closing day, first time home buyer, mortgage, home ownership stories

We Made It: Closing Day!

At long last, It is CLOSING DAY!! And Launch Day!

To roll out this website and become a homeowner on the same day is super exciting!

(This blog was scheduled for Friday publishing but we were unable to close due to an error on the lender’s end…just another part of the complicated closing process. But if you are reading this, we’re OFFICIALLY homeowners!)

first time homebuyer, philadelphia, urban living, home ownership

I think we may have undergone one of the most convoluted and time-consuming buying processes in recent years, but by sticking to our guns we were able to emerge with the house we loved (out of the 25 or so we saw, and another 20 or so we could disqualify based on their curb appeal alone, we liked TWO houses total….this being the first).

Compared to the bevy of beauties that are real estate prospects in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia, our top choice wasn’t among the popular girls, but she had character and hello…3 BATHROOMS!! It depends on what is important to you, and more than 1 bathroom was high on our list.

Things I learned during this journey

  • My husband has a deep seeded hatred for single bathroom homes
  • And one-way streets
  • He also has a downright vendetta against chain link fences
  • And non-corner properties

Our WANTS List

  • 2+ Bathrooms
  • Finished Basement
  • Updated Kitchen
  • Fenced in Yard for the pups (Updated-as we lost our precious Lily a few weeks ago *sob*)
  • Central Air
  • Parking
  • Fireplace
  • Deck
  • Close to where we live now/In the city (suburban life does not appeal to us)
  • Near trains/buses because hubby commutes downtown for work.

Our Gots List

  • 2+ Bathrooms (2 Full and a 1st-floor powder room SCORE!)
  • Finished Basement (finished but outdated; we are rehabbing the basement)
  • Updated Kitchen (it was new to someone but not what I had in mind; a full Kitchen remodel will be done)
  • (Chain-linked) Fenced in Yard for the pup
  • Central Air- (having this installed)
  • Parking (If you are following, you may have guessed that we bought a corner property so ample parking on side, driveway and in front of the house for guests)
  • Fireplace  (A small price to pay)
  • Deck (I’d call it more of a patio, but as long as Hubs has a place to BBQ we are happy!)
  • Close to where we live now ( 3 blocks)
  • Near trains/buses because hubby commutes downtown for work. (30-second walk to bus stop, which is about 15 seconds longer than his current walk)

So despite having everything we wanted and more, our house of choice was priced $50K below market value. I would likely blame why no one capitalized on that deal on the fact that the seller was nearly impossible to get in touch with. The house appeared on our list for our first set of showings but was removed when we could not reach the seller to schedule a walk-thru (yup, she still lived there). After hating a dozen houses or so we saw this house had reappeared on our upcoming list of showings. After a long Saturday of not feeling warm and fuzzy about anything, we visited our house last before wrapping up.

We saw potential…

fixer upper, first time home buying, urban living









A fixer-upper indeed, but $50,000 below market was just being a bit unfair to her. 

Many of the houses we saw in Mt. Airy were outside of the price we were looking to pay, we almost caved a few times but decided early on to not even bother seeing house outside of our agreed upon budget. Of those highly priced homes, many of them had upgrades that seemed a bit shotty. Others had interesting designs that totally captured the previous owner’s quirky side, but made no sense to me. So we decided to buy a fixer-upper and make her our own instead of working with someone else’s dream layout. Lucky for us, this house only had a few issues (oil heater, chimney issues you can see in the pic, but overall just didn’t speak to our aesthetic needs), most of which could be answered via the renovations we wanted to do anyway.

Planned Renovations

  • New HVAC system
  • Full Kitchen remodel
  • Full Master bath remodel
  • Re-finish Basement
  • Full Basement Bath remodel
  • Powder Room Remodel (or removal to open up the dining area and/or extend kitchen-still deciding!)
  • New Electrical Panel
  • Other minor miscellaneous repairs

Now the fun of renovating using the 203k Loan can begin! I will talk more about that loan product in another post. For now, you can click here for some basic info on how this loan works. Although we officially own the house we probably won’t be moving in until the end of June or early July. Should our renovations run longer than June (please no) we will be staying at my Hubby’s duplex as we wait (as not to pay 2 mortgages and RENT on my place! ) on our official move in date!

It’s so rewarding to have achieved the goal of home ownership I started planning for just under a year ago. I am here to tell you that you can achieve your financial goals. You may not want a house but I am sure there are some additional freedoms getting out of debt can offer you. My credit track record is not without its faults. I started from the bottom and now I’m here and you can be too! Subscribe to get all this goodness in your inbox!

Learn more about my history with credit here.

Follow this section of the blog to find advice to help you navigate through the very confusing and frustrating home buying process. I will share tips to help move you through every phase of your transaction feeling confident and well informed.

Not quite ready to buy yet? Or already a homeowner and need to know what to do next? Well, I have that covered too! Check out our Savings and Budgeting or Life As a Homeowner section. 

Happy Saving!


  • Patrice May 1, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    I’m WEAK at the things you learned about your husband cuz I’m sitting here like… mmm I don’t even blame him. I relate lol. My child hood home is definitely a corner property too. Reading this just took me back to all the times I spent sitting through HGTV with my momma. I’ve actually learned A LOT from sitting through those shows even tho I thought it boring at first. Congratulations on your new home!!

    • admin May 1, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you girl! He was disqualifying homes like it was his job, I am glad we both liked this one!

  • Nicole May 1, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Congratulations! We weren’t necessarily looking for a corner house, but I’m glad we got one. It’s certainly come in handy when having people over. Plus, the house on the non-corner side is a rental property with a constant stream of crazy renters in and out. I’m glad we have peace and quiet on one side, at least.

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      I grew up in a corner house. It’s great until it’s time to shovel lol. But I hope we don’t have problematic renters on our street.

  • Rachel May 2, 2018 at 1:33 am

    Congrats! Buying a home is so exciting + rewarding! Best of luck moving in and getting everything set up!

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      I’m dreading packing but excited to move!

  • Capriconla May 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Wow, Exciting !!! Congrats and Enjoy your home. Have fun and spread your magic. Make it warm and cozy for your family.

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 4:13 pm

      Thank you! To say we’re excited is an understatement. Thank you for the kind words!

  • Ameerah May 2, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Congratulations! Less than a year is totally inspiring because I have the same mindset. Prayerfully I will be just as fortunate!

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Thank you Ameerah!! You will, speak it into existence girl!! Thank you so much for the comment.

  • Aïchatou Bella May 2, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Wow! Congrats on both chapters, what a wonderful year you’re having so far.

    Aïchatou Bella

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you so much, girlfriend! I spent a lot of time working but I rarely reflect. I am happy to take this time to recognize progress! Thank you for your comment!

  • Lauren May 2, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    That is a HUGE accomplishment. Congratulations!!

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks Lauren!!

  • Misha May 2, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Yaaaaaa!!!! Congrats on both financial and home ownership goals! Getting that credit right is full committment, but can be done! I’m geeked at the upcoming renovations planned 😊

    • admin May 2, 2018 at 10:18 pm

      Thank you Misha! Taking time to fix my credit mde sure I got the best rates possible so I could not afford to skip that step. Thank you for commenting!

  • Vicki Belanger May 3, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Congrats on both!! Such an exciting time, I am sure 🙂

    • admin May 3, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you Vicki!! We are elated!!

  • Jocelyn May 3, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Congrats, that’s so amazing! It’ll be so exciting to start moving into your new home!

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