Journey to My First Home – Part I

Journey to My First Home is a new series that I created to tell the story of how I bought my first home. The series will outline the steps I took and the lessons I learned along the way. I’d love to hear your ‘war’ stories too, feel free to share your story or link to home buying related blog posts in the comments.

How it all began…

I’ve learned a lot during the months I searched for my first home. More than I expected, or even wanted to know perhaps. Back in December of 2009, I started seriously considering my living situation. I was living in a 1 bedroom apartment that spanned 805 square feet, where I’ve lived for 4 years, and I’ve loved every minute of it.  For that time in my life, it was a perfect fit for me.

However, things had changed, and it’s time to move on. Especially since this little fella had outgrown his current diggs.

The cost of renting was getting out of control and even though I bring home a decent paycheck, I was counting pennies at the end of the month. There was never a month where I could get ahead in my finances and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one out there experiencing this. After a financially difficult holiday season in 2009, I decided it’s time to find someplace cheaper to live. I started searching for apartments everywhere, and by everywhere, I mean other states.

I currently live in Southern California, and while it’s gorgeous, it’s terribly expensive. Mix in the fact that I have a 75 lb dog and apartment choices were minimal. So I found options in Texas, Arizona, and Oregon. Moving states seemed like the best option since I could rent a larger place for less and I could go on an adventure to a new place all at the same time. SCORE!

By the end of December ‘09 I had narrowed it down, I was moving to Oregon!

Source

I was really excited, think dancing around the house excited, and I started planning a weekend trip to Oregon to look around. In the meantime I told my parents that I was seriously planning to move out of state.

Queue the panicked parental reaction!

So I called up my Mom (I was very excited, mind you) and told her the good news. She wasn’t quite as excited as I was. Her little girl was moving two states away! Now, let me say that both my parents would be incredibly supportive if my heart took me out of state, sad to see me go, but excited for me. With that said, when I told her the news, I received a less than ecstatic response. Apparently she turned to my dad after that call and said, “You better figure something out or she’s moving out of state!” (I didn’t have any clue this happened)

A week later, while visiting my parents, my dad starts talking…A LOT…about me buying a house. My exact (completely oblivious) thought was, “he’s finally lost it…I can’t buy a house. I can’t even afford rent here!” But I listened, because that’s what a respectful daughter does when her dad is talking,  and then I went on my merry way.

Then it happened, like so many things, I couldn’t get him out of my head. At first it was just to make dad happy, I’ll just look at some real estate ads…

Hmmmm…maybe if I move an hour inland, it wouldn’t be so expensive, and these are pretty nice places…

Then I looked at my finances.

Hmmmm…maybe if I borrow from my retirement account, save every penny for the next few months, and possibly take a loan from the Bank of Daddio…this might be possible…

Then I talked to my boss.

Hmmmm…maybe he’ll let me telecommute. (The commute from the new place would be 1.5 hours each way, totally out of the question.) Could this actually work?!?!

Oh My Freakin’ Goodness! This could actually work!

….AWESOME! (now I have to tell Dad he was right).

So in February 2010 I seriously started looking at buying a house and I’m happy to say that I found a really great home and closed escrow in June of 2010. It’s pretty amazing since the housing market right now is a pain in the a**, but I can’t complain, if it was any better I wouldn’t be able to pull this off.

So that’s the first look at the Journey to my First Home Series….stay tuned for everything from the Prep Steps to Moving Day, and beyond…

…and I stayed in Southern California (so all is right with my parents too).

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