18 May 2006

Step One: Finding a Home.

Once the reality of actually signing up to join the class of 2010 in medical school finally set in, I realized that there were going to be several steps I'd have to take in order to make it to the first day of classes. Some of the steps--like ordering books, filling out copious paperwork, & being blood-let to prove immunity to disease--have been both tedious and humorous. None, however, have proven quite as intricate and intense as finding my first home....

It's been about three years since I last lived outside of my parents' home and six since I lived in a space that was fully my own. Because of a combination of illness and logistics, most of my belongings have been packed away in boxes or crammed into my childhood bedroom during this time. Needless to say, the living situation has been far from ideal! So when I finally chose where I wanted to attend medical school, I became quite excited by the notion that I'd actually get to live on my own again. Because of budget constraints, I didn't expect to have much choice about where I'd live. But then my father, who has spent 30+ years as a commercial real estate appraiser, decided that it would be a complete waste for me to spend four years renting an apartment when buying a home would likely allow me to recoop the investment of funds once I'm finished with school. Thanks to his generous (and I do mean *generous*) support, I am now in the final stages of buying my first home. (<--it's yet another situation in which I find myself pinching myself, the whole proposition seems that surreal!)

And yet, I did all the research, travelled around for days in the hot Florida sun looking at more units than I care to remember, placed bids on condos and lost them when the sellers refused to acknowledge that we're finally back in a buyer's market, and so on. I honestly had no idea how complicated the whole process is--even getting floorplans on some of these units (most of which have been built just in the last 5 years!) proved difficult.

That said, I finally was able to negotiate a viable contract on a unit less than two miles from school. It's a condo (so, yes, I have to share walls...and I know some of you regard wall-sharing units with disdain...but when I learned that this meant the condo association is responsible from repairs to everything that is outside the sheetrock out--i.e. roof, windows, siding, plumbing, exterior a/c, etc.--it became clear to me that this sense of security at having "maintenance-free" living is a small price to pay for having to share a soundproof wall....) located in a small subdivision of a rather large new PUD. It's very quiet--most of the people living in the community are either professionals (e.g. physicians, firefighters, police, etc.) or retirees--and the unit I'm buying overlooks a nature preserve.

Oddly enough, most of the units I considered first were only about 900 sq ft. I honestly didn't think I could afford anything bigger, even though at that small size, I knew it would be difficult to have a roommate. Luckily, though, I happened to find a 1461 sq ft unit in the same complex--and I'm going to be able to buy it for less than first two units I'd bid on, which were 500 sq ft smaller (go figure!). It's still going to be a financial strain (then again, what *isn't* a financial strain when living on a med school budget geared for 10 months but that has to cover 12?!?!?) to carry all the costs (mortgage isn't so bad, but the downside to living in a condo association is that because they cover things like lawn care, maintenance, cable, water/sewer, & hurricane shutters, is that the monthly fees add up pretty fast), but in the long run, I have no doubt that I'll at least recoop--if not gain a profit--from the purchase when I re-sell in four years.

So...I'm actually buying my first home. It's stunning, truly. But enough of my babble, you must see the pictures! (Keep in mind, however, that these pictures are populated by the current owner's stuff, which is totally not my taste...) Check out the next entry for a full view. :-)

6222 Rosefinch Ct -- In Progress
Jun 18, 2006 - 5 Photos

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a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)