I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so thinking about buying a house is not so much a common thing. Why? The housing prices in this area are actually the most expensive in the country. When I found out that Silicon Valley was more than Beverly Hills, that really surprised me.

I've always wanted to buy a house and has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I want to have a family, and being married to my best friend is the first step. In my vision, I would like to purchase something that I worked hard for; something that I can have that will keep my family safe and secure. Since the area I live in (East Bay) is much cheaper than living in San Francisco (I'm talking by the millions), I've decided to push forward and apply for a home loan. The area where I currently am, you can buy a nice house for $400,000, which includes a yard, 4-5 bedrooms, 2-3 bathrooms, and if you're lucky, even a pool. This in San Francisco would go for $2-3 million minimum. Yes, I have to commute to and from the city every day, which is approximately 40 miles or a 55 minute train ride. Not bad - I'm able to listen to music or even work on the train if I have to.

After submitting my loan application, I waited a day or two, which the process consisted of basically submitting bank statements, 401k statements, pay stubs, tax returns, proof of employment, etc, plus a fee for a full credit check. Since I have excellent credit, the application was approved and I not have the ability to put an offer on a house. I'm not trying to rush purchasing a house, by any means. I am going to take my time finding the perfect house, since I will be living in it with my family for many years.

This weekend, we went on an adventure with a realtor to roughly 6-7 houses. Not only was this my first time doing this, but it definitely gave me an idea what to expect for houses in this area. Most of them were quite amazing, but the backyard was minimal. Yes, when it comes to the backyard, I am a little picky. There has to be some space, a place for my kids to play and run around, not just a small concrete slab to place a BBQ. Perhaps when I retire, all I need is a concrete slab in my backyard. :) I'm all about landscaping; green grass, trees, plants, pretty walkways, even a nice fire pit, none of which were seen at the houses I saw. Some had potential, but would take a lot of work (which is fine) to get the yard to a state I was comfortable with. In a few more weeks, we will go look at more houses to see if they are what we are looking for. My goal is to have a house by December.

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Joseph Ziegler

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