I am a 23-year-old married gal, a young professional living in a college town, a 2010 college graduate, a mom to two lively Corgis and a handful of fish, and I… just bought a house.

Yikes.  And this is how it started.
My best friend and I moved into our first apartment together as husband and wife in July 2010.  I had just graduated from college.  Evan was prepping for his second and final year of his master’s program.  Together, our income consisted of Evan’s Graduate Teaching Fellowship stipend and my minimum wage paychecks from a bookstore.  We survived on love and Ramen noodles. 
© Jonathan Taylor Photography
After applying to 86 jobs in the area and receiving no response from hiring managers, I began to regret my decision to major in English.  Then, one October day, my 87th job application resulted in my first interview. That interview resulted in my first professional job.  
Yay!  My college degree actually paid off!
January came.  Our lovely one-bedroom apartment busted at its seams. Out of curiosity, I began trolling Realtor.com. I found my dream house:  A modest two-story Cape Cod on five acres of a mountain top.  I showed Evan, who admitted to liking the two-car garage and acreage.  We quickly found ourselves perusing through houses until midnight, making a list of those we liked, “for one day.” 
That one day was a lot closer than we realized.
Evan graduated with his Master’s Degree in May, and started the job hunt.  He, too, experienced the same thing that I had just a year before, where all job applications seemed to disappear in some inexplicable void.  Fortunately, in June, my company featured a new position available.  The job description seemed perfect for Evan.  He applied, interviewed, and became my new carpool buddy.
This kid got hired?  Please.
With two steady incomes, and a growing savings account, we began actively looking for houses.  (When did we grow up?  SERIOUSLY?) Those that were within our budget were mostly three-bedroom, two-bathroom split-foyer houses on less than a quarter of an acre of land.  Some were pretty, some were iffy, and some were downright frightening.  With every tour, we made a pro / con list of the house, until we narrowed down exactly the kind of home we wanted:  
1.) a three-bedroom, two bathroom (at minimum) home;
2.) a garage;
3.) no Homeowner’s Association;
4.) good elementary school division;
5.) a decent kitchen;
6.) nice bathrooms;
7.) a dining room large enough for our gargantuan dining room table; 
8.) preferably on a large, wooded lot with privacy; and
9) no wacky or weird or serial killer neighbors.  No.  Seriously.
Throughout the whole process, we looked toward our friends and family for advice.  There were those who were excited for us, those who advised to rent for two or three more years and then buy, those who asked us if we were sure we wanted to live in the area, and those who suggested that we rent a larger apartment or house before buying one of our own.  We explored all of those options, and quickly found that:
1.) We felt as though we were throwing away money by renting rather than truly investing it;
2.) at the same price of renting a larger apartment or home, we could be paying mortgage;
3.) we saw potential with our jobs and could see ourselves growing within the company; and
4.) we loved living in our college town, and wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else. 
The more houses we toured, however, the more we feared that we were going to “settle” for a house.  We could see ourselves being happy there for five-10 years, and then wanting to move to a bigger, more substantial house. Is it truly worth buying a house you don’t love?  Of course not.
Then, there it was.  A house that was on the market for six months had gradually reduced its price lower, and lower, and finally, within our budget.  It was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom Cape Cod with a two-car garage, beautiful interior, and on 1.6 acres of land.  Oh, and it was on a MOUNTAIN.  We toured it, and fell in love.  We toured it again two weeks later, and made an offer.
Love, love, LOVE.
And now here we are, two weeks before closing.  We’ve started to pack up our apartment for the big move.  It’s scary.  It’s emotional.  It’s exciting.  Tears might be shed when we turn our apartment’s keys in to the leasing office, but at the same time, this is our future.  This is our home, the place where we’ll be for five, 10, 15, 20, maybe even 30 years down the road.  Who knows what the future will bring.

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