Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thus it begins...

This is the part I hate the most. Packing. Yuck. I LOVE organizing and whatnot, but I love the UNpacking/organizing part. Especially since I feel like I just finally got settled a few months ago. I had decided a while ago that I wasn't going to move again until it was into something I owned, and I am NOT planning to move again after this for a very long time. I hate packing that much.

This isn't even all of them, I just ran out of tape...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Saying goodbye to my first REAL apartment

I've lived in my apartment for almost a year. It's the first time I've lived alone, so of course, it's been kind of a milestone for me. I was really worried about living alone at first, because I'm kind of a homebody and was worried about not getting out enough. Having roommates has always forced me to socialize...

I've loved living alone. So much so that I'm a little worried about getting a roommate or a special man-friend. Not so worried that I'm not going to let it happen, but enough that I realize that it's going to be an adjustment when it happens.

Anyway, I took some pictures before I started packing, so I would always remember my first apartment. It wasn't the prettiest, or the neatest, but it was mine, and I love it.

My favorite part of the apartment: the library!

Pardon the clutter. Given the fact that I'm moving in three weeks, I've given up on keeping things neat. And yes, I was watching House Hunters on HGTV. It was appropriate.

Little details :-)

The sad, undecorated bedroom. I'm excited about actually painting my new house and making it look like an adult lives there. Pardon the blackout curtains, I'm on night shift.

How House Hunting REALLY Happens... Ready to make an offer... or not?

After the debaucle with the "one that got away", I needed an understandable break from househunting. It didn't take me too long, though, to get back on the horse. I actually ended up finding three houses that I really liked (loved?) within a week of each other. Enough that I even had my parents come out to look at them and get their opinions.

The first house was a colonial in a fantastic neighborhood. It was close to everything, and the neighborhood is one of the most popular in Richmond, and has held it's value really well within the last several years. The house was beautiful, older, with a lot of character, on a great street. It was also a short sale, priced 100K lower than the average in the area. It also needed a LOT of work.

The second house was a split level, not far from the first house. It was on an amazing lot on a cul-de-sac. It was about the same size as the first one, and had a beautiful sunroom on the back of the house that overlooked the back yard and a creek than runs along one side of the yard. The same family had lived there for 25 years, and it was beautifully maintained. And move-in ready!

The third house was the farthest away, about 20 minutes from the others, on a toll road. It was on a huge lot, in a beautiful neighborhood. It was a ranch, which is what I've always "seen" myself living in. It had an updated kitchen, two beautiful original back and white bathrooms, and built ins in the living room. Downsides: the yard wasn't fenced, and it felt like it might be too far from town, even though it was the only one of the three that was technically in the city.

So I got my parents to come out and see them, and they pretty much omitted the first one based on how much work needed to be done. And of course my dad liked #2 and my mom liked #3. I was completely torn. I thought about them that whole weekend, and on sunday, called my realtor and told her that I was ready to make an offer on #3. In reality, I was still pretty torn, even while filling out the paperwork. I may have had a little emotional breakdown. Needless to say, I couldn't make an offer.

Ugh, that was rough.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How house hunting REALLY happens... The one that got away.

I looked at the first house in my search last March. I started looking pretty casually, and found a place at a great price, in a great neighborhood. So I clicked on a a link that would put me in contact with a Realtor so I could go see it. It turned out to be a really cute house, on a tiny lot, in really bad shape. Pretty much a total gut job. And what I thought was a good neighborhood was actually a little sketchy pocket within a better neighborhood. It seriously felt like I was in a whole different part of town.

So the first place was a no-go, but it officially marked the beginning of what turned out to be a very loooong process. I went out with my realtor multiple times over the next several months, but my price point made it difficult to find something in the area I wanted that wasn't a tiny box or in need of some serious renovation (which, because of my budget, is not something that I'm able to undertake).

I found a house in mid-summer that I was really excited about. I saw pictures online that were really cute, and when I went to go see it, it was pretty apparent it wasn't like the others that I had seen. I seriously started tearing up while walking through it. My realtor told me that she had never had someone react to a house like that. It was very small, but had everything I wanted, and had an amazing screened porch that led to a patio in the back yard. The yard was fenced, which was on my "list", and the house was in great shape. Even the paint colors were cute.

We left to go look at a few other properties, and after a little while I asked if we could go back to the first house. My realtor left a message for the owners to let them know we were going back in (it was vacant and for sale by owner) and we went back and I took a bunch of pictures and fell even more in love. We went back to her office to look at comps in the area, and I left her office brainstorming when I could get my parents into town to look at it. It was very important to me that they see something before I put in an offer, and since they only live about an hour and a half away, it wasn't impossible. My realtor called me on the way home and we met in a parking lot a few blocks from her office, and that's when I got The News. The house was under contract already. Cue devastating-plot-twist music.

Why they didn't tell the realtor that when she arranged the showing to begin with, I'll never know. But needless to say, my heart was broken. I had, in the course of a few hours, arranged my furniture, planted a garden, made thanksgiving dinner, and decorated a Christmas tree all in my head. I guess this is what it would feel like to fall in love with a guy only to find out he's married. Or gay.

So long story short, I went home and cried. Like a sad puppy left out in the rain while his family sits inside all warm and snuggly. It was pretty pathetic. I looked at the pictures I had taken for weeks after that, and compared every subsequent house I looked at to that one. I needed to take some time off from the hunt, so I could 'heal'. I really believe that everything happens for a reason, and it turns out that I didn't get that house for a very good reason. Because I found The One a few months later.

This chick bought a house!

I bought a house! After seeing between 30-40 houses, losing out on three, and seeing some really nasty gut jobs, I finally found a house. I've gone through the inspection and everything already, and now I'm just waiting for closing.... in less than a month! I've got big plans for my first REAL place, and I'm going to chronicle the trials and tribulations of a single girl owning a home, right here. So you can experience all of the suffering and celebrating with me!

I'm really excited about being able to decorate the house and making it my own. I've never felt like I've really settled into a place before, because I always felt it was temporary. I'm excited about making a home, being able to do whatever I want to my place, and developing my own aesthetic. I like to try to do things myself, so a lot of my journey will be trial and error... and ineptitude will be evident, I'm sure...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First Post

So, much to my chagrin, I'm jumping onto the blogging bandwagon. Not really for any public purpose, but more as a way for me to work out what is going on in my head... Journaling is a way to do that, and blogging is journaling, essentially. That's how I see it anyway. I don't have any profound thoughts or political ideas that I want to delve into, I just want to chronicle my attempts at trying new things, and living my life. Hence the ineptitude. No one is supposed to be good at absolutely everything, and I think that we learn more from our failures than successes. So why not try new things? So that's what this is, the tales of my inept attempts to just live life to the fullest. It'll be fun.