In case you missed the news last weekend, we bought our first home! We closed on Friday afternoon, which was a much anticipated day for us. As a long-time renter, it still doesn’t quite feel like this place is actually ours yet. The painter starts today, though, which may change that feeling! I’ve never been able to or asked to paint any of my rental apartments, so choosing colors and customizing to our style is so fun! Once the painting is done, I’ll be able to really unpack and start decorating. It’s been nice to have a few days to just live in this place before making any decisions on where to place things, but I’m also anxious to not look around and see moving boxes everywhere!
I thought I would share a little bit about our process now that we’re on the other side. I didn’t share anywhere on my blog or Instagram that we were house hunting, so I got a few messages of people being very surprised when we shared the news!
So, let’s start at the beginning:
We moved to Northern Virginia last August for my husband to begin his Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program. We were both excited that this university was one of the first that he was accepted into – VA was higher on our list than some of the other places he applied. My brother-in-law and family live in the area and my sister and her family are about 4.5 hours, so we knew that we would be close-ish to family coming here.
We happened to pick the suburb of D.C. that we rented in only because we found a good rental at the right price that was pretty close to campus. We didn’t know much of anything else about the area beyond what we drove around and saw while visiting. Within the first few months of being here, we both agreed that we really enjoyed the area. We love the options here – mountains, city, country, ocean, easy to travel along the East Coast, and a ton of wineries for fun weekend activities. We didn’t talk much in those first few months about future plans, but we always had an open mind about where we would eventually put down roots.
In January of this year, we got involved in the church we’d been attending for a couple months by joining a small group. I hadn’t met many people (one of the downsides of working from home!) and Mike only knew his classmates, so we wanted to try to meet some friends together. The Lord blessed us immensely with the group that we happened to randomly join – we instantly clicked with the other couples. We were building relationships and getting more connected in this unknown place and falling more in love with it! We began talking about next steps – what were we going to do when our one-year lease on our rental expired at the end of July? Do we see ourselves staying in VA for longer than just the duration of his program? If not, where do we see ourselves? Many of these conversations, prayer, and talking with our friends and family later, we decided to dip our toes in the house-hunting water. We had an idea of what we were looking for and where we wanted to look, but without knowing what we could really find, we were tentative. If we found something, great! If not, that would be okay, too – we’d keep renting another year and try again (or not). We got connected with a realtor through one of our friends and started shopping around in May. At first, there were a ton of options – we weeded through the ones that wouldn’t work and had a few that looked promising.
Let me take a moment for a little sidebar to say that needing a hefty workspace to work from home makes things a little difficult when it comes to finding the right place! From the beginning, I had hoped that we could find a home with ample living space AND a basement/loft/den that was large enough for me to grow into. I tried having an open mind as we would go to showings, but was also the only one who knew my specific needs/wants for an office. There were a lot of places that had a lower level bedroom or a small recreation room that I could make work, if necessary, but nothing that I was really excited about.
Back to the hunt: we were looking through new listings nearly everyday, scheduling showings, feeling disappointed when we walked through and it was not quite what we were looking for, and going back to the drawing board. House hunting is a tiring process, especially if you have specific preferences or needs. It can be frustrating and a bit of a roller coaster. We are very grateful that we weren’t on any strict timeline. In the worst case scenario (not finding a place we actually wanted to buy), we would just renew our lease for another year and re-assess. We had a ton of flexibility, but we also had a desire to buy!
Just before the fourth of July, we walked through the first home that I had a really good feeling about. As soon as we stepped inside, I had this feeling that it could be the one. We loved it! It was the first one that checked every single box – both requirements and hopeful wishes. We believed we were in a great spot and put in a solid offer. I made the mistake of getting my hopes up a bit because we found out the next day that someone else outbid us. At that point, I was weary of the process. It felt like we weren’t finding anything and the one place that we liked enough to put an offer in on didn’t work out. It was disheartening at the time, but now I can see that the Lord had bigger and better plans (as He usually does 😉). Just after this, we had a very busy month – vacation with our friends and separate trips to NC and CA. Just after these trips, we found a few more listings that looked promising, so we scheduled some showings with our realtors. We happened upon two places that we really liked – the one we bought and another one. They were pretty different but we could imagine ourselves in both of them. The one we bought was in the city we wanted, had a great-sized basement for me to work and plenty of room to grow into, but we knew we would want to update some things while living there (bathrooms and kitchen). The other one had all the updates we liked and an amazing outdoor space, but my workspace would’ve been a bit small and it was a little farther away than we wanted to be.
We talked it through and decided to put an offer in on the first one. We couldn’t deny that it was a hidden gem — it checked all the boxes (and some!) and was close to everything we wanted in the city we wanted and at a price we were comfortable with. We put in an offer the same day and were under contract within about 24 hours! It was c r a z y how quickly it all happened. We closed about 35 days later and moved in the day after we closed!
Since we’ve been living here, I’ve fallen more in love with it. The layout, the space, the character, all of it. It feels like home already and we’ve been here for just a few days! We aren’t prepared to make the decision on whether or not Virginia is our forever home yet, but we know that we want to be here for some time. We found a home that we can grow into over the next several years, which we’re very grateful for.
I can’t wait to share more as the home comes together and we settle into it. Thanks for being part of this journey and sharing in our excitement!