Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oh, give me a home...

Yep, that's right! Angie & Graham are officially on the hunt for a place we can stay For The Rest Of Our Lives. Crazy, eh? Let's start at the beginning.

At the end of August my friend Amy sent me an email asking if I wanted a house. "Um, duh, Amy. No, I'd rather live beneath a wannabe DJ and his 3 year old for the rest of forever." Apparently a friend of hers was selling a home he'd acquired in our neighborhood (thereabouts) and was looking to sell it cheaply and quickly. Amy thought of us, and followed up with information. The house was in okay condition, all-brick bungalow, city address (a necessary requirement) and all that good stuff. We were interested, definitely, and saw the house, liked it, got the ball rolling, and then....the situation imploded. I won't get into it here, but let's just say the seller's agent was a little shady. We were upset to have lost the house--I was livid with the agent--and took a few days to collect ourselves. At least we got out without spending any money, right?

After taking some time to think about the situation, we decided that we were ready for a mortgage and a home. We've outgrown our space and we're ready for a lawn and a basement and a couple of bedrooms to call our very own. We found ourself an agent and we're officially on the hunt for a home. It's a little exhausting and stressful, but we prepared ourselves as best we could for that. I think what's most surprising is that we have different opinions on what we're looking for. I've shot down a few homes because of the neighborhoods they're in, and Graham's looking more for size--his biggest fear is that we'll be cramped wherever we are. SO...basically the bigger homes are all in neighborhoods I don't want to consider. Oy.

I'm confident we'll find the right house. We bid on 2 homes and one was countered, but barely. They came down $1,000, which isn't really a counter but more of a "No, I want this house to sell for the list price" sort of offer. That's sad, because I really liked that house and saw us staying there for a long time. The second home we haven't heard from yet because it's bank owned and the bank can take 3-10 days or longer to get back to an offer.

We saw 2 homes yesterday that weren't bad, and Graham said he'd be happy with either home. The size of the second home concerned him (the second bedroom was really a medium-sized closet) and the location of the first was a concern of mine. If that first home was in the second neighborhood, I'd be all for it! I just want to have as much time in my home as possible and in that first neighborhood my concern is that it will turn sooner than we think and we'll be stuck.

Of course, we can always buy a home and move later if we want....I'm just concerned that we won't be able to. I'll have to talk to our agent and see what he says or if he can offer any insight. I just don't want to buy a home and then not feel safe or be able to throw parties after a few years. The one thing I'm really looking forward to is being able to have people over to our home for Memorial Day and Christmas and the Super Bowl. I want to throw parties and I don't want to have to avoid having people over (or worse, have people afraid to come over and make excuses to avoid our fun parties and fiestas!) because my neighborhood isn't safe.

And I know that there isn't a neighborhood in the world that's completely safe. In fact, (and maybe I'm being to cynical here) my belief is that a lot of small towns and "safe neighborhoods" aren't really safe and are actually less safe than some others because muggers and gangbangers know that's where the money is. Lakeview, a really trendy neighborhood in Chicago, has been dealing with muggers and attacks all summer, and I can guarantee the attackers don't live on the north side. It's a relatively safe area, and yet people have had to watch their backs all summer.

I don't know...I think part of my problem is that I'm looking for a house that might not exist. I might also be getting cold feet about this, which I didn't think would happen. Then again, I also didn't think we'd be buying a house this year.

Real estate and shopping for real estate is definitely a little headachey. I'm a little surprised by how long this is taking, and it's really only been a month! I think we thought we'd be able to find a house relatively fast, given the market. What's on the market now isn't much, but what's there is decent. The prices are all over the place, and it's just a matter of what we can afford in the neighborhoods we're willing to consider.

I'm a little mad that the owners of the first house won't come down in price even a little. Well, scratch that--they did come down a little. But to not try and negotiate a deal is annoying as hell. Then again, we were the first offer, so they're going to hold out a little more. If they're selling through the summer and we're still without a home, then maybe. But if we get all the way to summer and don't have a house I have a feeling we'll end up killing each other. Not good at all.

So, thats's where things are right now. Hopefully we'll be able to update a little more with some better news in the next few weeks!

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