Buying real estate is a long game. One thing I’m learning in this house hunting process is that buying real estate, especially in a city like D.C. that is changing so rapidly, requires you to be forward-looking. And I mean way forward. The neighborhood and the home may not be perfect now; they may not even be close to perfect. I have to make some trade-offs and no matter what my budget is, it will cost more than I want it to cost.
What’s helping me is to imagine myself growing into a space as my life changes over the next few years, as I’m sure it will because doesn’t it always? The process also takes a lot of patience and faith, two things that are in short supply in an active real estate market. Whenever I feel overwhelmed by it all, I take a deep breath and remind myself that when this is all over I’ll be moving into a new place that will truly be my own.
I watched a segment on CBS Sunday morning about agrihoods, housing developments that have a farm as their anchor. This isn’t community gardening; this is a true working farm, run by professional farmers who make their livelihood from the sale of its fruits and vegetables that are purchased by people who live within a few miles of the farm. We spend all this time and money building developments that have pools, retail space, and other glitzy amenities. Why not have healthy, local food and job creation be an amenity? Couldn’t D.C. do that?
2016 has been a year of realized dreams so far, and here’s another one: I bought a condo! For the first time in my life, I’m going to own the home I live in. After so many years of moving, and not being sure from one year to the next where I’ll be, I’ll be settled in a place that will be my home. I close on Saturday, May 28th. It’s a one-bedroom in exactly the neighborhood I wanted. It has beautiful light, is newly renovated with a separately deeded and reserved off-street parking space, and a half block from a sweet community garden.
I’ve got a list of people a mile long to thank, and I will thank them with a housewarming party this summer. Here are some standouts:
I’m supremely grateful to my dear friends, Matt and Alex, for renting me an apartment here last February that enabled me to move to D.C., conduct a full-time job search, and save for a down payment. I wouldn’t have the life I have here without them and I don’t know how I will ever thank them enough for their generosity, kindness, and friendship.
Josh told me about DC Open Doors, an incredible program here in D.C. that provides an economic incentive for people to purchase a home in the District. Once he told me about that program, I had the courage to see myself buying sooner rather than later.
Sharif Ibrahim, my real estate agent, and Mark Eigenbrode, my loan officer and DC Open Doors representative, are a powerhouse team. I couldn’t have done this without them. I emailed Sharif on April 9th and I’m closing on a perfect place less than 2 months later.
It’s still hard to believe that this is actually happening. I have to keep pinching myself. Instead, I’m taking to Pinterest and scouring vintage shops, furniture stores, and antique shops. I’ve got a home, a real home, to furnish and decorate!