Last night I was looking at my New Year's Resolution blog post from last year and I have to say, we kind of nailed 2015 if I'm going to be honest. Our goals were for Derek to get a new job (check), create and stick to a family budget (check), be less impulsive with buying things (check), blog five days per week (semi-check), stick to an actual blogging schedule (semi-semi-check), start a youtube channel (check), attend the temple once a month (fail, but we did make it three times!), read scriptures every night (fail, but we did make it through the Book of Mormon 1 1/2 times). Our final goal was to buy a house, and as of two days ago, we are officially in escrow on our first home.
The home buying process was rough. In the Atlanta area, as soon as a nice house goes on the market, it's usually gone within a week. In the two weeks we looked at houses, we put in two offers that were out-bid in multiple offer situations, and then ours was finally accepted after lots of negotiatiating. Thankfully the Atlanta housing market is really cheap, so what we were able to get for less than $160k, other people would pay $250-500k+ in other parts of the country. There has never been a time where we've felt more grateful to live in this area.
While we were looking at homes, our number one goal was to have our monthly mortgage payment less than our monthly rent. Luckily we came in with $100 savings each month. For a week or two we were questioning whether or not buying was right for us at this time, and then we realized the rental market had gone up so much here that, with what we're currently spending on rent, the best we could do was a trailer... and I was less than thrilled with that prospect.
Our house really is a dream come true for a first time home buyer. We were lucky to score a quarter acre of flat property, which is almost unheard of in Georgia with our price range. Our house was also built in the 90s so while we would like to update a few things, we can do all the work we want for less than $10k, and probably less than $7k. But the best part is that the house is move in ready, and we can do those small changes as we save up money to pay for them over time.
The current owners just laid down new laminate hardwoods that are seen through the entire downstairs of the house. They're in great shape, and except for some ugly tile in the main entrance way, we really love the floors. We may swap the tile out, but only if we can get an exact match with the current floors, because we're not going to rip up all this new laminate for one patch of tile that we don't like.
I was thrilled that we already had white cabinets in the kitchen. I was really hoping for white cabinets (although Derek would have preferred a darker brown). We're planning on leaving the cabinets as they are, and then swapping out the counter tops for a grey quartz or granite. This will probably be one of the first things that we do in our home, and probably fairly soon after moving in. We also need to buy a refrigerator, so any suggestions are welcome.
The entire house has a lot of 90s finishes that we'd like to eventually change. We'd love to swap out gold door knobs and faucets for brushed nickle, and swap out our oyster shaped toilet lids for something that's a little less Little Mermaid-ish. We also plan on painting all the walls a light grey color, and eventually swapping out the lighting in the kitchen to something that's a little more modern.
All the carpeting upstairs is brand new, and really nice. I didn't really want carpeting, but Derek did, and so I'm glad that if we have to compromise on that, it's at least new. I'm mainly just excited to know that no animal or child has had some sort of bodily function on them that could produce an odor. I'm also hoping Jay is fully potty trained before we move in so that he doesn't cause that same problem.
Upstairs we want to again, paint all the walls light grey, and then maybe swap out the ceiling fans for something a little more modern, but other than that, most of the rooms are set.
The project I'm most excited about is updating the upstairs bathrooms. This will probably be one of the last things we do in a couple years from now, but I already have great ideas on how to bring them up-to-date without breaking the bank. I'm planning on leaving the cabinets white, but getting new hardware on them, and then swapping out the current counters with a grey/white carrara marble that I found at Home Depot last night. After that, it's just new lighting and faucets and we're good to go!
I'm really excited to get in here and make this place our own. I'm excited that they're all pretty inexpensive changes that we can make over time, and that the house currently is perfect just the way it is. I feel so blessed that this is something that Derek and I are able to provide for our family, and that next year, for the first time in our marriage, we won't be moving. Luckily our seventh move in four years will be our last one for a while.