Building Home & Family

We Bought a House! (Actually, a Whole Building!)

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Late last month, Johann and I closed on our very first home! Only instead of “home,” it’s also an investment property, a three-flat (three unit) building with tenants currently renting all units in a suburb of Chicago. It’s a giant white building, so to distinguish between it and the apartment where we’re living now, we call it the “White House.”

Our mortgage requires that we move into the building within sixty days and live there for a year. We already gave the first floor tenants notice to leave so we can comply with the mortgage. It was HARD! As a lawyer, I know the type of notice we should give to protect ourselves and why partial deposit refunds can create issues. As a human being, I understand it’s a difficult time of year (between Thanksgiving and Christmas) to be apartment hunting and why having some portion of a security deposit refunded could make moving out and life in general a little easier. We asked our lender to extend our move-in date by a month as an exception to avoid the holiday season and received a hard no, so I was thankful the tenant was understanding. We also compromised with the tenants to help make the move a little easier. I’ve spent a lot of years being frustrated with landlord issues, so it’s an eye-opener to be a landlord myself!

All that said, we are eager to get into the basement and first floor so we can start updates and renovations. We are fortunate Johann owns a construction company and can do a lot of the work himself or with the help of family. (I call it fortunate; he calls it good planning, haha.) Of course, unpaid work for ourselves is much slower than paid work for clients! I plan to do a Before & After series of posts, but since we can’t get into any of the units while they’re being rented, here’s a photo of us in the very, very unfinished basement:


That plant was a housewarming gift from Johann to me. Isn’t it sweet?!

Can I just say how weird it feels that our first home will only be a temporary home? And that we know it’s only temporary before we even get started? Still, it’s exciting to be making an investment in our future.

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