Has it felt like I’ve been teasing this forever? Because it has for me…. Initially I had planned to keep the whole thing under wraps until it was signed, sealed, and delivered but life had other plans. I really couldn’t pretend like this wasn’t happening after a while because it had seemingly taken over my life.
How cute are these keychains? I ordered them for spare keys and I’m more than a little obsessed.
Okay, let’s rewind.
Before I moved to Hoboken, Mike and I had had a lengthy conversion about Hoboken being a “trial” run. Everyone and every relationship is different, but personally, it was important for me to know you’re compatible with living with someone before, you know… you commit to a life of living together 😉 Our apartment turned out to be a bit of a lemon, although most of the issues were eventually addressed within the first six months. (Once fall came around, it was a much better experience!) Honestly, I think if we had been in a different apartment, we wouldn’t have been so eager to move again. But we had agreed to one year and then looking for a house (or something along those lines) if we knew that was the right thing to do.
Fast forward to January and we had the big “what’s the next step” conversation, specifically regarding our housing situation. We talked about everything on a long drive home from the shore and we pulled into Hoboken feeling excited about starting the house hunt.
I’m going to do a longer post about what I learned about buying a home for the first time, but just to keep it simple here, we immediately started looking online and setting up alerts for homes in our price range in the towns we were most interested in. Mike’s mom has her real estate license and I can’t overestimate just how helpful she was. (Truly a godsend.)
We pretty much started going to open houses every weekend right away. It was my favorite part because even if a house wasn’t perfect or in the neighborhoods we were looking for, it was fun to get ideas for layouts and to determine what were “must haves” for our house. It also gave us a sense of market value and we could watch houses that were priced right selling within a week and houses that weren’t priced right sitting for weeks/months. Looking in January was a bit of a bust though as apparently the real “season” kicks off after the Super Bowl. Once the Super Bowl came and went, we really did see an uptick of houses put on the market and that’s when the home hunting started to feel more real. It’s kind of funny because you start to see the same families at these open houses clearly knowing that we’re all looking at the same towns and the same price ranges.
We fell in love with a couple of properties. One was a completely renovated but overpriced house and the other would need a top to bottom overhaul but also overpriced. I was beginning to feel a little discouraged and more than once I thought, “Are we going to find the perfect house for us?!” I know that with all real estate, you have to make concessions with certain things because “perfect” doesn’t exist… especially if you don’t have an unlimited budget. Which we did not!
In the towns we were looking in, some of the issues that kept popping up were great house at a good price but the property taxes were insane, houses being “too big” (as a young couple with no kids, we don’t need six bedrooms!), or a great house at a great price but not in a neighborhood we were super interested in.
We had extended our lease a couple of extra months to give us some wiggle room for finding a house and as we started to close in on that date, I was starting to get anxious. (Me? Anxious?! You don’t say!) In the beginning of March, one of the overpriced houses that I loved went “off the market.” Unbeknownst to me, it was so they could relist it at a more competitive price. However, as far as I was concerned though, someone purchased it for the asking price (we’re talking over $250k above the comps in that neighborhood) and I’m thinking, “Okay, we’re screwed. If this is where the market is heading, we can’t buy a house in this climate.”
That night was one of two major panic attacks I had regarding the house situation. I think I was feeling defeated (and a bit hormonal haha) and my dream of a cute little house in the suburbs popped right in front of me.
Two days later, I get a text message from Mike’s mom (who god bless her was on vacation) saying a new house had just popped on the market and we needed to get in to see it before the open house because it was going to sell fast. The next week was a blur:
– Thursday, house goes on the market
– Saturday, I go out to see the house privately (and there were two other couples there to view it, too)
– Sunday, we go to the open house and it’s PACKED (and everyone was from Hoboken and also looking for a “first home”)
– Monday, we put in an offer
– Monday night, we’re one of a handful of offers and they tell us to give a “best and final” offer on Tuesday. (I do not sleep.)
– Tuesday morning, Mike and I settle on a competitive price + an offer for a expedited closing (since we have no house to sell) and put in our offer
– Tuesday evening, we got the call that we were selected as the buyers!!!! (Exactly one week after my big panic attack. Crazy how much can change in seven days!!!!)
Everything went pretty normally from there. Finalizing the mortgage, getting homeowner’s insurance, doing the inspection, negotiating over the inspection report, etc. There were a few normal hiccups (like us holding our breath to make sure there wasn’t a buried oil tank) but generally speaking, I think it was a normal experience for the next three weeks. Slightly hectic as we were doing a four week closing, but normal.
Five days before our scheduled closing (slated for April 30), everything fell apart. It’s a long story that I can’t even get into all the details. BUT, I had this weird gut feeling about something, so I created an account on the city’s website to do some of my own investigative digging, and found that a status on something had changed… two days before. NO ONE knew about it (besides the sellers, supposedly) and EVERYTHING came to a screeching halt.
From there, it was like peeling back an onion. Layer after layer. More and more problems. Everything has thankfully been resolved and ultimately we’re getting an even better house than we bargained for. It was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster to deal with, BUT it all happened for a reason and waiting the extra two months is more than worth it. (And saved us a lot of money.) Our landlord here in Hoboken was so accommodating and let us go month-to-month while we waited for an official closing date.
Let me just say, I am SO IN LOVE WITH THIS HOUSE. It’s the perfect size for us and what we want/need. Does it have everything we want? (Mike wants a pool table, I’d love an actual laundry room.) No, but it has the important things we want in a first home, including being close to family!
I will, for sure, be sharing more updates on here as well as on Instagram, but we pretty much have a blank slate in terms of decorating. What we already have, we’ll be using in the house… but now we have three bedrooms! And a dining room! And a basement! And a sunroom! And a living room and family room!
Because it’s been a stressful couple of months where I wasn’t even sure if the house would be ours or not, I’ve gone through ups and downs of emotionally detaching and then dreaming of our life together in this home. It feels surreal that we’re actually moving in TODAY!
Some things I’m excited about:
– Being sandwiched between the towns of Mike’s sisters (and his nieces and goddaughter)
– Reading on rocking chairs on the porch
– Having the perfect corner for a Christmas tree!
– The kitchen is dreamy
– Entertaining and throwing dinner parties and hosting casual get togethers
– Having space for friends to stay over
– Ample storage out of sight in the basement
– A backyard to entertain in
– Planting some roots in a new community
Our house is in Morris County and I couldn’t be more excited. (Please send any and all recommendations if you have them! They’re all appreciated!!!) When I first moved to Hoboken, a family friend and I did a “tour” through Morris County knowing that we’d likely be buying a house in the area. She lives in the county and was the perfect tour guide. I kind of “ranked” the towns in my head privately. The day we drove through, I fell in love with this particular town center. As we passed the main street, there were American flags lining the streets, Girl Scouts selling cookies, people walking out of church, a gaggle of women walking into a yoga studio with mats tucked under their arms. I literally though, “this is perfect.” And here we are, just about a year later, moving into our dream house in a picturesque town. Beyond even the house, I’m just so excited for this new stage of life with Mike. We have been dreaming of this and I honestly can’t believe that we’re here!!!!!!!!
I feel like it should go without saying, but I have to anyway… Please, please, please respect our privacy in this. If you do find out where we live, keep it to yourself. It sounds dramatic, but we are at the ready to legally address ANY and ALL issues that may pop up. Cool? Cool.