Happy New Year, friends!
Sorry I’ve been MIA! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a blog post. I hate leaving you all in the dark- I got so many questions/DMs last winter asking about why I stopped bogging! The answer is simple- life took over, I got busy (and a little bit overwhelmed) and I just couldn’t do it all. Belle on the Beltline is a hobby for me- something I do when I have the time and energy. It seems kind of strange in the era of girl bossing and side hustles, but it’s important to me that this is for fun, and not another source of stress and pressure.
Belle on the Beltline is about sharing my life in Atlanta with all of you, building a community, and for me it’s a way to express myself and get creative after working in finance all day. And unfortunately…the last few months I did not have any free time or any energy…because we bought a house! 🙂
I missed you! So, let’s catch up.
2021 was without a doubt the most incredible year- I went into it hoping to buy a car (throwback to my car-free life) and maybe change my job.
Last year I…
- bought my car
- grew Belle on the Beltline to a community of 10,000 of you after 1 year
- got a new job
- got engaged
- got promoted
- planned our wedding for October 2022
- …and we bought our first home!
Now, it’s January of 2022 and I’m sitting at my new house at a brand-new kitchen table with an engagement ring on my finger, sipping my coffee and wondering how I ended up here.
It’s been such an incredible couple of months. I’m so unbelievably grateful and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been busy- and stressful, too- but I’m so excited to have a place to call home in the city we love.
Although, to be honest, I did not want a house at first. Ryan and I agreed that we would live in a two bedroom apartment on the Beltline in Old Fourth Ward or Inman Park for two years after we got married, and then we would start looking. In the fall, the subject came up again and Ryan told me he wanted to look at a few houses before we talked about signing a lease to understand the opportunity cost of staying in an apartment.
You just read my list of the 10 life changing things that have happened to me in the past year. They are all good things….but I wasn’t sure if I could handle one more big change. Not only that, but I’m happy. so happy, living in my Beltline apartment (hello, I’m Belle on the Beltline for goodness sake) that it broke my heart just thinking about giving it up.
We ended up talking about buying a house for weeks- it was clear that Ryan really wanted to buy one. At the same time, I started considering what it would really look like for us to stay in an apartment…and realized that if we had the money for the house, no amount of loving the city could justify how expensive the rent is in Atlanta. Right now, we have over 3,000 square feet and our mortgage is less than we would pay for a two bedroom place on the Beltline. Knowing the math, I gave Ryan the greenlight to start (slowly) looking.
Looking at Houses
Because we love Marietta and wanted to see a house to get started, our first showing was at a beautiful house on a lake outside the town square. We loved the house and area, but it immediately turned into a bidding war with the housing market being so aggressive. Looking at that house was a great learning experience for us. We realized just how intense the market was, and it helped us narrow down our scope of location a lot- there are so many great towns outside of Atlanta that we were overwhelmed with options. However, it took me 55 minutes to get to the showing from my office to Marietta, and the traffic was incredibly stressful.
After that showing, I told Ryan our house needed to be ITP. My specific rule was that it would be no more than a 15 minute commute to my office or midtown, and the commute had to have a no-highway option. Even though I bought a car, I still don’t like driving after my accident and I am just not ready for suburbia and Atlanta traffic yet.
We decided to look at a few more houses in the city to get an idea of what Atlanta had to offer, although we were limited because of the housing market supply being so low.
While we looked, we both sat down and made a wishlist of what we would want. Our list was:
- Two stories (this is actually hard to find in Atlanta unless your budget is > 600k)
- A community pool (again, very hard to find but we all know that laying by the pool with a book is my love language)
- A master suite with a large bathroom and walk-in closet
- 2+ baths
- Enough bedrooms that I could have a home office
- 2 car garage
- Flat backyard where the backdoor opens up to the lawn (very hard to find in hilly Atlanta but I hate decks that are high up after my dad fell off one)
- Large open kitchen
Obviously this list was a wishlist and not necessarily realistic, but we wanted to be upfront about our ideal home. It was also really important to me that we were in a real neighborhood that really felt like a community and wasn’t on a busy street.
We sent the wishlist to our realtor and hoped for the best, knowing the housing demand in Atlanta was starting to slow down a little bit. At the same time as winter started up, I started paying attention to the market a bit more, especially as interest rates began to rise. I realized that if we were looking for a house, we could close before the end of the year and get a great deal on our loan. I told our realtor if we were buying, we would do it before the new year. Otherwise, we would wait a few years until there were more houses to choose from.
Getting Our House
Long story short, we ended up in our current beautiful city house. It was the second house we put an offer in- the first one we put in an offer on, I wrote a letter to the sellers that was so convincing that they decided to stay (facepalm!!). But, I wouldn’t have wanted it to work out any other way- this house checks every single item on our wishlist.
We got it under asking price as the seller wanted to sell quickly, got the lowest rates our mortgage lender had seen all year, and it’s in the cutest little neighborhood in the heart of the city.
As far as buying your first house goes, we are so lucky. It’s a new-ish build, timed about ten years ago so it’s updated without the builder using cheap materials, we got a new roof put on for free after the inspection, and the neighborhood is friendly and feels like a family area without leaving the city. And my favorite part, is that only two people have lived in the house before us- both single, so we will be the first family. 🙂
My lease isn’t up until August so I won’t move in for a while- but Ryan is all moved in (he didn’t waste a second and moved in the day after we closed). Right now, it’s a good balance for me as I adjust and spend a few weekends there. It’s slowly starting to feel like home, and I’ve been loving our home projects. It’s a humbling feeling knowing I was so afraid of giving up my city apartment where I was so happy, to realize I could be even happier somewhere else.
P.S. I’ve gotten this question a lot- I am keeping the name Belle on the Beltline!