All posts by Becca

We Bought a House!

Back in August, Andrew and I bought our first house. We were previously renting a house from my mother-in-law, but it was a small space and I couldn’t make any changes to the house since we were renting. It didn’t feel like home; it felt like we were living in someone else’s house. That being said, I am very thankful for the opportunity we had to stay there because we weren’t in a rush to find someplace to live when we moved back from college and we were able to save a good amount of money for a down payment!

We spent about three months house hunting across the St. Louis area. Our search initially started in South City, which is a vibrant area with tons of restaurants and bars and would have been less than a ten minute commute for the both of us. The market for that area however was so competitive. Houses that were listed for sale would sell the same day for over asking price. The houses and yards were also significantly smaller for the price you paid since you were living in the city.

I was pretty discouraged. We had put an offer on a house but the sellers passed on it as they has received another offer over list price. Plus, looking for a house is absolutely exhausting! I had sent our realtor a list of about ten houses fresh on the market that we wanted to look at but they all had major issues, so she suggested looking at some houses aross the river and to the west of St. Louis county.

We gave it a go – and I really wasn’t expecting much – but the minute Andrew walked into our house, he loved it.  He could instantly envision where we would put things, all the room Chloe would have to play in, the fact that it was a bigger house, so in the future if we had children, we wouldn’t outgrow it right away.

Honestly, I wasn’t sold right away. I liked the space and the layout of the house, however it was pretty dated. But as I started pointing things out, I also started to talk about the things I would change if it were my house. And suddenly the dark , enclosed kitchen and dining room started to turn into an open, bright area once I took the wall separating the two down in my head. And I would take down the chair rail and put a bright coat of paint on the walls. I’d take out the old gross linoleum floor in the kitchen and put in new flooring that made the dining, living, and kitchen all match.

Then I started to do that with the rest of the house. I liked the bones of the house and it seemed to check most of the must-haves from our list. We wanted a house that had at least two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and this had three bedrooms and three bathrooms. We wanted a good sized yard for our dog and this had a decent yard with plenty of shade, as well as a deck. The basement was partially finished, which wasn’t a must have, but definitely a bonus! And, it was less than a 45 minute commute to work, which was a must.

By the time we were done walking through it and really looking it over, we knew we had a big decision to make. We went home and talked about it, going over our budget (it came under!) and the location, and really hashed it out. Andrew wanted it and I really liked the idea of being able to fix it up so that it was exactly what we wanted – and so that it felt like our home. We decided to put in an offer.

I called our real estate agent and she gave us a range that she thought would be an acceptable offer. It has been on the market for four weeks, which in the area we were looking was a good amount of time to not have sold yet. We agreed on a price a bit under asking and she sent over the paperwork and we signed. Then we had to wait, which was absolutely painstaking.

The sellers countered the next day a bit more than we initially offered, but still under asking. I was still nervous – I mean it’s not every day you agree to buy something that’s thousands and thousands of dollars! Andrew went through our checklist with me again, making sure to point out that this house checked off most of the things on the list while still falling within our budget.

Looking back, he was so patient with me. :P

In the end, I was so nervous I couldn’t make the phone call back to our real estate agent to accept the offer, so Andrew did it for us.

Everything after that was a bit of a whirlwind. We initially went with a lender that our real estate agent recommended and he turned out to be real shady. He was kind of pushy and gave us a terrible interest rate, so we pulled out at the last second and went with a different lender a friend recommended who gave us a great rate and was super accommodating.

Our inspection turned up some small things that needed to be fixed, which was to be expected, and the sellers agreed to fix most of them which was nice. The driveway was a bit beat up, so they gave us a credit for that as well. The electric and plumbing were all up to code so there were no worries there. Other than the lender hiccup, everything else went pretty smooth.

Closing went pretty fast. Andrew and I both took the full day off work and I expected to take all morning, but only took about an hour. It was a pretty sweet feeling when they finally handed us the keys! We didn’t move in right away since we were doing so much work to the house that it didn’t make sense to live in the construction when we had no deadline to leave our old house.

We’ve been living in our house for about five months now and it truly feels like home. There is still a long list of things we want to do to the house and still (eek, I’m embarrassed to say!) some painting that needs to be done, but once we’ve got some of the smaller things finished, I will feel more comfortable sharing. If it’s one thing I’ve learned, owning a house is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun. :)

A Lot Happens in a Year

It’s been almost a full year since my last blog post. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if I would return to blogging. It’s been a very busy year with numerous ups and downs, and this website has been very far from my mind.

I’ve been catching myself forming long emails at work that are just used to compose my thoughts and get them down in writing. I’ve always loved that about writing, that I can simply write and it helps me see things clearer and keeps more organized. I think as I write, and when I write, I’m able to think more clearly.

So I have this mixture of random drafts that range from goals and aspirations to ideas and to-do lists and plans. I realized, a little ironically, that this is what I used to use my blog for, and I was hit with a bit of nostalgia and really missed being able to compose well-rounded and cohesive thoughts that really encapsulate what I’m thinking and where I’m at in my life.

I’ve been receiving emails recently that my domain is going to expire, and I kept debating and going back and forth on whether or not I would renew it, but seeing all those drafts in my work email inbox really helped me make my decision. So a few minutes ago I renewed my domain for another year and here we are. :)

All that being said, a lot has happened in the last year, so I thought I would give y’all a bit of a recap of what’s been going on:

In June, we traveled to to Colorado to see one of my best friends from college get married. This was our second time in Colorado in two years, but we loved it so much we made it a long weekend and visited some of our favorite spots and some new ones. We visited Rock Mountain National Park again, which was even more beautiful in the summer time. We were able to venture all the way into the park this time, as last time we went part of the park was closed due to heavy snow fall.

In July, I went on my first cruise to the Caribbean! We went to Puerto Rico, Aruba, St. Thomas, Curacao, and St. Kitts. It was a great time with family, but a very new experience. I’m not sure I would go on a cruise again because of all the crowds, but it was something I’ve always wanted to experience so no regrets!

In August, me and Andrew bought a house! This has been such an adventure for us, and I really think where my priorities started to shift away from the blog and towards bigger things. We bought a house a bit under our budget so that we could do some renovations, and oh my goodness, let me just say it looks so much more fun on HGTV than it does in reality! We put new flooring in, took out a wall, painted pretty much every square inch, replaced all the baseboards, removed trees and brush in the backyard, put up a fence, and so much more!

In addition to the renovations, we’ve also had to furnish a whole house! In the house we were renting, all the furniture was provided so we had a lot of shopping to do. We still have a giant to-do list of things we’d love to do to the house, and I’m finding that there is always work to do! Slowly our house is becoming home and we love the area we moved to. It’s a bit of a further commute to work, but it’s so worth it.

In October, my grandpa died. This hurt, and it still huts. Even typing this now tears have pricked my eyes. My grandpa played such a huge role in my life growing up. He was always there for every big moment: birthdays, graduations, holidays, my wedding, you name it and he was there. Growing up, he was my best friend and there was no place cooler than grandpa’s house. He is sorely missed, but it was also his time. He was ready to be with Jesus and I know he is infinitely happier where he is now than he ever could have been here.

In December, I accepted a new position in the Procurement department at my company. I had been actually interviewing for several months before that and it was an extremely stressful time for me. I really had my eyes set on a couple of accounting positions, but it just didn’t work out. I interviewed for this position on a whim and turns out they liked me! I’m really enjoying my new position so far and I work with a great team and a wonderful manager. Plus, the pay raise is pretty sweet, too., haha. I’m not honestly sure if this is a position I can see myself in long term, but it’s great experience and it’s much better than the toxic environment that I was in, so either way it’s a win-win! There’s also a lot of room for growth, so I’m just going to play it by ear and take it day by day.

So that’s been my past year in a nut shell! I have a lot that I’m looking forward to sharing as well as just being able to put words to paper (in a digital format, that is) again.

I’ll end this post with a cute picture of my crazy dog, Chloe. :)