A homeowner’s tale

This is my new house, which I close on today.

Spiffy, ain't it?

Spiffy, ain’t it?

But it is more than that, of course. To fully explain that, I need to backtrack a few years.

In 2009, I was living in Chicago, with a nice job and a nice apartment. I was a happy camper. But that all got flushed on my 24th birthday, when I was laid off. I tried to find, and I had a few interviews, but I was unable to land anything. I was running out of money, and my lease was running out. That’s how I found myself living, again, with my parents at the end of that summer.

This was the old apartment, just before I moved out. I still miss it.

The idea, originally, was that I would get a new job, then move back out. But we were in the middle of the recession, and try as I might, I couldn’t get a new job. I started freelancing and returned to the organ bench (I had been unable to play while living in the city), but it wasn’t enough to live by myself again.

I didn’t have a full-time job until 14 months after I was laid off. That job was telecommute, and crappy-paying. So we got the sense that I would not be leaving for a while. That helped us come up with The Plan.

The Plan, in essense, was this: I had a lot of student loan debt left. You cannot discharge that debt in bankruptcy, and I had already used a chunk of deferment time while I was unemployed, so that I didn’t have to pay for a little while. So I needed to pay off all of that first. I succeeded on that at the end of 2011, putting organ pay toward paying that down.

The next step was saving money. By living at home, I wasn’t paying rent or utilities, which is a savings right there. I didn’t make a ton of big purchases (where would I put them anyway?), except for a car. I had switched to a better job. It wasn’t long until I had enough money for a down payment and could embark on the last step: buying a home.

This process was not easy. I kept getting outbid for places, until almost three months in, when I landed my new place, which reviewers have near-universally referred to as “cute.”

Now, today, I hand over a check for pain and suffering and see a lot of my money go away. I still need to buy a lot of things, and I won’t be moving in until I get a couple of other things done.

But when that’s all done, this four-year Plan will finally be complete. And none too soon. You have to set aside your ego to live at home. It does limit your freedom. You have to put up with parents and siblings more than you would prefer, and they have to put up with you more than they would like to. It cramps your social life. Don’t ask about dating.

But here we are, just about at the end of the line. And despite all the tough stuff and rough circumstances, this whole thing was completely worth it. I have a house of my own. And I worked hard to get it. And even if one day I hit another rough patch, this accomplishment cannot ever be taken from me.

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2 responses to “A homeowner’s tale

  1. Pingback: 7 quick takes: Home fixing-upping edition | Pull Out All the Stops

  2. Pingback: My five most popular posts of 2013 | Pull Out All the Stops

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