Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The House Story, Part One Of Many

One Monday about three weeks ago I picked up the little man from Mother’s Day Out, and since he fell asleep within, oh, four seconds, I decided that I’d ride around and look at houses. We’d heard from our realtor that a couple was probably going to make an offer on our current house, and I figured that it might be a good idea to find a place for us to, you know, live.

There are two neighborhoods that we targeted, primarily because both of those neighborhoods are in a great location for us AND because they have older houses. New homes in this area are all fine and good if you’re a patrillionaire, but if you’re only a hundredaire or thousandaire, those new home options aren’t quite so affordable. We knew going into this house hunt that we would absolutely be looking for a fixer-upper…something where we could get a great deal and then fix it up ourselves. It seemed like the most sensible approach – and probably the only way that we could stay within our budget.

Lest you think I’m kidding, consider this: before we found the house that we're buying, our two frontrunners - until one got a contract and one got yanked off the market - were a house with a kitchen on the third level and a house that reeked of dog tee-tee. These two were the proud runners-up to the first house we thought we were going to get, which was The One With All The Shag Carpet And Low-Ceilinged Staircase On Which My Husband Consistently Bumped His Head.

I’m telling y’all: we like to live fancy ‘round here.

So that Monday afternoon, when I drove around looking at houses in our price range, I started to panic just a little bit. There just wasn’t much at all on the market, and when I drove by a “candidate” and noticed that part of the chimney was falling off, I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Because with 3rd Level Kitchen and Tee-Tee House (or, as my realtor and I liked to call it, BIG STANK) out of the running, it seemed like our only options were going to be either 1) Structurally Unsound or 2) Frighteningly Unattractive.

It all seemed so promising.

Being the mature, problem-solving girl that I am, I went home, told David all about it, and cried. I wondered if we shouldn’t take our house off the market. I wondered where in the world we’d live if ours sold. I wondered what in the world people do for a living to afford the houses they live in (my conclusion: why, they must have money trees in their backyards! mightn't I go shake one?).

And then I cried some more.

But the day before David had run across a for sale by owner listing on the internet, and I asked our realtor to see if she could get us an appointment. When she talked to the owners, they said that the house wasn't actually on the market; they had decided to wait until the spring to sell, but the FSBO company hadn't taken the pictures off the website yet. They went on to say that we were welcome to come take a look, but they knew that if they waited a few months to list it, they'd be able to make more money.

Tuesday afternoon we went to see the house. And I knew, the second I walked through the door, that it was for us. I think David took one look at my face and knew that it was for us, too. I kept thinking, "They're not asking enough for this house. They're not asking enough." And David kept thinking, "Look how happy S. is. Look how happy she is! This house would stop All The Crying. IT WOULD STOP ALL THE CRYING!"

We stayed at the new house for over an hour, talking non-stop with the owners and checking out every nook and cranny. We finally left, and within fifteen minutes of being back at our house, we had decided to make an offer. They accepted it. They also told our realtor that, after meeting us, after seeing Alex run up and down the hallway and make himself right at home, that they really saw God's hand in how it all worked out.

Funny - David and I feel exactly the same way.

Several of y'all have commented and emailed to ask about the details. Does the house have shag carpet? How much work does it need? Will David and I be up to our eyeballs in home improvement projects for the next sweet forever? Will Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell be right at home there?

Believe it or not, there's no shag carpet. The house has been completely renovated. The rooms are big, the view is great, and we won't have to do a single thing other than move in our stuff. I don't even have to paint.

Also: IT DOESN'T SMELL LIKE TEE-TEE! You must trust me when I tell you that I wasn't so sure we'd find a house where that was the case.

Best of all, it feels like home.

We can't wait to get there.


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