As newlyweds, Dennis and I would dream about owning a home and raising our family in San Diego. We loved the city where we met and got married. Living downtown, we surveyed the condos that were popping up all around us. Two bedrooms were upwards of $500,000 at the time and I was still in graduate school. For the next several years we watched San Diego real estate ride the housing bubble and seriously thought we’d have to leave our wonderful city to afford the dream of home ownership.
For several years we’d talk about places we might want to live. Northern California was an obvious choice since we’re both from up there. We’d look up places that sounded nice, though we’d never been there. Lexington, Kentucky was in my mind for awhile. But, all along our prayer was that somehow the stars would align and we’d be able to find our home in San Diego.
We had our babies while renting a two bedroom condo in Hillcrest from a great landlord. We loved the neighborhood – so central and close to Balboa Park. It was the perfect situation and really helped set us up to buy a house. In early 2012 we had achieved the financial goals we’d set before we let ourselves start a home search.
The stars were starting to align: The housing bubble burst had brought prices to a reasonable level and interest rates were incredibly low. We were blessed to have access to Dennis’s VA loan that he earned by serving in the Marine Corps. Finding our realtor even felt fated. I’d reached out to Lori to inquire about a house she was selling. She was so wonderfully helpful and friendly; I asked if she also represented buyers!
Our search was pretty narrowly focused for San Diego. This is one big, stretched out, place! We knew we wanted to live in the Poway School District (awesome public schools!) and not too far north since Dennis still had to commute downtown.
We saw a total of six houses during our quick home search. After watching countless episodes of House Hunters, we kind of wanted the search to go on longer – it’s so fun! The first two houses were total fixer uppers and we knew that wasn’t for us. We had a 16 month old and a 4 year old at the time and didn’t want to devote the time or money to a big remodel.
I’ll always remember when we first drove up to our house. It had been purchased in January, flipped, and put back on the market in March. Everything was done and beautiful! The entry was awesome and led into an open concept living room and dining area with high vaulted ceilings. As we walked through the staged home, I said to Lori: “We’re totally making the first time home buyer mistake of falling in love with all the pretty finishings, aren’t we?” She replied, “Yes, but so am I! It’s beautiful.”
We loved the house, but at 1,100 square feet I was concerned that people would consider it too small. We felt like it was huge compared to the 750 square foot condo we’d lived in for five years and where our double stroller had to be stored next to the kitchen table! It had a garage and a great amount of livable outdoor space. This was San Diego, after all. We could be outside 9 months of the year.
Still, the size gave us a little concern, so we decided to look at some more houses.
The following weekend we toured the house that was actually our realtor’s listing (the one that made me email her in the first place). It was a lot bigger but needed work. All throughout the tour of this house, Dennis kept comparing it to the little house we loved. Finally Lori asked us, “Do you want to go look at that house again?”
We still loved it the second time. I will always remember the feeling we got when we walked in. Home.
The dynamic between Dennis and me on this decision was so uncharacteristic of us. Typically I’m the one all gung ho about something and trying to convince Dennis to get onboard. In this case, he was sold on the little house and advocating for it, more than I was. It was a lovely change and so amazing to be able to say, “Yes, I agree, let’s put in an offer.”
Our offer was accepted that night. We were buying a house!
Since the flippers weren’t living there, we were able to close in less than 30 days. Our home buying experience was ridiculously easy and hassle free.
Mostly, we feel like it was the fulfillment of a dream and an answer to years of prayers.
Today is the two year anniversary of closing escrow on our house. We’re so incredibly happy and thankful for our little piece of the world to call home.