I've looked at every house for sale in our price range, in every city that might be acceptable to live in and...nothing. UGH. I'm getting frustrated. I don't want to settle.
I thought I had found THE HOUSE but then we saw the Seller's Disclosure and it not only had major foundation issues that had yet to be repaired, but it was also suffering from a termite infestation.
I take Chris to the House We Eventually Buy for him to see. It's my second time there. Even though I have serious misgivings about the kitchen, I did like it and I want his thoughts. He likes it all right but he's not in love.
The house we see immediately afterward catches our attention though and we get distracted. We're really stupid and we looked at another house out of our price range because I was feeling desperate. Of course, I fall deeply in love with this home.
I love the style of it, I love the neighborhood and I die when I see the sparkly pool and spa with tons of yard to spare. What I don't love is the apples and pear wallpaper in the kitchen, the bathrooms with grody stained carpet and the odd 90's-era built-ins that seem to be around every corner. The office is hunter green with golf wallpaper the dining room suffers from Laura Ashley-esque wallpaper vomit and...this house is stuck in 1990. Maybe 1985.
Basically, I let myself fall in love with the front yard and back yard and talk myself into thinking that eventually I'll like the part in the middle where we'd have to live.
I can tell from the write-up that these people think they have The Most Amazing House Ever.
It's full of lines like, "blah-blah quality shows Pride." And, yes, they did capitalize it like that. They also included a photo of a "Yard of the Month" sign in their yard with the caption, "Pride in Ownership." They seem very...full of pride.
So, it's sort of clear that they're snobby and they think apples and pears still look great in the kitchen on wallpaper. They don't think that the built-in's designed for a monster TV from the 80's are a problem for today's buyer.
We submit a low offer to House #3. At this point I am totally grasping at straws, hoping I can find something I like for the price I want. I'm hoping that we'll hit on someone desperate to sell because of a divorce or a job transfer.
They come back with a figure not at all close to our number. In fact, it's only $2,000 below list price, which is very telling; they're not interested in negotiating. They really want list price. They also send a paragraph of rationale that is full of oddly capitalized items, misspelled words and incomplete sentences. It only serves to cement my opinion that most real estate agents are morons. It reads, verbatim,
"...the owner's understand some things need to be updated but have taken that into account on pricing their home. The location of the nieghborhood is great, Pool and Landscaping and the Oversized Lot.
The wood and Hardyplank on the exterior of the home are in excellant shape because of Home Owner Maintenance.They just replaced their Hot Water Heaters in the last 45 days and have replaced fence and roof in the last 2 years.
(I'd like to point out that the roof part is no big deal, as a hail storm came through the area two years ago and EVERYONE got a free new roof from their homeowner's insurance, so I find it hilarious that they're touting this as a unique benefit. Every home in TWO COUNTIES got a new roof.)
The home has been extremely well maintained as she is an emplyee for David Weekley Homes.
(Oh wait, HERE IT IS. She's an employee and they're the original owners so they probably got a song for the house and they obvs didn't upgrade a damn thing. THANKS, I UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY NOW.)
The activity on showings has been excellant also."
So, pretty clear they don't actually want to sell their house unless they can make gobs of cash. (As of this writing, it's still for sale and not yet under contract, so clearly we weren't too off base in our evaluation.)
This is also where I get frustrated with people who are not serious sellers. Usually it's not-serious buyers who get all the flak, but a seller who is just fishing is almost worse. They make you think their house is for sale, but it's really not.
Adios, House #3 with the dreamy pool and terrible wallpaper.
We go back to the House We End Up Buying. We like it. But we're so goshdarn ambivalent for some reason. We think it's because it doesn't have a pool and we really wanted a pool. We like the rest of it....except I really dislike the kitchen. It has the right things on paper (granite countertops, hardwood floors, lots of cabinets) but they're just not the style and color that I want and it's clear that it's been sort of a quick, DIY upgrade job on everything. I feel like I'm paying for an "upgraded" kitchen that I just want to gut and start over on. That hardly seems fair.
We discuss this a lot. Chris thinks the kitchen is nice. I think it sucks. Back and forth we go. Over and over and over again.
In retrospect, and now that I live here, this kitchen IS nice. Chris is right. But compared to all of the crazy amazing kitchens I had been looking at, that maybe had OTHER problems in the house that made them un-buyable, this kitchen isn't as nice.
I lose sight of the goal - WHOLE PACKAGE. I can't pick and choose rooms from a bunch of houses and put them together. I like this house, this is the kitchen it has, can I live with it? Can I fix the things I don't like? Am I willing to PAY for that later, but live with it for now? Is this the best thing available, in our price range, in a place we are willing to live?
After a lot of thought we decide that yes, yes we can and yes it is, YES YES YES and let's draw up an offer so we don't have to find House #5. Plus, we hear that the agent is expecting another offer today and there's nothing like feeling you're about to lose a house you've spent 2 months looking for to light a fire under your ass. (She probably made the whole thing up.)
This house is really awesome and it's in our price range. We submit an offer. They accept it that night.
We breathe a sigh of relief because we think we just bought our new house. WE WILL NOT BE HOMELESS.