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Friday, November 12, 2010

Home Sweet Home

"There's no place like home."
 — Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz

We all get a little nostalgic when we think about home. I mean, where we really came from. Whether it's your parents' or grandparents', it's a place where you kicked back and relaxed and really felt comfortable.

You remember the times you used to play "right over there" in the living room with your toys or the times you spent with family on Christmas, Thanksgiving and all the other holidays around the dinner table.

Well, home has been pretty distant and somewhat of a dream for me the last few years. I really haven't felt at home since I graduated high school. So where do I belong?
When was I ever going to get that feeling of nostalgia again? Well, I certainly didn't think it was going to be today. And at the ripe old age of 22.

That daunting title of being a homeowner was not something I would have necessarily thought would have been entitled to me at my age, but all in all, I guess now's the time to buy.

And that's why I became a homeowner.

It's a little exhilarating and a little nerve-wracking all at the same time.

I am a homeowner. 

It has a nice ring to it.

I have a mortgage. 

Well, that doesn't sound so nice. More like nails on a chalk board. But still, I can't wait to move into my new home, where I can make my own warm memories.

It's like a weird dream to remember myself a couple of years ago. No clue where I was going or really what I was actually doing with my life. And at no point did I think I was going to be living in a house of my own in the near future.

I mean, I could pack all of my belongings into a single car.

This is what I have to show for myself.

And I was always scrambling for a place to live while I was in college. My life was a big move-a-thon for the last four years.

Three months of summer. Move. Nine months of college. Move. Repeat three more times. Exhausting.

Now, I have one last big move. A move that I have to do all on my own (with the help of a moving company). And I'll be the first one to tell you, this whole process wasn't easy.

It all started a month or so ago, when Darrell and I had the discussion of where we were going to live when he got back from deployment and the apartment lease was up.

A house? No way.

No way was I going to own a home not even a year out of college. It's not feasible. And so much money!

Actually, it's very do-able, and so the hunt was on.

Now, remember, because Darrell is far away and really can't be a part of the process, it was up to me to house-hunt.

Whoa, whoa, whoa!

I know, crazy right? It seems like everything is moving fast, but I won't be young forever. My credit is good, Darrell can't really move being in the Army and all, and I want some stability in my life, which I haven't had since high school. So let me finish.

Well, it's about how much you love the house and then it's definitely about the location, location and location. Well, we had to be in a vicinity somewhat close to Fort Bragg.

So move somewhere closer to my job at the paper, right? Heck naw! I am not basing my future home on a job I know I don't want to keep. So I went with a quaint little town called Lillington, smack dab in the middle between Fayetteville and Raleigh — a growing and developing city.

It's something like love at first sight. How do you know it's the right one and that another that's better won't come later? I don't know how to really tell you, but you'll just know when it's your turn to house-hunt.

Three bedrooms, two and a half bath, two-story, two car garage, .57-acres, on a culdesac, and near a middle and high school. (You can kind of tell the neighborhood is good based on how nice the schools are. Just an FYI for you future home buyers.)

But there's so many different things you need to deal with when buying a home. I had a little lesson in first-time-home-buyers 101.

Where is it located? Condition? Neighborhood? Property taxes? Flood plain? Schools? Termites? What's an Escrow account? Interest rates? Home inspections? Appraisals? Home owners insurance? A 30-year loan... Wha-? How many more papers do I need to sign? You need my tax records? Credit history? Do I have credit history? What's in my bank account? How many bills do I have? How much do I make? Paystubs? Realtor? Loan officer? Hello? You need what? That too? What's my social? How much earnest money? What's earnest money? What did I eat for breakfast?

The market is still a little shaky right now, but it's probably the best time for first-time home buyers. Interest rates are low and sellers are ready to move a house.

So I've made that leap into home-ownership. Darrell and I are both ready. I closed on the house today. (Sadly, Darrell could not be there for that special moment, but we will both reap the benefits.)

I'm moving next week and will start my new job in Raleigh the following week. I can't wait to decorate and paint and make it ours. It's going to be a fun process and I can't wait to share it with Darrell when he comes home... to a new address.

There's no place like home.