Hello my name is Stephanie. I am 29 and a half years old.
Clearly half birthdays are still important to me.
I will also admit I have never searched for a place to live on my own.
Again, I am almost 30 years old, and I have never gone on the house hunt before.
Since I was born, someone else has picked out my housing for me.
Obviously until I graduated high school I lived where my parents told me to..ie their house.
I lived in the residence halls as an undergrad for four years. I turned in an application, and they assigned me a room or a staff once I was a CA.
I jumped in a lease with two friends my super senior year for an apartment my best friend was already living in. No searching needed since she had everything already set. I just had to sign on the dotted line. No pressure.
Then I proceeded to live in the residence halls again, this time as a professional staff member and in a provided apartment, for the next five years.
Then the last year and a halfish, the Army provided Tom and I with a duplex.
There was that one summer where a couple of my friends and I thought having a summer apartment was a good idea. We all kind of jumped on that search and obviously our priorities as sophomores not wanting to live with our parents for 3 months were really high. So again no pressure.
Fast forward to a month ago when I officially became an adult. (Because having two degrees, being married, and having a kid didn’t quite seal the deal for me.)
This past month was the first time I had to look for housing for real.
Luckily, we were staying with my in-laws so we didn’t have to rush the process too much. Tom and I were pretty particular about what we wanted since we know we will be in this abode for at least the next two years with a growing kid. On the flip side, we also knew this place wasn’t permanent so it didn’t need to be perfect.
We knew we wanted to rent and not buy. We weren’t ready for the buying process and didn’t want to put ourselves under a mortgage in a place we don’t see a forever in. We really only want to do that once, which I know may be unrealistic but at least we knew this wasn’t the time for the first mortgage. So renting now gives us some time to save and really be able to look for that perfect place.
We had a price range that we wanted to stay in and some requirements to meet. Our main priorities were 3 bedrooms, at least 1.5 bath (but we really wanted two), and the ability to fence in the yard.
Other than that, I had no idea what I was doing. I searched mainly on Zillow, Hotpads, and Craigslist. Yes Craigslist.
We kept running into roadblocks mostly because of the dogs. We would find a perfect house, but they would not allow a fence. Or they would let us have a fence but only one dog. Or they let you have dogs and a fence but had to pay a $600 pet deposit and additional rent each month…You get the idea.
We were also trying to stay within a certain area so our commutes weren’t astronomical. Tom and I will be working in two different cities that are a half hour apart so we were trying to split the difference if we could.
I spent every lunch break for a few weeks calling every listing that fell into our range. Disappointment one after the other.
May I also let you know that being spoiled into having housing chosen for you all this time makes you really impatient. I was really discouraged (read delusional) that it didn’t happen in a matter of days. I just wanted to have a place to live!
I went and saw a few, and we fell in love with a couple.
Who knew that the holidays were a big time to move? Many places we loved, someone else beat us to it.
Then we found it.
It was a duplex right on the edge of town with quick easy access to the highway.
Four bedrooms. Two full bath. Fenced in backyard. AND a garage.
AND in our price range, with only a one time pet fee upfront.
What a deal! When can I move in?
We moved in this last week in fact.
We are still in the unpacking phase. We just moved half of our stuff this last weekend, and Tom will be getting the rest today.
It is kind of nuts trying to do a move around the holidays and while working full time. We also were coordinating a PCS (permanent change of station) with the Army, so Tom had to do all of that paperwork before he left. So life is forcing us to take it much slower than we have in the past. Last night Tom and I said that if I would have had time off we would have pulled an all-nighter to get everything put away. But fortunately, I was realistic and knew that I did in fact need sleep over my need to organize. I am trying to just let it go that I cannot find my suitcase that has all my work pants in it. Skirts for days…
It is so nice to start making it our home. And I love decorating. Craft projects may be brewing…
Another adult thing I had not experienced was setting up utilities. People want to charge you for everything. Tom couldn’t believe that I had never done this, but alas it is true. Sometimes I want to go back to my little cocoon of living in the residence halls. Then I remember drunk students aren’t knocking on my door at 2 am, no fire alarms, and that I have a backyard for the dogs. Paying utilities here we come.
My biggest piece of advice of house hunting is to go and see the place before accepting it if you can. (I am still not sure how everything else works so I don’t really have any other advice. I seriously was just winging it most of the time.)
There was one place that showed pictures that gave evidence that it was newly remodeled (wood floors, open floor plan, new paint, etc….). I am telling you this place looked nice online.
Then I went to it, and this was one of the 2 bathrooms.
Not happening friends. I am not peeing in a utility closet with exposed pipes even if it was spacious.
I am still not sure why they thought that was appropriate to show people…
How was your first house hunting experience? Any horror stories? Advice you have?
When we were searching for our house, we were surprised to find out how loose the term “bathroom” actually is. So, when a house is listed on the MLS, there is no such thing as a half bathroom. This means toilet=bathroom, no matter where it might be. We looked at SEVERAL houses where the “second bathroom” was literally a toilet in a dingy basement.
It’s disgusting, which is why I will never settle on a place before laying eyes on it.
We just bought our first house. We spent months looking online before I made a trip out there. It’s interesting to see what a house looks like in person compared to online. We looked at two houses in one neighborhood. The houses were so close together that the garages were touching.
This time around was our first time house hunting, and I tell you it wasn’t easy. I am like you every house I’ve lived in was picked out and selected for me up until now. Although I will say I like that we are living in multiple houses before finding our forever home. This allows us to find out what we like and don’t know and what works and doesn’t for us. First time setting up and paying utilities for us as well. Well me any ways and your so right they want to charge for everything even start up fees, thank goodness for good credit we were able to get them all waved.
We have good credit to so that was nice to get some of the fees waived, but not everywhere did that. Just hidden things you never think of!