What a crazy start to our home renovation story.
In January 2016 we made the move from San Jose to Seattle. I am sure it’s getting old for people in the Emerald city to hear that, so I like to make sure they know we were only transients in San Jose. We stopped long enough for me to get established in my new job before looking further afield for a city we could actually call home. For us San Jose felt like an embodiment of the movie “Office Space” as it feels a bit like perpetual suburbs and very little character. To add to that, the median home price is well over a million dollars, not something a young family enjoys.
The problem of course, is that we aren’t the only couple that feels this way. There has been a fairly large flight of people from California up the coast to cities like Portland and Seattle, which has driven prices up in those markets as well. We found out we were moving in October of 2015, just a week after our wedding. A couple of weeks later we were in Seattle looking for our Home (capitalization intentional). That first weekend we toured over twenty homes and were left feeling tired and a bit disappointed. It’s the reality of the market, but its still hard to face the realization that on our budget we would be looking at a home in need of serious TLC.
We wound up in a two bedroom apartment on Mercer Island, locked into a three month lease to give us a bit more time to house hunt. Every weekend from the time we moved, we were out on the hunt – often touring upwards of ten houses a weekend. All told we toured close to 75 homes and made offers on five. Each rejected offer was soul crushing. Before making an offer we had to imagine the house as a Home, and that took a real emotional investment.
We looked at houses all around the Seattle area, not caring too much about the area as long as the schools were good and the area felt safe. Eventually we found a home in the Renton area that had everything we were looking for. Incredibly it sat on an acre of land right next to a church and across from a new subdivision. It was an older home, with original hardwood floors and a ton of “character.” We began building our lives in this house in our imaginations and we liked what we saw!
We made an offer, and after some back and forth with the seller, it was accepted! But the fun didn’t end there. We still had to get by appraisal in order to get our loan in order. Of course that came back well under the offer and it was back to negotiations with the seller. Thankfully, they were willing to meet us half way and a couple weeks ago we came to agreement on the final price.
Finally, this morning we went to the escrow office and signed away our lives for the next 30 years. Closing will be on Monday and then we take possession! Our journey is just starting, but its already been a lot of fun with some heartache thrown in as well. We are excited to move and get to the actual renovations.