We bought our very first home! The past few months have honestly felt like a whirlwind and I’ve missed this little blog SO much. In honor of our official move-in tomorrow, I’m sharing a bit of our home buying journey.
Choosing Financial Freedom
We have faithfully followed Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps since our first month of marriage. While I know that his principles are not for everyone, we’ve had financial peace by following them from day one. After becoming debt-free (Dave featured us on his Instagram when that happened!) and completing our emergency fund, we started building our down payment. We also committed to following Dave’s home-buying guidelines. Simply put, he recommends a 15-year mortgage with a monthly payment that does not exceed 25% of your monthly net income. We realize this is countercultural (more than 90% of mortgages are 30-year), but also knew it would set us up well for the future.
Oh goodness, were there moments when it was HARD. We paid rent month after month while also working diligently to build up a strong down payment. It felt like we were paying for two homes at once. Meanwhile, we watched others buy dreamy single-family homes with yards, ample natural light, and space to grow into. All the while, we lived well within our means to save as much as we could.
Starting the Search
As our down payment grew and approached our target amount, we started our search around the holidays. While we dreamed of owning a single-family house as our first home, it quickly became clear that a condo would be a better fit for this season. Most single-family homes in our area were going for well over $350K, which was not worth it for us. It wasn’t an easy decision, but choosing a condo has allowed us to continue living with the financial freedom we’ve fought for.
We assembled our dream team, choosing an amazing mortgage lender and realtor who supported our goals. We set filters on Zillow, drove around to explore different areas, and ultimately landed on Merrimack, NH. While we often talk about our dream of living in Concord, MA someday (a story for another day), I knew deep in my heart that Merrimack is the right town for us in this season. It grew on us last year while we rented an apartment in nearby Amherst, with its parks, outdoor movie nights, Tucker’s, and Buckley’s. Most importantly, it had something we really want in this season: proximity. With a full wedding calendar, I can now travel to New England’s dreamiest venues (and beloved Boston!) much more easily.
Third Time’s a Charm
We put in our first offer in December and it was not chosen due to a small technicality. We chose to trust God with the process and kept at it. Moving forward with our hearts still set on Merrimack, we narrowed our search to a specific condo association. We submitted our second offer on a unit there and were outbid a few days later. Even so, we continued to pray for a unit of our own in that association and waited it out.
Then, lo and behold, another condo was listed in that association during the first week of January. We attended the open house, wrote up the most compelling seller letter we could muster, and assembled a competitive offer. We kept our expectations low as we waited. Then, on January 10th, we got the news that it was ours! We were floored. With such a crazy real estate market, we thought it would take much longer (and more than three offers!) to find our home. We are so grateful that it was much quicker.
Making It Our Own
After closing on our home earlier this month, we set out to make it ours. As a lover of natural light and classic style, I am determined to make our home as bright and timeless as we possibly can. We’ve already tackled some big projects, painting the entire space in a classic white and installing new floors, for starters! We ordered a new couch and a lighting fixture for our dining area, with additional pieces coming soon.
Tomorrow, we’ll officially move in and start making memories there together. We’re already dreaming of hosting game nights, sitting out under the twinkle lights on our patio, and making meals together. I’ve sketched out plans for the room that will be the KSP studio for this season and cannot wait to continue building this business there. Thank you for joining us on this grand adventure of buying our first home!