For the past seven years i have lived in a condo on the top floor of a beautiful condo building in an idyllic neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles.
I had lived in LA for 3 years, in two rented apartments before deciding it was time to purchase a place of my own. The first apartment I lived in LA was on Hollywood Blvd. I moved in with a friend who was in dire need of a roommate. Her roommate had been deported back to New Zealand and she was freaking out about how she would cover her rent. I had been wanting to live in LA literally my entire life so I took the opportunity to help her out and move into her one bedroom apartment. She and I lived in that apartment for about six months and until there was a newsman across the street from our building reporting on how a murderer was apprehended in the building across the street from ours. Time to leave!
We moved into a cute two bedroom walk up in another part of town and it became what my roommate coined, “Holman Hostel.” We had so many people stay there with us over the years. It was great. What was not great was the amount of money a person spends on rent in LA. When I calculated what I had spent in two and a half years, I was determined to instead spend my money on equity in a property.
I had been attending open houses for three years, seeing what’s available and what’s out there. My roommate would come with me sometimes. We turned the excursions into a verb; we often went “open housing.” For three years I saw what I felt were mediocre places. While visiting a friend’s apartment in the Valley one day late in 2006, parking was limited near their place so I had to park half a block away, which is the first time I saw the building that would become my sanctuary for the next seven years. I loved how it looked from the outside and I loved the location. I took down the realtor’s number, went to see the unit and, upon walking in, knew that was where I would live. I’d never felt so at home within such a short time of being present in a relatively strange and new place.
I made an offer, it was accepted and I moved in. Knowing I would need minor assistance paying my mortgage while also being able to have money left to live off of, a couple people moved in with me into the new 3 bedroom condo. For years I had various roommates. My roommates had fun friends who would come visit. It was a nice, central place for us all to enjoy doing nothing together every once in awhile.
I loved the central location of where the condo is in the Studio City and I also loved the proximity of everything from where I lived; the Hollywood Bowl was a 10 minute drive, Hollywood, a 15 minute drive (without traffic of course, which never happens, but still).
When my fiance moved in, I asked one of our remaining roommates to move out so we could live as alone as possible for awhile. Our other roommate, Big Rob, was nearly always gone on tour with whomever he was working with at the time. When my fiance and I decided we wanted to become parents through the foster system, we realized we had yet to live alone, together, and wouldn’t ever live alone again once we had a child. Tearfully, I had to ask Big Rob, the best roommate ever, to also move out. Being the best roommate and best friend a gal could ever ask for in a guy, he totally understood and had no hard feelings on the matter…at least from what I think!
My fiance and I lived together for a month or so until our beautiful three year old little lady was placed with us. What a crazy first night that was; for my husband and I realizing we had a three year old person, we didn’t even know previously, to care for. A few months later we realized we needed to move my husband’s eighty-five year old mother in with us as well. Family of four in a three bedroom condo. It was do-able, but tight, especially with all the stuff we had – three family’s furnishings started to become unloaded at every possible opportunity, but we realized just getting rid of our stuff wasn’t going to be enough. We wanted to be able to let this child go explore and play outside in a backyard.
Back to “open housing.” All the houses we looked at for months and months that were in our price range had nice little backyards, but were only slightly, if at all, larger than our condo, until one day, my husband and our little lady were shown a house just three miles away from our condo. My husband didn’t think I’d like it for many reasons until one day he suggested going to see it. Once I did, I was really surprised at how perfect it was for us, with the exception of the gynormous pool in the backyard and no grassy yard for our little girl to play.
We made the decision to put in an offer and were shocked to find that there were already three offers on the property, one of which had just been accepted. We were slightly crushed, but not too surprised as beautiful homes in our price range and our preferred location are few and far between. We were shocked again when we learned that the first offer had fallen out of escrow and we were up. It was a month long process of paperwork to the loan officer, banks, and realtors, but we made it through and are the proud new owners of a single family home.
It’s interesting to me to realize how little I think about our condo. I think that maybe I don’t let myself think about it too much because I would miss it too much. Then again I rationalize that it was time to move onto a bigger space for our growing family, but I do miss that space, and our neighbors, and the area, immensely. Even our little girl talks, unprompted, about how she misses it. It had amazing energy from the first day I saw it. This new house is getting to have good energy, but it’s taken some time.
Why is moving so moving?!?!?! Am I too sentimental or what. Sheesh.