If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that we recently bought a house!! We got the keys two weeks ago, and spent this past Saturday moving in. This was the first house that either of us had purchased so it was definitely a huge learning process. I’d love to share our journey with you this week!
When brainstorming our family goals at the end of last year, Jody and I knew the goal of purchasing a home was towards the top. What we didn’t know, however, was where we’d be buying. At this point, Jody still had six months left of his master’s program, and we had always said that we’d pack up and move back to Virginia as soon as he graduated. But as time passed, we saw the advantages of staying in Maryland — we would be close to my family, all of the connections he had made for a job were here, I had a great job, and we could afford more here than we would be able to in Virginia. Even still, we were both heartbroken to leave Richmond three years ago and it seemed like we were closing a door on our dream on living in the city if we chose to stay. And honestly, I have a bit of a gypsy heart, so the idea of staying in one place for too long freaked me out. It still does a little, but we knew we were going to have to buy a house at some point, and it might as well be sooner rather than later.
In late January, inspired by an afternoon of watching Flip or Flop on HGTV, I logged onto Zillow, just to see what the market looked like. I noticed there wasn’t much listed in our area, but the few houses that were came in at least $100,000 cheaper than similar size in Virginia. Most of the local homes were older, which would require some major renovating to be able to sell again in the future. However, I did find a listing for a new development that was about to be built, just outside of town. The model home was almost complete and would be opening for tours in just a few weeks.
At this point, our plan was to attend open houses to see what was available and to start getting an idea of what we were looking for. Since he was still a full-time student, we assumed that we wouldn’t qualify for much until he got a job upon graduating.
So two weeks later, on Superbowl Sunday, Jody and I arrived at the model home for the open house. This development offered several different styles of homes, ranging from a one-story to three-story ranchers. We loved how customizable these new builds were and all of the options of style. We were particularly fond of the one-story, three bedroom rancher. The sales agent was very kind, and invited to come back in a few weeks as the framing for the model would be complete so we could walk through the floor plan, which wasn’t exactly similar to the model we were in. We took home some information and decided we would go look at it again in a month or two, as the community begin to grow.
A few weeks later, we saw that there was another open house for a home within town limits. It was a little further outside the section of town we were interested in, but at least it was still walkable from most places in town – checking off on my list of wants. We showed up to the open house, and toured it ourselves. Here are some pictures from the listing and the few I took during the open house:
The agent that was there wasn’t exactly helpful, and I was discouraged by the home overall. While it was cute, I didn’t love how the Master bedroom was on a different floor than the others. The kitchen was nice, although I wasn’t a fan of its dark appliances and cabinets. Lastly, while we weren’t in search of a huge outdoor space, we would have only been to comfortable host ten people outside. Jody wasn’t bothered by many of these things, but ultimately, we decided to keep looking.
A few months passed and while the market was going through a bit of a dry spell, we held out hope for the new build rancher in the new community. In early May, the rancher we were looking at was complete, so we headed back to the community to see it again. Here are some pictures from the listing:
We were in love! The house itself was so cute, and it had a ton of upgrades that made this seem like an easy choice. I loved the bay window on the front of the house, and how bright the kitchen, living room and master felt. I could actually see us host our friends and family here, which made me love it even more.
We decided to put a lot hold deposit on the house that day, which would give us the weekend to get all of our financial information straight. We were just a few weeks out from Jody’s graduation and he had already accepted a job offer, so all we needed to do was to gather all of our documents and send it over to the few mortgage brokers that we were working with. I was nervous that the process was moving so fast, but we didn’t want to lose this house. In the meantime, another house had popped up on the market, which was in the exact area that we were hoping for. We scheduled a showing for later that afternoon… I will share more about what happened next in the next week!