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Monday, February 17, 2014

We're Buying a House! Squeal!!!

I can't believe it! We are finally buying our own home! So freakin' excited!

The Housing Market Today {at least in Seattle}

This housing market has been really challenging coming in as a new homeowner. This whole experience had me really depressed. Up until we were told that our offer was accepted, of course! Now I’m giddy and on cloud nine!

When the economy crashed back in 2008, there was a surge of houses for sale. People who wanted to get out of their homes before it lost more value and people who could no longer afford to keep their home. The supply was much larger than the demand, which drove housing prices down, down, down! And lending rates, too!

I wanted to buy a house then, but at the same time came the layoffs. My company started shrinking up and this had everyone on edge. The morale was low, low, low…

I feared that I could be next on the chopping block, so I waited. I waited for job security, but the housing market didn't wait.

The flood of the over supplied market and low lending rates ebbed. Supply dried up. Lending rates started going back up. Housing prices started going back up. And then I was ready to get into the market.

Our Search and Making Offers

The first house we made an offer on had 10 offers total! We had offered $25k more than the asking price, but it went for much higher. It was a big house in good condition and in a good neighborhood, but it also needed lots of cosmetic work. Lots and lots of new paint. Carpet to be ripped up. Kitchen to be remodeled.

When we didn't get that house, it was around the same time that I started having massive amounts of blood in my urine (turned out to be a kidney stone). It was also right before Thanksgiving and the whole holiday stress out time. I got overwhelmed and depressed. With everything going on, I stopped blogging.

Every time we ruled a house out because it was in a bad neighborhood or was really trashy, I felt more depressed. Are we really going to be able to afford a house in Seattle? I am a college educated person! I make a decent salary! How come I can’t buy a home in my home city that I treasure and adore?

We looked at one house in one of our favorite neighborhoods and thought this would be too good to be true. Yep, it was! That house was MOLDY!

The real-estate agent assured us that you can just wash mold off the walls with some chlorine and it will be gone. After researching online and talking to people and listening to my gut, I knew that this was just a symptom of a bad, bad problem. We didn't want to know what was behind those walls or under that carpet, or why there were patches and paint streaks on the ceiling. So, yes, we passed.

Other's Experience

I talked to some folks who had recently bought homes in Seattle about their experience of looking for a home. One gal said she made 6 offers and then gave up and built her own home. No, not hired someone to build it, she actually built her own home from the ground up. She even designed the house herself and engineered it!

Another girl looked at me like I was crazy when I said I was looking for a three bedroom. She and her husband bought a 2 bedroom because it was more affordable. “Good luck,” She said, because we'll need it!

The Offer that Stuck

A week ago Saturday, we checked out three houses with our realtor. We were soooo excited about the first house on our list. We drooled over the pictures and planned out where we would put our furniture. I only picked out two more houses for our realtor to show us for comparisons sake.

We drove up to that first house and immediately knew this wasn't the one. The neighborhood was a little too gritty for our comfort zone. Go around a corner, yep, boarded up houses, an at risk teen center, sidewalks heaving and just dirty. My heart fell. All my excitement replaced by resentment that we will never find a home!

We were a half hour early for our appointment, so we decided to drive to #2 on the list which was only 7 minutes away. We weren't hopeful as we watched the neighborhoods come and go. We pulled up to house #2 and immediately called our realtor and told him to skip #1 and meet us at #2.

It was mostly because we knew #1 was ruled out, but also that #2 was starting to look really promising. It was right on the cusp of what we could afford, which had originally turned us off. The photos were amazing, of course, but this deterred me more than encouraged me. I thought this house would have intense competition.

And it did... originally…

It had 9 offers 30 days ago and an offer had been accepted. It passed inspection, but the buyers financing didn't pan out. The purchase fell through. This house came back on the market only a few days before we decided to look at it.

We knew we wanted it instantly. I still was convinced we wouldn't be able to get it, but it was worth a shot. We drove to house #3, just for comparisons sake, and of course it only reaffirmed that we wanted to make an offer on house #2.

That evening, a snow storm struck!!! We counted our blessings and danced around our apartment. Maybe no one will get the chance to look at our house?

We were informed the next day (Sunday), that a second offer was made and offers would be reviewed on Monday. We were on pins and needles. The suspense was killing us both.

Around three on Monday, my Realtor emailed me to let us know that the owner was meeting with their Realtor to review offers at 4pm. 4pm came and went and we were both still dying.

I came home from work and we both sat in silence, waiting. Trying not to get our hopes up, but I knew mine were super up.

6:10 pm my Realtor calls. "Are you ready for this..." Omg! We already knew what was next. "They accepted your offer!"


We close on March 7th and we are so happy! We are already starting to pack up. I've been writing to do lists like crazy.

Tour of Our New Home!

OK, now that you read that wall of text above, how about a tour of our new home? These are from the real estate listing, so please ignore the over saturation of colors and staged furniture:

Front Yard

Living Room

The walls are actually a brownish gray. I'm thinking some curtains that are a darker shade of gray.


We need to find {or build?} a small dining table that will fit in this space. I'm in LOVE with the size of that sink. The windows look out into the backyard and I can see myself opening the window and letting the kids know that dinner is ready.


Master Bedroom
Bedroom #2
Bedroom #3
Can't wait to style these bedrooms! We'll live with the carpet for now, since they are new. Once my fiance gets a job after graduating, we'll have to tear out the master bedroom carpet at the very least. I'm allergic to carpet.

Utility Room

Besides the obvious use as a laundry room, I totally want to make this a mudroom. It has some great space that a built in mudroom would be perfecto!

The door exits the house on the north side of the house. We want to eventually build a carport on the north side of the house and have our family enter from this side door. Then we can have everyone drop their shoes and coats and stuff before entering the main house.

Back Yard

I can't wait to build a patio and fire pit for hanging out in our beautiful Summer months. Plant some more trees. Have a vegetable garden. Maybe an apple tree?

We have so much space in this backyard! AND it's flat! We definitely need to build a 6-foot tall wood fence so we don't have to look at the neighbors yards.

I'll have to post updated pictures once we get our stuff moved in and then once we go through the process of styling each room. Can't wait! Squeeeeeal!!!!

Historic Photos

Here are a couple of historic pictures I found online:

The house originally had a carport on the north side of the house.

The original owners built out the carport and turned it into a master bedroom and utility room.
I want to print these historic photos out with a new photo and hang them up somewhere in the house. Maybe the bathroom?

Are you thinking about buying a home? Check out my First Time Homeowners: Where to Start guide. Even if you aren't a first time homeowner, it can help to jog your memory.

Next up, Closing on Our Home (tips on what to expect).

Got any tips for me about the purchasing process, moving or how we should style our new home? Share with me in the comments below!


  1. Your house looks beautiful! Love the photos. I can see how it has so much potential for you to put your stamp on it and really make it your own. My best friend also had a terrible time buying her first house in Seattle. She said it was fricken nuts. CONGRATULATIONS!

    1. THANK YOU! We are sooooo excited! Can't wait to get moved out of this apartment. You know I'm going to enjoy relaxing in that yard come Summer. :D

  2. Congraaaaaats! Bethany, I'm so thrilled for you! And reading your post, I feel like I went through all the ups and downs of the emotional journey it took to get there along with you. Wow, Mark and I can definitely relate to a lot of the disappointment you describe in looking to buy a home. In Orlando, we're finding that most lake front homes in good school districts near Mark's hospital are WAY out of our price range. And we've toyed with the idea of building...but land is hard to come by in Orlando. So, for now, I think we're going to continue to rent and save our pennies. We really love the location where we are now and after having redone the bedroom and made some adjustments to the house so its more homey and more "us," I'm not in a rush to move. But anyway, less about me, more about YOU! I love the floors and chair rail on the walls. Also, that backsplash is super dramatic, which I heart. It's fun to hear you dreaming and scheming about kids one day. Oh, the good times that you await you in this lovely home! I'm seriously beaming here at the computer just thinking about it.

    I raise my glass to toast you tonight, Bethany! So thrilled for you and your soon-to-be-hubby!

    1. Thank you soooooo much! If you are happy where you are, then that is good! We were really content with our apartment, but I have dreamed of owning a home for so long! It is definitely time. I wanted to get moved in before we start having kids. Plus, we qualified for down payment assistance now, but won't once the fiance gets a job after graduation.

      We also had to compromise on a few things in order to be able to afford the house. The neighborhood is in the exact opposite corner of Seattle from our current one. It isn't where we would choose if we could afford anything. It is still a decent neighborhood though and we look forward to exploring it.

      The schools are not rated well, but those are based on test scores. Let's face it, schools with more diversity tend to have lower test scores. I took a look at some of the surveys of students, teachers and parents, and overall they seem to have high hopes and commitments to their school and children, regardless of their overall school score. We'll see. I have also toyed with the idea of homeschooling as a possibility or maybe getting them into a choice school that is a little farther away.

      It's definitely not our dream home, but it will be a great starter home. We think in maybe 10 years we'll be ready to upgrade by either moving or possibly doing a building addition. And of course, home is where the family is. We'll make it more ours over time. :)

      Cheers, my friend!

      {btw, I've been meaning to tell you that your master bedroom is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! It is on my goal list to set up a really nice master bedroom in the new place. Our current just seems to be a dumping ground for stuff and clothes. Not super pretty at the moment. I'll work on it in the new place. :) }

  3. GAH! I am SO excited for you! That house is AMAZING! Those floors, that kitchen! This girl is jealous! Congratulations!

    1. THANK YOU! We are so excited!!! Eeek!!!! I'm just so giddy and we are sooooo ready to move in already! Hehe!

  4. congratulations! it's absolutely adorable!

    1. Thank you!!! We are super excited! Can't wait to move in!

  5. Congratulations! It pays to be picky in buying a house. After all, you're buying a home for you and your family. While it could get disheartening at first, once you were able to eliminate other houses, it certainly becomes easier to pick the right house to suit your needs. Not settling on earlier houses was a good decision, or else you would not have found this beauty.

    Steve Jamieson @ Remax Crest Realty

  6. This was our first house and I was not ready for all the new adventures. Unlike living in the apartment, when the water heater breaks, toilet gets stuck, heater stops working, or roof leaks, you have to solve the issue and pay for it yourself. I was so surprised really how expensive even the smallest of repairs wound up costing me.

    Jefferson @ T.J. Lamb Real Estate

  7. Thanks for sharing this great news with us. It's a wonderful achievement in life to buy your first house. Have a fantastic rest of your day and we hope everything went well.
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