Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The House

Since I told you about the process of finding a house, I figured I should probably show you what the actual house looks like. There's already a narrative on my Flickr page as you go through the pictures, so I'll leave it at that. But in short, it's a beautiful old house built in 1922, that people were dumb enough to put up horrible horrible wallpaper in, and paint atrocious colors, but were smart enough to leave the trim unpainted and the floors in good shape. Well, the floors upstairs could use some work, but overall, it's very very nice. It's also in serious need of some updating. The horrible horrible wallpaper needs to come down, and the atrocious paint colors are going to get fixed. We'll be updating outlets and light fixtures, and generally making the house as lovely as we possibly can. The budget is somewhat limited of course, but between Anthony and my skills with tools, Anthony's mad negotiating talents, our ability to bargain shop, and our very good taste, I think we should be able to do quite a lot. We're planning on keeping with the general feel of a house from the 1920's, although of course with updated technology and such.

It won't get done all at once of course, but the idea is to get as much done as we possibly can in the next few months, and have an open house at the end of spring/beginning of summer.

House Hunting

Due in part to the horrible horrible roommate, we decided to look for a house. We thought about getting an apartment, or renting a house, but we would have ended up spending just as much money renting, if not more, than we could spend buying a house. And when I say we, I mean Anthony. In the interest of not complicating our relationship any more than is humanly possible, we decided to keep everything in his name. He has the mortgage on the house, I pay rent. We split utilities. If one of us dies or we break up, there won't be a huge legal issue. Obviously I'd have to find a new place to live, but that's nothing compared to trying to sort out the legal mess of joint ownership on a house when we're not married. When we do get married, it will be a different story, but until then, simple is best.

I have to take a moment to get all mushy and romantic about it, though. When we were talking about it with my parents, Anthony said "It's my house, but it's our home." Take a moment to say "awww" or gag, whichever suits you. The plan is definitely to get married within a few years though, so everything is being done with the idea that it is our place. So I get to put in lots and lots of input on it.

We spent the very end of November and the beginning of December driving around shopping for a house. We had a pretty specific idea of what we wanted. Two stories, requiring some fixing up, and old with lots and lots of character. Also, a full basement, an actual garage, and wood floors. We found a long list of possibilities just by driving around, and then perused the internet. A friend of ours had a real estate agent he was very happy with, so we went with her. She was helpful, although we did a good portion of the real work ourselves. We actually found the house we decided on, but she did help by setting up the appointments to see it, and dealing with the paperwork.

The home buying process made me realize just how old we really are. There was a night, when we were sitting in the living room on our laptops and Anthony was making up a budget for the house and I was researching Capital Gains Taxes and we were both very happy. Yeah. Like I said...old.

We toured about 6 or 8 houses with the real estate agent, before we found the listing for one we thought was a possibility. We went out again with her, and it was the first house we went to that evening. We were both really impressed, and felt very comfortable in it, but figured we should give the rest of the houses on the list a chance. So we toured more. And went out another day right before Christmas to tour a few more, and see this one again. We definitely decided this house was our favorite, and Anthony put in an offer in on it the week after Christmas. Thanks to the buyer friendly market, the fact that the house is a foreclosure and Anthony's excellent credit score, he had no problem getting the house for less than what they were asking. Closing was at the end of January and by the first week of February, we moved in!