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My first tax deduction

(No, I’m not pregnant. I don’t plan on having human tax deductions any time soon!)

I bought my first home Dec. 22 and am now the proud owner of a cute little two-bedroom rowhouse in Baltimore. I put in an offer Nov. 4 and the contract was signed by all parties two days later. The weeks leading up to the settlement date were some of the most hectic weeks of my life (which is why I’ve not had the time to write this blog on a regular basis). Somehow, I managed to work long hours, win and lose some trials, go to Costa Rica and Key West (previously scheduled vacations), turn a year older, pack up my apartment and move, unpack and decorate the new house, and order new furniture just in time to have my first house guest for the long new year’s day weekend.

My good friend, fellow attorney, and real estate broker Dean Merritt had been looking at homes with me since May and was extremely patient while I was exceedingly fastidious. Then, I ran into Todd Cagwin, a bar prep course classmate at a networking event in June, who told me his family owns a mortgage company: Just like that, I added another lawyer to my home-buying team. Ironically, the seller was a lawyer as well. Suffice it to say, the settlement table was replete with legal minds. Finally, after signing and initialing 89 pages within the span of 20 minutes (maybe I should’ve read some of these documents more thoroughly?) I was handed the keys to my new abode.

I was warned by my homeowner friends that this may be a daunting project, but I don’t think anything you can say to a first-time homebuyer would prepare him/her enough.  Especially someone like me, who doesn’t know the first thing about real estate, mortgages or home improvements. Prior to this endeavor, my knowledge solely consisted of whatever I learned in property law during the first year of law school – which is vague memories of the Rule in Shelley’s Case, the Rule Against Perpetuities, and the fact that the sellers had to disclose any haunted ghostly activities in my new home. Luckily these issues did not come up during the last two months. I just hope the title company raced to the Department of Land Records to give notice of my purchase.

One of the most overwhelming tasks for this acquisition was the gathering of all sorts of documents concerning my tax returns, credit score, bank accounts, credit cards and student loans. I’m grateful for the Internet and the ability to obtain almost any important document instantly. (Where did people store these documents before computers?  In shoe boxes under the bed?)

Now that I’m all settled in, I can sit back, relax and look forward to my one and only month of not having a mortgage payment.

Oh, and one more thing: If anyone knows of a good handyman, I’m accepting applications for the job.