Have you dreamed of what your future home will look like? Is it in the country or city? Are you into modern, traditional or an entirely different style? There’s been this piece of my life that I’ve been waiting for and missing. Hoping someday I’ll be able to really start a life I’m proud of and that includes being a homeowner. And I say that all lightly because I do love my life how it is, but the typical American doesn’t get to sit at home, while still having a really nice place, paying the bills and being content living an undemanding life. I don’t drive, haven’t kept a job since right after we were married and I’m not a mother (yet anyway). I really don’t exercise much and I don’t take care of myself how I should, so that’s in part what I mean about loving my life how it is.
My home buying dreams
I always thought I’d be able to buy some sort of house. A standard, basic, maybe fixer upper, nicer than the average apartment style house- maybe out of town where it’s cheaper and easier to buy. We started the process to begin what would be a whirlwind of a journey to purchase our ‘dream home’ in September. Starting with taking virtual tours and physically going to look at houses. I know one thing, I’m very blessed and I’m going to work hard to not squander my life anymore.
I was referred to Mark, the realtor we used, by a colleague of our financial advisor. He had worked in realty previously and is now a freelance realtor and is highly recommended. He does business at various price points and only focuses on one customer at a time, putting all his time and effort into them during the whole process. That was great for us! As a first time home buyer, I was wondering if I would make a huge mistake hiring the wrong person or someone who didn’t have our best interests at heart. So please make sure you do your research and have a first interview meeting with your realtor to feel them out. You want someone who is honest and can explain every step, and how and why. We both felt like we were equally heard and respected in all of our conversations. It was so helpful and I really appreciated his method and friendship during the journey.
Searching for houses
We scoured a list of houses on RMLS (or Regional Multi Listing Service), narrowed down our choices to about 7-8 houses to take our time with and tour. We went one day to drive around the area where all the houses were located with our realtor Mark. It was in a newer development near shopping, easy freeway access, right in the middle of town and a great commute to just about anywhere in the Portland Metro area.
The first house was the biggest of all. We wanted space, but wow! This was an incredible almost custom home, with great upgrades and was in pristine condition. This one had the worst yard, the skinniest little strip of grass on a slope on a side of the house. That’s not realistically gonna work. We also backed off because it felt so monumentally huge, which we just didn’t need. It was in first place until the end, when we realized it was just too large even for us and our families.
With the second house, there isn’t much to mention. It was a lovely house, also great, had upgrades and enough room, but it had a separate but attached in-law or rental space. It had a great, spacious island in an open concept kitchen, like all the others did. The rooms were spacious and the ceilings were vaulted. There was a great modern fireplace and a loft landing area. But I didn’t see us ever using the extra living space or knowing what to do with it, so that one was quickly cut out of the running.
The third one was a great option and jumped to the tie in first place. It was a similar size, in a quiet neighborhood, on a wetland preserve area, in an HOA and had great curb appeal. The yard was good, but would have had to be fenced and we were unsure after comparing the next home we saw with this one, as it really made us think twice about an HOA property. An independent stand-alone house just made more sense if we had the option between the two.
The fourth house though… I don’t know, there was just something about it! I’ve heard that when you know, you know, same as when you find true love. This gem of a property that we fell in love with was a sweet house in a new-ish 2014 neighborhood with a park two houses away! It just has everything that we wanted and needed plus a good sized yard for two dogs…. what fun! When we went through the inspection and sewer check, we joined the inspectors and our realtor to watch the whole process. While we were there for the inspection, we got a better idea for furniture layout and sense of space. We didn’t want to leave yet! It felt so good and natural just being there in the space, even with the previous owners’ stuff still there. It just felt so right!
It featured new fixtures and nice appliances, great mixed tone faux wood floors and big windows. Instead of the standard white walls, it featured a nice mid-tone grey that was handsome! Large rooms, one office/den in the front of the house and the rest upstairs, one half bath downstairs and the other two full bathrooms upstairs. To walk into the kitchen you pass the half bath, garage entry and the dining room, which is fully carpeted to match and has grey walls there too. It’s a nice open room for a graciously large table to fit our whole family during the holidays. The kitchen has a large slab of beautiful marble countertop and an island in white/grey color scheme. The dark cabinets make this a classically styled kitchen with a wine bar or butler pantry pass through and a separated dining room. A warm, cozy and very inviting living room has an electric/gas fireplace and a framed out space for a television (or art). To each side of the room, there are matching black built-ins, which we will enjoy designing and putting our pictures and decor on. I’m so excited to have a peaceful place in the wintertime to read and cuddle up with the dogs.
Making it our home
Our small square yard is perfect for potty time for the dogs and a chill space to lay in the sun. We also have plans for a great outdoor entertaining space on the concrete slab we have, a BBQ, lounge/couch, hot tub, etc. We have a few plants around the back yard. There are a few small palm-like plants and a couple of rosemary bushes that we love and I wouldn’t mind adding a bit to it.
Upon moving in, we added Edison string lights across our fencing like the previous owners had in the walkthrough and it lights up the back yard in a dreamy, illuminated kind of way. We currently have taken out most of the plants to put in a gardening area with planter boxes and clean up the bark dust they put in as we quickly discovered it’s messy and going to be a bad idea for a puppy. So that will become all river rock and dirt in the two garden boxes and a smaller one on the opposite side by the AC unit.
That piece that I had felt was missing before was buying a house. It has finally been filled now that we bought our home and have settled in. We signed for the house in October and have been enjoying making it our home since then!
Are you thinking of buying a house? What is on your list for a dream home? Let me know in the comments and repin the image below if you liked hearing about our home buying experience.