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o The Furniture Facelift Fiasco, part I 

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the Incredibly TRUE Confessions of a
irst-time HOMEowner
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Then we got engaged. All the denial in the world wasn't going to change the fact that we were, indisputably, now on the path towards becoming married adult-types. And it occurred to us that after the wedding, we’d be showered with more household gifts than our little rental guesthouse could possibly accommodate. Plus, there was the little matter of the lack of a washer and dryer in our place – our loathing of those dreaded laundromat trips had reached such epic proportions that my boyfriend finally declared, "That’s it, I need my own washer and dryer. We have to move, so we might as well start seriously looking into buying a house." The next day, we found ourselves a real estate agent.

Now, as a happily oblivious renter, I hadn’t had the foggiest notion of what it actually meant to purchase a home. In my past experience, buying meant having cash in hand – or at least that handy-dandy little piece of plastic called a credit card – walking up to the seller, forking over the dough, then walking away with my new acquisition tucked under my arm. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that buying a house is so radically different an experience from buying, oh, say, a new pair of Kenneth Cole shoes, I’m wondering how the two actions can possibly share the same verb.

See, because houses are so expensive that no normal person can afford to just buy one outright, there’s this pesky process of applying for a mortgage before you can even start to check out potential homes. Yes, defying all common sense, it’s better to get the loan before you find the house – so that (1) sellers will take you more seriously, and (2) you know exactly how much house you can afford. Applying for the loan, as it turned out, was the most complicated and de-humanizing part of the whole house-buying process, particularly because with my boyfriend a full-time grad student and me self-employed, the lenders viewed our job stabilities with some skepticism. There’s just something so humiliating about affixing a (depressingly low) numerical value to your personal worth. The hours and hours spent affirming our employment histories, credit backgrounds, previous years’ tax returns, bank balances, investment accounts, proved so disheartening we nearly called off the house search before it even began. By some miracle, however, the loan actually came through – the fun (i.e. shopping!) could now begin.

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