Monday, April 29, 2019

Life Update : we bought a house!

Surprise! I'm now a homeowner, or a half homeowner, or half a mortgage holder technically. April 10th the fiancé and I closed on our first house and we've been living in it for the last week and a half.


To put things simply we had terrible neighbors at our apartment and were just never able to get the full warm fuzzies for our building because of them. At the beginning of year we started talking about what we wanted to do once our lease was up and both agreed we didn't want to resign to stay for a year. We started looking at other apartments and didn't find anything we loved so we thought we'd look for a condo or townhome to rent. After talking to a realtor and mortgage broker we realized it really just made more sense to buy since mortgage rates were lower than they'd been in the last year and we could get a jump on it before the market got super competitive in the summer.

So we started searching zillow and realtor.com for our dream place. We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted; two bedroom 1.5 bath; 950+sq ft and in two specific locations in Dallas. We thought  these areas would have the best resale value once we started a family and needed something larger while still fitting in our price range. After a long afternoon of looking at about 8 condos we thought we'd found a great fit, but with one problem. This condo had been on the market off and on for almost 2 years (major red flag!) and had an insanely high HOA fee. We then decided to expand our search to single family homes where we wouldn't have an HOA fee and would essentially have the same monthly payment. This meant essentially starting the search over again with a whole new set of parameters.

We really thought the second house we went in was the "one." It had a fabulous screened in sunroom addition plus a large family room, and was much closer to both our jobs. I could picture our future in there and how we'd update it short term and long term. After talking to their agent and looking at a prior inspection report we decided there were just too many problems that we didn't want to fix as first time buyers. So back to the drawing board we went. In the middle of this I had a super crazy work/life schedule where I had 3 trips in less than a month. We took a mini break from looking while I was out of town for a week and decided to go look at three houses the day after I got back into town. At that point I was honestly a little over looking. Even though we hadn't been looking for that long, it was emotionally exhausting to think we had found the "one" twice already only to realize it wasn't a good fit once we looked more closely. I had accepted that we weren't going to find anything and would just need to sign a 9 month lease and start looking again in the fall after the competitiveness of summer was over. But then we walked into this house and knew it was perfect!

It has 3 bedrooms and two baths, a large laundry room, two car garage, and a nice fenced in backyard for the pup. The street has a cute name and we're in a good school district. No farther from work than we were before. Hot water heater, roof, and HVAC are all new within the last 3 years but the house still has some the original elements giving it charm. Gas stove and updated countertops and flooring. And the most adorable guest bathroom. Honestly it's everything and more that we wanted in a first home.

We put in an offer that day. The next morning we got a call from our realtor to let us know we were in a multiple bid situation and the owners were asking for everyone's best offer by 5pm. We went to church and prayed about it and then put in our offer. Later that evening we got the call that the owners had decided they wanted to work with us but countered our offer. After double checking with the mortgage broker we decided to accept there counter and officially said yes to buying the house! The rest of the process was true whirlwind. I kept waiting for the hammer to drop and something to go wrong, but we got lucky and the whole process went really smoothly.

When the year started I shared that one of my 2019 intentions was to be aggressive with saving because we wanted to buy a house in 2020. Reaching that bigger goal of owning a home a year early is so surreal. I realize I'm very fortunate to be in a position where this is possible and I owe a lot of thanks to my parents who not only always stressed the importance of saving and living within your means, but also allowed me to graduate college debt free and then live at home to save for 2 years. I truly feel like I'm living the American dream, and for that I am thankful.



Monday, April 22, 2019

Why I miss blogging and why I don't

The other day I tweeted that I really miss blogging, but then I think about what blogging has become and realize what I really miss are the old days of blogging. When I started writing on this space back in 2013 blogging was WAY different. For starters this blog looked completely different. When I started blogging I blogged at FromMississippiWithLove.blogspot.com and my page was bright pink and orange, then to a chic black and white floral print, and finally to red, navy and white. I started it in part as a way to teach myself basic coding to add a skill to my resume so I did all the coding and design. Along the way I changed the name and design (again) until I curated a space I'm still really proud of.

I recently reread this post I wrote after my first year of blogging and the nostalgia really hit. Blogging was so simple back then. The majority of people blogging were doing it for fun, not to make money or become an influencer. We wrote fun how to posts, weekend updates, and silly prompted linkups. We formed real connects and read each other's blogs and left meaningful comments; not just "cool post!" People spent time writing out posts with real content instead of spending all their time on photo shoots and linking products. Your blog was your priority, not your Instagram follower count. I miss the age of being a blogger instead of an "influencer."

When I started blogging I published 5 times a week. Sitting down for blogging time was my favorite part of my day. I not only wrote each night, but spent time reading so many blogs. Slowly that went down to posting 3 times a week and now I'll go weeks without even thinking about my blog. Part of that is that I'm in a totally different place in my life now. I now have someone to share everything with and don't have to rely on writing down my thoughts to share them. But the bigger reason that I've become so distant from this space is that the blogging world is just so different now. The "influencer" bubble will eventually burst, and when it does I hope we all go back to being just bloggers.