Finding home in unexpected places

Well, I am finally ready to post again. I have wanted to write for a while now, but everything seemed to either be still in the planning phases or just plain boring. How many times can I rephrase that the banks are going back and forth with paperwork and estimates?

Anyway, I think it is about time for a few updates:

1. We are not buying a house! It has taken a long time to come to terms with-- not to mention the fact that the blog will require some pretty big changes. While we are still technically under contract with the La Londe house, our lawyer is working to get us out of it, hopefully with our earnest money in tact.

After months of going back and forth with banks we have really started to realize that this isn't what we want. Although it took a while, we finally understood what buying a house (especially one that requires major work) would mean for our future. I think that the permanency of the whole situation is what really struck us.

What if we want to travel? Or, what if the job market doesn't improve and one of us loses our job, or if Brian wants to go back and finish school? And what if the housing market doesn't improve and we end up losing more money than we spent on the house in the first place?

It all just added up to be too much of a hassle. I think we both realized that we are only 23... ok almost 24. Regardless, we realized that there is no rush-- we can still be together without plunging into home ownership.

2. So, despite all of my rants against it, we are about to become renters! I never thought we would go this route. We have both always said we feel like it is throwing money away, but the last few weeks have really made us rethink our situation. Although we won't gain any equity on an apartment, renting allows us the mobility and freedom to experience a lot more before we settle down.

Plus, we have found that finding an apartment is WAY easier than trying to find a house. Brian and I went on Friday to look at one place-- it seemed we were off to the same start as our house hunt. Who knew that leasing offices don't know how to level a stove, or that they are blind to giant pee stains on the living room carpet? We both quickly agreed that we needed to keep looking. If we lasted through 32 houses, a few more apartments wouldn't kill us.

Turns out we didn't need to come close to 32 apartments. In fact, we didn't even reach five in-person visits. While I was at a bridal shower on Saturday, Brian went out and looked at three more communities we had found online. The first was nothing special. The second was beautiful and had great amenities, but came with a big price tag. Brian immediately loved the third community. He said it offered clean apartments and great amenities for a much more reasonable price.

Since I wasn't with, Brian gathered as much info on each location as he could, and we brought the details down to his lake house where we spent the rest of the weekend. We have three major requirements when searching for our new apartment: two bedrooms, in unit washer/dryer and most importantly, a top floor unit.

The first complex was immediately knocked out of the running-- the soonest a two bedroom would be available was February. The second complex was knocked out due to cost. Ironically, the third only had ONE unit that matched all three of our requirements: a simple two bedroom, two bath unit on the top floor. Brian talked with a leasing agent and worked out rent, lease terms, parking, the works. Since I wasn't there to see it, he told her that we would be in touch soon to schedule an appointment.

We spent most of the three hour drive discussing our options. Although we don't want to rush into an apartment we don't really like, Brian said this place was definitely the best we had seen in person and looked like the best of the dozens we have looked at online. So he called the leasing agent back and made an appointment for Monday afternoon to discuss our options, and so that I could walk through their model unit.

True to our past house hunting history, nothing comes this easy. The leasing agent called us on Sunday to let us know that another couple was coming in that day and they were interested in "our" apartment. She said that a verbal agreement wouldn't be enough to hold the place if this couple was serious about signing a lease. So we decided to bite the bullet-- we sent an e-mail as soon as we got off the phone stating that we were interested and then both filled out the online application! The agent said that was enough to hold the unit until we could come in Monday afternoon.

We made it to our appointment just on time yesterday, after driving back three and a half hours from the lake. I immediately loved the community (in Naperville). The whole area looked clean and well maintained, much more than we could say for the other community we toured. We met with the leasing agent who told us (much to the other couple's dismay) that she had successfully held the apartment and it was available if we still wanted it.

Brian and I had discussed it on the way home, and decided that short of finding a downtown suburban apartment with loft like qualities and exposed brick (how likely is that) that this was as good as it was going to get. The agent verified our applications, filled out a few additional documents, and asked us to pull out our checkbooks. The small application fee and administrative fee were welcome after some of the checks we have written related to the house hunt.

Then we went to see their model unit. Although it was slightly different from the unit we will be renting (this was a 1 bedroom + den and 1 bathroom) it gave us an idea of space and layout. We both love the open concept of the place, with an open living/dining room, open kitchen with breakfast bar and fireplace! Another great feature is that there isn't a speck of "apartment white" anywhere, all walls are painted a warm khaki color. To top it off, we are able to pick one accent wall that they will paint a different color for free! We went with a deep, rich red color for the dining room.

We were also provided with a tour of the fitness center (could be better, but not bad with a few treadmills, elipticals and bikes), the business center (a few computers, copier, free coffee and cookies daily) and the INDOOR pool and hot tub. After a quick drive around the complex, Brian and I knew we had made the right decision.

But we still aren't in the clear. Although the apartment will be held for us, we are still waiting on a credit check and background check before our application will be officially accepted. According to the leasing agent, we should hear today, tomorrow at the latest. If all goes to plan, we are looking at a December 9 move in!

After a lot of thinking, talking and debating, we know that this is the best choice for us. Renting will allow us to be together, but still allow us the flexibility that we want and need at this point. Not to mention that Brian's commute to work will be cut down to about five minutes and according to Google Maps, mine is only increased by a minute or two.

In the end, we are once again back to waiting. Although from the looks of it, this will be the shortest wait we have had to endure since July.

Update to come soon!