Homeownership 101

Making the grade while buying a house.

photograph by © Mark Hryciw | Dreamstime.com

My wife and I took the plunge. Jeanine and I had been together for almost a decade, we had an 18-month-old daughter and a couple of relatively stable jobs, and we finally decided to bite the bullet and do it.

We bought a home.

We’d served our time as renters — apartments, then houses. We were lucky enough to have had a few great landlords and only one real stinker.

We were the type of renters who irrepressibly wanted to improve our home, even if we were living there on a lease: We once put down a new kitchen floor; we dropped money on paint; we put up shelving and window treatments; we bought and installed all kinds of organizational systems that would have to be left behind when we moved; we did yard work far beyond lawn mowing; we accumulated shower curtains that matched bathrooms from old residences; and my wife had a compulsion to change toilet seats at each new address.

Looking back, it’s pretty clear what our collective subconscious was telling us: Buy a house, idiots! (Also: the toilet seat idea was a good one.)

So, when we finally thought we could afford it, we did it.

It felt like we’d graduated from college.

We’d passed calculus class: We’ve spent how much on rent over the years without building any equity?

We’d passed geography class: We had an idea what part of town to buy into where we could get the most house for our money.

We’d passed a foreign language: We speak amortization schedule.

We’d passed economics class: Just tell us where to sign!

Just like graduating seniors, we were finally adults.

Eh, maybe not.


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