I wasn't sure if this goal was going to work out or not, but it did, and I couldn't be happier!
Mr. Wookie and I just moved into our first home. 1300 square feet divided into 3 bedrooms, two full baths, and one very open living room / dining room.
We weren't sure if we were going to buy this year or not because I didn't have a job until the end of June, but when I learned that I was going to be teaching we figured we couldn't pass up the tax credit. We were worried because we didn't have a true emergency fund, but for the past two months we've been socking money into savings, and I have to say we're doing pretty well. We've been good about sticking to our budget, and I think by Christmas we'll really be reaping the benefits of being savers not spenders.
In truth, the house wasn't too much more than our rent, and if one of us loses our job we'll still be able to make all our bills on one salary. Plus, we're planning on staying here for a long while, or at least until we can afford to move on the lake (which may not be until we're 45 because living on the lake is expensive living!) We're going to take the tax credit and put it down on the principal, and we truly believe we'll be able to pay off my student loans in three years by making aggressive payments. Then we'll be free to start saving for a family/aggressively paying down our house.
We looked at a dozen houses before deciding on this one. Actually, this was one of the first houses we looked at, but I wasn't sold on it because the kitchen seemed kinda small to me. It was hard for me to visualize what the space would look like because there wasn't any furniture in the house. We looked at a few others and actually made offers on two other houses (one was a short sale that fell through and the other house didn't accept our offer) before heading back to look at this house again. The kitchen was a little bigger than I remembered, and what I loved about this house was the fact that it was only two years old. I knew that it would be a great starter house because we could just move in and decorate. We wouldn't have to spend a lot on renovations.
So about the kitchen, I must say that I love it. It's a very functional space even though it looks small. The cabinets are deep, and I actually have three empty cabinets where at the apartment my kitchen stuff was stacked up on the fridgerator because I didn't have enough space. Considering you don't have to put a table in the kitchen, there is actually plenty of room to move around. The counter space is deep, so I'm able to have my canisters and recipe books sitting out at all times, and I still have plenty of room to mix and bake.
We have a few little improvements we'd like to make to the house, but we're not in any hurry at this point. Next spring, we're going to extend the back deck so we can put a big outdoor table there for when we have guests. We're also going to extend the front flower beds next spring to bring a little charm to the house. Eventually we might put hardwood floors down in the kitchen/living room area, but we're fine with the carpet for now. It's a good neutral color.
Here are some pictures of our new house! It's just darlin'.