Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Biggest Purchase Of My Life - My First Home!

Oh yes, today is the day that I've officially become a proud home owner!!  It's pretty crazy!  I started looking around in January for a place since prices have come down so much due to the recession.  I mean we are at the same price level as 10 years ago.  But it's been a long and sometimes painful ride.  I saw many places and they were either not right, or unreasonably priced and the sellers wouldn't negotiate.  I guess it's not just about finding the right place, there's also luck involved!!

I never thought I would be able to get the place that I did.  It was listed at the high end of my price range, and there were already 2 offers in when I submitted mine.  I just put in a reasonable offer compared to the comps in the area, and asked for seller to pay closing.  My realtor advised that it was probably not a good idea to do so since there were 2 other offers in already, but I thought if I lost it then so be it.  Well, as luck would have it, the offer form format was changed that day so we submitted the new form.  The listing agent didn't realize that the new form now had the closing cost as an addendum, and thought that I didn't ask for closing.  My guess is that another offer probably came close to mine, but asked for closing.  So since the listing agent made the mistake and already told us that I got it, she had to stick to her words.  And that's how I got my closing costs 100% covered!  My realtor said that she's never seen this happen!  Especially during these hard times.

And thank God I did because that saved me so much money, and I was able to put it all towards the down payment.  I honestly did not think that I would be able to own a home at the age of 26, especially because I have some shopping addictions and bad spending habits.  But I guess I somehow was able to save up enough money and bought everything I wanted at the same time!  A lot of it came from my big fat bonus check I received at end of last year.  I guess it does pay to be in the investment management industry.  I also started curbing my shopping impulses this year in order to put away at least $2000 a month since January so that made up about $12000.  Also, I have some other investment accounts that my mom opened for me when I was 18.  I've been putting a couple hundred bucks into them monthly for 8 years now so they were slowly building up.  So, as a result, I was able to put down everything without asking help from anyone.  Hooray!  Oh but now I'm at only a few thousand bucks left, so I guess I have to build up again.  What big ticket item should I save up for next?

The place I got is a 3 bedroom condo in Sherman Oaks and has everything on my wish list.  Yes it does mean I will be leaving my beloved Brentwood neighborhood though.  It's just way too expensive here to buy.  My current landlord is actually foreclosing the condo I'm renting.  He bought it for $1.1 million in 2007!  The bank wants to foreclose for $750k.  Still a little high.  But it's sad that almost $4000 a month of rent he's getting from us can't even cover his mortgage.  I guess that just shows how high the price point is over here.  Good news is, my own mortgage will be about the same or a little cheaper than my current rent!!  Sherman Oaks is a very nice neighborhood as well.  It's more family oriented rather than for young professional type.  But it's very safe and convenient.  It's centrally located, within 5 miles to the west side, very close to Hollywood, and not too far from downtown.  It is on the other side of the hill though so it will be at least 10 degrees hotter than over here right by the ocean.  So I will have to get used to the heat!  There is a pool there though!  I see a lot of tanning in my future.  =)

So anyway, since my landlord is foreclosing, we have to get out of here by June 30, which means this weekend is the moving weekend!  I'm excited but wow it all happened so fast.  I just got my key today, and that was very anti-climatic by the way.  Just like oh yeah, here's the key.  I looked at the little silver key thinking I paid that much money just for this?  Hahaha... but I am uber excited about the tax deductions I will be getting.  Seriously my tax bracket is pretty high being unmarried and having no dependents.  I hate seeing how much goes to taxes every year!  So now I have my deduction!  Plus I may still be able to get the $10000 California tax credit for first time home buyers if they don't run out.

The whole process of getting the loan and all was actually surprisingly really smooth.  I thought it would have been chaotic being my first time.  But I got a really really awesome realtor and loan broker who worked together and did everything!  I didn't do anything myself other than signing my name where they told me to.  But sometimes I did wish that someone would tell me something though, because I am interested in how the whole process works to a certain extent.  Oh well, there's always next time!  Hahaha... but it's great that I now have dependable real estate professionals to help me with whatever I may need in the future.  So glad I was able to get a great first place with an all time low interest rate!

So I guess from now on I might be writing about my air conditioning unit vs. my clothes!  Welcome to being a home owner right?


  1. Congratulations! Really big step! Welcome to the world of home maintenance :-) Decorating and buying really nice pieces for your place will be a great shopping experience :-) I bought my first home at around your age too. Now, 10 years later, I am now moving on to my second :-) Document everything you do, even your choice of furniture etc. It'll be interesting to see how your taste changes over the years :-)

    Congrats again :-)

  2. I’ve been secretly reading your blog (by secretly I mean that I’ve never before left you a comment -was to shy I guess) but I enjoy your writings immensely!!! Love you sense of humor and your common sense.
    But today I got much exited for you, how special is to be able to buy your first home at 26. Way to go, good for you, and big congratulations!!!
    Just want to mention that I had found you, while researching lululemon running pants.
    Not only you had inspired me to buy my first lululemon purchase, but I just started to run for the first time in my life, by the way I’m much older then you. I hesitated for months with buying such a pricey running pants, because I was not sure if their products are worth the high price. Stay at home moms don’t get paychecks unfortunately, so I can’t afford to make mistake and buy expensive (and nonrefundable) product. So thank you for grat advice!
    Congratulations again on buying your new residence. May it be a blessed and lucky home!
    PS. If you acquired too many lululemon goods and want to downsize let me now, I’m similar size and I live in your neighborhood :-)))

  3. awww thanks guys! I'm so excited... I already moved a few loads over tonight already! It will be fun to write about furniture huh?? I love home decorating! But I've always found that I like all kinds of styles and it's hard to stick to things that go with each other.

    And to the second Anon poster, that's so awesome that you started to run!! Isn't Lulu gear great? If you live in the neighborhood, you should definitely go to the run club! You can get to know others and maybe find running partners, and get advice on other types of work outs as well. And with regards to my Lulu wardrobe, I definitely have way too much and keep acquiring new items so I can let many things go! Hahaha

  4. Hello there again, thanks for the advice about joining a running club (they did mention that in my Santa Monica lululemon), but I’m way too intimidated to run with the pros.
    I’m just a beginner (I started last Monday he, he, he…), but it feels so good to do something good for your body and in my case there is a bonus I got to be by myself for a change:-) So I have one full outfit from lululemon and I feel like million bucks in it. One complain, but its entirely my fault, I bought the wrong size and the pants slide down a little while I’m running, I should have gotten size 4:-(
    You are a generous person with a big heart, you should be proud of your accomplishments! Your Mom did a good job:-)
    PS. I hope I’m not offending you, but I wonder if I can give you my email or # in case if you would like to part with some lululemons and let me buy them from you, thus helping me assemble my second workout outfit:-)))
    Many blessings!

  5. Hi! Congrats on your first home! I love your Blog!! :)

  6. Congrats on your first home! I'm the same age as you (27 next month) and I bought my first place at 23 and I've never regretted it one bit! It's such a proud accomplishment to say it's yours and it's so fun painting and renovating and decorating and such. Mind you our prices are ALOT cheaper up here in B.C. While all my friends were spending their money on drinking and partying, I was saving up for a new tub and tile! Hehe

  7. @ Anon: That's great that you've done this for yourself! Keep up the good work! Don't be intimidated by others, you can always find people with your own pace if you join a run club. Sometimes it's easier to get out there when you know people are expecting you. =) And not sure if you are aware, but I've found that used Lululemon items have great re-sell value so I'm sure someone would gladly take your size 6! Which outfit did you get?? I'm sure it looks great on you! And you can always email me at

    @Holli: Thank you! So sweet of you. =)

    @Vicki: Wow you are so smart! I think I was one of those people drinking and partying when I was 23! Hahaha... but yes I imagine it will be fun to spend money on household items and decorate however I want! My first project would be the master shower. The shower head is way too low at the moment! My boyfriend can't even use it without hitting his head. And I just want a brand spanking new one altogether. After that, maybe new windows to cut down energy costs. Other than those things, there's really not much more to do (as far as I can see now)!

  8. Congratulations!! I'm 24 and can't imagine buying a house now, I'm still in school about to start my Masters program so I have at least a couple of years...I love that you managed to save but can still buy the fun stuff that you want, that is the path I am taking as well and I think it's def. the best one! ;) Enjoy your new home!

    PS. And please keep writing about clothes and not just about new kitchen sinks and backyard renos..:)


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