Closing Day – We Just Bought a House!

It’s official! After a little over 90 minutes of sitting at a table with two lawyers and signing papers… Liz and I are new homeowners! Officially, legally, for-real homeowners.

On sitting down to the table, I was happy to see a small dish of mints. But then right next to it, I was a little wary seeing a box of tissues. My first thought was: What happens at these closings that requires Kleenex?

I guess you’d have happy people tearing up. Or perhaps sad people, realizing they were about to lose a home? Today was my first time at a title insurance company, so I’m not sure what all goes on in these offices. I’ll lean towards glass half full, and say that they’re for tears of happiness.

The whole process went by faster than we expected. There was a lot of signing of documents, but it honestly kind of flew by. Our attorney walked us through all the details, and it was just sign, sign, sign.

Towards the end of the process, we were just waiting around for our documents to be verified… and so we made small talk with the other folks in the room – the seller’s lawyer, Seth, and our lender Emma.

And, when all was said and done, we were handed a not-insignificant stack of papers, and one folded piece of paper with the key taped to it. The key to our new house!

Start to finish, we were there for about an hour and a half. But it felt much faster than that.

Outside, we said our goodbyes to both Seth and Emma (Liz) ended up giving them each an apple pie of their own).

We walked with Seth to his car, as he had a gift waiting for us: a new saw and drill set, complete with drill bits! This was such a nice gesture, and totally representative of the kind of agent/guy that Seth is – kind, patient, and generous.

This was very unexpected, and just a lovely thing to receive right after closing. Tools! Lord knows, we’re going be using them very soon.

We were debating actually going down to Hyde Park after the closing, but since we were done around 4PM… we decided to brave the traffic. It felt like bad luck to not walk into our house the first day we owned it, so we decided to push through rush-hour.

This is me, opening up our front door for the first time (I can’t wait to show you a photo of the full front door – the thing is massive!).

Me with the key! Behind me is the top of a piano that the sellers left behind. It’s in need of some serious tuning, but hey… we have a piano now!

Me and Liz, standing in our living room.

Found a penny in the upstairs main bedroom (which we’re planning on converting into our shared studio/workspace). Free money! This place is already paying for itself.

As we walked through the house, it was an odd feeling. We’d been here before, but always in the presence of other people – the seller’s agent, Seth, Bob. Tonight was our first time in the house by ourselves. No one else – just us.

And if I’m being completely honest here? I was a little creeped out. It seems so strange to say, but walking around in that empty house made me feel like someone was going to jump out at us, around every corner. It feels terrible to say this, after having gone through so much (and paying so much) to say “yeah, that house I bought creeped me out.” But there you go – that was the feeling.

A part of it, I think, has to do with the immense silence of the place. Both Liz and I have always lived in apartments, and there’s always someone above you, or below you, or next to you making some kind of noise. But in this house, it was just us – and no real noise beyond our footsteps. A good thing overall, but a new thing to us. Years of city/apartment living has made us used to ambient noise, it seems.

The other big part is… this house is not yet ours. I mean, it is. It’s legally ours, but we’ve yet to really live here, to stay here. There’s going to be a period of a lot of construction and repairs, but we’ve yet to really move in, to spend a majority of our days here.

It’s ours, but it’s also not ours. At least, not yet. Hence the weird feeling that we’re somehow trespassing on someone else’s property. Which in a way, we are. The home is still the prior occupants’ version, which we’ve inherited. And while we hope to keep true to the original house as much as we can, we’ll also be making certain changes and adjustments to make the place more our own.

The house is an old house, having been around since 1885. It sheltered and housed the family prior to us (a family whose sons grew up, and eventually moved away from Chicago). And now, it’s found its way into our hands, and will shelter us for a good many years to come. And at some far future point, this house will continue on to another family, where they will begin anew.

But for now it’s ours. And with this being our first place, we’ll begin the long process of repair and addition, fixing and renovation – all the joys and hardships that come with owning property. We bought our first house today, and in the time to come… we’ll slowly learn what it means to make this place our home.

Wish us luck.

Meeting Seth
We’re Buying a House – We’re Moving to Hyde Park
Luckiest Penny Ever

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Congratulations, Felix & Liz! So do you now own an estate? Excellent. Having no neighbors making noise around you sounds heavenly to me. I’m sure in no time you & Liz & the rabbits will make the place your own. Enjoy!

    Juliet Reply

    • Thanks, Juliet – although “estate” seems so formal. It might have been due to the fact that the prior occupant was deceased. Or possibly because the sellers themselves were not present, but their lawyer had power of attorney?

      Estate sounds fancier than house, but I kind of like it. Maybe we’ll force everyone to refer to our house using our own British-sounding nickname . So instead of visiting Felix and Liz’s house, you’d be visiting “HartfordDerbyShireTon.” I like the ring of that. And I can feel the property values rising, already!

      avoision Reply

  2. congratulations! I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I’ve been reading both you and Liz for awhile. we moved from ls in March, but even we were there it was a bit like a celebrity citing when I saw one of you (hope that doesn’t sound too creepy!). congratulations again, it’s a beautiful house and I can’t wait to read about what you’ve done with it.

    Andrea Reply

    • Thanks, Andrea – very kind of you. And not creepy at all – kind of flattering, really. You should have stopped us to say hello! Although we probably would have asked you, right there on the spot, to tell us whose blog you loved more…

      hint: it’s mine.

      Seriously though, thanks for dropping a line and for the kind words!

      avoision Reply

  3. Oh mannnnnnn! Incredibly exciting times. Congratulations, you guys, and I look forward to the housewarming party! Oh, and good luck with all that asbestos and whathaveyou. The fun begins… NOW!

    Chris Reply

    • Thanks, Chris! The asbestos on the exterior of the house will have to wait, as there’s a lot of interior work that needs attending to first. It’ll be some period of messiness and construction, before we get to officially move in… but when that day comes, it’s gonna be sweet.

      avoision Reply

  4. Congratulations Felix & Liz. It’s nice to have a house. I remember our closing day very well, though, oddly, I have no recollection of moving in. But we’re here, so we must have. Over the past 8 years, I have transformed myself from a man who did not know how to hold a hammer into a man who builds walls, cabinets, etc. It’s been rewarding.

    Alex Reply

    • Alex, this is encouraging to hear. I’m good with computers, but bad with my hands… but luckily, my father-in-law is highly skilled. And more important than that… highly patient. So I hope to learn in the same way you have.

      Now… what’s a hammer?

      avoision Reply

  5. Lovely LOVELY news!!! I will be in your cheering gallery as you get to know all the old lady’s quirks and foibles. Have fun!!!

    Bonnie Brannon Reply

    • Thanks Bonnie. I think we’ll be learning a lot about the house, and a lot about ourselves as well, during this process. Thanks for the encouragement.

      avoision Reply

  6. Wow, congratulations!

    Your agent sounds awesome; my agent didn’t do diddly squat for me, just sat back and made his money.

    Mellzah Reply

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