by Amy Joy
Over the weekend, I painted my kitchen mauve.
What’s so special about a mauve colored kitchen? Well, it’s my mauve colored kitchen.
I also have living room, some bedrooms … and I even have a basement with a laundry tub.
My very own laundry tub.
It’s funny how every day items can seem so luxurious when they’re your own!
My decision to buy my house wasn’t a hard one. After paying rent for ten years of my life, I knew it was time to embark on my first-ever real estate journey.
But there was one problem.
I wasn’t sure that, financially, I could do it on my own. Most of my friends or family who were buying houses did it with a boyfriend or a husband. Even though I have a really great boyfriend, I wasn’t quite prepared to “take the next step”.
Enter my childhood friend, Lisa.
She was in a pretty awful long term relationship and was looking for an escape plan.
Knowing both of our situations, I got a great idea one morning at work and sent Lisa an email.
I think it went a little something like this:
How’s your day going? I had toast for breakfast. Do you want to buy a house together?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but my point is that it really was as simple as me presenting the idea to Lisa. Even though it’s not really “the norm” for two 28 year old women to buy a house together, logically, it really made sense.
I didn’t buy a house with her expecting that we’d be living together for the next 25 years so we talked about all possible “outcomes”. I know eventually she wants to move in with a significant other but buying our first house together, as friends, really made it all so much easier, financially and emotionally. And when we do decide to go our separate ways, we’ll both have equity!
I’d like to tell you it was some sort of Thelma and Louise adventure: Girls look for house, find themselves. It wasn’t that romantic, I’m afraid. But it was a very good lesson in life. In the practical sense, I mean.
The first feat to overcome was getting a real estate agent. So how does one find the perfect agent? Well, my best advice – word of mouth. Ask around. See who your friends and family would recommend. Set up a meeting, feel them out. And most importantly, go with your gut!
Through a few friends of ours, we were able to find a gentleman who really came in handy. He wasn’t too pushy and he really kept in mind what we were looking for, and would send us new listings each morning, set up appointments, and most importantly, give us his HONEST opinion about the place.
One of the first houses we looked at wasn’t ideal, but we really liked the location, and tthought it could be a good fixer upper. Our inspector was a man who’d been in the business for 30 years or more. He really simplified things for us and blatantly told us that he wouldn’t have his daughters live in the house (we asked him straight out, as a dad, not an inspector if he’d let his daughters buy this house).
In the end, a co-worker of mine was building a new house and selling her old one which I absolutely loved and was perfect for us.
We had already been pre-approved for a mortgage, but once the ball got rolling there were all kinds of papers to sign, visits to lawyers offices, etc. Lucky for me, all the banker/lawyer jargon was much easier to understand because Lisa is a banker!
My advice to anyone whose partner isn’t a banker? Ask tons and tons of questions and don’t expect the lawyer’s fees to be cheap! They charge you for everything, phone calls, emails, etc. The day we got the bill from the lawyer, which was the day we also got the keys to our new house, I was a little shocked.
Eight months have passed since I became an official homeowner. Things are great. For me, buying a house was a really smart decision. Buying it with a friend was a pretty smart decision, too. I know we’re not going to break-up, and I know if anything goes wrong, we’re both in it together.
The reaction I get from people when I tell them I bought a house with a girlfriend is mixed. Some people don’t quite get why I just didn’t do it with my boyfriend. But others have been really positive. I feel like I open their eyes to a world they’re not familiar with. I can’t say that reaction doesn’t make me feel liberated.
As for the mauve colored kitchen, it looks great. Next week, I move on to my living room. I’m thinking a pale avocado might be nice.