I love this city. For the past 10 years, I’ve been living out the glory of my almost lost-but-not-forgotten 20s right here in the nation’s capital. It’s the place I came to come out, the place I’ve loved, lost, experienced and grew…the place I became my full self. But now it’s time for me to grow up, grow a pair, and purchase my first house. And the first step in any great house hunting adventure for a couple is deciding where to live.
One of the major challenges of buying a house is weighing my love for this beautiful city with the reality that we want the works: a three bedroom two story house with granite counter tops and a master bath. We certainly are not going to find any of those lying around D.C. in our price range, which means I get to factor a new commute into my daily routine. Looks like I’ll be kissing my 7 a.m. wake up call goodbye, along with my weekdays out with friends on U Street. Times are changing, and suddenly I’m realizing, so am I.
It’s just incredible how time consuming, stressful, and financially challenging it is to secure a future home for your soon to be wife and family. How do people do this every day? I’m expanding my vocabulary with new words like pre-qualification, PMI, and closing costs. It’s a nightmare for both me and my lexicon, but luckily I’m not in this alone. Sure, I’m scrimping, saving, and cutting corners everywhere I can, sacrificing summer vacations and trips that have been on repeat with friends for years, but it’s all going toward a future goal and a greater good.
In my young 20s, I could be selfish and get away with it. But when it comes to buying a house, it’s not just about me anymore. It’s not all about where I can and can’t go, how long my commute will be, or how long it will take me to get to the next epic event. It’s about where our kids will go to school, where they will be safe to live, and where we can afford the kind of space we’ll need for the number of children we want, which is more than most people have cats.
Selecting the right place to buy is about learning how to communicate with my partner, and taking her needs, wants, and future desires into consideration to find a place that benefits both of our preferences and styles, all while understanding that there is no right or wrong in any of these decisions. Sure, there are pros and cons, but not rights and wrongs.
If I live further away, I get more space to decorate, more rooms for the kids, and more square footage in a living room; but I lose the convenience of the lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to. If I buy now, I save on interest rates and mortgage payments, but I lose out on proximity to friends and places that I’ve been a regular at for years. Time to suck it up.
People buy houses all the time. I try to tell myself, it’s just a house. But it’s not. It’s a lifestyle change that leads to a huge step in the direction of my future. And, no matter how abrupt it may feel, it’s one I’m ready to take.