First, I wanted to thank all of you for your supportive and kind words when I made my big announcement yesterday. The plunge into homeownership is a big and scary one, and it’s good to know that you guys have my back 🙂
Anyway, I wanted to start out by explaining why I decided to buy a property now. I’ve mentioned before that I count homeownership as one of my long-term goals, but I certainly didn’t expect for this major financial milestone to occur this year. As with a lot of important stuff in our lives, a confluence of events led to my decision to pull the trigger on buying a home sooner rather than later.
The inciting incident on my journey to homeownership actually occurred almost two years ago, I just never said anything about it – to anyone, including my close friends. I’m going to be intentionally vague about it here because it’s personal in nature, but it came to my attention two summers ago that a decent sum of family money was sitting at my disposal. Not a life-changing, quit-my-job-and-move-to-Guatamala amount of money, but a decent chunk. At the time that I found out about this money, I got excited for a very brief moment, but then promptly put it out of my mind. I knew I wanted to use it for something “big,” like the purchase of a home, but I wasn’t ready to make any decisions yet. So I sat on it. For quite some time.
Fast forward to two months ago: I got a notice from the company that manages my apartment complex that my building had been purchased by a large, Chicago-based residential real estate firm. I knew right away that this wasn’t good news in terms of my rent. I waited to see what the financial fallout would be, and when the new owners finally put out the word about rent increases, I nearly fainted. My rent would be going up almost two hundred dollars per month. Now, to be fair, I’ve been paying well below market value for my apartment. But guys, this apartment is not very nice. It’s in a really nice area, but the unit itself is downright shabby, and it’s not getting any better. The thought of shelling out nearly $200 per month more for the same, run-down place was absolutely nauseating. So, after a few tears, I decided it was time to start poking around and seeing what it would cost to purchase a condo similar in size and quality to my current apartment, and was pleasantly surprised at what I found.
I discovered that I could purchase a place for around $200-$300 more per month than it would cost to pay my new rent payment. Now, I know what you’re thinking: that means my monthly housing costs would be going up $400-$500 per month over what I’m paying right now. That’s no small chunk of change, but I knew I could make it work with a few cuts to other expenses and a couple extra freelance projects every month. It was more the principle of the matter that ultimately pushed me towards looking for a condo: there was no way I could feel good about seeing my housing costs jump up $200 per month and get absolutely nothing for it when, on the other hand, I could purchase a place that’s much nicer and start building equity for just a few hundred dollars more per month.
So, I decided to start seriously looking for a condo. And boy did things get interesting from there….
Tomorrow I’m going to talk about the ups and downs of finding the condo I ended up purchasing – it’s a doozy!