home ownership

Homeowners (And Official Good-Bye)

In two weeks, I will officially be a homeowner.


We ended up making an offer on House #1 – on Super Bowl Sunday actually.  After a week of negotiations, the seller’s finally agreed to our final offer which just happened to be $23,000 below their original listing price!

They also agreed to pay $2,000 in closing costs, which is the reason why the entire process took a week to nail down.  Both sides had agreed on the sale price, but we wanted $2,000 in closing and they didn’t want to agree to that.  Finally, after our real estate agent informed them that we were starting to look at other houses, they caved.

Our closing date is coming fast, too.  Just two weeks away.  That was one of the reasons the sellers negotiated with us – we don’t have a house to sell so we could close ASAP.  The time from our contract to our closing date is less than 30 days!  It worked our perfectly because our first mortgage payment will be due in May and our last rent payment is due in April, so we don’t have to pay double at all, which is something I had kind of expected that we’d have to do.

I feel like we got a great deal.  The house is new and updated and is a “blank slate”.  Truly.  Every single wall in the house is that stock tan/beige color.  All the fixtures are updated, the appliance are all updated (well, the fridge will be once we go out and buy one since the house doesn’t come with one).  The range is even one of those separate drop-in ranges which is something I really wanted.  So cool!  And it’s flat (not sure of the technical term) so no more food-nasties stuck under the burners!  I’m a messy cook, so this is perfect for me.

The deck is stained in a beautiful dark color and has a brand-new pergola with a built-in ceiling fan!  So fancy.  The house sits on a 3rd of an acre and has a new fence and a lot of fancy landscaping that I have no idea what to do with.  I guess I’ll be learning!  The new fence is key because that means we can finally add a new member to our family ASAP – a big dog!  Can’t wait!

The kitchen has the big flat island that I really wanted and has something like 35 cabinets, which is quite a step up from the 8 or so in our apartment.  It’s all open concept so the kitchen flows through the eating area to the living room.

It has a 3-car garage and an unfinished basement.  The cracks in the basement floor are nothing to worry about, says our inspector.  He kept saying, “They used to have dirt floors for basements.  The only thing this basement floor does is serve as a place to put a floor if you finish it.  These cracks are normal.”  If water was coming through the floor or if was hugely buckling or shifting, that would be a problem, but it’s not.  We’ll finish the basement over time (my husband says it will be his man cave and when I ask where my girl cave will be, he claims it is the whole house), but we’re in no rush.

The master suite is sweet.  😉  See what I did there?  Huge closet, fancy shower that’s like it’s own separate fully-tiled room with two, yes TWO, showerheads.  Double vanities, sitting room, huge windows.  All good things.

Quite a change from our cramped little apartment that we’ve been enjoying for the past 3 years while we threw every spare penny we had towards our savings.  I can’t believe that after so many years of renting, I will own a house AND a good chunk of land.

We are so excited!

My Official Good-Bye

I feel like this is a huge change in our life.  And because of that, I think it’s the perfect time to sign off from Blonde & Balanced.

Blonde & Balanced isn’t going away.  I’ll still be accepting and posting guest posts.  Other writers will talk about striking a balance in life, health, and money.  All will be the same, I just won’t be the face of the site anymore.

I want to focus my attention on some other projects I’ve been brewing.  People still want to see personal finance related articles here and I’m just not a personal finance blogger anymore.  Of course, I’ll continue with my freelance writing about personal finance.  I’ll still be around on twitter.  You can always e-mail me directly at amber dot gilstrap1 at gmail dot com and I hope you do so we can stay connected!

Thanks for being such awesome readers!


  • Congrats on the house….wish you were still blogging…..and if the stovetop is a glass one, be cautious on boiling things over, makes a huge, huge mess, you’ll figure it out :-))

  • congrats on the house! it sounds amazing!

    sad to see you go – i found carrie on the cheap while studying for and taking the CPA exam (from a random CPA exam google search) . you introduced me to the world of personal finance blogs and motivated me to get serious about budgeting and saving. will miss hearing from you!

  • Congrats on the house! Sounds amazing. I can’t wait until we have a bigger house – we bought one in our price range because it was just the 2 of us and we didn’t plan on staying there longer than 5-6 years (we’ve been there for 3.5 so far) but we’re thinking about moving back to our home state and we’ll get a bigger house there to raise a family.

    Sorry you’re not going to be blogging anymore but I totally understand. I’ve been asking myself the same question – when does a blog end? Good luck on your other projects.

  • congrats amber! we just bought a condo and it was much harder to negotiate rates and closing costs credit because of it was just a condo and not a house, and much lower in price haha. nonetheless, still happy and a great way to begin this home-owning journey. i hope you post some pics, the house sounds beautiful!

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