As if the whirlwind from the holidays and then starting a new job wasn’t enough, Mike and I somehow wound up with a very insane month and a half. It all started on Saturday, January 24th. We had been given a copy of our new lease to sign, and we were encouraged to sign early to be entered in a drawing to win a $500 cash prize. (Nice!) We had to sign our lease by January 25th to be entered to win the drawing, so even though our lease wasn’t up until the end of February we decided to sign early to be entered for the cash prize. However, our week leading up to January 25th was so busy that we didn’t have time to. There was a big party event at our gym on Wednesday that we attended, and on Thursday the 22nd Mike and I went out for dinner with a couple of my friends from Amazon and their significant others. On Friday the 23rd I reminded Mike that we really needed to sign our lease to be entered in that drawing. We planned to sign it on Friday night, but after work we just felt like going for a drive and listening to the new Above and Beyond CD. We got back late and forgot to sign the lease. Saturday the 24th dawned, and I woke up, mentally resolving that as soon as Mike was up we really needed to sign the lease. In the interim, I walked to PCC for groceries. And on the way there, I saw something that would change our plans… a sign for an open house at a new set of townhomes.
I didn’t think much of it immediately, because Mike and I were planning to renew our lease that day. But from the address on the sign I saw that it was actually extremely close to our apartment… which was a primary factor we were looking for in a home. On the way back from PCC I looked up the website listed on the sign. The pictures were gorgeous! I hurried the rest of the way home and woke Mike up.
“Mike! You have to look at this.”
Mike lifted a groggy head. “I do not. You’re just trying to get me to wake up.”
“No, really. You do.”
Mike reluctantly got up, but got more awake when he saw the house pictures.
“I know we’re supposed to sign the lease today, but let’s at least check these out first,” Mike said. “Let’s get coffee and then walk by the town homes and see what they look like.”
As it turned out, the town homes were having an open house that weekend that started at noon. We showed ten minutes before the open house started, eager to look around.
And somehow, less than 36 hours later, we found ourselves having put in an offer which the builder accepted. And we were now entering the “closing” stages of home ownership, pending a building inspection, an appraisal of the property by an unbiased third party, and pending the final approval of our home loan. Talk about lightening speed. I think we may have set land speed records with this one. Going from planning to re-sign your current lease to nearly home-owners in less than 36 hours. We were so fortunate to have the help of an excellent realtor and an excellent mortgage consultant… they literally seemed to be up at all hours of the night to make this happen for us. However, as quickly as homes go in Seattle, we couldn’t believe that we managed to get this one without entering any crazy bidding wars, especially given that 50+ couples toured the homes just in the first day of the open house and there was another town home in the group that was purchased at the same lightening speed with which we purchased ours. And given that all of our friends who have purchased in this area have had lots of bidding wars and experiences with waiving building inspections to make themselves more attractive to sellers and then offering more than the home is actually listed for to avoid being outbid by someone else. Crazy! And we were crazy enough that Piper was starting to act crazy as well.
The next week was literally crazy with signing paperwork. For the builder, for the realtor, for the escrow company, for the mortgage company… always something to sign for someone!
The following week was crazy with getting a builder inspector set up, getting info on the house, setting up a final walkthrough, and getting the remainder of our financials to the mortgage company.
The week after was all about getting ready to move. Somehow we had to pack and get our stuff moved out before the end of February when our lease ran out.
After a lot of work on a lot of people’s parts, we closed on our home on 2/24/15, got the keys, and started moving things in that night, with our big moving day coming on the 27th.
Since moving last weekend, things have continued to be a blur. We’ve been trying to unpack, but Mike had a very busy week last week at work, and I had yoga teacher training all this weekend.
And so there we are. After four and a half years in Seattle we are homeowners! We had been looking for houses throughout the summer and fall, but didn’t find anything we liked that we could move fast enough on. Given that the market slows down in the winter (who wants to move in the rain?), we had given up on the idea of finding anything this year and were planning to renew our lease and continue our search next year. And then this happened. Literally hours before we were going to sign a 12-month lease. Crazy! Everything moved really, really fast, and we didn’t have much of a chance to think about whether or not we were ready for home ownership. However, if there’s one thing Mike and I have been learning over the past several years it’s that sometimes you need to go with your instincts and not spend too much time mired in indecision and doubt. When something is right, you tend to know it on some level far below your consciousness.
So anyway, now we have moved into the house and are attempting to get settled. We’re somewhat hindered in this, because with new construction homes, there are often little things that get overlooked that have to get done later. For instance we have some contractors coming in next week to redo a few parts of the grout in the bathroom, and Mike has been working on sealing the grout in the downstairs bathroom. This whole thing has been such a great exercise in teamwork for Mike and me. Mike handled all of the interactions with the realtor and the building inspector. I handled all of the interactions with the leasing agents. We both worked really hard to get everything packed after work in the week leading up to our move. The night before the movers came, we stayed up until 2am packing, and were up at 6am the next morning to continue packing. After the movers moved the bulk of our stuff on Friday, I went to yoga teacher training class on Friday night. On Saturday morning we got up early and met with a blinds guy to get blinds ordered for some of the windows in our house. After that, we went back to our apartment and worked on cleaning the apartment, packing the last boxes of stuff, and throwing tons of stuff away. We made a trip to Goodwill late Saturday evening. On Sunday we got up early again and the internet guy came to hook up our cable and our new couch was delivered (not that there was much room for it since we’d barely had any time to unpack). Then we ran errands getting things like a trash can, a laundry hamper, and some other necessities. We also did grocery shopping. By Sunday night we were both mentally and physically exhausted. We had gotten so many things done in creative ways we never would have thought of had necessity not been the mother of invention. These included, but were not limited to, using an entire roll of aluminum foil as an emergency shower curtain, fitting a huge Ikea desk in the back of our Civic (still not sure how we pulled that off), and putting felt feet on all six legs of a 400-lb solid wood dresser with just the two of us.
Despite our extreme fatigue we felt pretty unstoppable. On Sunday night we went out to a pizzeria near our home and had a late dinner.
“This is nuts!” Mike said as we relaxed over dinner and drinks. “It’s like every day we get up early, put in a 15 hour day working as hard as we can… and then we wake up early the next day and do it all over again!”
While we completely understand that our problems are totally first-world problems and we actually feel very blessed with the opportunity to own a home, we were literally both just SO EXHAUSTED. Mike’s quadriceps were toast from climbing up and down so many stairs with heavy boxes. The soles of my feet were sore from all of the walking carrying heavy boxes.
Now I’m happy to report that we are settling in in the new home. I located the box containing the kitchen silverware this weekend, and eating with real silverware goes a long way to making me feel at home. I also figured out how the new washer, dryer, and dishwasher work (they’re all much more high-tech than the ones at our previous apartments), so we can have clean clothes and clean dishes. Some things still aren’t unpacked. I still haven’t found my laptop in the boxes yet, so I’m typing out this blog post on Mike’s computer. However, all in all, we’re feeling much more comfortable in the new home. Next weekend will be even better since I’ll be able to help get things in order more. This weekend I was in yoga teacher training all weekend, so I wasn’t much help except in the early mornings.
And how is Piper adjusting to this move?
She LOVES the new space! She is constantly at one of the many, many windows looking out at people walking by, cars driving by, or just random sights, sounds, birds, dogs, etc that she sees. There are so many things for her to see and process!
So where are we at now?
Well, it’s spring. Our magnolia tree is budding. Work is finally slowing down for Mike. I’m loving my yoga teacher training. We’re getting unpacked (many more pictures will follow when we’ve gotten our new home set up). We are loving falling asleep at night to the sounds of traffic on Fremont Avenue.
Life is good. We are very blessed. And I don’t feel that way just because of the house. At the end of the day, a house is just an inanimate object and not really a tool for creating happiness. However, the process of buying the house… all of the support we received, all of the people who helped us, all of the advice we got, all of the things we learned, the way Mike and I worked so well and so efficiently together even under pressure and tight deadlines… those things I’m truly thankful for.
Have a wonderful, blessed week everyone. 🙂