We bought a HOUSE! After 6 years of renting, Andrew and I are so thrilled to finally become first-time homeowners and have a place to call OURS. I spilled the secret in my birthday post a couple of weeks ago, but now that we’ve officially closed, I’m so happy to be able to share more about it!
As many of you know, we moved back home to Texas last May after Andrew finished law school, but we knew going into this move that it would be short-lived. We wanted to get a feel for Dallas (neither of us are from DFW), figure out which areas we liked and didn’t like, narrow down a few target areas and get our finances in order so we could hopefully buy our first home by the time our one-year lease was up. Well, it came down to the wire - life got crazy as it always does and we didn’t even start the house-hunting process until late March, but thankfully it all went fairly smoothly, and here we are homeowners with 3 weeks to spare before our lease ends!
So, we actually put an offer on the house we ended up getting before I’d even seen it in person. Yep! I was out of town for a weekend of shoots and Andrew went with our realtor to check out a few contenders one Sunday. I hadn’t even seen pictures, but he called me as I was driving back and said “I think I found the one. It blows all the others out of the water. We need to put an offer on it before it’s too late.” We’d already made an offer on one other house and didn’t get it, which was really disheartening, so hearing the excitement and urgency in his voice, I trusted him 100%. I hurried and looked at photos of it on Zillow and said Let’s go for it. It’d been sitting on the market for a couple of months so we decided to take a chance and offer slightly lower than asking price. Six hours later, we got a call that it was ours. PRAISE!
Our home search wish list
It was really easy for me to jump on board sight unseen because Andrew and I have had a good idea from the get-go about what we’re wanting. We’ve always been pretty much on the same page style-wise (we joked with our realtor that we’d make a terrible couple for House Hunters because we don’t really argue when it comes to what we want in a home) so when Andrew told me I’d love this house, I knew he wasn’t lying. We’d had a solid wish list all along!
Ellis County // After a few months of living in our current area, we quickly figured out this isn’t where we want to be long-term. We’ve enjoyed the convenience of our neighborhood - anything we need is 5 minutes away - but Andrew’s commute into downtown Dallas on 75 was miserable. Ellis County is south of Dallas, has lots more rural areas which is definitely more our style, and while it’s further distance-wise from his office, he can actually get to work faster because there’s way less traffic from that direction.
4 bed/2 bath or 3/2 + office, one story // So this one didn’t quite pan out. We ended up with a 3/2, no office, two story, which wasn’t ideal, but it still works great. The upstairs bedrooms have plenty of room for an office, for now, so it’s not the end of the world. And our master is downstairs, so that’s a plus!
Laundry room // The last two houses we’ve lived in have had the washer and dryer in the garage. Not a huge deal, but I was really hoping for an actual laundry room (with AC + heat!) where I didn’t have to scoot past my car to unload the dryer.
Good fireplace // We are fireplace people. This was a must.
Decent-sized fenced yard // Abby’s a big pup!
Major projects required // Renovating a house was not something we wanted to take on at this point if we were being realistic and honest with ourselves. We’re just not cut out for a fixer upper, so we both agreed that we preferred something newer, or if it was older, then something already updated. We were open to changing out paint, floors, even cabinets and counters - cosmetic stuff - but if it needed foundation work, a ton of new appliances/fixtures or major renovations - we were out.
Back alley garage // The house we’ve been in has this situation going on annnnd we hate it. I know it’s a common setup in many towns, but it’s not something either of us are used to and frankly, it’s been a pain. It’s hard to maneuver our vehicles and get into our garage easily, I feel like I’m always dodging people’s trash cans, it’s annoying when two cars are trying to go opposite directions (the alley’s only one car wide), and honestly, it creeps me out a little. This was a huge no-go for me.
Bonuses we ended up with
Aside from budget of course, those must-haves and deal-breakers were really all the factors we cared about. So we cast a pretty wide net, but we ended up only looking at about 10 houses total over a span of 3 weeks (I only saw 3 in person - Andrew was able to look at more on his lunch breaks). It’s a time-consuming process, especially when our target area was an hour from our current home.
Our new house hit all but one of our major requirements AND came with a few awesome perks we weren’t expecting!
Concrete floors // A dream of mine - this pretty much sold me the moment I walked in. The upstairs is carpet but everything downstairs is a gorgeous dark brown stained concrete!
Clawfoot tub // The tub in the master bathroom is so perfect! We’ve never lived in a house with a separate shower and tub, so I’m excited about this. I may actually become a bath person.
Tall ceilings in living area + good closets // This house has great use of space. The layout is compact and cozy but there’s still plenty of storage. My only complaint here is that the living room is a liiiittle small, but it’ll work just fine, especially with tall ceilings that make it feel bigger.
Rustic + industrial details // When I did finally see the house in person, I kept on telling Andrew, “This is something I would’ve picked out myself!” Edison bulb light fixtures, wrought iron stair rails, hammered bronze sinks, tan granite counters - this house has some beautiful elements that work perfectly with our decor style! We do want to paint the walls and cabinets (we’re doing the walls ourselves but hiring a professional to paint the cabinets and redo the kitchen backsplash), but other than that, it’s move-in ready.
Limestone // A silly little detail, but if we can’t have a limestone exterior, I was happy to end up with at least a beautiful limestone fireplace. Makes this hill country girl so happy.
Proximity to an HEB // This one is the real winner. We’ve gone 4 years without one anywhere near us and I’ve missed it SO BADLY!
Overall, I couldn’t be much more thrilled about the way things fell into place and the house we ended up with. It’s really unlike me to not worry myself sick about things like this, but surprisingly, I didn’t stress much over the process in general. Mostly because I knew neither of us would settle - this was too big of an investment! So I just trusted (and prayed a whole lot) that the timing would work out and we’d find a place we truly felt at home. And thank the Lord we did.
Our realtor was wonderful, and our lender - I could sing her praises from the rooftop all day long. We worked with a company out of Abilene and after having less than stellar experiences with two other lenders, this lending company (especially Misti!) was so attentive and helpful - they went above and beyond! I’d be happy to refer them to anyone.
I’m eager and antsy to move in, decorate, and make this place into our HOME! We plan to be here for a good while and we’re both excited about settling into a new town for the long haul. I’ll try to share some photos as we go and definitely want to do more home-related blog posts. Cannot wait to share more soon!