So, I have a little bit of some big news to share and I am just going to come right out and say it: J and I just bought a house and we got the keys yesterday.

This is our own little Christmas miracle and to say that we are excited is the understatement of this century.

It’s no secret that I’ve wanted to move from our one bedroom apartment (with drafty windows and little space) for quite some time. There were many reasons in the past couple of years why we couldn’t. When we expected my family for a visit last summer, I was set on moving to a bigger place before they arrived. I’ve looked for rental houses and apartments for the better part of this year and couldn’t find anything we liked (and knew we could afford what with my job contract still up in the air). We ended up staying put and making their visit work in our tiny apartment. But I was back at looking for a new place again right after they left.
But rents have been going up (or so it seems) and upgrading to a 2-bedroom rental in our preferred area with the desired amenities (like central heat and air, sealed double-pane windows, a washer/dryer, etc.) looked increasingly grim.

We honestly didn’t really think about buying until a couple of months ago when we realized hat a mortgage is basically more affordable than rent for comparable places right now.

In October, I went to a couple of open houses just to get a feel for what’s out there and to compare with the rental market. The next day, I took J back to look at one of these houses – again, just to show him what’s out there! – and two days later we made an offer on said house.

A day after that, we were in Escrow. Yeah. That was kind of completely unexpected. And things in this country just move so ridiculously fast. No way in hell did I think we would be moving out of our apartment before this year comes to close – but alas, here we are packing boxes instead of wrapping presents (well, I am doing a little bit of that, too).

The European in me was is still screaming “nooo” (you must know that in Germany people only buy houses if they intend to stay in them forever and ever), but the American mindset is different and I know that many people buy a “starter home” for a few years before moving on again (to something more permanent and/or bigger). Well, that seems just like the situation that we are in and even though part of me was still not sure if we ‘should be doing’ this, I kept telling myself: we’re grown ups and grown ups do indeed do such things.

Adulting, it’s a thing over here.

We’ll be moving next week, only 10 minutes away from where we currently live. We wanted to stay close to our current location and I didn’t want to add unnecessary mileage to my commute. I can still totally avoid the freeway (if I want) and still be at work within 15 minutes. I call that a win.

The house is just the right size and in a great neighborhood and it has almost everything we were looking for; a second bedcraftroom, hardwood floors, central heat and air, new windows, a new kitchen, washer/dryer hookups, and a backyard. Plus, on top of that, is has a detached former-garage-turned-guesthouse. I really haven’t quite processed that we’re going to live there so very soon.

Honestly, this was like finding a needle in a haystack and it’s pretty much all I wanted for Christmas (besides flying home which wasn’t going to happen), so I am beyond grateful.

In case you’re worried about your holiday cards – don’t be, they’ll make it (and some already arrived – yay and thank you!). We’ll have our old apartment until the end of the month and, of course, there will be a change of address forwarding service set up with the postal service. (Fingers crossed that they do their job right.)

It’s a little bit ironic that we found and will be moving into our house just after having not one, but two occasions of hosting visitors this year (a rarity), but hey, that just means we’ll be even that much better set up for whoever decides to visit us next! 

  1. OMG – I am so beyond excited for you! That is awesome – CONGRATULATIONS HOMEOWNER!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Tanja! I can’t quite believe it myself yet.

  2. Ahh!! Congratulations!!! I’m so excited for you guys!!!

  3. How exciting! Congratulations- welcome to home ownership!

  4. Wow, congratulations! That is so awesome that you found something that you liked and that your offer was accepted. It is crazy how fast things can move in the real estate market. It sounds like you guys made the right decision, though, as you are paying less for a mortgage than you would for rent and there are great tax benefits to owning a home so from a net perspective, you’ll be better off. Plus this is still a great time to buy as hopefully house prices will continue to increase. And even if they don’t increase much I think you’ll still be better off paying a mortgage v. renting.

    Good luck with the packing and moving process!!!

    1. This is exactly why we decided to buy… because it seemed like a smart financial decision, interest rates were still low and paying less for a mortgage than for rent just seemed to make sense. Still a little nerve-racking… haha.

  5. How amazing! Congrats! As you know, we bought our house a year ago and here, the culture regarding house buying is similar to the US – it’s just something you do (often, several times) and everything moves very quickly – we took 6 weeks from making an offer on our house to moving in. Many people buy their first home straight after uni (not even necessarily with a partner, just on their own) and our mortgage is a lot more affordable than what we would have paid for a comparable rental so it just made sense.
    Anyway, it sounds like you got a fantastic house there that ticks all the boxes, congrats again, I hope living there will be wonderful. :) And the guesthouse sounds amazing! Our garage was converted to a family room by the previous owners, which gives us an extra room and it is so fab as it gives us a lot more flexibility in the long run.

    1. Thanks Viviane. I am sure you had to wrap your head around buying a house as much as I did when you were looking for property in the UK…. it’s just a different mindset than in Germany, but I definitely see the benefits ;)

  6. Oh San, that is so exciting! I am so happy for you two! Homeownership is great: you won’t have to ask for permission for anything–except structural changes of course. I’m excited to see what you will do with the place. Happy moving! You deserve it!

    1. Thanks so much, Stefanie! I appreciate your kind words! We’re so excited!

  7. Ahh!! Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for y’all!!!

    1. Thanks Kendra :) Looks like it happened (for both of us!) sooner than we thought… ;)

  8. congratulations!!! that’s huge news! and being in escrow so quickly is awesome and sometimes unheard of. for some people, it takes FOREVER. :p can’t wait to see it!

    1. I had no idea things would move THAT quickly ;)

  9. Very exciting news! Congrats San and J!
    Can’t wait for more pictures from the inside and the backyard!

    1. Thank you so much :)

  10. This is so exciting! Congrats! I’m sure the stress of such a quick & unexpected move is, well, stressful, but once you’re settled, I’m sure it’ll be great. What a Christmas gift to yourselves!

    1. Thanks Kate. I appreciate your sweet words. It is stressful, but very exciting too :) and since we’re not traveling for Christmas, this seems like a nice distraction ;)

  11. YAY!!!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!! This makes me SO SO happy!! Woo! And Merry Christmas! (P.S. Email me your new address.)

    1. Thank you, Marie! We’re excited.

  12. Wow, San, so exciting! Congratulations! I bet this will make for an unforgettable Christmas!

    1. Yes, that it will…. thank you ;)

  13. Congrats! <3
    So exciting! I can't wait to see more pics of your new home.
    Good luck with the move!

    1. Thank you, Anja. I am sure I’ll post more pictures once we’re settled ;)

  14. Congratulations! This is so exciting. It took me a few years to get used to the idea of buying vs. renting. We now know we want to buy in about 12-18 months from now. The rental market here is brutal. Not only is it much more expensive to rent than it is to buy, but because demand for rentals is so high here, it is very hard to find a good rental and a good landlord/property manager. It seems landlords/property managers get away with a lot, because they know they will find a new tenant in no time. The only reason we got to rent the house we have lived in for the last 18 months, is that we were lucky to be the first ones to look at it and we applied for it right away. Rentals here are pretty much off the market again as soon as they are listed.

    1. I feel you, Heidi. I didn’t quite get used to the idea of buying over renting until we did the math and it just made sense. I hope you’ll find something affordable that you like ;)

  15. Congratulations!!!! I got your Christmas card today and my first thought when I saw the return address was, “Oops, did I use the wrong address?” Glad to hear you will still get our Christmas cards. Enjoy home ownership! Sounds like you found a gem! Hopefully you’ll share a tour when you move it. :)

    1. Thanks Joy! I got your Christmas card yesterday!

  16. OMG this is amazing! Major congrats to you and J! I had no idea you were looking to buy so I was quite surprised to find this in my reader today. LOL

    Seriously, so awesome!

    1. Thanks so much, Gina. We honestly didn’t know that we were looking to buy until just recently either… sometimes things happen fast :)

  17. Congratulations and a very merry Christmas! No more laundrette :D I hope you have a wonderful time decorating and furnishing, and keep us updated :)

    1. Thank you Jenny! Can’t wait to have my own washer and dryer LOL

  18. Whaaaaaat! This is so exciting, San! What an incredible new adventure you and J are embarking on. Congrats to home ownership!

    1. Thanks so much Stephany! We’re ecstatic! :)

  19. OMG, thats the best News ever.
    Congrats on buying a house! I am so happy for you and cant wait to get a tour. :-)

    1. Thank you Steffi! We’ll definitely give you a tour :)

  20. This is SO EXCITING. Congratulations! Good luck with the move; I hope you enjoy your new home!

    1. Thanks Vanessa. I appreciate that :)

  21. How exciting! Congrats I am soo happy for you. It looks so cozy… and I bet it’s scary.
    Have a wonderful holiday, Tobia

    1. Thanks Tobia. It is a little scary, but we’re focusing on the “being excited”-part ;)

  22. Congratulations!!! Such exciting news! It looks like an awesome little house, and sounds like it’s set up right! We also just bought our first house – it definitely has some panic inducing moments, especially as we keep encountering things we have to fix. But it’s home, and we are enjoying the extra space! I know you guys will too!!

    1. It is an awesome little house and we definitely got very lucky! I haven’t seen many comparable houses out there :)
      Congrats on buying your home, too! :) Now we can share homeowner stories ;)

  23. How exciting!! Your new house sounds SO lovely, I’m so glad you were able to find something you love. It’s funny how fast these things can happen sometimes – I felt that way when I moved into this apartment with Erik. One day we were like, maybe we’ll go look at some places, & within a month we picked a place.

    1. I know, right? Isn’t it funny how fast decisions are made sometimes? :)

  24. Oh my god soo excites for you guys! Congratulation!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Maria!

  25. Yay!! Congratulations!! So happy for you guys! I know how badly you wanted to move to a bigger place – this is so exciting! Cannot wait for photos! Wishing you all the best of luck for 2016 in your new home! Glückwunsch!

    1. Thank you Chrissy! I really appreciate that :) we really had been looking for a long time… I am glad it finally worked out!

  26. Great news! Congrats and good luck!

    Merry Christmas!! :-)

  27. Congratulations!! The rent vs. mortgage was a big reason why we decided to buy as well. We knew we weren’t going to be moving for awhile and it made the most financial sense. Plus I was really getting tired of apartment living, and even though there are some perks, I needed a change from sharing walls with so many people! Enjoy!!

  28. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am beyond excited for you. What a big deal! Look at us, both adults get this year. It’s funny, C always said the same thing about Germans not typically owning. I’m so happy for you!!!!!

  29. So, so, so exciting!!! Congrats to you and Jon! I can’t wait to come visit ;-)

    Merry Christmas!

  30. Hi San,
    sorry, dass ich nicht englisch schreibe, ich bin etwas angeschlagen und dann ist es einfacher für mich, auf deutsch zu schreiben.

    Ich freue mich für Euch, dass Ihr ein Haus gefunden habt, ein Haus, dass Euch gefällt und dass auch noch in genau der Gegend ist, in der Ihr seid und bleiben wollte.
    Ich wünsche Euch viel Glück und ganz schöne Zeiten in der neuen Heimat, auf dass Ihr Euch dort wohl fühlt und es einfach nur wunderschön ist.

    Ganz liebe Grüße an Euch beide und alles Gute

    PS: Und beim nächsten Kommentar dann wieder englisch, versprochen!

  31. How wonderful! I am just getting caught up on recent events! How exciting! You very own house! Congratulations!!!

  32. San, I’m so happy for you! Congrats! I’m sure you’ll love being a homeowner. Enjoy it tons!

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