Oh, the joys of house-hunting! I’m a bit rusty in trying to find a house in a new city. I’ve moved several times in Nashville, but bouncing around a place you know is completely different from doing it in one you don’t. And doing it while suffering the loss of a great father-in-law, hacking through pneumonia and starting a new job only adds to the whole damn experience.
Now, you may know that I’m prone to a smidge of hyperbole once in a while. You’re shocked, right? Right! But, seriously, I’ve researched at least 200 houses online. Looked at the pix, watched the virtual tours, deciphered the Realtors’ vowel-less codespeak (“wd flrs, cdr clst in MBR, mbl isld, BOB fnc”) and creative descriptions (“cozy” means tiny, “country charm” means really ugly wallpaper, “cottage” means no closets, “commuter’s dream” means right next to the 10-lane interstate, and “unique” means “Oh god, WHAT were they thinking when they did THAT??”).
And I feel that I can sum up with expertise the Dallas-vs.-Nashville real estate reality: half the house, twice the money, eight times the taxes.
However, despite all that, we’re soon to be new Dallas homeowners. Once the reams of paperwork and procedures get done, that is. We made an offer yesterday, and after a few counters, we’ve got an agreement. D even made them throw in the upstairs pool table, which was very important to her, probably because we play pool so often. At least once every two years, always at an establishment where beer is involved.)
And how the hell did we find somewhere to live before the Internet? Before online virtual tours, and property records, and satellite mapping to spy on the neighbors and see if they have a meth lab in their back yard. Did we actually go to all of these houses before we ruled them out? Even with an assist from cyberspace, we stumbled into a few OMGs. One place we loved online, until we drove up and our eyes were drawn, irresistibly, to a hulking, red-and-white tower just across the street. I mean, massive. (Nashville friends, it looks just like the WSM tower on Concord Road, except not as cool because it was practically in the front yard.) No matter what we tried to focus on — the hand-scraped hardwoods, the stone pool, the media room — our voices slowly tapered off to silence and we realized we were again staring, blank-eyed, out the windows at the tower.
Another one reeked of pipe smoke, had nasty crap like gummy worms and mud ground into the carpet. And gray dust-bunny tumbleweeds piled around the bathroom floors. I mean, wouldn’t you at least vacuum before you let potential buyers into your house? Plus, there was the large plaster crucifix in the MBR, with Jesus’ legs snapped off just below the knees. There they were, lying on the floor, forlorn calves and feet, with little speckles of plaster dust around them like snow. We thought that was a bad sign.
But finally, after much searching and many surreal experiences like Jesus, we have found The One. It’s perfect. We love it. Uhh, I mean, I love it. D hasn’t exactly seen it yet. (I know what you’re thinking, and that’s not very nice.) But she’s seen pictures, and I’ve described it in great detail, with practically no exaggeration. And after nearly 12 years, we know what each other likes, what really matters, what illuminates our souls.
OK, I’m big enough to admit it. It freaks me out a little (just a little) that she hasn’t seen it. But we can always move again, right?
Next up is the barrage of inspectors (house, pool, roof, termite), then of course our first foray into the mortgage world since the soulless bastards in the financial world brought down our economy. Despite immersing myself deeply into the coverage of the mortgage crisis over the past two years, I was still somehow shocked last week to realize that the banker dude meant us, too, when he said that asset-based lending isn’t allowed anymore. So our other property doesn’t count for us any more, just against us because of taxes/insurance. Weird, and sad. But we are fortunate to be able to even buy a house when so many people are suffering in so many other ways, from joblessness to crushing debt. I will not lose sight of that.
Next we will try to figure out the sale of our current residence. Our best friends want it, but a few dominoes need to fall into place for that to happen. I hope they do, because it’s a great house and we will avoid Realtor fees. I like that.
So, our new Dallas abode (assuming it passes all of its little exams… study, new house, study!) is about 200 feet from D’s lab and something like 3,456,034 miles from the hospital. What’s wrong with this picture?? Well, she’s going to have to let the dog out at lunch. That’ll show her.
It’s in Dallas County, which has higher taxes and worse schools that the surrounding areas. But it’s close to a lot of the fun stuff in the city. (Important, because we are very definitely urban hipsters, yeah boy howdy. That’s us. Out every night. Dancing. Having cocktails. Making wry, witty and obscure art references at haute galleries.)
Oh, and it has a California Closet setup in the master bedroom. It’s possible that once I saw that, it was over. I was in love. (D and I have been known to spar over closet space, even though I think it makes perfect sense for me to have all of the lower shelves and her to have the ones along the ceiling, since she’s 5-foot-9 and I’m… not.) I actually don’t remember looking at anything else in the house after that, to be honest. I hope it has a kitchen. And a bathroom.
So, moving day’s in about a month. Anyone got a pickup?