This was another tough one. I’ve done a lot of great things in my life. I’m proud of my achievements, my accomplishments, and where I am today. I run three companies, I have the highest level of education in my family, and I worked my ass off for all of it. None of it was handed to me. I’m also proud to have come as far as I have for someone my age…and as a woman.

But there is one thing that I’ve done in my life that takes the cake: the day I bought my house.

But my house isn’t just any house to me. It was where my father and my uncle grew up. Where my grandparents lived. Where my brother and I grew up. Where my little cousins grew up. My home is full of three generations of family memories, and I’m proud to be able to keep it a GNIADEK home.

My grandmother passed away in December 2012, two weeks before Christmas. Her death was expected. She had been failing for quite some time, and had been living in my aunt and uncle’s care for a year and a half before she finally passed. But like any death, it’s still hard—expected or not. After her passing, my father and my uncle inherited her house, 50/50.

Home Sweet Home

Right before the first of the year, my father and my uncle reached out to me and asked me if I was interested in buying my grandmother’s house. My initial thought was, “Me? Buy a house? There’s NO way I can handle that…” I was 27, single, alone, and terrified…and I only had one and a quarter incomes. And while my debt wasn’t substantial at that time, it was still debt…and I feared it would count against me.

But after three months of thinking and sleepless nights, I decided to go for it. I sat down with a broker for four hours and we went through all my numbers. My income, my debt, and the sale price of the house. And by some miracle, the numbers worked.

Before I left my broker’s office that afternoon, she told me, “You know, I deal with a lot of families, and I work with a bunch of different people who want to buy homes every day. And I can tell you that your numbers are really good for someone your age. Buying this home is a good opportunity for you, and not for nothing, I think you should do it.”

So what the hell. I filed the paperwork, I signed my name all 500 times, and sent off my paperwork. The worst they could do was say no.

Then, my broker called me one afternoon in late April, four years ago this week, and told me my loan was approved.

“Congratulations, Julie, you’re a homeowner!”

My Happily Ever After

Most people find their first job, meet that special someone, fall in love, get married, buy a house, and have kids. Happily Ever After. But I’ve always done things backwards. I found a job, then bought a house, and maybe I’ll get married and have kids. I know there is no “right” way to do things in life anymore, but so far this has been my Happily Ever After. For now I’ll just sit in my castle, on top of the world, and wait for a king.

A House is Just a House. I Have a Home.

Many people go out and spend half a million dollars on a mansion, and that mansion looks exactly like every other house in the neighborhood. I’ve always wanted a home that was unique, rich with character and history. I always wanted to make my home mine, without being trendy, tacky or materialistic.

I don’t need to have the latest and greatest thing. I don’t need to have everything brand new. I don’t need the biggest house on the block. I’m not a “look at me” kind of person, and I never will be. I’ve always lived simply, and have been happy with and grateful for what I have.

Of course buying a home is a proud moment in any individual’s or couple’s life, but for me? Being able to keep my family’s home, where I grew up and where I might raise my own family some day was by far my proudest moment.

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