Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Jobsville: Week One

I've been in New Jobsville a week now. It's been an adventure-- last weekend I was in Boston with my fraternity, so I had a healthy dose of travel to get here at ten o'clock on the night before my job started. Compounding the nature of adventure, I'm staying with my cousin while I find a permanent place to live.

I love the job so far-- it seems like I'll be doing real, meaningful things as soon as I can wrap my head around how things work. I think I'm doing well getting up to speed, but sadly no knowledge transfer is instantaneous (yet. Someone should get on inventing that).  Even though I caught a nasty cold on Thursday that carried into Friday (and who gets sick on their first week of work?), I was able to keep (mostly) up by the end of the week.

K and I went house-hunting on Tuesday. We found a possible place-- hardwood floors and just enough space!-- and now I need to get financing out of a bank. On the one hand, I've got six years of paying all my bills on time; on the other, I haven't had too many bills to pay (credit card, semesterly rent, some utilities when I was in MO). Worst of all, I just started a new job, and I hear that banks like to see you in a job for a year before they give you a mortgage.

I really don't want to rent an apartment here for a year, not after I've seen the offerings available. All the available apartments seem to have layouts that feel more cramped than the square footage suggests, with small rooms and odd, constricted doorways and hallways. Rent often includes non-refundable deposits and exceeds mortgage payments* for a fraction of the quality of life. Even the supposedly pet-friendly complexes frown when I mention Kieron's cat.

We're house people, K and I. We like making our space our own, and we'd rather fix something ourselves than call a landlord. We want the space to entertain. So, I'm working on it-- trying to find time to get to a bank or meet with a mortgage broker.

People who have bought houses-- how do you get to places with limited hours (banks, the post office) when you're working a full-time job? What are your stories of buying your first house-- and what advice would you give to someone buying their first house?
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*Based on a 30-year mortgage and the houses K and I have viewed. If (when, hopefully) K and I buy a house, we hope to have a shorter mortgage. Yes, the payments are higher in the short term, but they are still within my budget, still comparable to rent, and they produce a better financial picture in almost any scenario I have projected.