It’s been quite a while since I posted about our home-buying process, but I’m thrilled to announce that Dan and I are officially home owners!
Insert an elated smile that quickly gives way to sheer terror.
One thing we’re so grateful for (among thousands) is that our new house is basically move-in ready. All we have to do is a deep clean (the previous owners basically kept an immaculate house, but still) and some painting. To keep it simple (famous last words), we’re going to paint just the master bedroom and the downstairs trim and doors. While the paint colors downstairs aren’t exactly what I would have picked on my own, they’re close enough that I just can’t justify the time it would take to repaint it all. Plus, I think I’ll like the colors even more once we brighten it up by painting the ’90s honey-oak trim white. (The upstairs trim and doors are already white. Praise Jesus.) We’re also skipping the bathrooms, additional two bedrooms, and the upstairs hallway.
In my last update, I shared the features that were on our wish list for our home. Here’s where we landed:
- 3 bedrooms? Check! I’m especially in love with the master bedroom (hello, ceiling beams and wood floors!). I can’t wait to read in bed with the windows wide open. One of the other bedrooms will be Dan’s office, and as you may have seen on Instagram, soon we’ll be converting the third bedroom into a nursery for Baby Bergman!
- 1.5 or 2 bathrooms? Check! We ended up with 1.5 bathrooms—a powder room off the family room and a full bathroom with double sinks upstairs. Bonus: even though it’s a shared bathroom upstairs, it has double sinks! A small detail, but it makes a big difference!
- 2-car garage? Check! It even has built in shelves for storage. Less home projects for us to do!
- Adequate storage? Check! There are two attic spaces, which are fairly easy to access, plus plenty of storage space in the garage and in the laundry room. There’s also a storage shed in the backyard that we negotiated into the contract, which will be perfect for lawn care tools. There’s no basement, but there is a crawl space under half of the house. It’s not super easy to access—there’s a small opening in the floor of the front closet—but it is semi-finished.
- Fireplace? Check! It’s a little outdated, so that’s one of the very few home-improvement projects we’ll take on in the coming months.
- Updated mechanics and exterior features? Check, mostly. The house has a newer roof, siding, and windows. The furnace and AC are old, but both have been serviced and cleaned recently. Dan’s dad works in HVAC, so these will be easy to replace when the time comes. Also, we totally hate the color of the siding, so to increase curb appeal, we’re having the house painted. Sadly, there’s nothing we can do about the brown roof. I’ll post updates about this soon!
- Decent backyard? Check! And it’s already fenced in! I can hardly contain my excitement about getting a dog in the coming weeks!
I didn’t feel the need to have tons of aesthetic updates and upgrades in the house, as long as it was clean, but I’m certainly thrilled to have found a home that is nicely updated. It’s like the buttercream frosting on an already-delicious cake. The kitchen and bathrooms were redone about five years ago and are still in pristine condition. The carpeting is newer and well-taken care of (especially considering the previous owners had two small children!), so that can stay. The rest of the flooring is in fairly good condition as well—nothing that needs to be tended to immediately.
One of the best parts of all this is that we came in under budget on this house—not only under budget for what the bank told us we could afford (which was so much more than we were comfortable spending that it was a bit absurd), but also under our agreed-upon comfortable monthly payment by about $225. Originally, we thought we were coming in $150 under budget, but in the most positive twist of events ever, at the closing table we were informed that taxes had been reassessed and reduced by about 15%, or $1000, each year. YES. Such a nice surprise considering property taxes in Illinois are outrageous for no good reason. Also, since there are no major home updates or repairs that need to be done before moving in, we’re able to put some of our home-repair budget toward things we really want to do to make the home “ours,” like exterior paint and adding shutters.
I’m still truly in awe of God’s provision for us in this house, which is so wildly beyond what we deserve. And I’m thrilled that through a lot of prayer, discussion, and sticking to our beliefs in simple living, God led us to a place that has exactly what we need, and we didn’t go overboard with extras. To tell you the truth, I think many people would look at our home and call it small, but to me, it feels extravagant. The bedrooms are smaller than average and so is the family room. There isn’t a playroom or a basement (though, we’ll probably turn the living room into a library/board game room because I have no desire to buy living room furniture that we’ll never sit on). But that’s what I love most about this house—that there isn’t a ton of space to spread out and be away from one another. I’m looking forward to so many cozy moments in those littles spaces.
(By the way, this post about the benefits of owning a smaller home from Becoming Minimalist was a huge source of inspiration and motivation to stay under budget and purchase less house than the world told us we needed. Dan and I were already committed to this idea anyway, but these words helped me remember my core values when the temptation for more, bigger, better tried to grab hold of me.)
All that said, we definitely have our work cut out for us over the next two weeks as we pack up our apartment, paint the new house, move everything in, and unpack. Instead of trying to do it all like a crazy person, I know I need to invest all my time and energy into making this transition smooth. I already have this month’s Cultivating Gratitude & Sharing Love post ready to go for Friday, so after that I’ll be taking a blogging vacation until Monday, June 8, when I’ll be back with one of my favorite pieces of writing, about crying hallelujah in our heartaches. In the meantime, I’ll be around on Instagram and look forward to staying connected with you all there!