It’s been a little quiet around here lately, but we have a good reason. We put our food and travel adventures on hold a bit for a whole new kind of experience. We bought our first house! After renting for over seven years and living in six different apartments as a couple this is completely new territory. It’s been a hectic and stressful time, but also so much fun.
House Hunters in Real Life
Although Tom and I have never owned a house, we’ve always been obsessed with looking at homes and dreaming about future possibilities. Late this summer, we finally started searching in earnest and had so much fun touring houses all over Oklahoma City’s urban core. We didn’t really know exactly what we wanted, but the search process was really fun and educational.
We started out mainly going to open houses, often looking at places completely outside of our taste and budget just for kicks. Through that process, we met our real estate agent. We hit it off with him immediately, and felt comfortable enough to start scheduling private showings. We looked at every kind of house you can imagine, from tiny fixer uppers to HGTV-style flips.
What We Thought We Wanted
We knew from the get-go that we wanted to live within a close proximity to Oklahoma City’s downtown/midtown area, known in the real estate world as the “urban core”. Walkability has always been important to us, and even though it doesn’t have the reputation of being super urban Oklahoma City actually has several great areas packed with fun restaurants and other things to do.
We also really wanted to buy a historic home. In HGTV speak, something with character. On top of that, we wanted modern finishes and few renovation projects. Real estate in OKC is hot right now, and several companies are taking old houses and completely gutting them to make a huge profit. We looked at half a dozen of these at the beginning of our search and fell in love.
We put an offer on a house in mid-September that fit all of our perceived parameters. It was a gorgeous historic bungalow near OKC’s Paseo Arts District. The kitchen could 100% have been designed by Joanna Gaines and the space was exactly what we needed. But… we were outbid by a cash offer.
Suddenly, the house hunting process was a little less fun. We took a break from searching to regroup and lick our wounds. But we weren’t giving up.
What We Actually Wanted
The biggest thing we learned throughout our search was that what you think you want and may not be what you actually want when it comes to owning a home. After losing our first “dream house” we kept looking at modern flips in historic and up-and-coming neighborhoods but nothing really hit the mark. They were either too expensive, too generic or in the wrong neighborhood.
Our realtor had told us from the beginning that we would know the right house as soon as we walked into it, but I didn’t actually believe him. Many of the houses we looked at weren’t perfect, but we tried to talk ourselves into loving them for one reason or the other.
There was one house, however, that we kept going back to online. It wasn’t our idea of “perfect”, but it was in the exact neighborhood and location we wanted. It was historic, with tons of charm and definitely lots of character. When we walked in, it all made sense. It was definitely not what we envisioned we would end up in but as we walked through it we just knew. Go figure.
Buying a House
House hunting was the fun part, but when it came time to actually buy one, I was a wreck. There were so many unknowns and terms I was unfamiliar with and Tom and I spent many sleepless nights waiting for things to come to fruition. Thankfully, we had an awesome realtor and super supportive family members who helped us muddle our way through it. We really and truly couldn’t have done it without them. If you’re a first time home buyer, I definitely recommend recruiting a strong support system and a trustworthy realtor.
In retrospect, we had an unusually smooth house-buying experience. Once we put in the offer, things started falling into place. The sellers were incredibly easy to work with and our lender was very straightforward helpful in getting our loan set up. Before we knew it, we were closing on the house.
Then, gulp, we actually had to move. It seriously feels like a fever dream looking back on how fast it all happened. But we are so fortunate and grateful that it did.
Home Sweet Home
We moved in at the beginning of November, and it’s slowly starting to feel like home. It’s a green two-story home built in 1922 in a historic neighborhood with original hardwood floors, a beautiful front porch and way too much yard. It doesn’t have the open floor plan or the soaking tub from our wish list, but it just feels right. We’re within walking distance to several of our favorite neighborhoods and can’t wait to explore them all.
We’re definitely still figuring things out as we go along. Tom has become the handiest handy man in just a few short weeks. We’re completely unpacked and are now on the hunt for a few key pieces of furniture. I’m hoping to start decorating soon too, even though I’m the most clueless interior designer that ever there was. I know it will take a while, but it’s exciting to think about all the ways we can make this new space uniquely ours.
So, that’s what we’ve been up to lately! We’re spending this week in Virginia visiting family for Thanksgiving and then we’ll be back to our usual Tasty Escape shenanigans, with a little bit of house stuff thrown in for good measure. We couldn’t be more thankful for this new adventure!