Monday, January 31, 2011


On Friday we had our home inspection. A home inspection is a vital part of the home buying process especially when you are buying a foreclosure. There is no way of knowing what is lurking behind walls without a proper inspection.

Since I had to work, Kristian met the inspector at the townhouse and three hours later he was finished. Because of the snow we got last week he wasn't able to look at the roof but will come back hopefully this week and check it out.

For the most part the inspection went well, especially given the age of the home. There were definitely some minor issues that we'll eventually need to take care. There was however one major issue that we need to get worked out. He discovered that the HVAC (heating and air conditioning unit) isn't working. Since we're moving in February it would be nice to have heat in the house. Right now the house is being heated by auxiliary heat (whatever that means). The inspector wasn't able to determine why it's not working. It could be a quick and easy fix or the whole unit could need to be replaced which would be mucho bucks.

So the listing agent for the house is sending an HVAC guy to come inspect the furnace and tell us what the issue is. Since the home is a foreclosure and being sold "as is" by the bank if there is a major issue with it we'll need to see if we can work something out. Maybe some kind of credit from the bank, because I certainly don't have another $5K to shell out to replace it. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's a simple and cheap fix and that the roof inspection later this week comes back okay.

Between now and when we close and have the keys in hand I'm going to be on edge waiting for something to go wrong either with the house itself or the loan. I've spent all day going back and forth with our mortgage lender sending all my financial records and information to process the loan including the loan application and all 35 pages that I had to sign. He did however give me an A+ for timeliness in document retrieval. Guess it pays to be organized!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Scary Commute

Yesterday the D.C. area got hit with our biggest snowstorm of the season so far. We had what they were calling "Thunder Snow". It started sleeting around 3pm and full on downpour of snow by 4pm and the roads got bad fast.

My boss let me leave at 3 and Thank God she did because had I left later I could have been one of the many people that ended up with 4 or more hour commutes. Some people were stuck in their cars all night on the side of the road! It took one coworker who left later than I did around 5 hours to get home. People were abandoning their cars and the streets were gridlocked.

My normal 45 minute commute took me 2 hours which at the time was torture but hearing other people's stories I realize how lucky I was. It was a very scary drive and I was practically in tears at one point because the roads were so bad and it was getting hard to see. Thanks to baby Jesus I was finally able to get behind two trucks that were plowing the road and follow them most of the rest of my way home. I hate hate hate driving in snow.

I'm going in late today and I just hope the streets are in better condition than they were last night.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Movin' on Up

Wellllll the verdict is in and.....our offer was APPROVED!!!!!!

There has been a lot of back and forth and I've basically been a constant bundle of nerves and nausea since we put our original offer in on Friday. It didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped and stupidly thought it would.

On Saturday we found out there was another offer made so our realtor recommended we try doing and "escalation" offer which basically says to the bank we are willing to pay X amount over your highest offer up to X amount. We went back and forth and talked to our mortgage lender about how high we could realistically go and went back with the offer.

Yesterday we found out that not only was there now a THIRD offer on the house but the bank wouldn't do the escalation offer. Which meant we had to go back with our best and final offer and if they accepted that's what we would pay regardless of what the other offers came in at. We also wouldn't know what the other offers were for. Talk about a blind gamble. We wanted the house and wanted to bid high enough to get it but not so high that we were over-paying for it.

Finally last night our realtor called and said the bank came back with a counter offer. Immediately I was like shit, we can't afford to go higher. Turns out the bank just wanted us to cover half of the closing costs (which we had already said we would do on our highest offer) and they came back down to our original offer which was significantly cheaper than the last one we had made. Basically they countered with a lower offer!!! We couldn't believe it! That never happens. The only thing we can think is that the bank knew the property wouldn't appraise for as much as we were willing to offer. Whatever the reason we were thrilled!

I got the forms with the final agreed upon offer today and a bunch of other forms to sign. So now we have to do the home inspection, the appraisal and make sure the loan I was pre-approved for goes through. Lots of steps still between now and getting the keys but if all goes well we'll be closing at the end of next month.

I'm still in shock. I truly didn't think we would find something so quick or that the whole process would be moving so fast. I'm still overwhelmed and nervous about all the money we will have to pay upfront but I'm also really really excited! Now we just pray the rest of the process goes smoothly and nothing goes wrong.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I might need a paper bag to breathe into

Well it looks like we are going to be putting an offer down on the townhouse! We went last night so I could see it in person and I loved it. I loved the neighborhood, I loved the view, I loved the open feel of it, I love the potential of it and I think the price is very good for what we're getting and the location.

There are definitely some minor cosmetic changes we want to make immediately like painting and changing out light fixtures etc and some longer term projects like re-doing the kitchen and master bath but despite that the house is very clean and move in ready. We came up with I think is a great solution to the small kitchen issue and have figured out a way to open it up and add more cabinets and counter space.

The only real downside is that my commute to work is going to suck. I'm adding probably 15-20 minutes onto an already 45-60 minute commute. I know. Totally suckage. It's really not much further mileage wise but because of the way I would need to go there is a lot more traffic and potential for back ups. But the thing I finally realized was that anything could happen in the future. Who knows if I'll still have the same job a year from now or two years from now. A lot of things can change so to base buying a house solely on where my current job is seems silly. Or so I'm telling myself.

Our realtor emailed me all the paperwork that we need to review and sign in order to put an offer in and hopefully within a week or two we should hear back. Fingers crossed we get it and everything works out.

I'm nervous, excited, anxious, scared, happy, overwhelmed and a million other emotions. I've never bought a house before and seeing all the money we're going to be spending makes me sweat a bit even though I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

House Hunters Ep. 2

Last night Kristian went to check out another townhouse. I wasn't able to get off work early so he went alone and took a ton of pictures for me. This townhouse is located in the county we currently live in. I had hoped to move to the county where my job is to make my commute easier but of course it's a much more expensive area to live. So we agreed to look at the listings for the county we are currently in knowing there were only a few areas of it we would actually be willing to live. It's amazing how much more you can get for your money just 20 minutes further down the road. Larger houses that are updated and have better views.

Kristian LOVED the house. In the beginning he was very anti-townhouse for a number of reasons; they are smaller, have less yard, less privacy etc. However after seeing this place he said he not only would be happy living there but could see us living there for a long, long time.

Here's some of the highlights:

-3 bedroom
- 2 1/2 bath (with plumbing for another bath to be put in the basement)
-Huge finished basement that walks out to nice deck/patio
-TWO fireplaces (living room and basement)
-Deck off of the living room
-Wood floors in the dining room
-New carpets
-New kitchen appliances (not stainless steel but still new)
-Nice neighborhood with young families
-Good schools

And the best part which pretty much clinched it for us is that not only does it back up to woods but we have a "winter view" of the river, meaning when the leaves are off the tree you have a gorgeous view of the water. AND Kristian will be able to fish in his own backyard! You really can't beat that.

The only downside besides some basic cosmetic changes/painting/upgrades is that the kitchen is pretty small with not a lot of counter space. And since we Kristian loves to cook that could be a problem. But we think there would be ways to expand it in the future. With townhouses it's hard to find large kitchens so we can make due with it for the near future.

It's bank owned and priced right in our range and it's ready to go. Meaning if we put a contract on it and get approved we could be moving in about two months.

It's seems crazy to think after only seeing 2 houses in person (and countless others online) we might already make an offer. After all I tried on 30 wedding dresses before buying one and that was a dress I wore for ONE day! This is a house! But it has most of everything we want and seems too good to pass up. It would be a great starter home for us.

Here are some of the pictures Kristian took:

View of dining room from the living room. The dining room leads into the kitchen.

Living room with fireplace that opens to a deck.

Large basement that leads to backyard and has a fireplace.

The kitchen, pardon the funky angle.

The view from the Master bedroom. This is what we would wake up to everyday!

Our backyard

We are going back tonight so I can see it in person and then we may go ahead and start the paperwork!

So what do you think? Are we crazy for not looking at more houses?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Beginning

Since I didn't start blogging until after Kristian and I got engaged I never got to post some of the pictures from the beginning of our relationship so I figured why not post them now.

This is our very first picture together, taken before we were "official". We were at my friend Lauren's party where the theme was "CEO and Corporate Ho's" hence the suit and my thigh high stockings.

This was at Kristian's old boss's summer work party at his house. We became "official" that night.

One Saturday we decided to go down to DC to check out the sites and museum togethers. This is in front of the WWII memorial.

For Kristian's 31st birthday I bought him tickets to see Jason Mraz in concert (our first dance was to Jason Mraz's I'm Yours). Here's a picture of us at the concert.

Our first Halloween we went to a local pumpkin patch and came home to carve pumpkins together.

At my friends Ashley and Morgan's rehersal dinner.

Then at Ashley and Morgan's wedding the next night.

Kristian took me trout fishing at one of his favorite spots. Afterwards we picked some apples and went home and ate trout and apple pie.

There is a spot in the woods by where Kristian grew up that is very special to him. It's where he and his childhood best friend would go fishing in high school. His friend was killed on prom night by a drunk driver. He told me once he would only take a girl he really loved to this spot.

He decided to carve our initials into one of the trees there.

This is before we left for my 10 year high school reunion. I can't believe my 10 year reunion was TWO years ago. God I'm getting old.

Us in front of the National Christmas Tree in D.C. Kristian had surgery on his neck at the beginning of Dec. '08 which required him to stay in the house and not ride in cars for two weeks. This was one of our first trips out of the house after his "house rest". As you can see he grew a beard while stuck in the house.

New Year's Eve '08-'09 We went to dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date.

The night we got engaged- 2/14/09

So those are some pictures of our first six months together. I can't believe how quickly time has flown by. These pictures feel like they were taken a lifetime ago yet at the same time feel like just yesterday. Hope you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

House Hunters Ep. 1

Now that the holidays are over Kristian and I have started the whole house hunting process. Our condo is under short sale and we are estimating we'll need to move sometime this spring/early summer so we can't put off looking for a new place any longer, especially since we'll probably end up buying a short sale and as anyone whose been through that process knows it can take a LONG time.

Our realtor sent us a bunch of listings over the weekend to review and I marked a few as favorites though there was one in particular that really jumped out at us and that we wanted to see right away. So last night we met up with our realtor, Ken, to check out the townhouse.

A little about the townhouse: it's only 9 miles from my office (umm awesome!), it was a bit over our ideal price range (not so awesome), it had a cute little front porch, a deck and small fenced in back yard, two decent size bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a good size finished basement with a fireplace, hardwood floors on the main level and a decent size kitchen.

Overall we liked the house, it wasn't perfect but it had a lot of the things we were looking for. HOWEVER, the biggest drawback and what ultimately made us decide against it is that it backs right up to another row of townhouses. There's only a few feet in between what would be our fence and the back neighbors fence and you can see right into each other's houses. Which means no privacy and never being able to just leave your blinds open.

Since Kristian isn't a fan of townhouses to begin with (he wants a single family home, which unfortunately is out of our price range) he said he could only do a townhouse if it backed up to woods or other open space. And I agree. Otherwise it gets to feel very claustrophobic.

It was good walking through with our realtor though because now he has a better sense of what we want and don't want. If this house backed up to woods and ideally had another bedroom I think it would have been close to perfect. We really would prefer 3 bedrooms so that we could have a guest room/office and a future baby room and we definitely need a basement (finished or unfinished) for Kristian's "man's cave". We plan to live there for at least the next five years so we need some room to grow.

So on to the next one. Since we, like most people, want much more than our budget can really afford I suspect it's going to be a long tedious process.

For those homeowners out there, how many houses did you have to see before you found "the one"?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our first trip to the ballet

This weekend Kristian and I went to the ballet for the first time...well if you count going to see Black Swan at the movie theater the same as going to the ballet. Seeing how this is probably the closest we'll ever come to seeing a ballet together I count it!

Believe it or not Kristian was the one that suggested we go see it. I had an interest in seeing the movie already (I grew up dancing and therefore love all movies that are dance related) but I figured it would be too "girly" for the husband and didn't even suggest it. I was planning to just wait until it came out on Netflix. Well last week after seeing one of the commercials he turned to me and said he really wanted to see it. Color me surprised.  I assumed he wanted to go because he had heard of **SPOILER ALERT** the sex scene between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. Surprisingly that wasn't the reason though his face did perk up quite a bit during that scene.

We went to the first showing yesterday morning at 11am. This is something we've started doing when we do decide to make the trek to the theater. Tickets in the morning are only $6/piece as opposed to $11/piece. So we saved $10 which we put towards some snacks. It's also much less crowded and you get out and still have your whole day ahead of you.

As for the movie itself. I liked it well enough though not as much as my all time favorite ballet movie!  Definitely a bit of a mind f*ck and pretty intense in some spots. I thought Natalie did great as a prima ballerina and considering she was had to learn in a few months what ballerinas train their whole lives for I give her tremendous credit. I can see how a combination of dancing 24/7, barely eating and the extreme amount of pressure and expectations put on these girls could lead to a bit of a mental breakdown.

Kristian actually loved the movie. He was still talking about it last night. He liked that it was something totally different from what he's seen before and the way the movie was shot and the special effects. Maybe "girly" movies aren't so bad after all!

I also now have a bit of a girl crush on Mila Kunis. She's stunning.

Have you seen Black Swan? What did you think?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Budgeting Advice

One of the first things we agreed on when we got married was that I would handle our household budget and paying all the bills. This wasn't a job that I really wanted but after seeing the way Kristian managed or rather didn't manage his bills I felt more comfortable taking over this responsibility. After having this conversation I knew it would be in our best interests to have me handle the finances:

-After noticing that he NEVER opens his bills and leaves them sitting on the counter unopened for weeks:

Me- If you never open your mail how do you know when your bills are due or what you owe?
Him- I just wait for them to call me when it's due and pay over the phone.
Me- *look of horror*

So yeah. I'm in charge and that makes him thrilled beyond belief. But here's the thing trying to keep track of all of our bills and manage a household budget is HARD. When I was single it was pretty simple. I knew when all my bills were do (more of less) and knew which bills needed to be paid with which paycheck and always paid on time. Hence my stellar credit thankyouverymuch!

But now I not only have the bills I brought into this marriage but also the bills he brought into this marriage and our current joint bills. Cue the brain explosion. The one good thing is that with him now getting a steady paycheck it will make it MUCH easier to figure out our budget. The only problem is I'm still trying to figure out the best way to do this.

The past 7 1/2 months I've been kind of flying by the seat of my pants and didn't have much of a system for organizing our bills and budgeting but this MUST change or I will be in constant anxiety. I want a system, an easy to follow system.

So my question for the peanut gallery is do you have any tips or advice for managing your household budget? Are there any templates in particular you use? Do you go over it every week? Every month? I need as much help as I can get. The sooner we can get on track and organized with our bills the better.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


It's that time of year again, the time to resolve to change yourself for the better. I, like most people, suck when it comes to resolutions. I start out with the best intentions only to have whatever it is I'm trying to change fall by the wayside within a month or less.

So this year instead of setting super specific resolutions like running 3 miles a day (let's be real, this would never happen) or reading 3 books a month (I watch too much t.v. for that) or having sex 3 times a day (sorry Kristian) and then beating myself up when I don't follow them completely I'm trying to keep my resolutions a bit more broad in the hopes that this way they might actually be a bit more attainable.

I'm hoping by the time we ring in 2012 I'll have improved these areas of my life in some way, small or large:

-Health (mental and physical)- It's been hard for me to motivate myself to work out, probably because I don't really "need" to lose weight. I'm what I like to call "skinny-fat" meaning that most people would classify me as skinny or petite but I'm not toned AT ALL or have any endurance or strength. So I would like to try to be more active. This could mean a lot of things, doing yoga, running, lifting weights, dancing, humping (that counts!!), just something active to help improve my overall health and appearance.  Included with this is eating better, trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet and drink more water and less soda.  As for the mental aspect I need to learn not to stress out so much, especially over the shit I can't control.

-Budgeting- Now that I'm married and trying to budget for two people it's been a bit of a challenge the last few months. It definitely helps now that Kristian is back to having a salaried job and we have a set amount coming in each month but with trying to save to buy a house among other things this is an area that needs a lot of work from both of us.

-Relationships- I feel like I've been living in my little marriage bubble since May (even before that with wedding planning) and I haven't been as good about keeping up with my friends. I love my friends and I love the time I spend with them but there are so many times when I've preferred to just hang out with my husband (I'm a newlywed, shoot me) but I don't want to turn into one of those girls who doesn't do anything or go anyplace without her significant other, I can't stand those people. I would never want to be so caught up in my marriage that I let my friendships fall to the wayside.

-Work- I must admit that my job is NOT my dream job. Shocking I know. BUT while it may not be my dream job and there are many days when I fantasize about winning the lottery and saying peace out to my boss I also know that I have it pretty good and there are a lot of aspects about my job that I do really like. So my goal is try to focus more on the positives about my job rather than the negatives. To not procrastinate so much when it comes to doing the tasks I despise (which on some days is any task other than checking Facebook). And to just do better.

So those are the main things, of course I have a bunch of smaller goals I would like to try to accomplish but if I don't I won't throw myself off a bridge. I need to remember there will be days when I won't do anything active, when I'll blow our budget on something silly that we don't need, when I won't call a friend back right away so I can snuggle with my husband, or when I'll put off something at work just one more day, and that's okay. Resolutions shouldn't make you feel like you're in a prison but be an opportunity for overall change.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello 2011, Nice to Meet You

Kristian and I had a very lovely New Years Eve, just the two of us which we both felt was the perfect way to celebrate our first New Years as a married couple. We had a few options but neither of us felt like traveling, dealing with crowded bars or spending a lot of money.

We decided to stay in, make a bunch of appetizers, have a picnic on the floor, drinks some drinks, play some games, have our own private dance party in the kitchen and living room courtesy of the 90's Hip Hop station on Pandora and be in bed by 12:15am. Party animals we may not be but we had a fantastic time. Apparently I'm a load of fun and a dancing maniac after 4 glasses of wine!

Now onto the pictures!

Toasting with our Waterford Crystal Champagne flutes from the wedding. Wine for me and Beer for him. Who says you can't drink beer out of a champagne glass. We are classy all the way!

Anyone that knows me knows that I prefer apps and desert to a main course so this was perfect for me.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries are my favorite, I could have eaten the whole tray (and basically did).

Our last photo of 2010. I told K that he had Elvis hair all night. He's all fluffy sans product.

New Years smooches.

The rest of the weekend was also very nice. Kristian's BFF from Texas was in town so he came over Saturday to hang out and watch football. On Sunday we finally had Kristian's extended family Christmas gathering. I got knocked out of the first round of the Acey Duecy tournament against his uncle, however I gave him a run for his money and ultimately did better against him then Kristian did against his other uncle who he also lost to in the first round.

Now it's back to reality. I think it's time to start planning a vacation. I need something fun and relaxing to look forward too in the next few months.