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Sam Dobson Writes: The Uphill Battle To Our First Home

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Uphill Battle To Our First Home

After three months of stressing, nail-biting, and resisting the urge to rip out chunks of my hair, Blake and I have finally closed on our very first home. That wasn't a typo; it took three very long months as opposed to the typical thirty days. It has been quite the emotional roller-coaster; every time we felt ourselves flying high with joy, some sort of obstacle was there to yank us back down at blood-curdling speed. This journey hasn't been easy.

Word to the wise for prospective first time home buyers: if the house in question is being occupied by tenants, think twice before moving forward. As you may have guessed from my ominous warning, our house was occupied by tenants and despite being given a thirty day notice, it took over two months to get them out. A few weeks into escrow we discovered these were no ordinary tenants, they were federally subsidized tenants with more reasons to stay than leave. Any sane buyer would have seriously considered backing out, but we had already fell in love with what this house could be and would be once it was ours. 

Despite the tenants and the many hoops our lender made us jump through, we stuck it out. It still feels a little hard to believe that after all the stress and hassle we finally have our home. It was 100% worth it and even though I screamed, cried, and threw myself on the floor in a fit of rage like a two year old, I wouldn't change the experience. During the whole home-buying ordeal, I found myself envious of those who breeze through the whole process without a hitch. Sure, that would have made life a little easier but our struggles didn't change the outcome. We are first time homeowners in Southern Orange County. Woo-frickin-hoo!

With every piece of this process throwing unexpected curve balls at us, the experience has been like a three month long lesson in patience. On our expected date of close, we headed to our new home with paint supplies in hand, confident that nothing more could go wrong. Only seconds away from our new front door, the phone rang with more bad news. A mess up with the title delayed us yet another day. Feeling the frustration boiling up, one of Blake's aunts reminded us that things were not as crappy as they momentarily seemed. "You have your health and tomorrow you will have your home", she said and she was right.

The point of this little story is that not everything worth having comes easy. I know, that's a cliche quote that has sort of lost its meaning. But once you have to truly work for something you really want, when your blood, sweat, and tears are literally poured into a goal, that meaningless cliche takes on a new life. As I said, it was all worth it in the end. Had we backed out as we had been tempted to at times, we would have still suffered through most of these obstacles but without the payoff. The void would be filled with regret and an unshakable feeling of failure.

Of course, that's not what happened. Instead of quitting, we stuck it out and in the end we got our house. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our rock star real estate agents (one of whom is another one of Blake's aunts) and mortgage team for helping us push forward even when we thought about giving up, to my mother for helping to keep me sane every time I felt like I was loosing it, and to Blake's mom for taking us and our pack of dogs in. Now that we have done what seemed like the impossible, it's time to get to work. With some paint, new flooring, and a bit of TLC, our little condo will truly be our home.  If this isn't something to celebrate on Champagne Friday, I don't know what is. Cheers to making shit happen.

First Home
How else would we celebrate?

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