Buying a Condo is Nothing like Climbing Mountains

On March 15th, my girlfriend Courtney and I bought a Condo! It’s a huge step in our lives, finally having a permanent home right here in the mountains of Park City. And as it turns out, buying a condo in a mountain town is nothing like climbing mountains. Seems obvious, right? But when my life has been centered around adventures in the mountains for so many years, it was weird to have all my attention on something completely different.

Buying a condo, for us, happened shockingly fast. Sometime, last November, Court and I realized it only made sense to look into buying a place of our own versus renting. We finally found a place we want to stay, and a place we loved. But as we started to look on Zillow (coincidentally right during peak ski season), and realized how competitive the market here was. Condo units, within our price range, would pop up on Zillow in the morning and be listed as pending sale by noon. We couldn’t believe it!  

So after putting in a few other offers that fell flat on their face, we got our break. I woke up to an email notification from our realtor saying this unit was for sale, 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, at an incredible price for Park City! I frantically texted our realtor at 6am saying we wanted to see the place as soon as possible. 4 hours later, we walked through the place, and 15 minutes after that, we put our offer in. The next morning, anxiously waiting for a phone call or text from our realtor with any news, we finally heard the news! We got the place, and we still don’t know how we beat out the other offers! Maybe it was the “love letter” we wrote, or maybe it was that we met the homeowner during our walkthrough, or maybe it was luck; but it definitely wasn’t our offer price.

Now that we are finally homeowners, the hard work was only just beginning. My focus had shifted heavily from how much vert could I get after work skiing or touring, but to how much could we get done painting today and what’s next on the to do list. Weekends were replaced from the normal big hikes and adventures, with endless days painting and moving boxes. And as it turns out, all my experience through all my adventures had barely prepared me for what was to come over the next month. The condo we had just bought was fully functional, but nothing had been updated since it was built in the early 80s. The bathrooms needed to be nearly gutted, and they gave us a little surprise by not removing any of their furniture/decorations/dishes/etc before they moved out. For something that was move-in ready, it was far from it.

Even though we could now see the mountains from our windows, we weren’t in them. Every day was the same for us, wakeup, work, maybe exercise, and then head right to the condo to work on it. For 6 weeks straight, we worked on the place. We put our heads down, and tackled one task at a time. We had to be efficient about what we brought over and what tools we need each night, since the space was limited between all the painting, and also all the furniture still being in there from the previous owners. Slowly but surely, it did feel like days in the mountains. What seemed like an impossible task from the base, slowly became more and more realistic. Not to mention, we were pretty much living off chicken nuggets each night because they were the easiest to cook.

The two major things the mountains taught me that applied here were to have patience and that there is an infinite amount of things to learn. Just like in 2014, before I had ever stepped foot into the mountains, I had a lot to learn. And as quickly as I wanted to learn everything, it takes time and experience. Experience, as it turns out, is something you get right after you need it. Simultaneously watching the How-To video on YouTube while I tried my best to install all new lighting fixtures without breaking anything or electrocuting myself in the process. And the patience to deal with three separate bathroom vanities that we ordered. That, as you could imagine, was one of the more frustrating things that happened throughout the process.

And drywall, thankfully wasn’t plaster, but the art of drilling into walls. Both a science and art. Figuring out which drywall anchor to use, which screws would support the weight, which screws would be long enough, and of course will it be level in the end. All of which requires hyper focus when in the moment, keeping track of dimensions and distances, wishing you had more hands to hold things with. It all became eerily similar to climbing in ways. Will it hold, will the piece rip out of the wall when I load it, wishing you had more places to put things, you know what I’m talking about.

As of this past weekend, April 28th, our condo is officially a home. No more boxes piled up all over the rooms, no more leaking showers, no more hideous light fixtures, and lastly no more chicken nugget dinners. Finally, we’re finished with our “phase 1” work on the place and couldn’t be more stoked. Of course, just like the mountains, once you become a homeowner, the fun never ends and there’s always more to do. So here’s to the first mountain, may the rest of the mountains be equally as trying and testing.

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