Apartment Hunting: 23 Year Old Edition
Whew! It’s good to be back. Sometimes life gets a little crazy in the midst of trying to simply live your life to the fullest. Needless to say, it’s been super hectic around here since I graduated college. I feel like societies expectation of you once you graduate is to move out of your parents’ house or basements for some of you and get a place you can call home. In my experience, family is everything. My entire life has been surrounded with my siblings and learning how to become independent at a young age.
Having a home when graduating was certainly my expectation. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. I changed jobs after college and have finally settled down into a job where I know I can grow for the next several years to come. The next big move for me was to finally pack my things and begin the next chapter of my life. Thankfully my boss recommended me to a realtor that she loved because she is constantly keeping it 100 with you.
Cameron and I took her advice and called the realtor up on a Friday. A couple of minutes later I received a text stating that she had been on a cruise and is super excited to work with us. My initial thought was wow… My realtor is on a cruise somewhere probably warm and inviting while we are enjoying lots and lots of snow. My second thought was, shit, did she really just text me while on a cruise?! This girl is dedicated! I appreciated her timely response while on vacation and sure enough, Sunday morning she called me to discuss what I was looking for in a potential home. Since Cameron was at work, I had explained to her that we were unsure whether to rent or to buy something due to the fact that we were simply not educated enough on one or the other.
Bottom line: Do not move into a home that your purchase unless you know where you exactly want to be. For us, that spoke volumes. Therefore, we decided we would rent our first place to test the waters. Now this was big for me because I am all about not wasting my money that I work damn hard for. Renting is basically paying to live. Buying a home is paying to live but it eventually pays off. Renting comes with a lot of restrictions such as only being able to decorate the walls but not being able to paint them. Or, if you hate something about the house, realistically you’re not able to make a change.
Luckily, my realtors name was Diane and she immediately found some places to rent that were in our price range. When did she find these places? Oh yeah, IMMEDIATELY on Sunday after our conversation of my must-haves. She was SO time efficient and she knew that it was my priority to move only if and when we found the perfect place. Now, some of you may be thinking, “Geez girl, there is no such thing!”. Well, lucky enough for us, there was.
One of my must haves once browsing through some homes was to have a washer and dryer in unit. This was a huge concern for me since I was living at college and I would have to take the elevator up and down to see if my laundry was completed and to ensure that nobody had taken my laundry out to dry on the floor. You just never know with college students who are in a hurry! Another must have was absolutely no carpet. There is just something about living in someone else’s carpet. I’m sorry but I do not want to know what is sleeping next to me on the floor at night. Obviously, I am a bit of a clean freak/perfectionist.
My realtor got to know me really well. She knew what I was looking for and one day after I got off of work, Cameron and I decided to go meet Diane to view some properties we showed interest in. We did not have a preference on where we wanted to live which made it easier for Diane to find what we were looking for. All I had told her was that we both wanted to be remotely close to work. Finding a place in between where we both work could have been a struggle but it wasn’t. Thank goodness!
The first place we stepped into was the most perfect neighborhood. We loved how spacious the neighborhood was and how pet friendly it was. It was closer to 6pm and we saw people walking their dogs and playing with their children. Despite the cold weather. It seemed as though it was the most perfect neighborhood. The townhomes there were also much more updated than we had originally thought they would be. That made my eyes bug out like the heart faced emoji. Walking in was nerve-wrecking since Cameron had made it there before I did because I got caught in a bit of traffic the way my GPS took me. I was slightly upset that he had already walked in before me and I could not see his reaction. This was supposed to be an experience for both of us that had now been ruined.
Cameron is someone who was hesitant to move out. He definitely lives a very fortunate life and his family like mine, is everything to him. He really didn’t see a point to move out considering he had everything he needed. However, what was lacking for me was not what was lacking for him. We struggled on finding the perfect time to move out. Until we realized, there is no perfect time. We took our age into consideration and he realized that the amount of stress I had undergone was enough in itself to look for our first home together. I was really excited to start looking but was unsure how he felt about the whole thing. I think once he saw the first place he was very excited to keep looking and he really got the idea of us being together by ourselves.
After stepping foot in the first home, I noticed that he wasn’t in love with it. Although, it was very nice, it was very small. The kitchen was bigger than the bedroom to say the least. The bedroom had a walk-in closet which was lovely and definitely needed. However, it also had a very small room next to the bedroom that we could turn into an office. It was just okay and seemed weird with our neighbors draping over the top of our front door with their balcony. There was a stain on the carpet. Yes, I said carpet. LOTS and lots of carpet… So, this was a no, but again, the neighborhood was fantastic!
The next place we looked at after this one was absolutely atrocious. Absolutely disgusting. First of all, it had stairs, lots of them! If anyone knows me, stairs are not my friend…. At all. Especially when you walk in the door to complex and have to hike up three flights of stairs before you get to your door… Yeah, not my cup of tea. Once entering the room, all we smelled was smoke. The person before us definitely smoked in the unit and within 5 minutes I was long gone.
Beginning to not lose hope, Cameron and I headed back to his house. Since we drove separately, we called each other on the way back to discuss everything. Neither of us were really thrilled about either property but there was just something about that neighborhood at the first place we looked at. We ate Culvers for dinner that night and hung out at Cameron’s. We knew more options were to follow by Diane so all we had to do was wait.
A couple of days had gone by and we were getting plenty of options sent to us but none were worth going to look at. We actually were sent another townhome in that beautiful neighborhood that we really loved but it didn’t have any pictures. It was about double the square footage and had double the rooms. We knew the neighborhood was nothing but perfect for us and despite not having any pictures we thought, let’s go look at it. It couldn’t be worse than the last place. Plus, the only thing we saw was a picture of the front door. We scheduled time to go see the home and couldn’t be more excited.
Remember: never lose hope. Most people look at plenty of homes before deciding on a place together. While we are both easy to please, it is certainly a process. The perfect home will come out of the darkness and it will all be clear. Just remember to keep a level head and an open mind.
Coming soon…. (Hopefully) Discovering our first home!