Sunday, March 05, 2006

Becoming homeowners

I have delayed blogging about this because I wasn't certain we'd really do this, but in a few weeks we're going to own our apartment, which will not be an apartment but a condo.

Here's what happened:

About two weeks after we moved in, right after we got back from Chapel Hill, we got a letter from our landlords that they would be turning our apartments into condominiums and current residents would have first crack at buying them. (Technically, as I found out, they were already condos, but the management had been running them as apartments. The same thing, in effect.) Now, obviously if we'd wanted to buy a condo when we moved to Charlottesville, we would have bought a condo. We didn't know (and still don't know) how long we'd be staying, which is why we didn't. But there were several factors that made the opportunity appealing: the management offered to pay closing costs; our kitchen had just been remodeled, so even though our condo was being offered at the same price as all the others, it was more valuable; the price, as we discovered through research and talking to realtors, was competitive with other condos on the market in Charlottesville. On the other hand, the housing market is cooling off, and there are a lot of condo conversions in town lately, so there might be a glut on the market when we try to sell it. And somehow the deal seemed too good to be true. Justin was extremeley skeptical, and this has tested our abilities to make decisions together, compromise, and survive arguments (it always concerned Justin that we didn't argue very much when we were dating, although I was pretty happy with that).

After weighing the pros and cons and trying to get enough knowledgable advice to ensure that my wishful thinking didn't play too large a role in our decision, we decided to do it. I figured the risk of losing money, even if we moved next summer, was small enough that I was willing to take it, especially since we're making a substantial down payment and won't be taking out an interest-only loan. This also gives us the opportunity to buy our first home without all the bother of moving, since we did that already, and it's a darn good thing that's one less thing to make it complicated because it's complicated enough as it is. But gratifying. It's not our dream house, of course, but it's ours.

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