this post is a bit overdue. i got the keys to my house on Sept 20 of this year and you would imagine i'd be inclined to write a post asap as this is probably the biggest accomplishment i've achieved since birth, but i've been busy moving, working on the house, etc. so without further adieu, the story of my house.
a little over a year ago my mom began to question me about saving money. she saw how often i ate out and thought that i probably couldn't be saving up if i spent all of my money on expensive dinners, food trips and travelling. she then lectured me long and hard about finances and future. she said she knows that after i got into my career it was important for me to travel, experience other cultures and indulge in deliciousness before buckling down. within the first three years of starting my new career i'd traveled to Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Boston, Seattle New York and back to Thailand. within those three years i'd dined at French Laundry, Manresa, Cyrus, and had taken food trips in NY and Seattle. she noted that after some time you've got to start thinking about saving some money. soon three could turn into five, and five could turn into ten, and without thinking about saving any money, i would have nothing to back myself up with when i decided it was time to buy a house. along with my mom's thoughts were my grandmas. every time i'd see her at a family dinner she would tell me in her dialect of Chinese to cook rather than eat out and get ready to buy a house.
so i heard what they had to say but for a year following that i had no desire to change my ways or buy a house. i was content where i was and wasn't ready to take on the responsibility of a homeowner. plus, who knows what the hell the difference is between homeowners insurance and house insurance, or why in the world i would care to learn the meaning behind words like "equity" or "escrow". but then one day i looked around my tiny little studio under the house that my parents owned and realized i was ready to move on. i was ready for bigger and better and in a second decided that it was time to start the process of buying a house. who knew what i was in for....
i'm a semi-lazy type person so rather than do a bunch of research on who the best real estate agents were, i just chose to go with the same guy my brother used. he said that he liked the way he operated. quick, reliable and easy going. just right for me. so i met him, briefly went over the details and began searching for a house. i knew i wanted a 3br/2ba somewhere between SF and Burlingame for no more than 510k. i found myself on redfin a lot and went out to check houses with the agent. within a couple of months my offer for a house was accepted and everything seemed to be on it's way. but when the inspection came back i felt uneasy and realized that that house wasn't the one for me. it had termites and some water damage that i didn't feel like dealing with, plus i felt i was paying too much for a small 1100sq/ft house. i won't go over the details but the process of buying a house from getting the loan to finding a house and getting accepted is a real pain in the ass and is far less fun than i'd anticipated. so to back out of that house and start the process over again made me feel quite defeated. i almost wanted to give up and forget about it, but i knew that the market was good for purchasing a house at this time so i pressed on.
round two of looking went by rather fast. i searched with a better idea of what exactly i wanted and within a month i found a house. ironically this house was nearly identical to my parents house/the house i grew up in, except it was remodeled and much nicer (ha!) and was a 3br/2ba whereas my parents house is a 4br/2ba. i've always loved the open layout of my parents place. and of course the second i stepped foot in the house it felt familiar and homey. i knew that this was it. i placed my offer, did a tiny bit of negotiating and was accepted as the buyer of the house. "finally!!!!," is what i thought.
next came the grueling task of getting a loan approved. everybody wants to you check their rates vs. everybody else's, get pre-approved from various places and blahbitty blah. but seriously who has time for all of that. now i know some of you might think i'm being ignorant or just plain stupid for not looking deeper into a loan but the act of getting a loan through one single bank is hard enough so just let me be! after many many trips to the fax machine, a million phone calls to the loan officer, processor, agent, and whoever else, pretending to read through pages of papers and sitting patiently (or not so patiently) for my paperwork to get passed from person to person and eventually get processed, i got my loan. stressed out of my mind and fearful of losing the house due to surpassing the date we were supposed to close escrow, which had already been extended, i finally felt relieved.
i went in to sign dreaded stack of papers but didn't even pretend to read them this time. i just signed wherever i was told to, handed them a check for 20% down on the house and awaited my keys....only for them to tell me that the bank hadn't wired the money over yet so i wouldn't get the keys until they received the full payment. so. un. awesome. i waited a couple more days and fi-i-i-iiinally i got the keys to the house on Sept 20, 2011. i am now a house owner!