Today I'm excited to continue the "Advice from Not-So-Newlyweds" Series with a blog about the struggles and joys of home ownership from Lauren Windham, wedding coordinator at The Yacht Club at Marina Shores. Read on to hear her story and her advice for buying a house as a newlywed!
Earlier this year, my husband, Bradley and I celebrated our first year of marriage, moved out of our apartment and purchased our first home! The process of becoming homeowners was (and continues to be) an adventure!
The adventure began in August of 2015. We’d been living in our first apartment for a few months and the initial excitement had started to wear off. We were tired of our beige walls, loud upstairs neighbors and lugging groceries up two flights of stairs! Eager to figure out the next steps, we chatted with my parents, who suggested we meet with a realtor (their neighbor, who I used to babysit for). So we went- unprepared, without much in our savings and with no clue what we were getting into!
After our wedding, honeymoon and about a year of paperwork & budgeting, we’d finally saved up enough to feel ready to jump back into the home buying process! This began several months of choosing our lender, continuing to save for our down payment and searching for our home. The process of buying a home was long (ours lasted about three months but felt like an eternity), overwhelming, exciting and stressful. It forced us to become a better team, learn to compromise on what we wanted in our home and taught us several marital lessons along the way, including:
It taught us to trust in the process: The road to homeownership was filled with paperwork, Saturday afternoon showings, bank visits and more houses than I can remember. There were two instances where we fell in love with a home, only to be heartbroken by an unaccepted offer or the discovery of major issues (e.g. foundation, flooding). It caused us to wonder, “why wasn’t that one “the one?” and “what if we don’t get ‘that feeling’ again?” Bradley reassured me that we needed to be patient and that we’d find it in God’s timing. It taught us to trust in the process and in the timing of our journey. If we wanted to find our home, we had to keep looking, no matter how frustrating or heartbroken we felt. It reminded us that we needed to rely on God, as well as one another for encouragement despite disappointment. It also taught us that we didn’t have to go it alone- we had a team of incredible people, including our realtor, mortgage lender and our parents- to support us through the tough stuff and celebrate the successes.
We’ve learned to be more patient with each other: In our relationship, Bradley is the patient, laid back one and I’m the impatient worrier. Unfortunately for him, owning a home has meant a long “honey do” list for him and more opportunities for me to nag him (which I’m still working on). It’s forced us to be patient with one another and realize that it’s not going to all get done in one day/week/month. And that’s okay! Our home, just like our marriage, is a work in progress. We’ll slowly work towards tackling various projects together and we can’t (read: I can’t) expect perfection right away.
We’ve gained an appreciation for what we now have: As stressful and difficult as owning a home is (it’s hard, you guys!), this has been our dream since we were high school sweethearts. It’s so odd to think that the things we now have were things we’d wished for years ago! We’ve learned to be grateful for the struggles- the weeks’ spent searching for our home, the hours spent packing and cleaning our apartment, the realization of new bills we now owe. This little house, though still lacking furniture and in need of a paint job, is ours. It’s where we’re going to put down our roots, hear the clackety-clack of puppy claws and eventually, hear the pitter-patter of little feet. We’re counting our blessings despite the difficulties and couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Owning our home has shown us how important it is to rely on one another and count our blessings, while finding joy in the journey. Despite the stress of making (read: agreeing on) decisions, there’s no one I’d rather be picking out paint colors and furniture with than my husband! We’re so grateful to have taken this next step in our “happily ever after” and can’t wait for all of the memories that our little house with the green door will hold.
More from the series
10 Things I Learned in the First Year
Lauren Windham is a Virginia Beach native who loves all things wedding and social media. She’ll celebrate her first year in the wedding industry (as a day-of coordinator) next month and couldn’t be more excited! Lauren serves as the event manager at The Yacht Club at Marina Shores and also works as a social media manager for Misty Saves the Day. When she’s not pinning boutonnières or fluffing gowns, she enjoys taking ballet classes, blogging (Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After), finding home inspiration on Pinterest and gushing over new pugs to follow on Instagram.