Buy a house they said. It will be fun they said.
I always pictured buying a house would be that cliche moment where you go into an office, sign once on the line, and then they hand you the keys. The next day, the moving truck pulls in and they unload every perfectly marked box and stack them nicely in each room. Later that day, your neighbors all come over bearing baked goods and treats to welcome you to the neighborhood and you find out that all of your kids are the same age-future BFFs? Perfect! Within a few days, all of the boxes are unpacked and your house is in order. Things are hung up on the walls and everything is in its place waiting to be shown off at a cute housewarming party-complete with that new Volcano candle from Anthro of course!
As most of you who own a house know, it’s really not that simple and glamorous. I feel like its similar to a wedding-at least 1 thing goes wrong/not as planned.
Last year we bought our first house and got to build it brand new! It was so fun to pick our lot and take a picture with the dirt where our very first house would be built. Here we are in front of our lot with 5 month old little Londyn! Not the perfectly posed picture I had envisioned but real life (cell phone propped up on something on top of the car and a self timer app).
Although it’s just a track house, it was still fun to go to the design center and pick out all the options. From paint color, to tile, to outlet locations, it’s a very overwhelming day. You have to pick everything at once and it’s overwhelming to see how much extra each little thing you want can cost. We decided to go with a lot of the standard things (like our tile floor) and to save our upgrades for big structural things that we would not be able to change ourselves later on (like higher countertops in the bathroom for my husband, extra 4 feet in the garage, and a glorious stainless steel farmhouse sink to name a few).
Fast forward to the day we show up to get our keys from the builder. This was also the same day we lined up the moving truck and made all of the moving arrangements.
The guy doing our walkthrough showed us that they got a bad batch of tile and didn’t have enough to finish the floor so they just patched a bunch of random tiles throughout the house wherever there was one that they had to pull out. They told us they were still looking for the correct batch of tile so they could replace the mismatched ones and make it all the same. This didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time (although not finding out about the mistake until the day we were getting our keys was kind of annoying) and they made us feel like it would be so easy to find the right tile, come back, and put it in. WRONG. This is where homeownership nightmare #1 starts. Below is a picture of what the random colored tile patch job looked like in various places around our house. Not the mention the different size grout lines.
A few days later we were told that they were not able to locate the same tile and that all of the tile in our brand new house would have to be torn up and redone. We had just moved in and there were boxes and furniture everywhere! If you’re familiar with Arizona, the houses here are usually 90% tile. The only carpet in our house was in the family room and the bedrooms. We knew this was going to be a pain. We planned to eventually upgrade and put wood tile in our house later on when we could afford it but now all the tile was being torn up by them so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get the floor we wanted for nothing! After a few trips back to the design center I quickly learned that the tile we wanted was about 10 upgrade levels up from what we started with (the standard) and that we would have to pay the difference out of pocket. We had just moved into our house and needed to buy furniture so that was not in the budget. We decided to ask them if we found a tile we liked from our own source, if they would pay for it and install it. They agreed and gave us the allotted dollar amount that they would pay. We shopped around online and at Home Depot and Lowes and ended up finding exactly what we wanted at Lowes. And the best part was that it wouldn’t cost us a penny!
4 months from when we had moved in, a huge headache of being out of our house for 2 weeks with a 1 year old, and lots of phone calls and emails later, we finally got the floor we had always dreamed of!
As big of a pain as it was, it ended up truly being a blessing in disguise. Not only because it will help our resale value later on, but because its A LOT easier to keep clean than the original white tile. I don’t know what I was thinking picking white tile with a baby. Yikes! Everyone likes a good before and after picture so here it is side by side.
Adventures in homeownership are just beginning…