We bought a house! (During COVID-19)
Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Who is crazy enough to purchase a house in these crazy times?
Yes, that would be us! After years of planning and saving, Ross and I finally own a house! On our 1,000th day of marriage, ahead of schedule, we closed on our house, in the middle of a stay-at-home order (don't worry, we didn't break any of the rules).
Talk about wild
In all honesty, this was a bit ahead of schedule. We planned to buy a house in the summertime, but since I like to do things way in advance, we got our financials figured out in advance, started looking in advance, and found a house that we both loved. Things went quickly. To our surprise, our offer was accepted right away and we set up a closing date for April 30th.
Then, less than two weeks ago, we decided to close early, just in case things shut down further in our area. That was certainly an interesting feeling when I turned to Ross and said, “Well, I guess we’re buying a house next week!”
Things I think COVID-19 affected
I don’t know much about real estate, but I’m guessing that our experience was somewhat unique, buying a house during this crisis. It might have even been to our advantage. Since we were looking at houses in March, that was around the time people started staying at home, so there probably weren’t as many people going out to look at houses. COVID-19 might have affected the seller's willingness to accept our offer right off, though their individual circumstances/experiences and our personal letter to them might have helped some too.
I know they rejected another offer right before us, so I’m not sure why ours was accepted. We live in a place with many wealthy people and a high demand for real estate, so I know we couldn’t outbid other people, but we wrote a heartfelt letter expressing our love for the house and our plans to take care of it and cherish it. I don’t know anything about them (except I’m pretty sure they had kids), but I imagine that since they lived in that house for 5 years and they took good care of it, there have been a lot of cherished memories and maybe they cared about the house being loved and taken care of.
Maybe it was that, COVID-19 worries, our closing date was attractive, or maybe the other offer was insultingly low. Who knows? We were surprised and delighted that we got it.
Clearly, COVID-19 was the reason we moved up the closing date by nearly two weeks, and it’ll be the reason we might be moving everything on our own. Fortunately Ross and I are both pretty strong (for our respective genders), so I’m excited to see us accomplish this together (though I look at the couch, 110 pound mattress, and washer/dryer set with some anxiety).
That word has terrified me for years. Of course, I’m thrilled the house is ours now and I’m grateful that Ross and I are on the same page with regards to goals and finances. It’s exciting to know that we’re building equity, we have our own space, and we can design and fix things the way we want to.
I’m especially excited to knock that mortgage out as quickly as possible (I’ve been debt-free my whole life until a few days ago). I’m not going to explain my goals regarding that, as people think I’m overly ambitious, but I believe in making a plan (with margin for error) and adjusting as necessary.
I’ve made charts and have done so many calculations for various scenarios. I love doing that. Math is such a creative subject that I use to improve the quality of my life all the time. If you understand how math works, you can make incredibly detailed plans with your money and see what’s possible. It’s amazing! But I won't go off on that tangent today.
Here's a perfect example of why I love Personal Capital. I'm using it to track my net worth and I'm going to use it to chart my tackling of this newly acquired debt that burdens me so much. (If you join using this link, we'll both get $20 Amazon gift cards - it's free!)
The big move
The next big battle is the move. This is the part I haven’t planned way in advance; we’ll see how much of a glorious disaster it is! Fortunately, we still have the apartment for a few weeks, but in the midst of the stay-at-home order, we realized that we will not have as much help as expected.
I think it’s a fun challenge though and I’m excited for it. We ordered moving straps and I’ve been purging as much from the apartment as I could the last few weeks. I keep reminding myself of the ideals of minimalism to keep myself motivated (These rules for mimimalism, by the Minimalists were really helpful to me!).
I also got a new small scanner (I'll give a link when I know it's here and functional) so that we can save many pictures and documents without lugging around a 40 pound container that I keep documents in. I’ve been wanting to go mostly paperless and scan all my documents for years, but using my phone to scan is a pain.
In the end, we have no idea what we’re doing!
Through this whole process I have felt like I have no idea what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a lot of reading and listening to experts, so I know about as much as any novice, but that’s kind of how most of life is - we have no idea what we’re doing and we just go at it until we figure it out (I know that’s how math can be and I hear that’s parenting in a nutshell).
It’s quite an adventure and I’m excited to experience it with Ross. We’ve done a lot together; it’s both bonding and empowering to handle things mostly on our own. I know there are a lot of challenges and expenses that come with the territory, but I’m excited for the challenge and learning we’ll do together.
And I’m just going to say, it was especially sweet when the closing date was moved up to our 1,000 day anniversary; we hit two milestones on the same day!
I want you to think of a goal you have - preferably one you care about but seems daunting. I want you to make a list of actions you can do to bring you closer to that goal (you don’t have to know how to get the whole way to it yet), and I want you to do one of them today. Even if you just make an actionable plan, that’s a big step to achieving your goals. And be sure to reward yourself with positive encouragement to remind yourself why you’re doing it. You can't stick to a goal unless the end result stays firmly in your mind.
Every budget day for over a year, I texted Ross our new total in the house fund and told him we were on our way to reaching our goals! And so far, we’re on the path. It’s exciting! Of course there are bumps and hiccups on the way, but those will make you stronger. Don’t get discouraged. You can do it!