Friday, May 11, 2012

The Beginning

I have learned so much from all of the Ryan homeowners' blogs I've read so I decided to start one of my own.  Hopefully our experiences will help another potential homebuyer in the future, inform our friends and family (or anyone else who's interested) of our progress and make a record of our first home purchase together.

While it's my husband and my first purchase together, we both have purchased homes separately in the past.  Our current living situation is a bit complicated.  Before I get to that, let me give you a little background on us:

We met in the summer of 2007.  Greg had just bought a house with two of his friends in which they lived for the next 3 years.  I was living with my parents when we met, but soon after I got a job in the city and bought a small condo for myself.  These purchases were in 2007 and 2008... before the housing market went nuts, so our experiences were very painless.  I didn't have to provide ONE piece of documentation for my mortgage approval.  Crazy now that I see how strict it is now!

Greg and I got married October 1st of 2010 and we lived in my condo together for about 6 months.


My dad and brother bought a crappy old townhouse in the city around 2006 and completely gutted/renovated it together over the course of the next 5 years (you can see the finished product here).  My brother and his wife and baby were living there until he got a new job in the suburbs, so they bought a house out there.  Since my dad owns the place, he asked Greg and I if we'd like to move there to have more space.  It was a tough decision since I loved my condo so much, but we really did need more space and it would cut Greg's commute by about 15 minutes (though it increased mine by the same amount).  So we moved to the townhouse in February of 2011.

Around our year anniversary in the townhouse, we decided that if we were going to have kids anytime in the next few years we had better think about moving back to the suburbs (I'd like my children to have a yard with grass and not find 40 oz's of Old English on their front sidewalk when they leave for school in the morning).  Also, we were starting to be over living in the city.  We both loved living here and are so glad we did it while we are young, but we're getting to the age (mostly Greg... he's 31, I'm only 28 ;)) where we don't enjoy the things that make living in the city worthwhile as much... bustling nightlife, thousands of restaurants within walking distance, people everywhere, etc.  Me being the compulsive planner that I am, I formulated a timeline for our house-hunting process:

March to May - Start driving around to narrow down areas to live.
May to July - Start looking at actual houses.
September-ish - Choose a house.
November-ish - Move.

I think I am more anxious to get out of the city than Greg, so it was a bit of a challenge getting him to commit to that first Saturday afternoon in early March of driving around to look at houses.  However as soon as we stopped in the first model home, he was hooked.  The first place we stopped was a Ryan homes community near where I grew up.  We didn't like that particular development, but we loved the homes and they had another development in an area we liked better nearby.  Greg was in love.  1.5+ acre lots, open farmland stretching for miles, no traffic, little noise, and a large brand new house to make our own.

We did our homework and looked at a ton of other houses ("used" and new) in several different areas, but none stole Greg's heart like the first house.  I, on the other hand, actually liked another smaller house nearby better (I liked it mostly because it was $20K cheaper and taxes were $2K less per year), but I couldn't convince Greg. 

Long story short, we are buying the Courtland model on a 1.5 acre lot in New Jersey.  I am the type of person who over analyzes every situation and doubts every decision I make, so there have been many ups and downs in the 2 months since that first visit, but ultimately this is the best decision for us (I hope). 
This will be our house (minus the stone and different colors)!
Check our home tour (in progress) here, and all of my DIY projects here.
Check out the deck we built ourselves here.
Check out two Courtland Gate model homes here and here.


  1. 1.5 acre lot?! That's awesome! I thought my half acre was big! I just found your blog, feel free to follow me at

  2. P.S. I can't find anywhere on your blog for me to click on to follow it. You might want to add it, unless this was intentional!

    1. That's CMM... I just realized that when I was trying to get my husband to follow. Thanks for letting me know... hopefully it works now (I'm new at this stuff!)

    2. It worked and I joined! :) I look forward to following your progress!

    3. Awesome, thanks... same here!

  3. We have so much in common…for starters I am such a planner and my husband and I were married on October 22, 2010…we wanted October 1, but the hotel we chose for the reception was booked on that day. Anyway, I love the Courtland model…your house is going to be beautiful!

  4. Colette, welcome welcome welcome to the RH family blog!! So happy for you and your hubby! I really like the courtyard model. My husband of 12 years and I are building a Rome model in Maryland. The blog is awesome and informative. I have become obsessed with the information and my husband thinks I am over doing it. He may be right but who cares! I am building my dream home. Happy building and enjoy the abundance of tips. Check out Ravenna Speed on Thomas's blog. He has a comprehensive list that would help with your building.


I am so thrilled that you stopped by and I loooove comments! Leave me some love and I will respond shortly. Peace and love – Colette.