Big news from yesterday; I put in an offer on a condo. Initially I had told my realtor that I wasn't interested, thinking it out of my price range since it was at the very top of what the bank would allegedly loan me. A pre-approval letter is not a loan, and I had reservations after purchasing a car and being told that the loan amount would significantly shrink. My plan was to look at places to rent, I did that, and that really affirmed my decision to try and buy. I sent the place to several people, and got a bunch of mixed reactions. Several expressed their concerns about the cost, one family member came out directly with a comment about it being on the pricey side, another offered a carefully worded neutral statement that damned with faint praise. Still, it is my life, nobody has to live it except for me, so I went ahead with it.
Before entering I sat in my car for a while. I had gotten a book on First Time Homebuying for Dummies, (or whatever the actual title is), and I flipped through that before tossing it aside. It turns out I know more about this kind of thing than I thought I did from what I read. I'm sure there is a lot of really helpful information in there, but ultimately, it has to be your decision. The condo is part of a quad complex meaning that I have a neighbor beneath me, (assuming I get the place), one across from me, and another catty corner. It's part brick, part siding, and in a nicer neighborhood on the far side of town. It has the advantage of being close to shopping places such as the grocery store, gas station, bank, etc..., it's also off of the freeway without being too close to it like one of the previous places I had seen. There are many condos in the neighborhood, it seems as if the entire subdivision is condos, but I am okay with that as it feels residential rather than overly industrial.
Pros of the place: Great location. Close to family, and this one is huge for me. Even if I am not super close to my family, they are usually there for me in a crisis, and no life is complete without the periodic upheaval. I'm moving somewhat closer to the job I have now, but I'm guessing my drive will be about the same since the commute I have now is mostly freeway. The microwave, range, and dishwasher are all brand new. To the point where they have the paperwork inside of them. The kitchen was either just redone, or has been done more recently. One of the best features from a use standpoint is the two sets of staircases leading into what could be my place. The front is straight up and will probably see minimal traffic. The back staircase is a shared hallway that could use new carpeting, paint, and a very thorough cleaning. One thing I dislike about the place is that it appears that the owners are not too up on their end of things, however the HOA fees are less, presumably because of this.
Cons: At the high end of what the bank thinks I can afford for housing. It's less than what I am paying now, it's about three hundred feet more space, and I own it. The basement needs attention. My hunch is that once I scrub it down, have it painted, and get a good dehumidifier, it will be a much nicer place than it is now. I'm glad I was able to see it during a time of historically high rainfaill and snow melt. The air was very thick and heavy down there, I saw a strip of mold on the wall where the washer and dryer had been, but it wasn't anything overly alarming. The walls have something growing on them that isn't immediately obvious, but I didn't see any signs of incoming water or regular flooding which was promising. I don't know much about hot water heaters or furnaces, other than we have had to replace them in the past, I'm going to have the place inspected, and we will have to go from there. My basement is inside outer walls, I have never seen that before, but think it is a great feature that isolates me from more exposure.
It's a two bedroom place with original windows and a patio door that I will have to replace at some point in time, but hopefully not soon. Everything has been freshly painted, it's an awful beige/tan color that makes me want to cry, the carpeting is the type that tries to be hard working and stain resistant, but is mostly just really depressing even though that is new. The flooring in the bathroom and kitchen is higher end faux wood vinyl that my realtor said would be waterproof. My bathroom is a decent size, and there is a hall closet for storage which is very exciting to me. The smaller bedroom is 10 x 12, but this is the room that we don't have now, so I'm looking forward to having that extra space. The closets are roomy, there's some wooden shelving in there that I want to examine more closely to see if it can be painted, or just needs to go. The master bedroom has two separate closets and I love that for my children if they end up living with me at some point in time.
One of the main reasons I put in an offer is because of the lighting. It faces primarily south, and I had light from my living room on into my kitchen. Granted it was a sunny day, but the place is not dark and I have a feeling that it will be even brighter with the right paint and some plants. There's a chance that the deal will fall through for one reason or another, and maybe this is more me wanting the place and having this search end, but I have a feeling that it will go through. It hasn't been on the market long, and I dislike buying in a seller's market, however I have also seen how fast things go in this market. Ideally I would have liked everything on one level, but the basement space will be nice once it is clean, dry, and painted. The garage is a nice size, the door is original so I will have to look into what it would cost to replace that, but again, that isn't anything I need to do the moment I set foot into the place. It is a leap of faith, but I'm praying that more and brighter space that has a much more functional layout will benefit all of us.
I want to be able to go over to my mom's, she has a beautiful herb garden, and plants the basics as far as veggies go. She has raspberries, asparagus, and other edibles, I'm not sure how much she would share with me since she grows this for her household, but maybe she would let me have some space in her yard, or my middle sister would since she also has a very nice lawn and enjoys fresh produce. They have a compost pile and I could use that, it's funny, one of the things I miss most about the old house is the compost pile, maybe that is my calling in life, to set up really nice compost piles for suburban soccer mom types (insert laughing hard emoji). While there are things I would have done differently, I could always say that. I have taken many leaps of faith in my life, but perhaps none so large as this from a financial perspective. Money is important, but it is far from the only important or even most important thing in my life, and I'm really glad I realize that.
Much love to you, and yours,
P.S. I am so excited about the possibilities if this goes through!!!
P.P.S. Last night I told my oldest that I returned The Five Love Languages of Children to the library. I said I knew she would be upset, but I didn't want her to be too sad about it. One of the things I didn't realize earlier is how my efforts to streamline and declutter things led to me disposing of gifts that the girls, and her in particular, had received. I felt like since they weren't taking care of their things, that meant I could just pitch or donate them, and looking back, I wish I had handled that differently. The one that really haunts me is a Webkinz named Fluffy that her grandmother on her father's side purchased for her. I don't have much from my childhood, but there are a few things that are precious to me, and I would be quite upset and not easily recover if they were lost, damaged, or stolen. I used to collect old money. They took it all out of the box and spent it on candy and whatnot. That still hurts even though my siblings and I used to scrounge around for whatever money we could spend on treats. I guess a lot of this is a lesson in the art of forgiveness, I just wish it wasn't such a tough pill to swallow, and we had better subject mastery...