Making a House a Home: Buying your first home

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The back of one home we looked at. It had an unfinished basement, which Ron liked. However, in the end it lacked the character we were looking for.

In August, I was promoted at my job which required a relocation. Ron and I had been looking to purchase our first home anyway, having rented for almost four years, so this sped up the process. And while buying your first home is an exciting endeavor, it also sucks–like really sucks.

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Although it did have a great view and was fairly secluded, even though it was technically in a neighborhood.

There’s a mountain-load of paperwork, negotiations, home inspections and then more paperwork, and that’s all before the home is bought. Let’s not forget about the fact that due to some less than honest companies and that whole mortgage fraud debacle, the rules now for obtaining a mortgage basically require a kidney and your firstborn child. You have to fill out numerous papers, provide a ridiculous amount of bank statements, have your accounts pretty much frozen for a good 45 days and then answer crazy questions that make zero sense. No, my husband doesn’t own his sibling’s land. No, he’s not paid on commission. No, that birthday check from grandma is just a gift and she isn’t secretly paying for our home because we are only pretending to be able to afford it.

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When I saw this upstairs in one house we looked at, I was out of there. I’m all for “needs some TLC,” but not cracking plaster around the chimney.

It’s pretty crazy, but absolutely worth it. My advice is this: get a great realtor, find a wonderful mortgage guy who will work round the clock for you when the underwriters decide to lose their minds and use a home inspector that suffers from slight OCD. Trust me, he won’t miss a thing.

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Trying to stay calm during the home buying process. Selfie anyone?

Also, when it doesn’t work out or something crazy happens, just breath. Hang in there. It’ll get better. We walked away from our first home after having our offer accepted because we realized through the home inspection that it was basically a massive fire starter. The homeowners had Edison knob and tube wiring (yep, like that Edison) that was missing part of its insulation coating and had paper backed insulation sitting on it. Somehow, the owners didn’t think that was an issue they needed to fix, so we pulled the plug. In the end it worked out and I think we ended up exactly where we should be, but it wasn’t without seeing some other options first.

And, not everyone saw our vision for our house. That’s okay. While the house has been taken down to the studs and redone with new wiring, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, etc., it’s still a 115-year-old home and that isn’t for everyone. We could see the potential, and yes, the work, but I think that’s the fun of owning your first home. We continuously have some project in the works, ranging from small to large, but it’s fun and we’re constantly making it our home. And that’s what’s important, right?

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Things I’m obsessed with: Soap.com

soap-comIf you haven’t been to the blog before, or just somehow missed it, I’m someone who doesn’t like to overpay for things. I like a good bargain and I also try to use as few chemicals as possible. I watched “Chemerical” a few years ago, which is this documentary about how your household cleaners and hygiene products are full of chemicals that are harmful to both you and the environment. If you find yourself with an hour and 15 minutes to kill, you should definitely watch it.

20150426_153612After viewing the documentary, I made the choice to begin switching out my cleaning products and hygiene products with all natural options. That led me to Method products. They’re naturally-derived, biodegradable and non-toxic, plus they still work, which is important. I slowly began switching out my toxic cleaners for their non-toxic counterpart. When something would run out, I would replace it with a safer option. As part of that, I found Soap.com.

Soap.com is like an Amazon for household products. In addition to cleaners, they have personal care items, bath and body items, vitamins, grocery items and more. My favorite thing, is that they often run sales where you can get 30 percent off Method products (or other products depending on the sale) by using a promo code at checkout. Plus, and this is the absolute best thing about them, orders over $49 ship free with 1-2 delivery!

20150426_153814To take advantage of the deals, I typically buy all of my cleaning products at one time when the promo code sale is active. I end up spending about $60 for everything (glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dish soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, kitchen counter cleaner, etc.) and it lasts about 6 months. Granted, we have a household of just two plus our furry family member, but $120 a year for all of our cleaning products is pretty amazing. Now we do buy paper towels, toilet paper and dryer sheets throughout the year, but no actual cleaning products.

Also, I occasionally use Soap.com to hunt down natural and organic sunscreen when they have a sale on it. Have you seen the stuff that’s in sunscreen? Plus, they have obscure gluten-free snacks that aren’t readily available elsewhere. I encourage you to check it out. If you use code GRAC22288 at checkout, you can get 10 percent off your order. Also, I use Ebates (if you don’t have it sign up, you’ll love it!) and they typically have promo codes available as well, plus you get a certain percentage of cash back on your purchase.

Happy cleaning!

This post represents my own experience with Soap.com. I have not been compensated to write this post.