About this time last year I was preparing my offer on a home that I’d fallen in love with.
While it nailed everything on my “must have” list – no formal dining area, backyard with a fence, a non-creepy basement – it was still not what I'd envisioned for my first home. Instead of a quaint little bungalow in south Minneapolis as I’d pictured, it was a brick rambler in the ‘burbs.
Somehow my address still comes up as Minneapolis on Google Maps because apparently there’s some overlap, ZIP code-wise. (I'm not going to get into it.) Thing is, though, I’d toured a handful of those bungalows, and none of them spoke to me.
They were cramped, with narrow staircases I envisioned myself tumbling down in the middle of the night as I moved from an attic-style master bedroom to use a home’s sole bathroom on the main level. The view from your window was... into your neighbor’s window. Cute!
Though not what I wanted to spend large sums of money on. Considering I was already leaving a "luxury" apartment in the city, one where looking into your neighbor’s apartment was a pastime forced upon its residents (read about that here). Also, uh, they were really expensive for such little space.
So, after some heart-to-hearts with my parents about what I was actually searching for, I let go of the idea I would only be able to maintain my current lifestyle if I lived within Minneapolis city limits.
Then I did what any level-headed millennial would do: I placed all of my faith in a realtor I’d never met but knew online through Twitter. And, dang it, he really pulled through! It only took me dipping my toe into a potential bidding war one time to get spooked. The market was wild and I wasn’t about to throw down for a home already out of my price range.
My realtor kept my must-have checklist in mind and when he caught wind of a home hitting the market, he brought me by to take a look. It was dusty! In mid-renovation! There was an old fridge hanging out in the dining room! And I loved it. It was already so homey, with a fireplace, white cabinets, hardwood floors and open concept layout.
My brain lit up thinking of the layout of furniture that I didn’t even own yet. And that’s when I knew: I’m going to live in a suburb now. But hey, it’s an inner-ring one, and it’s close to the airport and my third home, the Mall of America.
It’s quiet and has SO MUCH (FREE!!!) PARKING. Did I mention we recently elected the first Latina mayor in Minnesota’s history? Richfield is cool and I am glad I opened up my mind to the possibility of looking outside the city for my first home.
I plan to keep writing about my new, unexpected dream home, going room by room. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned so far as a homeowner -- besides the fact that, uh, they never really ask if you know anything about owning a home before they approve you for a loan -- is it’s expensive.
It felt like home immediately, but putting my mark on it with little touches is an ongoing process. I'm looking forward to it.
Andrea Pendergast is a communications specialist based in the Twin Cities. This post originally appeared on her blog, "white girl in a crowd."