My husband and I have played the rented housing game for a little while—me for six years and him for ten years. Non-committal housing has its pros and cons, but for the most part it’s been a pretty good experience. That is, up until we moved into our current apartment. I don’t want to go into details, but we’ve hated it here.
We’ve been wishfully discussing settling down and buying a house since living here, but when we found out Baby Ching would be coming around September 1st, there was no question about it: We were done playing the field. We wanted a long-term relationship with a house.
In January we started to make a game plan. Since our lease ends approximately one week before Baby Ching’s due date, powering through to the end of the lease was definitely not an option (phew!). We wanted to move before I got too miserably huge, but we also needed to wait until preschool got out, which was the end of May. Thus, our ideal moving window was sometime in June or July. We did the math and decided to start looking at houses seriously in March.
And so the courting of houses began in March.
House Crush #1: The One That Got Away
This was only the second house we looked at. It had all the features we were looking for and it was in great shape—the sellers had taken good care of it. Plus, it had laminate wood flooring in the kitchen/formal living room area. I’m a sucker for wood-like flooring. However, we were young in the home-buying world and didn’t realize that putting an offer on a house isn’t necessarily the end-all-be-all of the home buying experience. We thought and thought about the house and finally called our realtor to ask if we could see it again. By then it was too late—House Crush #1 was already under contract.
Thinking back on the dating days, it was like I’d finally worked up the nerve to be Facebook friends only to learn that my crush was already engaged.
House Crush #2: The Popular One
Our realtor knew we’d like this house and she was right. It had pretty much everything we were looking for, plus the kitchen was absolutely beautiful. Custom cabinets, new appliances, and granite countertops… it was heavenly. We had figured out that there is no harm done in making an offer, so within an hour of seeing the house we decided to make an offer. The sellers came back with a counter-offer—there had been several similar offers—and we were told to offer our best. We did just that, but another buyer offered something more attractive.
In the dating world, it was like going out with a very popular crush only to get dumped for the girl with the great hair.
House Crush #3: The One We Got Cocky About
After a while we expanded our search to another area and saw House Crush #3. It was a great house with a good yard. The only thing we weren’t crazy about was the upstairs continental bathroom—it had a door that opened up to the hall and another that went into the master bedroom. So no master bathroom. But, all things considered, we still really liked this house. So we put an offer on it immediately after seeing it. We felt fairly confident about House Crush #3, so naturally we were crushed when we learned the next day that our offer had been rejected—the sellers had gotten a few other offers and went with another offer without bothering with a counter-offer.
It was like getting snubbed by a quirky crush after only one date, then finding out he was already seeing someone else.
House Crush #4: The Fixer-Upper
At this point, the end of May was quickly approaching and I was starting to hyperventilate. Moving out in June was starting to seem somewhat out of the question, July wasn’t looking too optimistic, and the thought of an August move made me want to cry. And I was only prepared to sign another one-year-lease at our complex over my dead body. We were getting a little desperate. We wondered if we were being too picky.
Enter House Crush #4. The location was nice, the yard was beautiful, and the floor plan was great. However, the sellers had neglected a lot of little details in the house—there was cracked tile, baseboards that extended across only part of the wall, poorly painted walls (and in weird colors), 90’s kitchen appliances, the bathtubs needed calking, etc. After much debate, we decided that everything we didn’t like about the house was something we could change, and we made a very conservative offer. The seller was supposed to accept, reject, or counter-offer by the next day at noon, but we heard nothing. Our realtor tried to get ahold of them and was unsuccessful. Another 24 hours came and went and still nothing. Finally, three days after making our offer the sellers came back with a counter-offer. At this point we’d lost steam—we had been dragging our feet about all the changes we’d have to make fairly immediately, and on top of that the sellers seemed kind of flakey. We kept our offer the same, knowing very well that it was too conservative to be accepted. Our offer was rejected and we breathed a sigh of relief.
It was like dating someone you knew wasn’t right all along, but didn’t have the heart to break up with.
House Crush #5: The One
The morning after House Crush #4’s official rejection our realtor took us to a house he said he knew we’d like. He was the sellers’ agent as well, and this house had only barely come on the market. It wasn’t listed online yet and nobody had looked at it yet. He was giving us very first dibs. It was love at first sight. We absolutely loved everything about it. We told our realtor we wanted to make an offer on it before we even left the house. And unlike the previous houses, we were prepared to make a fairly attractive offer. We really wanted that house. A few hours later our realtor told us the sellers had verbally accepted our offer, and by the end of the day it was officially accepted. We close the last week of June, and it so happens that we’ll probably get the keys on our anniversary. We are beyond thrilled!