Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We're Moving

For the last two years or so, I have been very sure that I did not want to buy a house with John until we got married. I was adamant about this even though it caused arguments and generally frustrated him. We're renting an apartment right now, and to a frugal guy like John, that just represents throwing money down the drain.

About 10 days ago, he decided he was going to go ahead and buy a house on his own. I was fine with that, and even contacted my good friend Caitlin who's a realtor and asked her to start sending him some listings because I was pretty sure he wouldn't get started on it on his own and frankly I was sick of hearing about it.

Caitlin took us out last weekend and to show John some properties in the neighborhood where my friends Matt and Jessica are moving next month. These were some awesome houses, and in an area far enough south of here that they were a lot of house for the money.

I started thinking about living in that neighborhood, and about the prospect of living in a nice big space, and even down the road to the possibility of raising kids in a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood with my best friends right up the street. Initially I just hoped that John would buy one of the houses, but then I realized that there was no way he would get approved for financing on houses that expensive. I would have to participate if it was really going to happen.

So I sort of agonized over it. I didn't want to go back on what I had been saying for years now. I didn't want to give in and make this big commitment if John hadn't made the move for us to get married. But I sort of fell in love with the idea of living in that neighborhood.

Despite the fact that I had horrible laryngitis at the time and could barely talk, I called my mom and had a talk with her. She made me feel so much better about it! She didn't tell me what to do, but she made me feel like it would be OK if I went ahead with John and bought a house. I don't want to say that it was the only reason I moved forward, but I think if she had said anything different I might not have decided to do it.

So we called in a bid on one of the houses which an owner was selling on his own. He was going to think it over that night and call us the next day. That night we looked at our finances and realized that we would have been in way over our heads. John wanted to go ahead, but I kept pointing out factors that might have made it a disaster for us - lost jobs, kids, etc. So we backed out of it.

The next day we went out with Caitlin again and looked at a few houses. We were searching for one that was vacant on a street that was pretty dark and we were having a hard time, but finally we saw the realty sign and pulled over. We looked at the front and side doors for the lock box that would have contained the key, but didn't find one. It looked like there was a light on inside, so Caitlin knocked.

A man answered the door, and the house obviously wasn't vacant, but he was anxious to show it to us anyway. His wife was a little annoyed at first, but she warmed up too. Every room we walked into was nicer than the next. This guy has been retired for 10 years, and apparently he just spent the whole time remodeling his house. John, Caitlin and I were basically just holding our breath the entire time we were walking through because the house seemed like a ridiculous deal for the asking price.

Right before we left, the wife approached Caitlin with her listing sheet, because she was trying to figure out where Caitlin saw that the house would be vacant. They compared their two sheets, and only then did we realize we were in the wrong house entirely. The house we had been looking for was on the same street, but two houses down. The one we had been touring was listed a little higher, but still in a range that was OK for us.

We looked at a few more houses, but it was tough to deny that we were in love with the first place. John was basically drooling.

We went back to Caitlin's office, and looked at some numbers - mortgage payments, property taxes, etc... and eventually decided (somewhat reluctantly on my part) that we should make a bid.

The next day at 4 the bid was accepted, and we were on our way. This was literally about 50 hours after I had decided I was OK with buying a house. Whoa.

So in the midst of the worst winter illness I've had in years (it's been f-ing terrible), John and I have signed a contract to buy a new house. Three bedrooms, all newly remodeled, new appliances, nice yard, nice neighborhood. It's perfect! Although it's a first house, it's the kind of place we might never have to leave. There's plenty of room for growth, but not so much room that it will be overwhelming or difficult to maintain.

It looks like we will be closing the deal in June, so that gives us a little time to prepare to move, and to hit up all our favorite southern Monmouth County spots a couple more times before we go. I grew up just a couple blocks from where we're living currently, so it's going to be a little tough for me to leave. But this place is just so great that it's worth it.

I'm nervous about the changes, but I'm also really excited. I don't think I ever believed I would live in a place this nice. I'm still not sure I really believe it. It's going to be a crazy time.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I am coughing so hard I literally feel like my back teeth are coming loose. Disgusting.

House Break

Well, the weekend was OK overall, despite the challenge of not really having a voice the whole time. After I left the office on Friday, the laryngitis got progressively worse, and Saturday, the day of the wedding, I basically just whispered all day. By the time the wedding happened in the evening, I could croak out general niceties, but it was really annoying. But we had fun; John for some reason decided to dance, which I didn't understand but I wasn't about to ask questions for fear the spell may have been broken. I love dancing, and so does he, but most of the time he is too shy to do it.

We stayed up late Saturday night with John's midwestern cousins, and I really liked them. I am glad to find that he has more really cool family members. His cousin Kristin is a really nice girl; I wish she lived closer - her brothers and their broods too. There are four kids under 5 on that side of the family. Cute kids.
On Sunday on the way home, we called my friend Caitlin, who is a real estate agent, and arranged to go look at some houses when we got back. We did a full tour of this neighborhood my best friends Jessica (Caitlin's sister) and Matt just bought in, and we fell in love with just about every house. I had been adamant about not buying a house until we were married, but we did some negotiating on that. Basically I said I would go forward if we could get this whole wedding thing out of the way within a year. I say that in a nonchalant way, but it's actually a pretty big deal. It would essentially mean that we will be engaged in the next 12 weeks. So I agreed to that. We'll see how he does.

Yesterday we got moving on putting a bid on one of the houses, the one we liked best. It's beautiful, but after closer examination of our finances it doesn't really look like a smart choice. Real estate in this part of NJ is so expensive that it's easy to look at something that's just under 400k and think it's affordable, but I think we would be spreading ourselves awfully think, and possibly setting ourselves up for disaster. We agreed this morning before John left that we were going to look into smaller homes, but I just got an email saying that he was having second thoughts, so we'll see what he's come up with later.

I'm home from work for the second day in a row as this throat-attacking virus hangs on. My doctor told me yesterday that she's seen a number of people with this, and it's taking 2-3 weeks to go away. Awesome. I guess that includes my general malaise last week, though, so maybe I'm in the home stretch. It totally sucks though. I can talk a little bit better now, but now I have this horrible cough which the Vicks 44 just isn't touching. Blech. Today I don't have to leave to go to the doctor or anything though, so maybe I'll finally get the magic combination of rest.

We also went out to dinner with Matt and Jessica on Sunday night, and they brought their daughter Jillian. She is a little pip these days, making all kinds of trouble at the restaurant. But she's so cute and actually very funny. And she defnitely steals your heart by putting her hands out to be held. She wanted me to carry her out to the car after dinner, and I just about died from the cuteness. I also learned that it's hard to carry a baby AND a purse. Must be really fun when the purse is a giant diaper bag. Eek.