Our two year journey has ended (or is just beginning??) with the past 1-2 months being nuts in preparation for our move and wrought with feelings ranging from doubt to excitement- fear that something might backfire and fall through and this was all a joke and we didn’t actually get the house, and joy that this dream of ours is finally happening.
When our offer was accepted, I didn’t have much of a reaction. For a while it didn’t feel real, not until we got the keys and even now a small part of me doesn’t think this is actually happening. Slowly, then very suddenly, my emotions rained and I wanted to share about what buying our first house was like, and how much it means to us.
At least for our circumstances, we found out there’s no such thing as a perfect house. I’m also appalled at how expensive and competitive it is to buy a house here and will never get over it. Even if let’s say we were to find a million dollars on the ground and up our budget by a million, I’d bet the human condition would still remain to feel like your “perfect” is just out of reach and above where you’re at no matter what that level is, although damn a million dollars would’ve helped a lot lol. Two years of experiencing this insatiable desire for more taught us that buying a house is a rigorous process of figuring out the best combination of compromises that fit your needs, means, and priorities. Oh will there be compromises! It’s a lot of reflective and eye opening adult shit because it’s so much more than just a house.
Now I know that the biggest reason it took us so long to find a house is because I didn’t want to give up or compromise anything. I held on to the hope that if we just waited long enough the “perfect” house would serendipitously show up in the exact neighborhood we wanted for the exact price we needed without any real competition for it. Of course we wanted our two years of searching to end with our dream forever home, but it also took two years for us to understand the market here and manage our expectations. Only when we let go of perfection and zero’d in on our non-negotiables (c’monnnn house nestled in the middle of a quiet street in a good neighborhood with a not small backyard!) did we finally start making moves.
We had just missed out on putting in an offer on a house that despite not being in love with, we thought it was good enough and the price was great. I didn’t realize how torn up I was about it until I was laying in bed that night unable to sleep, wondering if we had lost our best chance at buying a house. I got up and went to my phone to check Redfin and a new listing had just been posted. The images hadn’t even loaded yet, but I read the description and had a good feeling about it. I refreshed the listing over and over for 20 minutes until the photos loaded. I woke Oleg up to show him, of which he didn’t mind while calmly scrolling through the listing and said, “We should see this tomorrow.”
We saw it the next day and immediately we were like this is great, let’s put in an offer ASAP. The house didn’t hit some of the items on our list, and there were a good amount of details we didn’t love, but still it felt right. I imagined our future kids running around in the backyard, enjoying a space in the home that could potentially be converted into a family room (which would then make more room to keep a bigger dining table in the dining area yesssss this will make sense when I show you), and it just felt right.
The rest was pretty smooth- offer was accepted, sailed through escrow, and got our keys about 2 weeks ago. Since then it’s been chaotic, mostly because of spending all our free time packing our lives into boxes in between traveling for weddings (seems like all our friends are getting married this year, right now!), and also I’m SO eager to get my hands on this house and make it our own despite knowing that we should get settled in and take our time but I can’t help my disease! We got a painter/handyman in there doing a bunch of prep work for painting that’s more convenient to get done before we move all our stuff in and after that I swear we’ll turn down the intensity for a bit maybe. From all the back and forth with going to the house regularly to check on the progress, measuring yet another thing, remeasuring it, ordering the right things, questioning if we ordered the right things because we were presented with options that made us doubt if we really knew what we wanted (stick to your guns, don’t get pushed around, but also do your research), getting another guy to check out some unforeseen problem, then getting another guy to see if he can fix it for a better price, then dealing with another guy ghosting us for a quote… I can already see that there’s no sense in rushing all of this as there’s plenty more of it to come.
While we didn’t get everything we were looking for in our first house, we still ended up with something great that we love, with a mortgage that isn’t going to suffocate us (an important factor that I’m glad we came to terms with after thankfully in hindsight losing out on a different house we made an offer on that was going to blow our budget) and yes, still worth all that time and energy we poured into finding it. When we really strip it down to what we wanted most, it was to stay in LA and not move out of this state. For a while we weren’t sure if we wanted to see that challenge through, but we’re doing it. !! We’re staying for the foreseeable future, and I’m so proud of us for moving confidently in that direction. That’s our biggest victory.
It felt right to end this post with sharing about what is a very strong part of our identities. We both come from immigrant families that left all our extended family behind, something I thought about a lot through this entire process as we are both the first generation to grow up in this country and expand our family here. I think a lot about how grateful I am that we were even able to buy a house, and that we have this chance to sow our roots even deeper in a city we love so incredibly much. I’m wary of sounding corny or dramatic, but the truth is that the American dream is very alive for us. Not to say that dream is only realized through home ownership, but rather that this is a milestone that very deeply reminds us of where we came from and our greatest hopes for the future of our family trees. I dream of a big family.
Thank you so much to everyone that shared their home buying stories with us and gave encouragement beyond what we knew we needed, and for simply caring. Excited to share many of our messes and mistakes as first time homeowners already preceded by how we don’t know what we’re doing and have made, “Can you just do what you think is best?” our default instructions to every professional we’ve consulted about doing work on our house. Appreciate you being patient with us and sticking by <3. Moving in 6 days!!
17 comments on “We Bought a House!”
So happy for you! Cant wait to see more of it in the future!
Congratulations! Can’t wait to see how you update and decorate your home! <3
Congratulations! So very excited for you and can’t wait to see all the great things you will do in your new home!
Can’t wait to see the before and after pictures as you make it your own. Go slow though, we’re 3 months into our new house and it’s been expensive, and it was a new home, so it’s not like we’re fixing anything, just decorating, and buying all of home depot. (because we needed a pressure washer?? good lord)
Oh Amy, I’m so happy for the both of you!! Seeing the title of your post this morning brought such a huge smile to my face! I’m so glad that your search is over and that you and Oleg have found your new home in LA ! Congratulations you two!!!
I’m so incredibly excited for you two!!! Insane to thi k this is where you will begin growing a family. I can’t wait to visit and be in awe of this next chapter of your life. Love you!
Congrats! Can’ wait for some pictures!
ohhh yay!!! congratulations! i know it’s been a hard and long search, so very excited for you :)
You say your home is not perfect and that no home is perfect. You are wrong and are missing something very important here. It is not your circumstances that mean ..”for you there’s no such thing as a perfect house.” It is your attitude towards life that is constraining you. A home is perfect when it is shared by 2 people who really love each other. It is not a fine bathroom or wonderful kitchen. It is the love with which the two of you fill the 4 walls. My husband died just over 2 months ago. Our home IS perfect. It is full of him and me and the love and laughter and joy that we brought each other and filled this house with. It is now my sanctuary. It needs a new ceiling in the bathroom. It could do with more storage space. So what? It is perfect because I lived here with him. You are young and at the beginning of a very exciting journey. You say that even if you found a million dollars you would feel that “perfect” is out of reach. You say you look forward to a big family. You say that only when you gave up the search for perfection could you move to make a purchase. You have learned a valuable lesson in part but you will hopefully learn more. You don’t need to and shouldn’t give up on perfection. It is right and wonderful to have dreams. But please, don’t lose the “perfect” that you can have with your Oleg right now, in a search for something better or something in the future. Whichever house you live in should be perfect because you live in it together. I wish you love, joy and happiness together in your perfect house and for your future.
This post was about house hunting and the first-time home buying experience, not about making a house a home which takes time and comes later. I only meant to give a real account of what house hunting is like for a lot of us that can’t afford the “dream homes” you see on TV or social media, especially in a city like LA, that can be so mysterious as to how people afford them, and how the entire house hunting experience can make you feel inadequate and that you need more money to fulfill this idea of a dream home (you don’t, that’s what I learned, I was making a joke about it with the million dollars thing). I was being honest about how I was swept up in finding perfection in terms of features in a house and then let that go, and now we have a house we love. The point I’m making is that you don’t need everything you thought you initially wanted to find a house you love. I put “perfect” in quotations to acknowledge it is subjective, that the definition of it is different for everyone and can always change. Perfect comes after we move in and make it our home- we are actually in agreement on there being no such thing as a “perfect” house upon initial viewing, because perfect is made later by the people who live in it. I think you are misunderstanding me, and I’m sorry I didn’t explain my perspective more clearly. I ended the post talking about my dreams of a big family because that is what I care about most, over the design or whatever else I’ve been dramatic about as being important when ultimately that stuff isn’t worth stressing about.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. I can’t imagine the pain you are going through. Still it is heartwarming to hear you have a home to cherish that is filled with his presence and love. Wishing you the best.
Amy, I loved this blog post because I felt all the same things when we were looking for our first home. LA also made it a lot harder to find everything we were looking for. I understand what you mean about wanting so much and feeling like you’re compromising too much, but in the end it’s all ok!
Thank you for taking the time to reply. I was really concerned for you and I am so glad you understand that a home is what you make of a house. And I am glad that I misunderstood and apologise, Thank you also for your condolences, Cherish each other every moment. I wish you a long and happy life together wherever you may be.
Bless your heart your story reminds me of my own. I’m so sorry you lost your husband. It’s tough at best to go through that. But you are so right about the memories. That is what makes a house a home. We have lived in our home for 53 years. Our children grew up here and this is now “the gathering place”for them and the grandchildren and their little ones. This is what home is about!
I’ve been following your blog for a while and have been keeping my fingers crossed for you guys. So happy about your happy ending! Congrats and all the best for your new house.
I know exactly what you mean. We are trying to let go of perfection too in our house hunt. So excited to see you decorate your new house! Congrats!!
Congrats ! Your new house will be a perfect nest !