This post brought to you by California Association of REALTORS®. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Six Figures Under.
My husband and I are from opposite sides of the country. We met in the middle (sort of) during our undergrad years in college. In some of our earliest conversations, he told me about the beauty of the area in California where he grew up and how it made for an ideal childhood. (I would say he gushed, but he looked this over before posting and objected to the word.) I liked where I grew up, but it was obvious that he was passionate about where he was raised. Hearing him talk about it, you would think he grew up in the Garden of Eden!
After we were married, we spent some time in Central America, then four years of law and business school in the Midwest. While we’ve loved everywhere we’ve lived, when we were done with school, there was no question where we’d end up.
After law school, we headed west for California. In fact, we’re living on the same property where my husband grew up. Our kids are climbing the same trees, splashing in the same river, and attending the same wonderful school that my husband did decades earlier.
Why We Love California
California really has something for everyone — big cities, wide-open rural areas, and outright wilderness; oceans, deserts, plains and mountains; theme parks, museums, zoos and aquariums; cosmopolitan life and the casual small-town feel — whatever you’re looking for, California has it covered.
A glance at our “fun” budget reveals that we don’t spend much on entertainment. Fortunately, the money spent on entertainment is no reflection of how much fun we’ve had.
Our family’s preferred form of recreation is outdoor adventure. We love exploring the beautiful world around us– and California’s got it all in the outdoor recreation category! From beaches, to snow-capped mountains and everything in between, we never go more than a few hours to find a perfect outdoor family adventure.
We love to go camping and hiking in all seasons and so do our kids. California has miles and miles of national forest, and BLM land where you can pitch a tent wherever you want without paying a dime. We’ve also enjoyed exploring some of the amazing natural wonders preserved in California’s state and national parks. Our “to do” list of places to explore continues to grow!
While I admit that California isn’t quite the Garden of Eden, it can grow just about anything! Of course the agricultural industry of California is crucial for our country’s food production, but I’m most interested on what we grow ourselves.
My husband grew up in a family that did their best to live off the land. With the beautiful climate and rich soil, they grew all of their own produce. Today, our family garden includes tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupe, peas, beans, strawberries, and zucchini, just to name a few. We also have a small orchard with apples, cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, and almonds.
Buying a House
There is something special about owning your own place and digging in your own dirt. During our four years of graduate school, we owned our first home. We loved being homeowners, and loved our little home. When it was time to leave, we were sad, but we had a great REALTOR® who helped us prepare the home for the sale and helped make the whole process quick and seamless. It was wonderful, while we were busy preparing for the move, to have a competent professional in charge of responding to feedback, handling escrow, and finally getting us to closing.
We are really eager to start shopping for our next home! Before we decided to focus almost exclusively on repaying student loans, we spent hours (I’m going to be honest… sometimes it was hours every day) looking at potential purchases. Now with intensive loan repayment as goal number one, one of the biggest carrots that keeps us motivated is that when we finish paying loans we can start saving for a down payment! Then the real fun begins!
We want something with a more rural feel, outside of town but within 20-30 minutes of work. The first thing we’ll do when it’s time to get serious is sit down with a REALTOR® who spends a lot of time in the areas we’re looking. Having someone who constantly sees new properties and can act as our eyes and ears in the search is a huge plus. When we find just what we’re looking for, having an expert on our side to wade through the paperwork, answer questions, and negotiate effectively will be invaluable. One great thing about using a REALTOR® to help find a home is that it doesn’t cost us a thing. Our agent is paid out of the sale proceeds by the seller, so we get all the benefit of extra help in finding just what we want, at no actual cost!
So that’s our plan. We’ve found a great place to be, and someday soon we’ll be finding a beautiful home to be in as well. We plan on enlisting an experienced professional to help us find the place and make it ours as smoothly as possible.
Now, it’s back to grindstone to get these loans paid off, so we can move on to that next step.
If you’re thinking of buying or selling, find a REALTOR® sooner rather than later. It might be surprising how much they can help before the actual sale process begins.
If you know someone interested in becoming a REALTOR®, the California Association of REALTORS® is the place for them to become Champions of Home! Hashtag us with #ChampionsOfHome.
How About You?
- What do you love about where you live?
- If you’re saving for a home, what keeps you motivated?