Okay, not George Washington, but I couldn’t resist the Hamilton lyric. It me! I’m going home! And I’m not George Washington, probably.
So I’ve made a couple of vague mentions of a big, stressful family project and a major milestone. As you might have guessed, the big project was a home purchase. And the major milestone was closing. Just seven years after moving back home to northern Virginia, we are finally in possession of the keys to our forever house! Whew. I’ve been avoiding writing this blog post so as not to jinx anything (I’m very superstitious) but – with closing behind us, we are officially homeowners again and I’m feeling a weird mixture of relief, elation, excitement, and exhaustion. It’s been a roller coaster.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends and family who’ve been following along with the house-hunting saga:
How is the market? Horrible. I mean, great if you want to sell your house. Absolutely miserable if you want to buy – at least, in our area it was. We feel very blessed that we got a place, and that it didn’t take a year.
Is the house what you were looking for? Yes! It helped that we were pretty open-minded. At the beginning of our house hunt – which we started in earnest when we got home from Antarctica, although we’d been casually watching the market for about a year before then – we sat down with our realtor and talked about our priorities. Steve and I were in agreement that we really only cared about two things: we wanted a house (1) on a quiet street, and (2) in our same high school pyramid. Bonus points for the same elementary school. Beyond that, we were open to anything – any style, any condition, any size – within our budget, of course. (Our realtor told us that our expectations were “not unreasonable” and after that our rallying cry became “Go Team Expectations Are Not Unreasonable!”) We ended up finding a house on a cul-de-sac off a no-outlet road, so about as quiet as it gets, and in the same elementary-middle-high school chain. We’re absolutely thrilled.
So why now? Well, the short answer is that the lease on the house we’re currently renting is expiring and we did not want to extend it. We’re not thrilled with our current place and didn’t want to live here another year (although we could have, if it had come to that). We kind of hate our house and our street – love our actual neighbors, the people in our neighborhood are down-to-earth and delightful. But our biggest complaint for the past three years has been that we’ve been living on a street that is surprisingly busy: cars use our neighborhood as a cut-through, and we’re constantly seeing people fly up the street at 20 mph over the posted speed limit. These are drivers that don’t live in the neighborhood and neither know, nor care, that there are kids living in almost every house on the street, every single one of whom has almost been hit multiple times. Every time a car goes screaming by the house, I feel less safe. So we really, really wanted to go. We were just ready. And we couldn’t be happier to be moving to a much quieter street.
When will you move in? Towards the end of June – the house needs a lot of cosmetic updating, much of which will be easier to do before we have furniture in the space. We’ve been working on lining up contractors since we went under contract last month, and our first project has already started – YAY! We’re lucky in that the previous owner kept the boring/expensive stuff very up-to-date (the roof, windows, all the systems – all quite new and in excellent condition) but did nothing cosmetic. So we just get to make the fun decisions and enjoy a new roof that we don’t have to pay for. That’s the main reason we’re waiting about six weeks to move in – the other is that our movers were booked up until then anyway, heh.
Are you excited? We are! So excited. This has been quite a saga. We have actually been loving this house from afar and we tried to buy it off market back in March; we were shut down and then surprised when the house was listed for sale just a couple of weeks later. It was definitely meant to be. I’ve been running through the neighborhood for three years, wishing I lived on one of its quiet streets, and we couldn’t be happier to be moving into our dream neighborhood soon. And the fact that the kids will be safely enrolled in the high school pyramid that we carefully chose three years ago, with no disruption – not even a change in elementary schools – is amazing.
I’m not going to share many details about the move or the home renovation that we’re going to be doing – this isn’t a home reno or a DIY blog, for one thing, and I am notoriously private about my space, for another. (It’s a running joke with my colleagues that I hate it when people look into my house during zoom meetings.) But now you know why I’ve been too fried to read much lately – I’ve been reading real estate documents and lying awake gaming out doomsday scenarios in which the rug gets ripped out from under us and we have to scramble to find another rental. Glad to have that behind me, and now on to the fun stuff – picking paint colors!