We are in the process of looking for homes. Some days we actively pursue the search and go out with our Realtor and walk through upwards of 5 homes or more after a long day of work. Other days we browse Realtor.com and chat about how we could live there, or how Arrow would love that backyard. Well until last week this was kind of put on hold because we had a wave of important things take hold of our time. First, I had to buy a new car because mine quit on me. So that consumed the first week before the holidays. Then, the holidays came around. Then shortly there after my car was repaired and up for sale. Scheduling appointments for test drives…. that will eat your very soul. And finally my horse became ill and I had to dedicate around the clock care to him for almost a week while we fought a losing battle.
We are finally back on track. My car has sold. My horse has passed away leaving me with more free time than I thought possible. And now we are hot on the trail of a home. Time is of the essence because my mother is putting her home up for sale, as well on March 1st (ideally). Leaving us very little time to play around here. So again, we search. We have been on many, many, many, late night and weekend jaunts through random people’s houses both abandoned and occupied. It’s funny to me the things you learn about people through their houses. I’ll touch on that in a minute. We have found only 2 that we really liked. The first one, the owners accepted an offer while we were inside for the first time. Does anyone else feel like the wind was taken from their sails? I DO!
The next house we actually had the opportunity to put an offer in on but the sellers were unreasonable. They’re house was listed at almost $10k over the comps that the Realtor had listed. And they were unwilling to pay concessions and/or drop the price. So after talking very deeply about what we felt comfortable spending both boyfriend and myself agreed to walk away. We are practical people and we’re not about to make ourselves house poor in our starter home. Besides, there were a few things that I wasn’t the most fond of in regards to that particular home. We both subscribe to the “if it’s meant to be…” theory and we both have found peace in knowing that this one wasn’t it. So we move on. There have been much larger tragedies in my life than this. The search continues. But, lets touch on some of the more fun aspects of searching through piles of listed homes and walking through complete strangers’ homes.
Lesson 1: Everyone thinks that making your home smell the way THEY like it will make a sale. Not true. Not true at all. We’ve experienced a few different over powering aromas. Most houses have just smelled like clean air. Not scented, no candles or incense. Just empty home. The two houses the stick out in my mind, however smelled strongly of similar but different smells that lead me to wonder who these people were. One smelled like Sandalwood and Patchouli. It smelled exotic. Anyone who knows me knows I’m anything but exotic. I prefer my candles to smell like baked goods, evergreen or spices. I realize that I sound like a typical “wifey” type. I’ve heard it before. The second home smelled like cinnamon or something equally spicy but I couldn’t quite identify what it actually was. It’s funny to me that listing agents have so many sales tactics and yet there isn’t one standard smell that they tell you to infuse your home with. Way to drop the ball, guys.
Lesson 2: You immediately are greeted with what is important to them, kind of (see lesson 3). In one home, the sandalwood home mentioned above, everywhere you looked there were pictures of Christ experiencing pain. Crown of thorns, crucifixion, crying for the sins of humanity, etc. There was even a little oil lamp lit in the corner of religious sacrifice. Now, I’m a Christian. I fully believe in all the things the bible said happened. But that was what I considered a bit much. I don’t want to see pictures of our Lord and Savior going through torture as a reminder of my faith. I like to follow some of the lighter and happier notes. It’s more than a little frightening to walk in and see Jesus getting tortured and bleeding in a corner by an open flame with no one home. Are you with me?
Lesson 3: People are faceless. I know that one of the things a Realtor tells you is to remove family photos and such so the people viewing your home can picture themselves in that space. I get it. BUT I am literal. And I can’t imagine myself in the space with other people’s furniture, paint colors, wall art, etc. I look past all that stuff and picture MY stuff in the space. So, It doesn’t bother me to see pictures of faces up. In fact, I think it’s quite endearing to see a photo of a child or a happy married couple (because lets face it, happy married couples are hard to come by). I am a little worried that no one fights the Realtor by showing their pride and joy on a picture on their personal night stand. What does that say about society as a whole? I’m hoping it’s just the quiet desperation of people trying to sell their homes but that’s not how the sellers of the home we actually bid on would be perceived.
Lesson 4: I’m really tired of looking at the crappy home on the block. There have been so many homes that we’ve seen that don’t even seem like we could move in for months. Perfect example, we went and saw a bank owned home that the Realtor said some updates had been made. Hoping for something we could work with we went in to find a home half way stripped of tile, flooring and other things we deem necessary for a home. But that’s not the best part. The absolute BEST part was the colony of squirrels that I have to believe were living there. Though we didn’t see a single animal while we were there we did see about 25 walnuts strategically placed in places like the corner of a room, on every window sill and the corner of the bottom step. I think they were leaving threats. You better believe I messed with those squirrels. I picked up a walnut and put it back in the wrong place, just to show them who’s in charge. I realize that this seems ridiculous but the Realtor and boyfriend were off doing something and at this point I had already decided against this house. So I had to do something for entertainment… right?
Anyway, these are just some things I had to unpack from my experience dipping my toes into the wading pool of home ownership. I am sure there is plenty more misadventures to come!