New Homeowner

2:45:00 PM



As of the beginning of this month, I am a new homeowner.

If you knew me very closely, you knew that I was not planning on buying a house at all. It was a surprise to everybody involved (including me). I am excited, and terrified.

I have been in and out of apartments since I moved to Berkeley and back to San Francisco. I have lived in a dirty apartment with a room to myself with a hamster. I have lived in an overly spacious apartment with no closet space. I have lived in a glorified living room. I have kind of learned to love the hustle and the bustle of shared spaces, especially since apartment locations tend to be more centralized and in more vibrant neighborhoods (except that glorified living room).

I am currently living in a tiny studio in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, and to be honest - it's the bomb. There is nothing technically wrong with my current apartment. I live between two beautiful parks. I am in walking distance to two friends. I live down the street from some of the best Edomae sushi and Al Pastor burritos I've ever had. My apartment is urban, hip to a fault, and exciting. I had the most amazing first date here. It is really hard to come to terms with leaving a specific kind of  "city bustle" that I've been so used to.

I love living in the middle of San Francisco. There is so much to do and you'll never run out of amazing food to try. There is nothing more cool than having friends over and being like, "Hey there's an amazing restaurant down the street." "Ice cream? Yea man we can walk for like 20 minutes and get liquid nitrogen ice cream churned on the spot." Heck, I bought a California Academy of Science's membership because it was twenty minute walk away and I wanted to spend my days reading and drawing in their exhibits.

I feel like older people have ostracized me regarding my affinity for apartments and wanting a split level mezzanine condo as the "end game" portion of my life. I personally don't understand what's there not to love about apartments. As a kid, I used to imagine moving to a city like New York and living in one of those tall residential towers and hopefully having a tiny window that doesn't face a wall. That was the dream.  If you're like me, you really don't need a lot of "living" space. You just need a good space for all your books, a couch/bed combo and probably about 36 square feet of living space to make some kind of crafty DIY mess on the floor, and of course a place for all your clothes.

Of course, I entirely understand the downsides of owning a apartment condominium versus a house. You will never own the land. You don't get to knock down that wall you hate to renovate interior spaces. Even though you've "bought" the condo, you still pay HOA (Home Owner Association) fees for the general upkeep of the apartment building. It will probably never stops feeling like you're paying rent, but at least someone is sweeping your hallways and if something is wrong with your apartment they'll have someone to fix it.

A lot of houses in San Francisco have been subdivided, so even though it may look like you live in a house, you really only own a portion of it. These are still considered condos, and I think the most fearful things about owning one of these is the idea of  "Tenancy in Common." Essentially, if one of your neighbors forecloses, you and anyone else you share the property with will need to pony up to pay that neighbor's share. To be honest, these homes are quite lovely and tend to be newly remodeled before going on the market. I've looked a lot at these, and they really capitalize on renovating to create an open floor plan, but emphasizing original Victorian and Edwardian aspects of the space (high ceilings, windows, decorative elements, light wells and hardwood floors).

My new home is nothing like a remodeled flat. It has had two owners since it was built, and was renovated by those two owners. However, it seems to have been renovated and maintained since the 1970s. There is mustard paisley wallpaper in the kitchen. There are two ovens with stove temperature assigned head setting buttons. There is bright blue carpet. It is old, but somehow in the space it feels really open. The renovation work from the previous owners included lots of skylights, and the space has a great amount of windows for an attached house. I know that as this home's new owner, I am prepared to do a lot of work on capitalizing the space that the house frame is providing. I am absolutely ecstatic about this. However, since this decision was rather rash and quick, I'm still awestruck and can really only comprehend a couple things about owning a house and moving.

My boyfriend and I have been not-so-jokingly talking about what we will miss the most about our apartment. Our #1 item is Street Taco's Al Pastor Super Burrito, which is a really endearing and pleasant thought. I would like to believe that it shows you that even though we won't  live in the neighborhood anymore, we don't necessarily feel like we're losing all of our special places - it'll just be farther away, because the burritos will still be there.


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