This past Saturday, April 23, marked the 3-year anniversary of me being a homeowner. April 23, 2008 was my closing day with the bank. I was a single, naive, just-turned-24-year old and I thought I had it all figured out. I’m not sure why I even decided to be a homeowner – it wasn’t about the “numbers” or that I needed a place to settle down. At the time, it was all about attaining that feeling of independence. What’s more independent than a single, young, professional woman buying real estate in a state she’s never lived? I also had a few “pushers” like Louise from work who purchased a house young, and from my perspective, it worked out great for her. Honestly, it was 80% an impulse buy, which defines most of my life decisions (ask to see some of my tattoos, for example).
I think I had $700 to my name when I decided to make an offer on my house, most of which was used for a good faith payment, an appraisal and some lawyer fees. It is scary to recall that – I was such a dope. The City of Covington (Housing Authority) put the down payment on my house for me, for which I’ve always been so thankful, as a part of their Community Development program. See, they want people like me to move in and help make things a little nicer and attractive to other interested buyers, and they’re willing to “show you the money” in the form of a small grant to achieve that situation. I’m not sure if the city still has the program, but it was great. I really could not have done it without the City of Covington. They even provided me with a “closing coach” whom I met with prior to the closing date and helped me navigate the process and read any warning signs. (If anyone needs information on the program, I am happy to help and provide info.) And then of course because my house was purchased in the correct time frame, I also got the big fancy “first time home buyer” check from the government, which I am happy to say I still have in the bank (a miracle in itself).
I guess in 300+ words what I’m trying to say is I really, really like being a homeowner and overall, it has worked out pretty well for me. It has forced me to learn things I otherwise would not have bothered with (like how to correctly clean a dryer vent, or how to attach things to plaster vs. dry wall) and most importantly, it has allowed me to be creative. Before, I would paint a wall black (I used to live in these horrid apartments out in Eastgate where I decorated my bedroom with black walls, pink comforter and a John Cena poster… swear) and then 12 months later the situation would change and I’d have to prime the walls for the next renter. And by I, I mean my Dad would come do it while I was at work… I am so thankful for him and Kilz.
I will stop yapping. Here is what my house looked like in those first few days of home ownership – it was so vanilla at the time. It was a blank slate and it had that good mix of old home (built in 1914) features with the finish of a builder home. Most of the other homes I toured (22 to be exact) had that Picasso effect (analogy stolen from Clueless) – beautiful from far away but a big ‘ole mess up close. And yes, I did have the feeling that this one was “the one.”
Living Room… now the “White Room”:
Kitchen, looking from “Black Room” to back door:
Eventually, these will go under the “Tour My House” page on my blog, next to the “progress” photos to show you the evolution of each space. Honestly, it’s fun to document even for my own memory.
Also, if you’re dying to see some “afters” you could either browse my other pages OR head to ApartmentTherapy.com and vote for my house. The contest is still on and my photos are here. Update: the contest is over! But you can still click to see the pics. I did pretty well for my first contest.
Update: Yes, City of Covington’s Community Development Department still has the program, thanks to funds continued to be provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). To learn more, go to MakeCovingtonHome.com. While you’re on the site, check out the Covington homes they’ve recently rehabbed / reconstructed. Jeremy Wallace is my hero (and also the one who helped me get funds for my home).