A House Hunting Update, Better Late than Never

When I last wrote about our house hunting adventure, we had just decided to start looking at townhouses after an incredibly frustrating, depressing house hunt so far. I didn’t have a happy ending to write then, and I still don’t, but even as I wrote that, I had a feeling that things were about to turn around.

We looked at about ten different townhouses in our search area, which was really eye opening. It is really amazing how much more you get for your money in townhouses in this area – more square footage, newer finishes, bigger rooms, etc. And you get even more the further west you go. In the same price range and locations that had us looking at crumbly fixer-uppers with flowery wallpaper, we were looking at 3 bedroom townhouses with garages and basements. After our first day of townhouse-hunting, Dan and I were just so relieved. Maybe we could actually find a place to live after all. (Unrelated side note: calling them “townhomes” really irks me, even as I understand the not-entirely-subtle marketing of thinking of it as your home rather than just any ol’ house.)

the rolling hills of the miscellaneous West
the pretty rolling hills of Western NJ; still so wonderfully pretty to me, as this is definitely not a view you’d see on the Shore

I was a little nervous when one of the nicer-looking places sold before we could even schedule a visit, and started to get antsy when I realized that the first townhouse we looked at (and then saw again that weekend) was really, really nice. Dan liked it, too, even. After an uneasy Sunday evening (uneasy because I wanted to talk paint colors and craft room layouts-both of which help me feel like I can picture us living somewhere for real-and Dan wanted to zone out playing a game while he mulled this Giant Decision over), we agreed – we really wanted this place. So we decided to put in an offer the next day after work. (I’m still not sure how I got anything done that day at all.)

We learned about an hour after we signed a giant stack of Important Offer Paperwork that the condo association was not approved for the type of mortgage we intended to get. And then I was back in the “this is NEVER EVER going to work out” headspace…. what if we can’t get ANY place in this development we now really like, the one that’s head and shoulders better than anything else out there??. Luckily, the mortgage company was willing to work with us to allow us to get the type of mortgage that would work. Game on! The sellers liked our offer, and within sixteen hours of signing the paperwork, we had an accepted offer, still a bit less than the asking price.

WHAT.

dear pretty floors, I already love you
hardwood floors. everywhere. eee!

At this point, I think I was just in shock. It seemed way too soon to celebrate anything, even though I was furiously pinning home decor ideas. After everything we went through, and all the places we looked at, it just didn’t seem possible that it would work out. We had looked at 40 places total. I don’t know if that’s a lot in general house hunting terms, but it definitely felt like a lot.

We got through Attorney Review in record time, and had the inspection a week ago. Amazingly, there’s nothing (huge) wrong with the place, and we’re hoping that the post-inspection negotiations are straightforward. It still feels WAY too soon to celebrate, though.

I was trying to explain to friends over the weekend that I still can’t quite picture us there. Not because I’m regretting it, or don’t like it, or think it’s not the right place for us. It’s just so nice, and so big, and so bright and airy and just so much better than anything else we saw that I can’t believe it’s real. I can picture us staying there for a long time. It’s really more than we were hoping for.

So! That’s the story so far. We’re excited and still afraid to believe it’s really happening, and also sorta freaking out at the idea that we are probably moving in six weeks. Six weeks! This is all just kinda crazy.

our new oak tree?
is this our new oak tree? I think maybe it is. Yay!

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33 Before 33

I have a bad habit of getting myself into long-term, big-scale projects. Often. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but there is something about having a yearly or daily project (or hell, just one that’s numbered) that motivates me like nothing else. This quirk is why I have completed four years of Project 365 (whining about it heartily by the end), and probably a little bit of why Project Life appeals to me so much. I have a weakness (or compulsion) when it comes to neatly stacked, numbered lists, and even when I need a break, I can’t seem to stay away from this style of project for very long. So after a few years off, I decided it was time to bring back the birthday to do list, last seen when I was 29 with my 30 Before 30 list.

Having these lists to guide me as I approach a new year has been such a great thing; I really think that if you strike the right balance of silly, small things and big, maybe scary things and things you’ve always wanted to do but just never got around to, it’s a recipe for a really great year. I have done some really fun things thanks to these years of lists, and sometimes I just need a list to push me that extra inch toward a goal. So I’m bringing back the list, with this one: 33 Before 33. In the past, I have obscured the big stuff in vagueries (“make a change” or “take a risk or two”)… but it’s not like it’s a secret to anyone (on the internet or in real life) that there are some Big Life Things that Dan and I want to get rolling on this year. Somehow, putting them on this list (and on the internet) in black and white make them feel more within reach. Less like we’re talking about some other people who are going to do adult-sounding things. If that makes any sense.

Or, the short version: I get majorly sentimental about projects and birthdays and numbered lists. And here’s the list of things I want to do while I’m 32:

  1. make a blanket that I get to keep (I made a granny square blanket for Ben)
  2. send random happy mail to friends
  3. go on one date each month with Dan
  4. host a party of some sort (dinner party, housewarming, football party) for more than 4 people
  5. shoot at least one roll of film each with the AE-1, instax, polaroid
  6. make a wedding album
  7. make wedding albums to give to our parents
  8. buy a house! (we did it!)
  9. paint a room in our new house (extra credit for stripes and/or chalkboard paint) (Ben’s room!)
  10. get a grill and use it
  11. visit the ocean (at least 5 times) (1: Cape Cod, August)
  12. walk across a bridge in NYC
  13. become a mother
  14. visit a new local brewery
  15. learn how to cook new (healthy!) meals with Dan
  16. finally own an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea
  17. get a cat!
  18. make pom poms
  19. eat at Pete and Elda’s (for my brother’s birthday in December)
  20. make quote wall art
  21. get rid of the large quantities of clothes that don’t fit
  22. crochet a giant scarf
  23. get another tattoo
  24. celebrate our first anniversary
  25. focus on today’s moments instead of worrying about tomorrow’s
  26. hang a photo gallery wall in our new place
  27. go to a Patriots game with Dan to celebrate five years since our first spark (done!)
  28. make a new dessert
  29. find awesome, reliable, go-to places to eat in our new town
  30. get a sewing machine
  31. and sew something simple
  32. make a wreath for each season (summer, fall, Christmas, winter, spring) for our front door
  33. choose hope instead of letting stress win

And in case you like to go back in time as much as I do, here are my previous birthday lists:
30 before 30
28 Things to Do While I’m 28
27 Things To Do While I’m 27