we rated it 8/10 so in our minds we really liked it, but we knew it wasn't available so we didn't even think twice about it. A few weeks later it fell out of escrow (which is fairly common, I am told). It was still out of our price range so we waited (some days patiently, others not so patiently).  We kept looking at other houses but nothing ever came close to this house. Nearly a month later, they lowered the price into our price range (we put in an offer that day -- we were also traveling to Seattle the same day so it was kind of hectic and we didn't have time to write a love letter). We knew it was a flip owned by investors, so we didn't think they would care too much about a love letter anyway...or at least that is what we hoped. The next day, we found out that there were two other offers higher than ours, so the owners did a multiple counter offer back to all three parties. We agreed on their price and signed the papers and waited to hear back. We were not prepared to get into a bidding war so we decided that we had reached our max and would drop out if the price went up again.

The day we found out was a Sunday a few days before Jake's birthday and we were in downtown Seattle, walking right past the Four Seasons, oddly enough. Our finance guy texted me "Congratulations" out of the blue and I was like "Whaaat? Did we get the house?" And he was like, "I think so!" A few minutes later our agent called with the good news. We were kind of in shock because we didn't really expect that they would accept our offer. We had heard how competitive things were and the SoCal market has been and still is on fire. Seattle is probably one of the only other places in the country that is this crazy to buy real estate in.

We went through all the usual steps, and had a super fast < 30 day close since Jake had a trip  pre-planned that he couldn't reschedule, we wanted to (1) move out of our rental, (2) close on the new house and (3) move into the new house by June 17th. Keep in mind our offer was accepted on May 21st. Somehow everything fell exactly into place. We did have to give notice on the rental by June 1st which was before our financing contingency was removed, but I just knew that everything would all come together. It was scary and nerve-wracking to say the least, but nothing could have prepared us for (how do I say this delicately)... some water issues that arose three days after we moved in. I will save that story for another day (if I ever tell it), but let's just say we made it to the "other side", got to know some of our neighbors really well, and are stronger now after going through it.

Here are a few sneak peeks of the house. I have been sharing a lot on Instagram (including Instastories) @thevintagemodern -- be sure to follow me in you aren't already.

I've always wanted to have an entryway! ... This was so simple but so fun to style.

So I bought Jake a house for his birthday. And we celebrated signing our lives away with IN-N-OUT because, duh. #typical #californian

..Expect more updates on the house in the coming months including more pictures of our updates and changes we've made so far. We worked with Laurel & Wolf on redesigning and decorating our main living area and we are currently in the process of getting a new front door. So be on the lookout!

P.S. Gosh, I've missed blogging!