is something I said to myself often, since I was in my early 20’s. I always figured that living in California would be tough to purchase a home. So I repeated, “RENTERS FOR LIFE!” to myself, to not get my hopes up.



 —> —>  Anyone else do that?  <— <—
Set your own bar low, so you don’t get disappointed?



Fast-forward to today. 2018 has me saying something different this year. I am now confidently say to myself,



How did things change for me from forever renter to first time home buyer?!
Let’s begin with how it all began as #TeamRentersForLife.
Brett & I have been together for 5 years,
We have rented 4 apartments together.
All in Los Angeles.


Just to give you perspective,
here is the history of our monthly rent:



$1,075 per month
300 sq ft || studio

Our tiny cottage in Hollywood Hills
The smallest property, but actually my favorite!
…when it was just two of us…



$1,350 per month
650 sq ft || 1 bedroom



$1,650 per month
700 sq ft || 1 bedroom



$2,000 per month
700 sq ft || 1 bedroom


Our rent has increased about $300 – $400 per year. And now here we are, getting ready to increase our rent even more because we felt it was time for our family of three to finally live in a 2 bedroom apartment. REAL TALK: This mom + dad miss their own private oasis…where we can eat Doritos in bed and watch Netflix, while Tenley is sleeping.


What does the renting market look like now
for a 2 bedroom in LA?



We have found apartments that are starting at $2,400 per month.
Not too bad, we thought. Since our rent was already increasing at that rate every year. But then we quickly witnessed that the ones that started at $2,400 were COMPETITIVE. We are talking about letter of recommendations from previous landlords, and stellar letters to your prospective landlord. Why? Because you are competing with 5 other renters…like what?!


With the high prices and competitive market here, not only for buyers, but also for renters…YOU BETTER BELIEVE I looked at the real estate market in Brett’s home state of Minnesota…and boy, you get more bang for your buck!


Okay, yes…

We would miss the beach.
We would miss the mountains.
We would really miss waking up to
sunshine everyday.
Plus, this was kind of out
of the question, because

1) Brett’s career is in entertainment.
2) It’s near impossible to move back a Minnesotan after living in California.


Back to the drawing board.


AKA: back to all of my realtor type apps. I have a confession. I have 5 realtor type apps:
Realtor, Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, Apartment

I would check my phone and laptop constantly for apartments. Then one day…good ol’ Facebook decides to be “creepy” again (but this time, in the best way possible!) You know how Facebook just somehow knows what you’ve been searching for?
Ahem* always “reminding” me to purchase things I’ve been looking at from Nordstrom.com


Well, this time Facebook,
I applaud you.
You introduced me to

Open Listings!


What caught my eye about OL?

The obvious fact that you get a

How does that not catch your attention right?!
Taylor Swift, I am as surprised as you!


I honestly admit, I was pretty skeptical, because I have never heard of anything like this before. Yes, I am 28 years old, but I immediately went to my ride or dies. (aka: my parents) They said it all sounded amazing, but wanted to ask around, especially to their realtor friends. Me, being a typical millennial, I just had to know NOW!

Ergo, I contacted Open Listings on their website.
Ergo, this millennial was pleasantly surprised because:


1) One of their representatives responded within 15 minutes.

My parents, two days later, reported that their realtor friends said
Open Listings is the real deal.


But wait…

This sounds cool and all…but we can only afford to rent. So why are we happy dancing?


Guess who broke the news to us that
we could potentially own our first home?



Not just because of their commission refund. Although, that is an AMAZING plus, (and we’ll gladly take it!) But because of them breaking down  what our monthly mortgage would be
For every scenario. For every price range.

We found that a home for $400,000 was our ideal price.

We planned on putting down a 5% down payment. This is because this was the money we saved for our wedding that we recently cancelled, and decided to elope instead. More info in my latest YouTube video:




Here is what our monthly payment would typically look like for a $409,000 home:


ATTENTION: #TeamRentForLife
We may be switching teams…

 With this data from Open Listings, it all comes down to an extra $450 a month to own our own place. But is it worth it to even own your own place?


This all depends on the comps around your area. Fortunately, in Southern California, homes are typically going up! Many California residents view purchasing homes as an investment due to their resale value. For example, in three years, my parents’ home in Orange County was sold for over $400K from their purchase price. Location is truly key.


How did I know about searching for comps?
How did I know about first time home buying assistance programs?
How did I know to speak to various venders?


I would like to take all the credit, but it was all the advice and knowledge I received from one of Open Listing’s Buyer Experience Specialists. (Shoutout to Elizabeth! You are awesome!)
She helped us switched teams and now we are

Team #BuyItWithOL

(because, let’s be real…I am not going to deny commission refund!)


Bye, Bye renting!

We are ready to purchase our first family home. Thank you Open Listings for answering our numerous questions and providing us with such great tips and advice on this first time home buying journey! I got to say, our relationship with Open Listings just hit it right off.

♡ It was literally love at first site. ♡
(pun DEFINITELY intended!)


Also, thank you Mark Zuckerberg and his gang at Facebook for the introduction. Keep “creeping on” and showing me related ads! Maybe pause on the ones where I am looking at the new spring line for Kate Spade handbags, BECAUSE I now need to save money for a home!


Stay tuned for more about our home buying journey!

We feel like we are really #adulting now.



[[ NOTE ]]
I debated about whether I should document this journey of buying a home,
but after two weeks in this process…I felt that it was something to share.
Mainly because, I WAS CLUELUESS and am still learning a lot!
As “happy” as I am to be taking this next step, there is a lot that goes into this process! I hope sharing this journey will help you in your home buying process or provide some perspective. Or maybe, just pure entertainment for you. Whatever tickles your fancy.

*  *  *  *  *  *

This post is in partnership with Open Listings. All opinions expressed are my own.
I only recommend services and products that I truly believe in.

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  1. That is so exciting! I’d never heard of open listings but we may be buying a home in the near future so it sounds like the place to go!!!

  2. Congratulations!! Buying a home is a huge step and an investment in your own future! You’re going to be SO proud you did it!!