I thought house hunting was going to be fun like shopping for shoes, I really did. I thought we would look at a few good houses and then pick the best one for us, or at least the one with the best potential.
We’ve been renting for so long, and it’s been good for us, but the cost to rent is going up compared to the falling prices of homes for sale. Since we plan to be in this area for at least a couple of years, we think it will be wise to buy this time.
We’re looking in the fixer-upper price range. I was eager to find my home makeover “Before,” ready to look beyond wrong color choices and outdated kitchens. I paid no attention to the green carpet in the bathrooms. I knew to overlook anything that was a cosmetic issue and that everything looks better with a fresh coat of paint.
Photos of the houses in the listings were average. “They’ll look better in person,” Doug told me. “No one takes good photos of real estate.”
He was wrong; the pictures looked better. The pixelated images hid the nicotine stains plus the smell that lingered on our hair and clothes long after we left. I counted five cat carriers at one house. There was no hope for the homes with awkward floor plans and absent neighbors. I ran out of one house and headed for the truck while Doug and our realtor stood inside the house with no windows.
“I’ve never seen so much wallpaper,” the realtor commented at one point.
House hunting is like dating, but not in a fun, healthy style, more like the kind of dating that flips your feelings between hope and anxiety and leaves you waiting by the phone.
At least when I was in college I knew to date a guy for who he was instead of who he could be. (Rule #3 in dating: You can’t date his potential.) Now I’m looking for houses that need help because the worse the before picture, the better the makeover. I can’t view a kitchen without thinking about redoing the cabinets.
I need to look out for the houses that are all curb appeal and no substance.
I have a crush on one house, but when it doesn’t work out a few days later I’m daydreaming about another. I had a list of qualities that I was looking for, but I might be willing to settle.
We’re not looking for our dream house, just a good location to live for the next two or three years, so I thought I would be a properly disengaged buyer. I can’t believe the grip this house hunt holds over my heart and concentration.
House hunting is like going on 50 bad dates: it can make you feel a little desperate.
We did see an old, worn-out house that I’m interested in. It was orange and brown. I hope it works out; I’m not sure which I’m hoping for more: that this house will be it or that the house search will end.