Our First Place!
For four years, Casey and I haven't rented or owned a home, nor have I owned a car. It doesn't make sense to the majority of those in our industry as we're on the road living in hotels for about 300 days of the year.
BUT, today one of those changed...
We are over the moon to announce that we are officially
MOVING BACK TO COLORADO,
MOVING BACK TO COLORADO,
We have purchased our first [vacation] place! I hinted at it in a previous post, but I'm quite superstitious (as is Casey) so we didn't want to jinx it until we had the keys in our hands.
Since leaving Denver in February 2011, we have always told our friends/family that we would eventually move back and settle down in Colorful Colorado. It was just a matter of where and when.
I know the first question we'll receive is: "Does this mean you're getting off the road?"
The answer is "No."
We are about to enter our fifth year of traveling as a couple in the experiential marketing world and after four years we started making comments to each other that we wished we had a place to call "home." However, we weren't ready to leave the road just yet.
This year we were planning on taking a trip to New Zealand and Australia either in December or January until Casey threw out the idea: "Why don't we just get a place in Winter Park instead?"
Traveling has always been of most importance to me, and something that I never want to stop, but when Casey blurted out his idea it was like music to my ears. I waffled afterwards when I thought about the committment (not only financially but to each other - I mean this is legally binding for life, it's practically marriage!*), potential risks and responsibility but then I remembered that this has always been a dream of mine...of Casey's...of ours. So yes, Case - not only do I love your idea, but it's brilliant. To have a landing pad for us to go to in between tours, an investment property to rent out while we're on the road and a "home" in our favorite place in the country? It became a (albeit stressful/scary) no brainer.
So, we began looking. For the last few months of the year we scrolled through the Realtor and Zillow apps to narrow down potential places and locations. We're fans of HGTV and love shows like My First Place or House Hunters but the drama that plays out on those shows was not what we experienced in real life. Case and I are pretty laid back and we balance each other out perfectly. We work, we travel, we share a hotel room, we are literally together 24/7 and perhaps that's what made it such a breeze. We already knew the location and exactly where we wanted to live within Winter Park and we finally targeted one specific property.
Once I returned from Sacramento to run CIM, we bolted to Colorado where we had a showing set up. Although we had our target (which we almost didn't get to see) we still had two more properties to view afterward just in case. Without even speaking, once we walked into the first property, the one we had been eyeing, we both knew it was it. This was "the one."
There was no bickering about counter tops, open floor plans, or any of The 16 Most Annoying Things People on "House Hunters" Say.
Once we had walked through the other two properties, we went back to the first to confirm what we were already thinking...we want to make an offer.
After grabbing lunch nearby and having one more discussion with each other, we went back to the real estate office to get started on the paperwork.
Now on TV, you usually see buyers and sellers going back forth with counter offers or you see buyers nearly meltdown as they compete with other offers. We were fortunate that this was probably the easiest process we could have ever imagined. We put in an offer on December 11, 2014 with a clause that the seller must respond by December 12, by 5 p.m.
Well, by mid-afternoon on December 12, our offer was accepted.
We were under contract.
Casey and I are used to living in a hotel room, together. We have come to learn that really that's all the space we need. Especially when we spend the majority of our time outside. Not to mention, touring has taught us how materialistic our country can be at times and how many "things" people tend to accumulate (I used to be one of them). But all you really need in life can fit into a suitcase, and that's what we try to live by.
Let me be clear, this property will not be our "forever home," (although I could live here for awhile) and we still want to have money to invest in one. So, we identified a cozy (keyword for: tiny) 1 bedroom/1 bathroom condo that fit us in a great location where we and our renters** can walk to nearby bars/restaurants, hop on the resort shuttle just outside of our building and have easy access to the Fraser River Trail (my favorite place to run in WP). We chose location over square footage and we chose a 1 bedroom over a 2 bedroom for the obvious - cost. We wanted a vacation home that at the end of the day carried the least amount of risk.
With all that said, we are head over heels in love. We currently have a pull out sofa, so the place still sleeps four (friends, you're all welcome to visit!) and it's plenty of space for just the two of us.
And, we always had this special swing in Winter Park that overlooked the Fraser River and now it's part of our complex's front yard. Pinch me.
Winter Park has held a very special place in our hearts as individuals, as a couple and continues to be a memorable place for our families as well.
Casey grew up skiing in Winter Park as his late grandfather and grandmother have owned a condo since the 70s in the same area as ours (hence why we chose that location). Casey's grandpa was very athletic and loved to ski. He would even weave his way through the snow backwards filming the kids/grandkids tackling the mountain. Case even posted one of these videos on his Instagram awhile back featuring him as a child decked out in all neon ski gear circa 1991.
He loves this mountain.
It's in his genes.
When I left Chicago for my job in Denver, I had actually never been to Colorado until my employer flew me out for an interview. I had specifically targeted Mile High and had only applied to jobs there. I did a ton of research on the area, memorized the neighborhoods and had a marketing plan ready to present to give me the best chance at landing the job. And that, I luckily did. Thanks, Tim!
When we moved out do Denver together in 2009, Casey took me out to Winter Park and it was one of my first experiences in the mountains (my how far we've come in our travels). I can't even begin to describe the feeling that came over me. The mountains felt like home.
My aunt used to live in Colorado (so did my mom for a short period of time) and she always described it as "God's Country."
Whether you're a part of an organized religion or not, you don't have to be spiritual to be overwhelmed by the beauty and the feeling that floods you when you realize just how tiny and minute you are in this world. In that moment, I knew she was exactly right. This IS God's Country and I've never felt closer to my father or to a higher being than when I'm in the mountains. The peaks, the snow caps, the endless views - Mother Nature's finest work will always serve as my place of worship.
Casey taught me to ski in Winter Park that year. We've celebrated Christmases, the New Year, and birthdays in our favorite town.
And it's all rather comical because I didn't grow up wearing dresses or dreaming about a wedding. I've never skimmed through bridal magazines or pinned on Pinterest of what my future wedding may be like. A prince charming was always involved, but never a celebration.
Instead, I grew up wearing cowboy boots...everywhere.
I wore my oversized boots so much as a little girl and professed to anyone willing to listen that someday I would live on a ranch with horses out West. Even the local Wal-Mart knew me as the "little girl that always wore the cowboy boots."
My dad grew up in a farming family and at one point I believe he wanted to be one himself but the family property was sold to another brother instead. He loved horses, had his own pair of cowboy boots, read nothing but western novels (Louis L'Amour), was a fan of John Wayne and had the best belt buckle collection I've ever seen (and have since inherited). My dad loved the outdoors and spent literally almost every single day out there. Instead of sitting inside the house and watching TV, he was always outside, with his buddies, sitting in a line of chairs in the front yard, listening to country music on the radio or working on the yard. I'll never forget when he got sick how he'd stare out our bay window longing to be outside.
That was his happy place.
Something I feel blessed to have inherited from him.
So although I may not have a ranch, or horses (ha!), I am turning a life long vision into a reality.
I am purchasing a property with the man of my dreams...in OUR happy place.
*If you're new to the blog and read about my fear regarding marriage, it has nothing to do with Casey but more so to do with the elaborate and albeit pricey celebration. I've been to many beautiful weddings, so I'm not knocking them...it's just not right for me. To us, we have long been married in our hearts and that's all that matters. We've been through hardship, illness, ups and downs and there's no piece of paper that could confirm the amount of feelings we have for one another. We are in this for the long haul and investing in real estate over a wedding has been a priority to us from the beginning. We feel like we've found this great loophole, but we often have to explain ourselves time and time again (especially during the holidays) why we're not married. When you take the road less traveled or go against the grain, people try to remind you why you should go the other way. Our jobs, the way we live life is unconventional, so why stop now? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Hopefully this little explanation will
**We will be renting out our place to friends and family members. Ideally, we would like to offer our friends and friends-of-friends a great rate in order to attract more people we trust versus opening it up to random strangers. If you are interested in learning more about the property or potentially renting it out, feel free to message us and we'll get back to you with more information once we figure out exactly how we're going to handle renting it (property management vs. other options). We hope many of our friends and family members will utilize the space and find Winter Park as special as we do.
***Lastly, this would have never been possible had my brother not introduced us to this industry and had we not taken the risk of quitting our jobs in Colorado and pursuing our current lifestyle/career. If you're reading this, don't give up on your dreams. If you want something, get after it! YOU are the captain of your ship. You only have ONE life - face your fears, take risks, live every day to the fullest and do what makes YOU happy!
WAS BUYING YOUR FIRST PLACE STRESSFUL?
WHERE'S YOUR "HAPPY PLACE?"