Last week’s account of our housing decision struggles (which are, by the way, continuing) led to some interesting responses from my readers. Angie warned of the risks of buying without a contingency of a contractor’s inspection. Tony warned of HOA dues that rise “faster than inflation.” Our friend Alice, who is also a realtor, offered this wise advice:
Why not get reborn among your friends, doctors, businesses right here in northern Michigan? Having new digs alone will be a challenge to make them fit your needs and be to your liking. Wouldn’t that be enough? Please take a whatever time you need and then some. This will most likely be your last address. We are all living in what might be our last addresses. Make sure you’re living where you’ll want to be in the years to come surrounded by those you love and love you.
And a writer friend of mine, Rand Richards Cooper, told this story:
This kind of real estate thing can be, in my experience, shockingly strenuous and emotional.
I recall very well going through the real-estate wringer about fifteen years ago, when we were still living in that multifamily, had a toddler, and wanted to move. At one point we decided to buy a home in West Hartford, the suburb just west of here. It was a nice place and Molly really loved it. I was ambivalent – partly because the money was absolutely the max we could afford, partly because the street was almost as busy as our old street (and we definitely had prioritized reducing traffic), and partly because I was loathe to leave our funky/fun/semi-urban neighborhood.
Molly didn’t have any of those reservations. Anyway, we put an offer down, and the realtor told us that there was one competing offer. So I decided to use my writing talents to provide a personal dimension to our offer, in the form of a note to the sellers. I have no idea what I said, but presumably it was some combination of endearment/ personal narrative/ wit/ thinly veiled begging. At any rate, the realtor got back to us and said, “I don’t know what you did, but they took your offer – even though the other offer was $10,000 higher!”
As you can imagine, I felt pretty fucking proud of myself.
In the next few days, however, I found myself beset by surging doubts. It became a borderline-physical thing. Finally Molly said, “Hey, lets pull the plug; wherever and whenever we do move, we both have to be fully on board.”
Enormous relief. We pulled the plug and, with another dollop of begging, got our downpayment back.
There was a highly enjoyable coda to the whole shebang. A few weeks later, I had Larkin at the playground, and fell into conversation with a young mom who had her little kid there. Somehow we got around to talking about real estate, and she said, “An amazing thing happened to my husband and me. We wanted this house on South Highland, and we put in a bid. I fancy myself a pretty good writer, so I told my husband, ‘I’m going to add a personal note with our bid, and make us irresistible to the sellers.’ So I wrote the note – and we didn’t get it. I was completely devastated – we wanted that place so bad. I basically cried for three days. And then do you know what happened?”
“I dunno,” I said. “The other people withdrew?”
“Yes! Exactly! And now we got it!”
I smiled. “That’s a really awesome story,” I said. “Congratulations to you.”
Funny thing is, I’m still kind of proud at what I accomplished as a writer with that whole real estate deal. I’d never had a $10,000 assignment before…. RRC
In Alice’s words, “Make sure you’re living where you’ll want to be in the years to come surrounded by those you love and love you.” Easier said than done. Maybe it’s best just to look for small victories, and try to enjoy the process.
Love Rand’s story. The process of buying a cruising sailboat is similar to buying a house, A house is a better investment. Keep on, keep on. AngieReplyDelete