BIG NEWS!!!! We bought a house!!!! How many of you have been watching our stories on Instagram patiently waiting for our big reveal? It was such a hard secret to keep from all of you but the time has finally come to tell everyone! Did any of you guess what it was? Can you even believe it!? Because we are still in shock here, but it is 100 percent true, Kyle and I have bought our very first home in Austin, Texas!
You heard me right! AUSTIN, TEXAS!!! Are you screaming, because we definitely are! I’ve dreamt of being a home owner for such a long time, and for us, it’s the next step in our lives and our business! I’m sure you’re thinking of a ton questions, like “why Austin?” and “was it hard buying a house?”, so I will try and answer them all below!
First thing’s first, the question I’m sure all of you are asking, WHY AUSTIN?! If you remember, we visited Austin in the beginning of the year, and we had an absolute blast! We even did a full blog post and made a printable map of it, it was that much fun. When we got home, we both felt like Austin was such an amazing place, that we could picture ourselves living there. From that point forward we began searching real estate sites, trying to figure out the best places to live in Austin, and the general information we would need to purchase a home in Austin. I know it seems crazy that we bought a house in a city we only visited once, but I’m a firm believer in following your gut and not being overwhelmed by what-ifs! For both of us, Austin represented the perfect marriage of what we are used to in NYC: amazing food, culture at every corner and city life, and what NYC lacks, which is larger supply stores, ease of access to said supplies, an opportunity to have space and grow a family, and a more friendly atmosphere overall. After visiting Austin, we came away feeling like it had all of those qualities and more!
Another thing I’m sure you are wondering, why not just stay in NYC? After we started looking at houses, I began to feel like it may be impossible to afford one, and talked to Kyle about what he thought. We felt like the amount of money you spend on rent in NYC is extremely expensive, and when you rent, you are essentially throwing your money away each month to continue to live there. In a home that you purchase, every payment you make ends up going to the house, which means that in the long run, your money spent is an investment! Plus, you can paint however you want, put up wall paper or knock down a wall, and not run the risk of being evicted like you do in a renting situation.
The first thing we did after deciding to buy a house in Austin was to find the perfect realtor, with the help of our friend Sam (owner of Whurl)! When we started the whole process of finding a house, we decided it would be best to find a realtor who could view homes for us, and be our eyes and ears on the ground! Since we were purchasing the house from NYC, we wouldn’t be able to attend any open houses, do any walk throughs or even make offers in person. Our realtor was able to do all of those things and more! He really understood exactly what we were looking for in our dream home, and he made the process so easy! It’s also important to get a realtor because of their contacts with other agents. In fact, this is what led us to finding this home! Our realtor was able to view houses that were off market, but returning soon, which is how he found our house! Without him, we most likely would never have even seen this home, let alone been able to buy it. We’ll get more into this and how the whole process works in a more in depth post on “what you need to know about buying a home” later!
This keychain is made by Valley Cruise Press and I got it from my friend PMQ For Two’s shop here
Our house is in a great location, about 20 minutes from downtown Austin, and is right next to an amazing park! We are close to things that were almost impossible to get to in NYC like Michaels, Target, Home Goods and more! They are only a short drive away as opposed to a 30 minute journey by subway. Our home is an older one, it was built in 1979, and was one of the first in this neighborhood. When we were looking at homes for sale, we realized that while newer homes may be cheaper and possibly located in better neighborhoods, they didn’t feel right for us. Our home has history, original design features from the 70’s and so much character that we love! By far the coolest thing to me how much of the original design has been left untouched. The interior has wood paneled walls, two living/sitting rooms, and an old school fireplace (are you jumping in your seat with excitement yet?!). Things like a home minibar might sounds crazy, but we have one built in! It’s also got curved walls in the bedrooms, a huge deck that wraps around the entire back of the house and high ceilings with natural light!
One of the things we considered when we went about researching homes to buy was whether or not this would be our “forever” home. Smaller, more affordable houses were something we were looking into purchasing, but the longer we looked, the more we realized that we would still be paying a lot of money to get a home that was less square footage than our current apartment! We realized that it didn’t make sense to move into a place that was smaller than what we had in New York. We also felt like the homes for sale in Austin were closer to what we had dreamed of as being our permanent home. For us this house is possibly going to be our “forever” home, one that we will make into something we will love long after we have finished paying off the mortgage. Fingers crossed!
I know what you are thinking now: What are we going to renovate/change?! The simple answer is not too much! Our goal is to move room by room, renovating the spaces so that they are colorful and representative of our style, but making sure we still keep all of the original elements that make this house what it is. We’ll be changing things like flooring, removing old wallpaper and carpet, letting in some more light with additional windows, and replacing things that were left (curtains, appliances, etc). And it wouldn’t be a true renovation if we didn’t show it all to you, step by step, with tips and tricks along the way. Just like we did in the apartment, we’ll be sharing everything on stories and here on the blog so stay tuned for lots of psychedelic, vintage, and colorful stuff.
A lot of times when you make a big decision in life the first question people ask is “Are you ready?” If we are being honest, I don’t think either of us felt like the time was “perfect” to buy a house. We could think of probably a few hundred reasons why we shouldn’t, like cost, the difficulty of moving, being in a new place without any family or friends, and so many more. But at the same time, we knew that if we wanted to raise a family, or even just have more space to grow in, we weren’t going to be able to do that in NYC without paying an insane amount of money. We simply are outgrowing our apartment, and having both an apartment and studio to pay rent on is expensive. What really helped guide our decision was the fact that our apartment and studio leases end in May, and if we didn’t want to be locked in for another full year, we needed to move quickly or find another place to rent. I’ve also lived in NYC for almost 10 years, can you believe that, TEN YEARS?! So as much as it scares the hell out of me to move to a new place, I think I’m definitely ready for a change.
Now time for some advice. My first nugget of wisdom is to start learning all the terms, fees, parties involved and costs to moving well in advance! Whether you are planning on moving in the next year, or 5 years down the line, start figuring out what terms like escrow mean and what the difference between a 15 and 30 year mortgage is. While it may seem like we are home buying pros now, we actually went into this with very little knowledge. When we started the process of buying a home, we knew absolutely nothing about mortgages, real estate, or anything else home related. We both had to learn very quickly what these things meant because the first house we put an offer on is the house we ended up getting. If you educate yourself ahead of time, you’ll be able to make the most important decisions much faster, which can be essential to getting your dream home! There are so many terms, fees and things involved in buying a house, and it’s such a huge decision, so being well versed in all of it will make the process SOO much easier. Plus, you’ll feel more confident in your offers and yourself, which is important when you are trying to convince someone to sell you their home. You should also ALWAYS compare things. Look at how similar houses in the neighborhood have sold, how houses of the same size in other areas have sold and consider those in your decision making process. Things like insurance quotes and mortgage quotes are also important to get different estimates on as well. Don’t be afraid to tell a mortgage lender that you are talking to other companies who have given you better quotes, because it means they will work harder to try and beat that! Real estate is a competitive business and companies want to be who you choose, which means they will do all they can to make you pick them over their competitors. Again, we’ll get more into this in another post, but this is a great jumping off point!
Earlier I mentioned how our NYC leases are ending soon, and you may be asking how soon? Well, our leases end at the end of May, which means we will be fully moved out by May 31st! And since we are moving across the country, we decided it would be best for us to try and move as little as possible to keep costs down. To accomplish this we went through all of our things and ranked them based on how irreplaceable they were to us. Things like our vintage furniture, unique decor objects, and clothes obviously needed to make the move with us, but other things that were less special or wouldn’t fit in our new home style wise, needed to stay behind. In order to make sure nothing gets thrown away that doesn’t need to be, we will be having a huge studio and apartment sale closer to our moving date! That means clothes, furniture, props and more will all be up for grabs, so keep an eye out in our Instagram stories for what we will be selling and all of those other fun details!!!
The last thing I want to discuss is how nervous we are. It may seem like we are crazy confident and not worried about anything, but that’s not the truth. We are both super nervous and at the same time soooo excited! It’s nauseating to think about having a mortage for almost longer than you’ve been alive. Ha! Both of us were starting to get tired of living in a rental with people surrounding us. We love New York City, but it can be a very exhausting place to live. While we are apprehensive about making friends, adjusting to Austin, finding the best places to eat, and still being able to make the biggest and most fun sets builds and photos, we know it’s time for a change. Because of that we are able to put aside those nerves and make this huge jump. There’s going to be a huge learning curve while we transition from working out of a studio space with multiple employees to working out of a dedicated room in our home with no help for a few months, so bear with us! Hopefully there’s no dip in the quality of work we create, but definitely one of my biggest fears in this is having to navigate a new space. We’re going to take everything one step at a time and figure things out together, as a team, as we go along!
Did I answer all of your burning questions? I sure hope so! We are so excited to be able to start the next step in our life together, and we are also super excited to be able to share it with all of you! Without your support none of this would be possible! If we missed any questions, leave them in the comments below, and stay tuned for the first of many renovations and a lot more posts on home buying!
We’ll be doing a walk-through of the house on Instagram stories Sunday around 1pm EST so set those alarms!!!