We really want to buy a house. Rather, we really want the space that a house can offer. Closet space, storage space, space for our stuff, larger rooms…more space. We don’t really want to “buy” a house. We just want the space.
About a year and a half ago I became semi-obsessed with finding a house. I think this was partially because our friends were starting to buy or build new homes. We’d visit and I’d be so jealous of the newness and the amount of space. I want to decorate a new home, pick out appliances, pick out countertops and paint colors.
I started looking online to see what was around us. The news was dim: houses are crazy expensive. Especially where we are. And on top of that, Illinois property taxes are astronomical. So even if we found a house we could afford, with a decent mortgage, it wasn’t uncommon to see property taxes coming in anywhere from 7-10k, or more. Insane. We’d both prefer a new build, but for us that would mean moving further away from Chicago than we already are.
Looking at existing homes was also not great. In our area someone apparently decided 30 years ago that split-levels were the way of the future. I. Hate. Split-levels. Even though some are nice and completely updated, I just can’t handle split-levels. If the home is not a split-level, it is at the top of our budget, typically not updated, has a weird floor plan or it’s tiny.
One day, around the time I had started looking through Zillow, Redfin and Trulia like a madwoman, Jonathan and I went to visit his parents. On our way home we decided to poke around and see what houses were for sale. We drove through random neighborhoods and I’d look up addresses on my phone to see the price. Many were far above our range.
Then we made our fatal mistake. We decided to stop at a new development. In Hawthorn Woods (median home cost $465,000 – median property tax $10,000). Shouldn’t have done it, but the homes were so beautiful! And there we fell in love with The Windsor. It was so spacious and open, had this awesome main staircase, so many windows, a huge kitchen, lots of closets. We were in love.
The realtor was busy with another family so we poked around on our own. We walked through the whole house in awe. When the realtor wrapped up with the other family, she shared with us the starting costs for the homes that were to be in the new development, including The Windsor. I’ve tried to block this out of my memory, but I believe The Windsor was the most expensive option and it started around $650,000. ::balloon deflating::
She asked where we were in our home search. I think I lied and said we’d be moving soon. I also think I lied and told her the cost was at the high range of our budget, but potentially doable. (Ha). She was very friendly, but probably could tell that we weren’t prospective buyers. It didn’t help that we looked like rag-a-muffins that day…I was wearing jeans, a junky t-shirt and sweatshirt, hair in a messy pony tail, no make-up. Jonathan had on shorts and a t-shirt and a baseball hat. We begrudgingly left and went home depressed.
Since then, a lot has happened. We got engaged, we got married, we had to say goodbye to our twelve year old dog, we adopted two puppies, we went out west and saw the Grand Canyon, I went to Savannah and Charleston with my best friend, we’ve celebrated other friends getting engaged, married or having their first child, and we’ve enjoyed countless bottles of wine or bottles of beer together – simply enjoying the company of one another.
Buying a home is still on our minds – in the background. It is still something we want. But whenever we get overwhelmed with the cost and logistics of buying a new home, or when I go insane because I feel like I’m drowning in our small townhouse, we remember that we have each other. No matter what type of house we end up owning, it’ll be together and that is pretty exciting.