Saturday, January 9, 2016

Impulsive Home-Buying

B and I bought a house on the last day of our 2014 summer. It was an impulsive purchase (in my mind) and the culmination of a life’s dream (to B).

We had discussed buying a house before, but it had never seemed real, at least to me, and it definitely wasn’t something we were actively pursuing. Everyone I knew who had purchased a home, had seemed to do tons of research, talk to many experts, spend hours filling out paperwork, and spend months looking at different properties, whereas the furthest we’d gotten was agreeing that if we were to buy one we would look in the United States.

We’d done no work and had no plans. And yet, in the summer of 2014, I would realize that all of the conversations I’d had with B over the past 6 years had been preparing me for this moment.

Here is a snippet of our conversations over the years, leading up to purchasing our house. Hopefully, you will see what I missed, B’s intensity and my obliviousness.

2008 - On a Bus, Honduras
(We’ve only just met - this is something he mentioned in our 1st ever convo, scouts honor.)

B: Someday I’d love to own property and a house and just have a place to call my own.

Me: Hmmm? Ya… sure. That all sounds good. You’re really cute. I’ll agree to whatever you say.

2009 - California
(Doing the long distance relationship thing.)

B: Northern California is probably the best place I’ve ever lived. I’d definitely like to come back here and settle someday.

Me: Only if it could be in Chico. I love Chico! Go Wildcats!

B: Sure, Chico or even more North. Like near Lake Shasta.

Me: Umm.. No. Just Chico. Yay Chico! I mean if we’re dreaming, why not dream for the best?

2010 - California
(Planning to move to Honduras together.)

Me: Oh my gosh. We are moving to Honduras. We can visit the place we met. And the place we shared our first kiss. And I can show you all the other places I loved.

B: We met in a bus station. You picked me up on a bus.

Me: (grimacing) I didn’t pick you up on a bus. It was way more romantic that. This is going to be amazing. And you picked me up.

B: (snorting) Uh… no. You definitely picked me up. This is exciting though. Do you picture coming back here someday? Maybe buying property?

Me: To NorCal? Definitely someday. But a long ways away someday. (Like so long…)

2011 - Honduras
(B hates Honduras. I love it. We get engaged.)

Me: Eiii!!! We are engaged. Amazing. Incredible. I never even pictured this. Ahh… we’re getting married.

B: Yep. And we only have like one year left in Honduras. Maybe we’ll have enough money saved to put a down payment on a house.

Me: Umm… maybe. But we have to plan a wedding and I kind of don’t want to move back yet. I’m just not ready. I need one more year. One more place. You can pick. Anywhere except the continental United States and Hawaii.

B: So Alaska or the rest of the world?

Me: Exactly.

2012 - California
(Got married. Moving to Kuwait.)

Me: I cannot believe you chose Kuwait. This is crazy. We are moving to Kuwait?!?

B: Its cool. Its safe. I swear. Make your parents read those statistics I send them. It is much safer than Honduras and even safer than most US cities. Trust me.

Me: But its Kuwait. Q-8.

B: Yes. And it pays well. And has no taxes. And if we save, we can actually buy a house. Property. We can have renters. We can make passive income. It would be incredible.

Me: So you’re serious about this house thing, huh? This wasn’t just some passing fancy. Damn. Alright cheers to Kuwait and savings accounts!

2013 - Kuwait
(Experiencing all Kuwait has to offer.)

Me: Wow. It is incredible how little there is to do here. I mean you can’t help but save money.

B: I told you. It's phenomenal. We are going to do it. We can buy a house this summer!

Me: I don’t think buying a house is the same as buying a plane ticket. I think there is more to it than that. I mean where would we even buy it?

B: Who cares? We can own property! We can buy it in Detroit. Or the Midwest. Or the south. They are all very affordable.

Me: Wait. I’m sorry. Did you just list a bunch of places I’ve never been?!? Why would we buy a house in a place I’ve never been? I don’t even know if I could get a job there.

B: It’s not about that. We’ll get renters. Passive income, babe.

Me: Umm… Buying our first house is romantic. It’s our first house. I want to love it. I want it to be ours.

B: Oh no. That is not what I’m picturing. Just a simple house to rent. That pays for itself. That is easy to maintain - maybe with a renter already in it.

Me: Well, I’m picturing us, in an old house, a fixer-upper, in Chico?

2014: Still Kuwait
(Year 2, beginning to consider life after Kuwait.)

B: I sent you a bunch of houses in Northern California. Do any of them interest you?

Me: Are you kidding me? We can’t buy a house unseen. I mean I looked but - no way.

B: Why not?

Me: No way. We can look this summer and if we find one we like we can start the process.

B: The process? If we find one we like and we can afford it, we’ll buy it.

Me: Buy it. Ha. We’ll be lucky if we even find time to look.

But B was right, as he often is. 

We flew home for 5 weeks. We spent one day looking at houses in 45-minute radius around Chico, because there was no way we could afford Chico. We saw lots of houses we loved, but also knew we could never afford or actually make a life in (man, do I still dream about that purple hexagonal one in the forest, though).

Then a friend recommended Craig’s List.

We found an old Craftsman that was built in 1905. We also found one that had the words “Meth Lab” spray-painted across the front. They were both fixer uppers, but the Craftsman definitely had more street appeal. We stopped at the Craftsman, peeked through the windows, and fell in love. It was gorgeous – or at least it could be gorgeous (the back definitely left something to be desired). We contacted the bank, right then, but it was a no-go, the house needed too much work.

B was not to be deterred, though. He had found a house. A house I loved. A house we could afford. He was going to buy that house. Therefore, on our last day in California, we found ourselves making a deal with the seller. And, because there was no bank and only 3 people, we were able to complete all the paperwork that day, in one day, just hours before heading to the airport.

So, after years of banter, it sure felt like we bought our first home on an impulse.

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