My first home.

By
Title Insurance with First American Title

I so relate to young first time homebuyers. It’s a big step. I was there once upon a 30 years ago and a late starter to boot by many standards at 36 years old.

I learned a lot then and over the years like:

1. Never buy a corner lot that sits below the street.

2. Always keep up with repairs because they will compound themselves.

3. Pick your own real estate broker to represent you. Not one you don’t know but happens to be a friend of a friend who knows your family and the seller.

4. Check your city master zoning plan and the comprehensive future vision of the city plan. Peer into the future as best you can and review the actual documentation so you can figure out where your neighborhood fits into the community grand scheme of things.

5. Don’t FSBO the sale or purchase of your home. Find the right broker, it’s very very worth it!

 

I was commuting 27 miles (one way) from Federal Way to work in 1984 when I started at Northwestern Title in downtown Seattle at 3rd and Cherry. A lot of people did it then, even more do it now, but for me it was insanity by car or bus. We soon started looking for a place closer to town.

Pam and I (my wife then and mother to 3 of my 4 wonderful kids) looked all over the area for a possible place to live. Many we really liked but they were out of our price range. Then this one came up and as it turned out it was in my old neighborhood, Earlington in Renton.

It was the totally classic emotional purchase. I knew Matt Dragin, the owner, from childhood. He was one of the old guys in the neighborhood. I loved his home and remember when it was built. My Grandpa George, a good friend of Matt, helped him design and build it.

In keeping with their European immigrant ways it was a totally wonderful cozy functional home, not pretentious or fancy for its own sake. I’ve wished so many times over the years I could recreate it.

My first home purchase in Renton WA.

We had a wonderful daylight basement. There was a door to the fruit cellar under the front porch. A great cool underground place to store your garden's harvest, be it dried, canned, or otherwise. You won’t find that in new construction these days, let alone basements which are now very rare in new homes.

I loved the old world craftsmanship and the great care that was taken to position windows and doors to accommodate sunlight, drafts, breezes, the terrain, and the seasonal weather patterns like those long dark rainy damp days of winter and the long hot one’s of summer. We didn’t have air conditioning, we didn’t need it. We’d escape to the basement on those hot days of summer for a very comfortable cool. It was so very ‘green’ before the term was born.

We had a yard full of fruit trees, Italian plums, apples, pears, grapes, and a couple of herb gardens. One of them was conveniently just outside the back basement door and I fondly remember, especially on summer weekends, sending the kids downstairs to pick me some fresh chives, a few green onions, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and grab a yellow onion or two and some garlic from the fruit cellar. We’re having spaghetti tonight and dad’s making fresh homemade sauce from scratch with a salad and garlic bread!

Dear old Matt passed in 1979 and we purchased the home from his family in 1986. Over those late 80’s and early 90’s the real estate market went totally bonkers here in the Pacific Northwest and everything real estate went up in value every month for several years. Then, times changed and so did the neighborhood. It was time for our young family to be somewhere different and we moved to Newcastle.

I’ll always remember this place with great fondness and gratitude. So much of the wonderful my kids turned out to be was originally forged here, in this first home. I wish and hope that everyone who buys their first home creates so many wonderful memories.

Posted by

René Fabre

"Where there's conversation, there's opportunity."

Please Note - The views expressed herein reflect only the individual’s personal views and are not the views of the author’s employer.

The Blackberry Chronicles, a blog by Rene Fabre and his travels around the Greater Pacific Northwest and beyond. Connect w/ Rene Fabre on Google+. Rene Fabre on Twitter. Rene Fabre writes reviews on Yelp. Rene Fabre on Linkedin.com The Audiorium YouTube Channel by Rene Fabre. Facebook.com/renefabre Rene Fabre loves digital photography and here are his shares on Flickr. Rene Fabre is a musician and composer and shares some of his orginal music and recordings on Soundcloud. Rene Fabre shares his interests on Pinterest.

Comments (28)

Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

So true William Feela, thanks! And for a guy who really had no skills, I developed several along the way. :O)

 

Jun 13, 2015 04:16 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Well said William Johnson and a few good blessings really really help! And, me too, no steep driveways! :O) Thanks!   

Jun 13, 2015 04:20 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Will Johnson ...  Kinda like going to school! Lesson's every day!

Jun 13, 2015 04:21 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat ... thanks! The street was quiet and being below it wasn't really an issue. Then the area got rezoned multi-family and several apartments and condos were built. Cars would speed around the corner and after the 2nd time one ended up in our yard, it was time to go....

Jun 13, 2015 04:24 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Thanks Kat Palmiotti , I really did love it. Wish I could have picked it up and moved it somewhere. It was special to live in a home that our grandpa and our good neighbor and friend built.

Jun 13, 2015 04:28 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Thanks Nina Hollander ... True, those 'first' things in life we carry with us forever.

Jun 13, 2015 04:29 AM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Rene - Nice post - it got me thinking about my first house, a very charming white brick Cape Cod that had a lot of unique features. $27,000 seemed like a lot of money back then - the last time it sold, it was in the mid-$500's.

Jun 13, 2015 07:10 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Amazing how things change (prices over the years) Dick Greenberg ... This one is worth about 6 times more than what I paid for it back in 86.

Jun 13, 2015 07:20 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Rene, what an awesome and inspirational post, I think you inspired me to write about my parent's first home:)) and possibly my own first home:))) totally opposite experiences...Endre

Jun 13, 2015 11:54 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great advice!!! Thanks

Jun 13, 2015 11:56 AM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Rene Fabre - the memories of first 'anything' is always great. And when it comes to HOME, it multiplies! Thanks for sharing with us.

Jun 13, 2015 01:17 PM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Thanks for sharing the fond memories of your first home. I'll never forget my first home and the beautiful times spent there, and also learned what to do and not to do. Enjoyed reading your post today, Rene; also like your music on soundcloud. 

Jun 13, 2015 06:00 PM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Thanks Endre Barath, Jr. ... I wasn't ready to remember every home I've lived in, after writing this post. I was amazed at how many memories came up that I didn't realize I still remembered.

Jun 14, 2015 03:08 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Thanks Sham Reddy !

Praful Thakkar , indeed that's true! Thanks!

Thanks Pamela Seley, REALTOR® and glad you like the Soundcloud music.

Jun 14, 2015 03:10 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Rene Fabre I did like it! Very unique. 

Jun 14, 2015 03:43 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

René - I still remember my first home.  It was a condo.  In that picture I see you have a 77 Toyota Celica Hatchback.  I had one too.

Jun 14, 2015 05:12 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thanks for sharing your first home experience.

You have provided some good advice for prospective home buyers.

Jun 14, 2015 05:27 AM
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
Marketing in the Digital Age

Grant Schneider That was one of the best cars we ever had. We drove back and forth from Seattle to Oakland so many times! It had about 300k miles on it when we finally sold it to a neighbor. They were so fun to drive, I loved that 4 on the floor!

Jun 14, 2015 05:40 AM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC

Rene

Thanks for sharing about your first . . . . sounds like a very interesting journey.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jun 14, 2015 11:16 AM
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 AdrianWillanger-broker.com - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Rene, good story. I like the fact that they built the house to take advantage of its site! I can remember the market taking off in 1989. 

 

Hope your having a great summer?

Jun 17, 2015 04:56 AM