I’m Not Pregnant

I am not pregnant.

I didn’t land a big job, well, I kind of landed a big job, but not an acting gig.

Steve and I are not moving to the suburbs and I didn’t win the lottery.

Here’s what happened.

4 weeks ago an opportunity presented itself for Steve and I to purchase our own home for the first time. It was a little time sensitive in that it was going to happen over the next 2 months so I had to rapidly educate myself on the San Francisco real estate market.


I was so excited about the opportunity, but when I started going to open houses and hearing from real estate agents, “Oh, it’s listed for $899,000 but what we really want is 1.2 million dollars and this is the ugliest house I have ever seen.” Well, I started to worry. She actually did say within the same paragraph that the house was the ugliest she had ever seen and that they expected 1.2 million dollars for a 2 bedroom tiny house.

Steve and I looked and looked. I spent all my time on Zillow and Trulia researching the market trying to find some semblance of affordability with the size and location we needed. Oakland and Berkley started to look pretty attractive when the only place we could afford in San Francisco would mean living in rough neighborhoods or parts of the city that would mean 45 minute commutes for us anyway.

Every once in a while I would check out current home prices in Evanston Il. where I grew up. Five bedroom houses with gourmet kitchens and wraparound porches for the price of a studio condo in San Francisco. Ugh.

After looking and looking I finally found a home. It was in the southern section of the city and would have been a complete change of lifestyle for us. It had a huge back yard, three bedrooms and had been owned by the same family for 93 years. Those same discrepancies existed between what the listing price was and what they actually wanted for the house, but it was within our budget.

With that house I had my first experience of “love at first sight”. I had never felt so much emotional attachment to a place so instantly. I was willing to move my family much further away, change schools and commute if this was going to be where we would spend our time.

Hours within making our offer on the house, our situation changed a bit and it was decided that moving right now and leaving our current location was not going to happen. It had been quite the emotional roller-coaster ride.

So what are we going to do now?

We are renovating! So while the adventure I thought we were going to go on is not occurring,  a whole different adventure is beginning. I am excited to educate myself about buildings, foundations, codes, electrical, flooring and design and see what we can do to make this old apartment shine.

The upside of all this research I did the last three weeks is I have a knowledge of San Francisco neighborhoods I never would have gotten otherwise. I had mostly stuck to learning the north side of the city as well as the key neighborhoods I had to frequent for dance classes and auditions, but now after studying every inch of San Francisco and driving all over the city looking inside houses and learning the transportation systems I have this fresh new view.

Steve and I are counting our blessings for sure. Where we live after comparing it to what is available on the market, has proven itself to be a home we need to invest our energies in to upgrade and care for. We have three healthy children, a solid marriage, careers we enjoy and a family whose support and love is quite extraordinary.

To those of you who were waiting to hear what our “big news” was, I hope you are not too disappointed. I feel a little silly that I got myself so worked up over it all, but that is kind of how I roll. I did not know how to keep the blog up and running when all I wanted to talk about was the open houses I was attending, snarky real estate agents, and the stiff competition of the San Francisco housing market.

What have been your experiences with purchasing your first place? Have you ever renovated a home before? Do you have any tips you would like to share?

xo from, thankfully, San Francisco,



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8 responses

  1. We’ll have to exchange renovation stories in the near future. We’ve fought the same battle in our peninsula town and, rather than buy a similar sized house on the other side of town for an outrageous amount more (which we planned to do and attended open houses for 2 years in desperate hope), we’ve decided to knock down our house and rebuild what we want right here in the neighborhood we’ve known and loved for 10 years. I’ve been through sooo much of what you’ve been through and know the highs and lows. Best of luck to you on your new adventures!

    • I know DC can be pretty brutal. You have the perfect storm here in SF right now where high paying jobs are in the city and south of the city, so really no neighborhood is off limits as far as value goes. Also, somehow there are tons of all-cash buyers which makes me think there are foreign investors as well just wanting to dump their money somewhere.

  2. We’ve done a bunch of renovations on our house, most of it ourselves. We renovated 2 bathrooms, including new tile floors and walls, stripped years of layered paint and wallpaper off our downstairs, refinished hardwood floors, and of course painted through the whole house at least twice. We even did a lot of this when our kids were little. When we were deep in a project, like a bathroom, we would set aside one day a week as “renos day” and get a babysitter to watch the kids. We got a lot done that way. We found It was cheaper and easier to get someone else to do the hardwood than trying to do it ourselves. And, we didn’t try to do any major plumbing or electrical work ourselves — hired out for that stuff.Have fun with your renos!

    • Thanks Mary!! I never got to see your house. Maybe next time I am in Chicago I will try to stop by.

  3. The housing market is so insane that I have been renting most of my life. You meet the most interesting people in apartment shares. Now I’m in a studio in Berkeley, which is more space than I would get for the same cost in SF.

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