Mahwish Ahmed grew up in the suburbs of Florida in a tropical climate. While growing up, she enjoyed the easy access to the beach and summer weather all year round. However, she did not like the hurricanes and the daily thunderstorms and rain. When she moved to the North East Coast, she enjoyed experiencing all four seasons. She found the homes to be very different than Florida in that the homes were smaller, compact, designed and constructed differently. When she moved to the west coast in the Laguna, Irvine, Newport area, she found the weather and cities to be modern, clean but busy. However, the real estate is expensive and in some areas beyond affordable.

Mahwish likes modern architecture, stylish and contemporary interior design and furniture in comparison to traditional exterior and interior. Her dream house would be 5 bedroom house, 2 stories with a detached guest house, a backyard, circular driveway and a 3 car garage. She would prefer a bed and bath on the first floor and the additional 4 bedrooms on the second floor and a loft. She wants an open floor plan with high ceilings and large windows.

In what city/state was your first house located and approximately what year did you buy it?

My first home was located in the suburbs of southern part of Florida and occupied it in 2003.

What was your living situation prior to buying your first house? Where/with whom/etc?

Although I did not buy my first house in 2000, I lived in an apartment with my family.

What motivated you to purchase your first house?

Since I have not bought my house, I would say my motivation to buy my house in the future would be to create roots and start a family. Also, the other motivation would be find a property as an appreciating investment for the family.

How did you go about getting the money together to buy it?

For my first house, most of the down payment money would come from my savings over the year. I would start saving in a savings account for a down payment. I would gladly take any extra money from family as a gift.

When you purchased, were you thinking of it as an investment or as a place to start a family? Please elaborate.

I would say both. I would want the first house to be a good investment buy so it can be sold for a profit to invest for another house, hopefully and upgrade.

What are 3 things you liked most about the house?

I will talk about the house I grew up in and what I liked about them. The first house I grew up in, had high ceilings and lots of windows with ample sunlight and surrounding the house was a golf course. Driving through the gold course after a long day of work and watching people play golf was very refreshing and relaxing. I loved that about the house.

Additionally, the neighborhood was safe and close to various shopping centers, malls, hospitals, and major highways. It was a very convenient location in the heart of the city. The third thing I liked about the house was that my friends lived closer which made it easy to make spontaneous plans and hangout.

After we moved out of the house described above, we moved into another house that had 2 stories. What I liked about this house was again the location of the house. It was close to two malls, a hospital, many big shopping centers, and less than a mile away from major highways.

Was there anything you didn’t like about it?

Both houses were located off a very busy street and one of the main streets of the city. With 5 to 10 miles, there is a major hospital, 2 malls, major shopping complexes, grocery stores, restaurants, car showrooms, furniture stores, gyms, and access to major highways. During rush hours it took 10-15 minutes driving 3 to 4 miles. We had to plan errands during calmer hours or after rush hours and had to leave the house extra early during rush hours.

Did you make any improvements or major renovations to the house?

In the first house which was a relatively new home, I would replace the tiles to hardwood floors and remove the wall between two bedrooms to make a big room as the room size was smaller than some of the older homes. I would also expand the back yard as it was smaller.

In the second house, I would say the same: expand the backyard and floor to be hardwood floors.

Please share 1-2 of your fondest/funniest memories from living there.

I do remember that during a hurricane, our family was situated in the middle of the second floor of the house away from the windows and doors and we shared stories and talked about the happy times. Whenever we were able to get a cell phone connection or a landline connection, we attempted to connect to family and friends in the state to see how they were doing. After hurricane passed by our area, we all began cleanup not only in our home but helped out neighbors as there was damage to trees, cars and roofs. Our neighbors did the same. We were out of power during the hurricane and afterwards for more than 24 hours. Our friends came to check up on us and because we couldn’t watch TV or have internet connection, we played games and had a sleepover at the friend’s house who had power.

The next day, when we had power, our extended family came to stay with us for several days as they did not have power at their house. During those days, we had big family meals at our house and family bonding time. It also was a good time to connect with neighbors and volunteer to help re-build the community in a difficult time.
The weeks following the hurricane landfall taught me that life is too short and to enjoy each day to the fullest and appreciate the blessings in life.

Do you still live there or did you sell it or renting it?

No, I don’t live there since I have relocated to another state.