And no, that’s not a good thing.  I’m saying words like “mortgage,” “down payment,” and “first-time home buyer tax credit.”  AHHHHH!  What is happening to me?

I’m used to words like “rent,” “apartment,” and “heat and hot water is included.”  I’m familiar with those words and don’t cringe when I say them.  I think a small part of a residential real estate professional’s heart dies when he considers those words.  Noooo! Renting? Why in the world would you do THAT?

It’s been quite an experience watching Will begin his real estate business.  I’ve seen him get his license, find clients, make a lot of phone calls, and close some deals.  I’ve heard some of the lingo.  I know about 100% more about real estate than I did 18 months ago (And, mind you, I started at 0%).  And in the past three months, I have probably upped my knowledge another 100%.

Will started giving me a crash course in the home buying process because we are considering buying a home together.  Now, don’t get too excited – we haven’t officially decided on whether to buy or rent.  But given that Will is in the profession, he naturally sees many of the benefits to buying and thus wants to explore that possibility.  I, on the other hand, must be closing my eyes because I don’t see as many benefits.  I see a lot of risk.  And that’s completely because of my personality.  I’m a “J.” (See one of my previous posts).  I’m a planner.  You can’t plan risk.  You CAN plan to take a risk, but you can’t plan the risk.

So in the last three months, Will’s been educating me.  There’s so much to learn about the process itself, but then to apply it to your own life makes it so much more difficult.  You take all this information and then add it to all of your own expectations and dreams and emotions and what does that equal?  A challenging and emotional series of lectures.  My parents have gone through a few purchases in their lives, but the only one I remember happened when I was in 9th grade.  Given that this was my only personal experience with home buying, I quickly realized that I don’t know much at all about it.

Here’s some of the things I’ve had to sort through:

-I envisioned that when I bought a house I’d probably have children, need a bedroom for each, have a two car garage, live in a safe suburban neighborhood, and live there for at least 10 years.  I’d also need to be concerned about school districts.  The reality is that I could buy a house in a busy town and live there for five years without having children and the two car garage.  It didn’t really occur to me that you didn’t have to buy a house and live in it forever.

-When purchasing a house, I envisioned that I would “move up” from apartment living.  I’ve lived in these small, grungy apartments in college and grad school with the dirty hardwood floors and kitchens with no counter space.  I imagined that when I bought a house, it’d come with the updated kitchen with granite counters and in-unit washer/dryer and freshly painted walls and plush carpets and contemporary bathrooms.  What I’ve realized is that all of that costs money.  I’ve learned that renting in the hundreds of dollars range is different than a mortgage in the thousands of dollars range.  A $700 rent in Boston is not equivalent to a $700 mortgage ANYWHERE.  A $700 mortgage will get me a shack without a bathroom – definitely “moving down.”  Even a $1500 mortgage may not get me all those nice amenities.  So I’ve had to rethink my idea to “move up” right now.  I don’t have the money yet to have all those nice things to “move up” and until I do, I might have to be content with just “moving.”

Those were just a couple examples of the things I’ve had to learn about the housing market itself, but have had to quickly apply it to my own ideals and dreams.  It’s been a difficult learning experience, filled with new (and harsh) realizations and altered dreams, but I’m glad Will has been able to help me figure out the new vocabulary and real estate process and I’m glad we will be working together as a team to find the best place for us to start out as a family.

THREE MONTHS LEFT!

And, Happy Birthday to my maid of honor Melissa!

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