I never thought buying a house in Montgomery County, Maryland would ever be possible. Like ever. Home prices around the metro DC area are RIDICULOUS.
I posted a status on Facebook during the summer, genuinely seeking advice from people in the DC area on HOW they are able to buy houses. Even if I had a full-time job in addition to Matt’s income, I still had a hard time seeing how it could be possible. Were people winning the lotto? Cashing in a sizable inheritance from a long-lost uncle? Connections to the mafia?
A theatre friend that I had worked with a few years back saw my Facebook post and sent me a message. She lives on the Virginia side of DC and told me that the only way that she was able to afford a house was through the Virginia Affordable Housing Program and that I should see if Maryland had a similar program.
We had heard about the first-time homebuyer’s program in Montgomery County but didn’t know if we qualified or what it entailed. So that night when I got home from rehearsal, we looked into it. It was an amazing program for first-time homebuyers who had just low enough of an income to qualify (by MoCo standards) but still made enough money to handle a decent sized mortgage. And we barely qualified. HALLELU!
The program required taking a 3-hour First Time Homebuyers class, another 2-hour class about the program, obtaining a loan pre-approval letter from a lender and attending a final meeting, which then qualifies you to get a “lottery number.”
Basically, if a builder is building a new community in MoCo and plans to build 30+ units, a certain percentage has to be sold through this program. The units that are set aside for the program do not have all the bells and whistles that the regularly priced units do. They have white carpet, builder-grade cabinets, regular ol’ countertops. None of the fancy hardwood floors, granite counters, nice cabinetry that you would see in the standard homes. But after you buy it, it’s yours, and upgrades come in due time. And you know I love a project.
Some people are in the system for years and never win the “lottery”, but for some reason, the stars aligned, and we were chosen on our first attempt. It was overwhelmingly exciting and scary at the same time. We had to come up with cash for a deposit and then closing costs, make sure the dates worked out with ending our lease, secure movers, all while still driving to Maine for Christmas the week before the move.
So here we are, Sunday, December 29th. We drove 14 hours home from Maine yesterday. I’m dropping Kevin off with my mom today. Matt and I are spending the rest of the day today cleaning and finishing packing. Then the movers come tomorrow morning. Hopefully by the time Kevin comes home Wednesday evening, the house will be relatively unpacked and set up, blinds installed and baby gates in (two flights of stairs are no joke with a toddler).
We’re really excited and blessed to start 2014 in a new home. OUR new home. Let the wall-painting commence!