Monday, April 13, 2009

The long journey to condo

I am about to take another, scary, step toward being an adult and embark on the long journey toward being a home owner.

That's right, this weekend dad and I had an honest talk about me buying a condo and after crunching some numbers, we're going to get started on the process! Now I won't be working with a realtor tomorrow or getting pre-approved for a mortgage next week, but I think it'll be happening (hopefully) in the next six months.

And now I'm super nervous and excited. At nearly 30, I'm ready to have a place that's my own. I abhor moving more than anything and I'm ready to have a space that I can decorate to my own taste and know that...well...I won't have to move ANYTIME soon again.

But it's scary. I've always been a little bit of a transient, moving around a lot, so the thought of settling down scares me a little bit. And there's the pressure of making sure I can keep up on payments and adds to my worries about job stability, etc.

And as a one income household right now and for the forseeable future, it's enough to make any girl feel overwhelmed.

So I'll likely be relying on my dad a lot to help me research, etc., but it's exciting to know that very soon, I could have something that's really mine :)

The questions for tonight: if you own a condo, home, etc. what was your "dealbreaker" feature? For me, I have to have in-unit washer and dryer. Non-negotiable. And for renters, what do you look forward to when you get your own place? 

Or, am I the only person who HATES moving?

51 comments:

cavy said...

wooooo congrats!!! that is so exciting!!

in-unit W/D is DEFINITELY a dealbreaker. also, a closet bigger than a shower stall. it doesn't have to be huge, it just has to be able to hold more than 10 shirts and 2 pairs of shoes.

erin - heart in ireland said...

How exciting!

I would definitely have to have a w/d in unit as well, also I'd prefer to have a open plan kitchen/living room.

bianca said...

That's so exciting, congrats!!!

When the boy and I bought our house, my deal breakers were 1) washer and dryer (or at least hookups for them), 2) closet space, and 3) a decent sized bathroom. I knew we'd be remodeling, but I wanted to make sure the foundations were there.

Looking for a home to buy is a crazy process, but extremely exciting. Good luck!!!

Erin said...

Yay! This is so exciting! Despite all the things I hate (yard work, stupid neighbors), I love owning our home! Lucky you, yard work probably isn't going to enter into the equation for you! :) I know a ridiculous amount about mortgages and home-buying, so e-mail me if you want to chat!

Also, I detest moving. It's such a pain.

Maggie said...

You are not alone in hating moving. packing up a Uhaul and driving nearly 500 miles from Pittsburgh to Chicago was quite the adventure I'd never like to repeat.

Dealbreakers: the in unit W/D, a bathroom the size of a closet is a no, and a balcony/patio big enough for a grill (I learned my lesson with this condo)


Good luck with the hunting, and share if you find some good places-I'm also in the house hunting market!

Mandy said...

I am very excited for you! How very adult. At least you know when you move this time you (hopefully) won't be doing it again any time soon. It will be much more permanent.

Shannalee said...

Hey girl - You are not alone. I am also in the long process of becoming a home owner... still in the looking stage, mostly, and it's terrifying/exciting/wonderful/horrible. Most of the time, I feel like I'm pretending to be an adult or something.

I'll love hearing how things go for you!

LBluca77 said...

How exciting for you.

A w/d would be a dream. My last place had one and I can't tell you how much I miss it. The place I live in now doesn't have a dishwasher or garbage disposal and it was an adjustment. I think I can live without the dishwasher, yes I am doing my part killing the environment with using paper products. not having a garbage disposa sucks. I can't go outside to the big trash if I have to throw out food, which means I throw it in my kitchen trash and depending on how long it takes to get full it can start to stink. It drives me nuts.

insomniaclolita said...

In unit washer and dryer is always good. My list would also include big kitchen and heat system.

SA said...

Congratulations! And good luck. Wait, if you're moving that means there's a Chicago apartment opening up. I may have to take a second look at the Chi...

Yes, for a place I buy and own outright, an in unit washer/dryer is a MUST. Also, I would want a nice master bathroom (could almost care less about the others) and a nice kitchen. I hate washing dishes, but love cooking and a somewhat big space would be amazing. Small kitchens is a definite no. I wouldn't even look at the rest of the house.

And moving sucks. The only good thing is going to the new place.

Caz said...

Congrats!

We're just starting the looking process for another rental property (not in the buyers market just yet!!) and I sort of love it (the looking and imagining, not the actualy lugging of stuff around).

Our requirements for rentals are: outside area (either decent sized balcony or courtyard), parking space, washer/dryer hook-ups.

For buying? I am DEFINITELY looking forward to being able to PAINT (colours yay!) and be able to put shelves on walls. Concrete apartment in a rental isn't exactly condusive to putting up shelving. And when you're in a tiny place, minimising furniture footprints by putting bookshelves, TV etc on the wall not on the floor is key.

EP said...

How exciting for you! I can definitely understand how it could be overwhelming, but this is a HUGE step. And once you've gotten the condo, how wonderful will it be to have your own place?

A washer and dryer is a must in my home, as is a dishwasher. (I lived without one for six months, and it was absolutely MISERABLE.) And I also hate moving. So much.

Keep us updated, lady!

Megan said...

Now that my boyfriend and I are looking for a new apartment for him, we definitely have some dealbreakers. He must (MUST) have a washer dryer in the unit. This is necessary for him to keep his place clean and his clothes off the floor. Also, he really needs a dishwasher. Even though he rarely eats at home, if he had a nice kitchen he might more, and it would be nice to have a place to hide the dirty dishes rather than show them off in the kitchen sink!

Miss Grace said...

Scary, but exciting!

I HATE MOVING, by the way.

Jenn said...

moving is the worst thing ever - good luck! :)

Hi! I'm Erin said...

Yes, buying is totally scary and yet exciting!

I've never owned a condo and after so many horror stories I've heard I'm terrified to even think about it. I have bought a house before, though, and it's a whole different set of deal breakers when you're buying a house in a medium sized down in central Illinois versus buying a condo in the big city. But I agree with you about the washer and dryer. What's the point of owning something if you still have to drag your stuff to the basement or the laundromat??

Missy said...

If you own a car you might want to scope out condos that include parking..whether it be indoors or just a parking space since parking is so limited in the city. Also be sure to get an inspection while you're in contract so if there's anything wrong you can negotiate to have the seller make fixes before you move in. How exciting! It's a great time to buy.

Wickedly Scarlett said...

I love living in new places, but I hate the process of moving. Ugh! But that's super exciting news--I can't wait to hear about how the condo adventure progresses!

Heidi Renée said...

We're thinking about buying, too. It would be so nice to not have to lie about how many cats we have!

I insist on central air and in-unit washer/dryer. The place we're in now has hookups only. We might buy them, but we're just sort of in wait-and-see mode now. Too many variables at this point. But we definitely aren't staying here any longer than we have to!

liferehab said...

So exciting! I refuse to rent, so I plan on living with my parents until they die and I inherit the house or I marry a rich man. But if I was renting/buying, my deal breaker would be pets. Pets have to be allowed. I can't live without my puppies and kitties

Lil' Woman said...

We're moving from an apt. to a house (tho we're still renting) in 2 weeks. It was necessary that if we were making this move that we have a W/D and more storage space and closet room.

Paula said...

I've only movd twice in my life - once in Jan 2003 and once in July 03 - and i've been in the same place since the last time i moved (obviously!) . . . and the idea of moving again freaks me out cos I HATE packing and loathe moving. I would like to say that the next time I move will also be to somewhere that is ACTUALLY my own place - especially since like you i'm closing in on 30. But whether or not I can afford it or not is another story. Or deal with the moving issue . . .

SoMi's Nilsa said...

I bought my first condo (as a single gal) at 29. I recommend you spend time scouring online listings (realtor.com and the tribune website have good search engines). It will begin to give you a sense of what your budget will allow for (neighborhoods, upgrade features, etc.).

I had always lived in apartments with dishwashers and central air. Those continued to be musts when I bought. I also added in-unit washer/dryer and a parking spot (preferably indoors). I know you don't have a car, but it's something you should consider when buying a new place. You can always rent the spot out to someone who needs it. And from a resale value, in many neighborhoods, it's a must have for many potential buyers.

I'm excited for this next move. It can be scary, but also really really exciting. Let me know if I can answer any other "local" questions for ya!

Blaez said...

first off, i am very excited for you. 2ndly, can i request a house or townhouse or duplex instead of a condo? that's just my personal preference. that's my deal breaker. you have no room for expansion and 99% of the time have to go through the condo's rules and regulations for any and all renovations you would do. even updating your cabinetry in the kitchen, bath, etc. they even get to dictate in some what kind of flooring you have!!

but that's my 2 cents. i'd go with not a condo but a townhouse or regular house. condos can be too restricting in all areas.

SoMi's Nilsa said...

Oh yeah. And one other thing. I have some city-specific thoughts about new construction. Too much to go into here. I'll drop you an email.

wontletlifedefineme said...

I'm really looking forward to a bathroom with windows/daylight (helps with the mould) and a garden.

Good luck with the condo hunt!

The Modern Gal said...

Aww, that's so exciting! I miss having my own place. It's nice just to know it's yours.

RecoveringActor said...

When I bought my house... I just wanted to no longer live in a basement with dirty dishwater and dirty bathwater from two floors above leaking into my apartment. That was my dealbreaker. And not in a bad neighborhood. That's not easy sometimes in Wilmington.

Watch out for association fees and whatnot in condos, though! We originally were looking at condos and heard some horror stories... like if the condo association decides to build a new clubhouse, they can charge you for it (one charged a coworker of mine $10,000 for a new roof on the clubhouse). Do your homework before purchasing into an association like that, and make sure they don't have a habit of doing things like that.

Allie said...

My family was always in real estate, so the idea of buying a house seemed natural (my sister bought her first at 21). In Chicago, though, the story feels so different, and I am nowhere near buying a house for myself! I think I'll need a few years just to explore living in different neighborhoods and save up. Congrats on the big decision. I want to go condo shopping with you! (Hey, looking at houses is in my blood)

A Super Girl said...

So excited for you! I, too, am rather transient, or at least I like to think so. I'm mainly just afraid of settling down because what if by some odd chance I want to move again!! I think it's the army brat in me.

Anyway.....as a renter, I look forward to having a larger space and also being able to put paint on the walls. I also look forward to the house hunting process. I love seeing the insides of homes!

Eskimo said...

Congrats! I'm in exactly the same situation. Just moved back to Boston (where I grew up) and am crashing with family for a few months to stash some $$ for a down payment. Who knew they were going to want 20%????

Deal breakers for me are safe neighborhood, two bedrooms and OUTDOOR SPACE!! That last one is a true must. It also wouldn't hurt to have super hot single neighbors.

My latest obsession is redfin.com. Lots of listings and the most comprehensive info (photos, price reductions, comps) that I've found out there.

Good Luck!!

Hallie said...

This is so exciting! I can't wait to here all about :) For me the washer/dryer is a must but I also require outdoor space, either your own deck or a communal patio and then maybe an indoor parking space. not a must but would def be a factor.

Congrats!

reinventingamy said...

whoohoo! a place of your own! very exciting! i'm with ya on the moving though.... omg hate it. Even now with an apt to myself- in the back of my mind I try to keep things as minimal as possible because I'm so used to moving and am considering it again this fall for a cheaper place. ugh.

Cheryl said...

Wow! Majorly exciting news. Are you switching neighborhoods. I can't wait to have a dishwasher once again. I'd like in-unit washer/dryer but the dishwasher is even more important to me. Oh and central heat and air. I am so sick of radiators.

Tonya said...

Congrats! My deal breaker was the in house washer and dryer too! I HATED going to the laundry mat! And the funny thing was that I had to go over to my Mom & Dad's to wash my undies because I wasn't going to have them flaunt around at the laundry mat! lol

SarahBeth said...

Congratulations!! I had a goal of buying a home before I was 30, and since I ended up splitting it with my boyfriend I ended up buying a condo last year at age 26. I haven't regretted it for a second!

I will be interested to hear about your process, since my goal was six months, too, but the whole thing took on a life of its own and we were moved within six weeks!

My non-negotiables were: Lots of light and MUST have a washer/dryer. At a certain point it gets embarrassing to be in your mid 20s and STILL taking your laundry home to your parents' house.

Jaime @ Fast Times said...

I. Hate. Moving. Boxing things, packing anything, etc. I hate it. I'm sure when I'm able to get a place of my own I'll be excited and that will be enough to motivate me through the moving process, though.

lifeintheleftlane said...

Oh, congrats! It's such an exciting process. Deal breakers for me are: only one bathroom, only one bedroom, small/no patio, small closet space. Every condo I looked at in Atlanta had a washer and dryer hook up.

Too bad you're in Chicago. I am trying to sell my 2 bedroom/2.5 bathroom condo in Atlanta. =)

Kate said...

Eeeeeeeeee! This is so exciting! Please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever--we bought a house about a year ago and had the biggest idiot loan officer of all time, plus we're refinancing right now, so we've been through quite a bit recently.

I hate, hate, HATE moving! My dealbreakers are the laundry (I also need a washer and dryer in my house), a garage (must have it) and kitchen cabinets (the more, the better).

Katelin said...

okay that is awesome. i cannot wait to own a house one day, man i look forward to the day. and i totally want a washer and dryer too, then i can finally use my quarters for fun stuff...like parking meters, haha.

Scoop said...

Yes, I agree - the built in amenities are a must have. When we considered buying a condo in Chicago awhile back, we were looking for places with low assesement fees and preferred browstone/3-4 unit flats over the larger condo complexes. We wanted a place that wasn't heavily reliant on a lot of owners to pay for the maintenance services.

Megan said...

Congrats! SOO EXCITING. I need to have a big cooking area - with a big deep sink and a space for people to sit for dinner parties. Cooking for people is one of my favorite things to do.

Geggie said...

I'm delurking to share! I moved to Chicago in July and just bought a place here, I close next month. So excited! It's a great time to buy.

I bought my first place 10 years ago at 25 (yikes!) You'll be so happy you did it, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives.

I worked with a super realtor if you're interested. She's 30, cool, hip and so great to work with!

Best of luck!

(This will be my 4th move in 24 months!)

Bridget said...

Oh my. I am in the middle of buying my first place too. Good for you for going ahead with it!

Hopefully you'll find the place of your dreams soon.

Yes, moving is awful. Every second of it. Good luck!

jess@thehomebound said...

How exciting and good for you! I would totally agree with washer and dryer and probably a dishwasher.

Make sure you know how much the condo fees are and don't overpay for nothing. Make sure there are extra goodies in the mix (gym, or covered parking, etc.) if you have high fees. Though, I am more familiar with home buying in a smaller city, so I can't give much advice.

You won't regret it!

Jamie said...

You make me feel like I am not crazy! Thank you for always commenting! Greatly appreciated. LOL

-Jamie

http://lasweetpetite.blogspot.com/

peterdewolf said...

Moving is flat out evil.

iheart-orange said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iheart-orange said...

That is so exciting. Buying your own place and knowing where you want to settle down before 30 is awesome. And being able to afford it on your own, too. Congrats. That is definitely a far off dream for me. I got laid off a few weeks ago and don't even really have a career path.

But anyway back to your question. Certain things are absolutely non-negotiable. A washer and dryer in the unit. Dishwasher. Storage, must have closets. Must be relatively close to the highway/subway/bus stop/whatever. Also I don't think I could handle anything smaller than 500SF.

And certain things would be nice but not necessary. Depending on how affordable it would be to you, more than one bedroom would be nice. Granite countertops. A big kitchen. Lots of light. Open floor plan.

Rebekah said...

Hooray for you! Homebuying is a huge leap - I was 25 when I jumped. I kind of wish I'd gotten a condo instead of a house though. Lawns are a pain.

When you're shopping, remember to think forward if the place isn't EXACTLY what you want right off. A few quick DIYs can turn an outdate place into fabulousness, and you always get a better price on homes that aren't already updated. I refinished all my wall tiles in the bath and kitchen, as well as the cabinets. Replaced a few light fixtures, painted everything. Added dishwasher and over-range microwave. It's so neat because then YOU choose. It's a completely different house, and a lot of people passed over it because it was soooo 70s when it was on the market.

I'm a handy girl. I'll come help you :o)

Vanessa said...

Huge step and I wish you the best of luck!