On Being Chicago Home Owners

Nine months ago today Chris and I met downtown at noon, signed a million papers while seated at a a large board table surrounded by people in suits I did not know (other than our realtor) and walked away with keys to our new home.

And all of the fun and exciting feelings of “we just bought a house!” were equally matched with all of the “oh shit” and “omg” feelings.

“What did we just do?” We asked each other no less than a hundred times that day. WHAT DID WE JUST DO?

What if we can’t pay our mortgage one month? And the bank takes our home and we lose everything? And we end up on the street? We never missed a rent check, but I was suddenly sure we’d miss a mortgage check. Every scary thought about being a home owner entered my mind between the two mile drive from downtown to our new place.

We had been looking for nearly a year, so it’s not as if we rushed into anything. However the Chicago market is a little crazy,  so no matter what, it always feels as if things are rushed. You have to move fast or you’ll miss your shot. Homes aren’t even technically put on the market before they’re sold. And even then, they’ll go for more than asking price. Bidding wars happen. Letters are written by buyers to sellers trying to convince them why they’re the best buyers and should be the chosen ones. I know, because I wrote one. It was cheesy as hell, but it got the job done.

And suddenly we were Chicago homeowners.

The plan had always been to (hopefully) buy a home someday. But I’m not sure if I ever really believed it would happen in Chicago. It just seemed so daunting and scary to buy in the city. We don’t own a garage, or green space, but instead we own a floor and a half of a building, with three other owners. This type of setup just wasn’t the norm for me growing up, but it is now. It’s simply what you do if you want to live in a city.

*Sidenote: if I didn’t write this post today, I was going to write a post called “Neighbors” in which four different neighbors hear each other about to leave their front door, so they all hang back not wanting to run into one another. But since they’re all waiting on each other, no one leaves… Ever. It was going to be very “The Exterminating Angel” inspired. Still think it could be fun to write, so it may still happen.*

Anyway, it’s been a fun nine months. I tell Chris everyday how lucky I feel that we get to live in a mansion. And then he politely reminds me it’s not really mansion, (but we have 2.5 baths, in-unit laundry AND an ice maker) if that’s not a mansion I don’t know what is.

It’s funny how our perspective on space has changed since living in Chicago. I’m so impressed with our laundry-closet, but when we have friends stay (often from Nebraska) I can tell they’re usually appalled by our tiny little closet that houses both a washer and dryer. They’ll usually add something well-meaning like, “well you don’t need a lot of room for laundry, anyway!” They’re trying to be kind, but I’m usually just dumbfounded because they don’t realize it’s actually AMAZING to have a laundry-closet. Little do they know, for the past seven years I’ve been doing communal laundry in a dungeon basement, playing the “laundry games” with assholes who forget to move their clothes for five hours.

Like I said, it’s all about perspective.

Coming tomorrow: going to share some inside looks at our home from when we moved in, to how it looks now, and a few of my favorite decorating hacks.

PLUS: we have a contractor coming to redo our fireplace, kitchen, and install some new lighting. VERY excited about all of this.

Bye guys, happy Monday!

*All outdoor furniture found here (and it’s on sale!)
*Bedding found here  and SURPRISE they’re also having a sale.