Monday, May 14, 2007

House Hunting

I have begun the process. Honestly, I never thought that I would be doing this solita—I guess I had bought into the girl fantasy of home shopping with the betrothed. And, being raised in California, I had assumed that home ownership was the elusive dream—reserved for the rich; certainly not for those in the editing/writing profession. But, that is yet another beauty about living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina: I, a 26-year-old, by- no-means- rich, single female, can afford a home.
When I first visited NC last spring, Kara and I stayed with quite a few of her friends as we did our whirlwind state tour. Her friends, all our age, owned their own homes. I was astounded. Rightly so, considering West Coast mentality and specifically, central coast California mentality, where the average home costs 500,000—and that buys you a pile of s*&#. So to come to NC, and see 25 year olds in their own homes, absolutely astounded me. I became even more determined to move here.
And here I am, searching for my own place, exactly a year later. It’s a cool world when your plans actually work out.
Right now I am looking primarily at townhomes/condos. For one, I am a minimalist, and I don’t particularly want yard maintenance or overall house concerns, such as roof/paint type things. I’ll let my HOA fees take care of that. Also, for my price range, I can buy a much nicer condo or townhome than a house, and in a better area. So I’m starting small.
I had no idea how cool the actual process would be. I had never given much thought to the mortgage process, negotiating prices, and weighing whether the property will be a good re-sell/rental. I am now fully immersed in educating myself on the ins and outs: earnest money, home inspections, PMI, and balancing listening to the realtor and using my own judgment. I feel, well, rather grown-up.
My favorite part is figuring out how I am going to decorate and paint the place. I have lived on my own, but I’ve always been a renter, so decorations weren’t so high on my priority list. In college, decorating consisted of scoring the best used couch from family members. Moving across the country meant that I have had to start clean: furniture didn’t fit in my car, therefore, only my clothes and some kitchen goods made the trek. I am beginning from scratch.
Thank God for Craigslist. I love bargain hunting, and Craigslist is a 24/7 yardsale. I’ve already purchased a full bedroom set, but I am waiting until I actually get the digs to finish furniture acquiring. Whenever I look at a place I like, I visualize how I would paint the walls and weigh whether I can picture decorating that space to my specifications. I’ve been gathering home decorating catalogs, Pottery Barn, Southern Living—whatever I can glean ideas from. I love it, and I find that often I have a hard time falling asleep because I am imagining how this is all going to come together. (God willing). I’ll keep posting about this topic, especially as I start to narrow down “the one.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with California homes being priced ridiculously. I would consider moving to another state to purchase a home but because I was raised here all my life, it would be a hard change for me to adjust to. If you're still searching for a new home and need help, you should check out "Bought & Sold" that airs on HGTV every Sunday at 10pm. It's a show that shows the audience all the things that go on in between purchasing the home. It would be very helpful for you. I know this because I work with them. Check out http://web.hgtv.com/webhgtv/images/pac/59889/start_at_home.html?section=boughtsold,panel=videos for more information!