Under the “about me” page, you may have read that I have recently proclaimed peace and happiness… well as much as that is true now; peace was not exactly the adjective I would use to describe my life about 3-6 months ago. Let me enlighten you as to why–because buying/selling a house has to be the most stressful time of anybody’s life. If you don’t agree, try it, but before you do, read along and prepare yourself. It has taken me some time to get over the uber traumatic experience enough to talk about it (dramatic undertone) but I’d like to express my thanks to a few specific people for getting us through the chaos and by helping me let go of my desire to punch quite a few others, but I won’t dwell on the ugly.
I’m not quite sure how buying a house ever came up, but I know it had something to do with the cool $8k I could get if I signed my life away in the housing market. Needless to say, the promise of thousands worked. Deciding to sell one house and buy another along with combining households and lives, didn’t seem like it was gonna be too bad. The kicker was that nobody told me that was the easiest part.
So now that the decision was made, the next steps seemed simple: put the house up for sale, (By Owner of course-because we were “educated”), and find one that we wanted. Simple. HA! Don’t get me wrong, it was totally simple to buy the sign, stick it in the yard and obsessively access the MLS to check out houses (I had somewhat of an addictive house hunting problem), but the fun took a screeching halt and the targets began to form on our backs as soon as the ball started rolling and the showings commenced.
At first, it was exciting, for every person that walked through the house, the more the fascination of owning a new home became reality. On the other hand, as time went on, I began to learn some unfun lessons about the real estate game, including: cleaning everyday got really old, staging (packing your cute little trinkets and clutter away) was important, and what you may think looks really awesome, to someone else, looks like crap. I have to say though; one major lesson I learned was that people just expect everything for nothing and when they walk in, the sweet smiles they portray and compliments of how much they love it END the moment they exit your home. I understand that the ultimate goal is to get the best deal and this adventure of cat and mouse is pretty much defined as who can make the other one think you are doing the other a favor, but seriously, there was no reason to be just plain mean…Bull’s-eye!!
This is where the stress began to creep in, hopes were dashed and there came the point where there wasn’t a day that went by without some sort of obscenity flying. This point brings me to how to we met our realtor (who I will shamelessly plug in the next few paragraphs). No, we didn’t curse at her, but cursing to her became routine.
After spending multiple weekends driving around and hours searching the Internet, we had found a few houses we wanted to see, and called for showings. Its so funny how the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” is extremely significant in buying a house. There was one particular one that caught our attention and I believe we even played mental move-in before we saw the inside. Well, after the realtor opened the front door and I was blown away…by the overpowering stench of a mixture of cat pee and smoke, I mentally moved right back out.
However, we did see a couple really nice homes, but could not find one that had everything we needed and the options in our price range were beginning to dwindle. Then we found it! It was perfect, but because of our last “perfect” walk through we withheld our enthusiasm until after we smelled the inside. We did call the selling realtor for a showing not knowing she would turn out to be our new best friend for the next nine months.
After the initial showing, we once again mentally moved in and had the entire place decorated in our taste. Convinced THIS was the house, we made an offer, contingent upon selling. “Contingent” is a word I never thought I would grow to hate with a white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns! However, our offer was accepted and now all we had to do was sell. Apparently, easier said then done. After a few more weeks of unappreciative strangers touching and moving everything, and one broken promise of an offer, we finally waived the white flag and hired the selling agent of our perfect house. I bet she didn’t know regret until the day she signed that listing agreement.
For three months she worked her butt off to sell the cute little bungalow we never thought would be a problem. Three months of watching my phone for a message saying it was finally going to happen. Three months of negative reactions to stupid things that just didn’t matter. Three months later and two possibilities, but no taker, we were at a loss. The targets on our backs were turning bright red. It was a unanimous feeling that the perfect home was out of our reach and after a failed attempt at a rent to own scheme, a falling out with my landlord and a complete mental breakdown on my behalf (yeah I’m full of drama), we let our offer on THE house expire. It was a very sad day, but turns out, it was meant to be.
The winter months were very cold and depressing. New houses were not being listed and my shot at $8k was almost lost once due to a deadline, and after rejoicing when there was an extension, the potential of losing it again was right around the corner. At that point, we were both ready to give up, and then…it came. We finally had a serious offer…from a crazy person who had hired an even crazier realtor. That is strictly opinion, but between you and me its total fact. The only reason the deal stayed together was because in the last 6-8 months our realtor learned how to handle us. She did a good job at keeping the tension at a minimum, because let me tell you, I am not a violent person but during this transaction violent tendencies were viable.
That being said, we finally did sell (after an extremely unexpected nasty closing that left me screaming down the HALL…mmhmm, you know who you are), and we found our new home!! (Ironically, it was one that one of us refused to look at because of outdated brick, but I digress). It truly is perfect and without the help of our tolerant, loving family, fabulous friends, a tad bit of fate and last but not least, Lisa Grady of Keller Williams (who you can find at www.kellerwilliams.com or her soon to be finished website at www.lisagradyhomes.com) we would have never been able to get it done. THANK YOU!
As I sit on my back porch now, that peacefulness I talked about briefly sets in and the stress of the entire process fades away, but the damn target is still there and even after three months the bulls-eye just gets bigger…the joys of owning a new home, but I would do it all over again. The house may have its demons hiding in dark corners waiting to be discovered, but along the way we met some pretty fantastic people and I wouldn’t trade for them (or our house) for the world. So along with new friends, a great neighborhood, an amazing house and a big chunk of peacefulness, I think the “hunted” won in the end.
Now just wait until I tell you about the freakin’ pool table!!