Monday, November 17, 2014

NVM WEEK 1: in which we join the landed gentry

Soooo last week we got enthusiastic & bought a house.

If you're thinking to yourself, "Interesting, didn't know you were thinking of buying a house," you could be forgiven, considering that we only kind of half-heartedly started looking into the process about a month ago & talked to a real estate agent for the first time on October 21. In that first conversation, they'd asked us how all-in and ready to do this we really were, because apparently when people really commit & decide to go for it, sometimes things can happen really quickly and people who are thinking they might find something in six months or so find themselves packing their bags just a few weeks later.

This is called foreshadowing.

We knew that by looking in one of San Francisco's highest-demand neighborhoods (the one we live in), being decidedly not filthy rich, and including on our "must have" list things like three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large kitchen, an outdoor area for grilling if not an actual backyard, and at least one parking space, we could be setting ourselves up for disappointment or, at best, an extremely protracted search. For those reasons, we'd girded our loins for eight or ten months of losing offers and weekend open-house death-marches. In truth, we really wanted a historical Victorian with an old soul like the one we currently rent, but knew that if we weren't willing to compromise on the other stuff, it was very likely that we would have to find a way to be happy with new construction and probably a somewhat higher price tag than what felt super comfortable. Such is the way of real estate in San Francisco.

So imagine our shock when, just days after our initial consultation with the realtors, they sent us an email for a condo that would be going on the market soon.

With 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, a nice size kitchen, deck/patio, and a one-car garage (with space to expand to two).

With significantly more square footage than we'd been looking for.

Listed below our ideal price point.

In an old Victorian.

Around the corner.

(Not even joking; you can see it from our current backyard.)

We saw it a few days later and I fought so hard to keep from falling in love with it, because it was almost perfect. And for all that it was listed below our price point, everything in our neighborhood goes for well above list price, and though it was possible we *might* have a shot, after seeing how great it was, we just didn't see how someone with more money wouldn't love it just as much (or more).

Emails with our agents about the place were simultaneously exhilerating and terrifying. "Based on my understanding of your goals, this place is pretty special and I know that condos like this - A+ location that will hold value and continue to appreciate over time, charm, size, parking, upside potential - are extremely rare," she wrote us at one point. "It's a double-edged sword when a great opportunity comes in the beginning of the house hunt...I don't always say that a place is one to go for but this is one."


Trying to be realistic, we kept going with the realtors to see other places, but dutifully moved forward with putting together the best (inevitably doomed, we were sure) offer we could on the first house, telling ourselves over and over again, "The worst thing that happens is they say no." We knew we had great agents, trusted their advice, and felt like they'd helped us put together the best offer we could reasonably afford. Offers went in Wednesday morning & the seller was supposed to meet with her agent that afternoon to review them, so after that there was nothing to do but wait.

Mid-afternoon, we got a text from our agent. "As for the offer, all I know right now is that we are somewhere in the running and the agent is pushing for us. More later! #GrrArgh!" For the sake of my mental health, I had to assume we weren't going to get it, so at least I wasn't a nervous wreck all day.

I got home before Don, and sometime around six thirty I heard him come in, in the middle of a serious-sounding phone conversation. Then he walked into the living room, still on the phone, smiling broadly & gesticulating wildly in the direction of the house we'd been trying so hard not to fall in love with. I think I clapped my hand over my mouth & sat there dumbfounded for a few minutes before I could do anything else.

After a bit of screaming and laughing and kind of not knowing what to do with ourselves, we made a last-minute fancy dinner reservation and, after restraining ourselves for so long, spent the evening finally letting ourselves indulge in planning and dreaming about all the things we wanted to do with a place that's actually ours.

The seller doesn't want to close until 2015 for tax reasons so we'll be in our current place for a couple more months, which will give us time to think about how & when we want to handle some of the renovations the new house is going to need.

* * *

Oh yeah, and also I did some running this week:

~*~*~NVM WEEK 2 OF 16~*~*~

Grand Total: 38 miles

    * 21 easy
    * 4 goal marathon pace
    * 13 long
    * 2 strength workouts

Monday: afternoon 4 easy / p.m. karate

    These were unscheduled, ugh-I-haven't-run-in-three-days-need-to-go-outside-&-move-&-get-some-fresh-air miles. For all that I've theoretically been taking Mondays & Wednesdays off from running, more often than not it seems like on one or the other of these days I get home from work just tired of being indoors & really just want to get outside & move a little bit before class. (And that's the nice thing about the low heart-rate stuff -- you can tack on a few miles just because you feel like it without risking injury or exhausting yourself too much.)

Tuesday: 2 wu, 2 @ GMP, 1 easy, 2 @ GMP, 2 cd = 9 total

    LOL. This run was hilarious & interesting & really deserves its own post, so hopefully I'll have the time to write it. The 30-second version is that I was able to run the GMP miles at right around an 8:00 average pace without my heart rate shooting through the roof; it was just hard.

Wednesday: afternoon strength / p.m. karate

    No karate Wednesday night due to extremely necessary house-buying celebration.

Thursday: 5 easy

    I seriously had to restrain myself on Thursday from running more than five miles. I'm not sure why, but Thursdays are very quickly turning into one of my favorite days to run. Also, I am *really* loving the shoes I was wearing that day (and have been running in maybe once or twice a week), which just made it that much more enjoyable. (Review coming soon, promise! here!)

Friday: 7 easy

Saturday: strength w/ AT

    On Saturday morning, I had my first session with the runner/strength trainer that my massage therapist recommended, who I'll just call AT. (I probably shouldn't out her to the internet, especially after just one session.) We did about half an hour of movement, strength, & flexibility assessments and about half an hour of strength work. It was all pretty subtle stuff, so I was impressed that after less than half an hour of work, I was actually sweating quite a bit & "feeling the burn" to the point that I had to start taking rest breaks. I was SUPER sore in the butt Sunday morning, which seems promising. :)

Sunday: 13 long

    We spent most of Saturday at a wedding in Santa Cruz, which was a TON of fun. On the other hand, it turns out that 10 hours of drinking & dancing in heels & 18 hours without a drop of water is not the greatest preparation for a 2+ hour run the next day. Sunday morning was pretty miserable but after getting some food & water in me I was able to rally & got the run done in the last glimmers of daylight. It was not the best long run I've ever had given that my glutes were trashed from Saturday morning & my feet from Saturday night, but it got better, & it was nice to finish a 13 mile run & feel about the same as I do when when I finish a 6 mile run. (That whole training thing, or whatever.)

Coach Morpheus gets some pretty revolutionary ideas sometimes.


  1. Congratulations! That is an amazing looking house, and I'm completely jealous. We actually had a similar experience when we purchased our home. Everyone else we knew took months, but I contacted an agent on a Friday afternoon without a house in mind and by the following Friday afternoon our offer was accepted!

    If you haven't already, download the Houzz app for all of your house day-dreaming needs.

    1. Thanks!!

      OMG, I have been wasting sooooo much time on Houzz. It's kind of amazing & terrifying at the same time.

  2. Congratulations! What a gorgeous house!! We just bought our first house a few weeks ago (a 1920s bungalow in a great area) that needs some TLC, including un-fun things like fix the foundation. After 10+ years of renting, it is SO exciting to walk around and actually own trees, a house, a porch, etc. Enjoy it!

    1. Yay, congratulations!!

      This one definitely needs a bit of work as well (the kitchen & bathroom are a bit dated, & we want to connect the two levels with a stairway). We too will have the joy of doing some foundation work, plus some earthquake retrofitting. GOOD TIMES. (Not that I'm complaining. Definitely, definitely not complaining!)

  3. Congrats! What a beautiful place. I've heard the Bay Area housing market is absurd, so you deserve mega congrats on getting a place you like so quickly!

    1. Thanks!! We were definitely incredibly lucky both with our agents, the place coming available, & the seller randomly choosing us--real estate here is absolutely cray cray.

  4. Congratulations! That's exciting. It looks beautiful. I wish you many happy years in your new home!

  5. What a great looking house. Congratulations! Exciting times coming up for you. And some hard work.

  6. Congratulations!! That is a gorgeous place. Is it an apartment or do you have the whole building? (not sure what the definition of 'condo' is in your area) I've heard ridiculous things about the Bay Area housing market being ridiculous, so make sure you have that contract signed, sealed, and delivered!!

    1. Thanks!!

      It's an old Victorian that a hundred years ago was a single-family home, but was converted sometime last century into two separate units (one upstairs, one downstairs). So our condo is the first floor unit, plus a currently illegal in-law that's sort of at a basement level (except it's on a hill, so it's not actually under ground). When you buy, unpermitted space like that is actually a big bonus, because when they market the house it can only legally be called "storage," but once you get it permitted, you add a ton of value. So yes, in many ways, we got SUPER lucky with everything! :)

  7. Congratulations! And welcome to the wild and wacky world of real estate ownership in San Francisco!

  8. Dude, house buying is the weirdest. No one seems to know exactly how it works or what will happen -- especially not the realtors.

    That's nice you don't have to move for a couple months though, or shit could have gotten crazy.

  9. GORGEOUS place!!! Lucky things - congratulations!

  10. Congrats again!! Awesome how everything just clicked into place.

  11. Congrats! So great that you were able to close on a place that had everything you were looking for so quickly. Wonderful. AND IT'S GORGEOUS!

  12. Wow - so exciting! A big congrats, it's so pretty! And yeah, I'm totally jealous. :)