Our Journey to Home Ownership
We moved in to our house a little over a year ago (November 21, 2016) and a year after realizing our dream of becoming homeowners, I thought it was time that I share our story.
T H E B A C K S T O R Y
Every story starts somewhere, and to truly understand the adventure that we embarked on in order to become homeowners, we have to start our story in California.
My Husband Justin and I (we were only engaged at the time) were, quite frankly, stuck in a hamster wheel. We were working jobs that severely underpaid us, and although my job offered benefits, they were extremely costly. Luckily, as Justin was still in his early twenties, he was covered under his Dad’s insurance. However, all of Alicia’s dental costs were paid out of pocket.
I was the primary “breadwinner.” We made enough to pay our bills and have a little bit of money to have some fun on the weekends. It quickly turned into a “living for the weekend” lifestyle. We were working dead end jobs for bosses that didn’t appreciate us or compensate us fairly, while working an insane amount of hours.
Our Dream of Homeownership was just that, only a dream. Something had to change.
T H E C A T A L Y S T
At the time, we were living in Orange County, which has an extremely high cost of living. We were talking about perhaps moving to the San Bernardino County area, where the cost of living was more manageable, but it was all talk. In Southern California, it’s hard to make the decision to cause a commute for yourself (both our jobs were only a few blocks away from our apartment) as the traffic is literal hell.
Then, Justin’s sister came to town for a visit. She was living in Idaho for a few years going to college on a scholarship. She met a young man, fell in love, and after graduation, decided to stay in his little town and build a life with him. During this visit, she mentioned that they were in the process of buying a house.
When we got home, Justin was on FIRE! As we had already discussed the possibility of relocating, he became obsessed with going the out-of-state route. After sitting down and going through the numbers, like a real Type A person would, I was on board. We chose Idaho, since we felt it’d be nice to know someone. I gave a 30-day notice at work the following Monday.
Watch my Goodbye California video here!
T H E H U S T L E
Once we made the decision to move, we had to work quickly. The longer we were in California, the less money we would have for the move, and for our living expenses until we got settled in Idaho. Justin quit his job first, as he made less than I did. This cut our daycare expense for Alicia, and while she was in school he took on the project of packing, cleaning, and basically taking care of everything at home while I worked.
While I was definitely underpaid at my job, I did have the opportunity to work overtime, which I took full advantage of. My immediate manager trusted my work ethic and productivity and I produced so much work in those last 30 days, that I was able to struck up a deal to continue working at my company as an independent contractor, at the same hourly wage, as a telecommuter – something that company had NEVER granted anyone else before.
A N E W L I F E
Our first day in Idaho is one I will never forget. The second we parked my car and the U-Haul I took a deep breath in, and when I let it out – I also let let go of all the stress and insecurities, and took in the finally attainable opportunity to build the life we want. That, or breathing fresh, non-polluted air had me in the skies for a bit.
I resumed my work for my previous employer 3 days later. I was excited to get back to work and felt like my work finally had a purpose, because I was no longer going to be just over broke. However, I knew this position was on a trial-run, and that I could be “let go” at any moment, so I started to look for a career that I could really set into in my new Idaho town.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this before, neither on my blog nor on my YouTube Channel, but the extent of my experience is in legal work. I’ve worked in contract violations, workers’ comp, property damage, personal injury, collections, and civil lawsuits. I knew I would have to relearn a lot of things due to the differing laws between states, but I also knew that legal work was my strong suit.
I found ONE job posting that I was interested in, applied for that ONE job, went to that ONE interview, and got the job. I immediately stopped working for my previous employer, and started my new job the next week. Justin started a completely new career and we made it our mission to pay down our debt and made sure that we worked towards meeting all the requirements so that we would be approved for a first time home buyer loan.
The first photo I ever took in Idaho. Watch our little road trip here.
R E A L I Z I N G T H E D R E A M
Let me tell you guys, I’m sure it sounds so much simpler when it’s broken down like this, but the process of actually buying our home was extremely stressful. We made the huge mistake of comparing ourselves to other people and their home-buying process, when they were nowhere near the situation that we were in. Once we realized that our situation (having massive debt, a child and the expenses that come with a child, paying rent, trying to save up for a down payment, and looking for our forever home in a seller’s market) was WAY different than that of a young couple (no kids, living with parents rent free, with only student loans and car payments, who were looking for a starter home in a buyer’s market) – we had to trust our process.
Once we learned to trust our process, and accepted that we were doing amazing in our own way, we were able to lift a huge weight off our shoulders, and focus on the task at hand. Through all the doubt, pressure, and criticism from outside parties, we pulled through. It was a long, tough road, but 100% worth the reward.
B E C O M I N G H O M E O W N E R S
Finally, after a grueling (but I still find impressive) 8 months in Idaho, we moved into our new home. (See our new home tour here!) It still needs a lot of work to make it truly ours in terms of style, but its ours – and we love it.
A year later we are finally in a place where we can take on our next big challenge, and I have extreme confidence in us that we are going to make it happen.