I’ll cut to the chase: WE BOUGHT A HOME!
It’s pretty crazy. It’s all of the wonderful things you associate with owning a home, plus a lot of weird fears and discussions about commitment and scary what-ifs, mixed in with more paperwork and frustrating correspondences than you could ever imagine in a bureaucratic hell-hole (why won’t you just take my money already???). Also, we’re now cash-poor and house-rich. But we did it, and we’re currently getting it move-in ready.
I’m excited to finally start sharing this whole crazy process. It’s something that has more or less been consuming my life for half of the year. I’ve also learned so many things every step of the way. But first, let me say that even getting started on this took a lot of work and soul-searching.
J and I are young. Commitment has always mostly terrified me. I’ve been in a number of relationships, but my fear has always been losing myself in one, or giving parts of myself up — mainly my dreams — for the safety of a committed relationship. Not that personal dreams and a relationship are mutually exclusive, I have just always been hyper-vigilant and preferred to err on the “safe” side. So when J “joked” over a year ago about buying a place, I scoffed.
I am a California girl who was raised in a place where rent wasn’t always so crushing. New York City, I have learned, is a different beast and J has dreamed of owning his own place since something like middle school (what a weird kid). He and his best friend would sit down in high school and crunch numbers. After all, who wants their money to go into the black hole of rent, never to be seen again?
On the other hand, the freedom that renting gives you — the ease of picking up and moving with little effort — was always something I’ve valued, especially as someone with ties to both coasts. I have one foot rooted in the West, another grounding itself on the East. In fact, in the past ten years I’ve lived on the West Coast, then East Coast, then West Coast, and now am back on the East Coast.
Regardless, as time passed and as I spent half of my paycheck every month on Rent in Manhattan (yes, deserving of capitalization), buying a place seemed to make a lot more sense. I also realized that living with J was one of the easiest things I’ve done in life. So we talked about it some more, watched a few episodes of Househunters, and took a good, long look at our finances. We could probably afford a down payment together, and our income was stable. I knew with graduate school starting in the Fall that I would be committed to this city for at least another three years. With these conditions we decided, cautiously and quietly, to move forward. After all, there was little harm in just getting more information, right?