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  • Writer's pictureLaura L

From the time I was a teenager, I've always had a very clear vision of the house I wanted: an older home -- preferably all-brick or Tudor-style -- close to the city, dark hardwood floors in contrast with ultra-white walls, and good-sized bedrooms. I was set to buy a house in February, but then my salary was reduced due to the pandemic. While that was obviously upsetting, many of my colleagues were laid-off or forced into retirement, including long-time, highly-esteemed physicians at our hospital, so I tried to count my blessings.

My salary was reinstated later in the spring, and the house-hunt resumed. I unsuccessfully made several offers on houses that were aligned with my vision. By June, I was exhausted from the bidding wars and thinking that maybe home-buying just wasn't in the cards for the time being.

Then I saw this house... on the exact street my dad and I drove through when I first arrived in St. Louis two decades ago. "I'm going to live here someday," I declared back then. My dad scoffed and told me to stop dreaming of unrealistic things. "People like us don't live in places like this." I pressed my face to the window stubbornly and thought to myself, "Someday I will live here."

Right away, I knew the house would be mine because 1) it was absolutely NOT what I wanted, 2) it was not in the greatest condition and would be a hassle to fix up, and 2) that is how (my) life works. So... I bought the house $11,000 below-market, got the sellers to pay all my closing costs, and they gave me another $5200 after inspections. The entire home-buying process went smoother than I expected, and on July 27th, the house was mine (without a hassle).

That afternoon, I unlocked the door to the house and walked inside. The weather was beautiful that day -- not too hot, with just a gentle breeze outside. It was perfectly quiet inside as I took it all in. I now understand why, in House of Cards, Claire Underwood told Frank to go into the Oval Office by himself and savor the moment after he became President. Obviously, to most people, buying a home is not an extraordinary thing, and certainly cannot be compared to winning the presidency (hah!). However, for me personally, given the circumstances I come from and how I started, it was sort of an "impossible goal." I sat down quietly on the stairs and thought, "I did it. I finally did it."

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