I met with the realtor this afternoon for my initial consultation. The company I'm using is very focused on making the buying process as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. Granted, anytime you're making such a large financial commitment, it's not going to be a trip to the amusement park. BUT, it doesn't have to be miserable. Working with people who listen to what you want....what you truly want...and helping you attain that -- makes the process less stressful.
Part of their process is to ask some questions that get to the bottom of why you're wanting to buy a house. She started with some superficial questions....that led to a somewhat deeper level....that eventually helped me realize the reason I am (finally) ready to take this step is because I need my home to be a sanctuary. Spending all day wrangling teenagers is a very chaotic and emotionally draining experience. When I come home, I don't want to deal with anyone's noise but my own. The yappy dog and the superblaring tv downstairs, combined with the yappy puppy-that's-going-to-be-a-huge-dog next door....are things that take away from my ability to relax and re-charge when I get home. After living in some sort of community living for the past 17 years, I'm ready to not share walls with anyone. (Especially considering that 10 of those years were in college dorms -- 4 in undergrad, and 6 in my Hall Director days.)
I'm not sure my parents get that...if fact I know they don't...because they keep asking me, "What about a townhouse? Or a condo? A free-standing house means you're going to have to deal with the upkeep of a yard."
I realize that they are drawing of memories of how I used to GRIPE ENDLESSLY about pulling weeds when I lived in their house. But HELLO! I was FOURTEEN YEARS OLD. It was MY JOB to gripe!! (ha!) Although I'm not totally jazzed about the idea of lawn upkeep, if it means I don't have to listen to DownstairsWoman'sLoudAssTV (like I'm doing right now)......I'm going to be the mowin' queen!!
Besides, why in the world would I want to BUY an APARTMENT? I see absolutely no logic in owning something that is attached to something owned by someone else. I want to know that I am not going to have some crackpot move in on the other side of the wall that I own....and am committed to owning because I signed a 30-year-note.....and therefore have no way to move the hell out.
As the realtor and I talked, I realized that my seemingly neurotic pursuit of peace and quiet stems from my need to have a place to recharge my batteries. I put so much of myself into my interactions with the kiddos in my classroom that, if I don't have a place to recharge and refocus, I'm going to end up being no good to anybody. I'll just stay stressed out...which will ultimately impact my ability to reach my students.
Yeah. I know. It sounds like I went to see a psychiatrist, huh? But, ultimately, our conversation helped us pin down some of the concrete parameters for locating my physical house:
1. Established Neighborhood
*more space between houses
*non-scary neighborhood (!)
*spacious living room for entertaining
*non-apartment style kitchen
*generously sized master bedroom
3. Price Range vs. Condition
*no need to top out the price range
*best house for the money
*no "TLC required" houses
*future resale value should be considered
The realtor took my parameters and went to her office to run my first search. The first attempt came up with something like 500 houses. She narrowed that down...and I left with a book of 312 listings to look through. Before I left, the "Buyer's Agent" came in and we talked about the list I had made of houses I found on the website. She's seen inside some of 'em....so I gave her free rein to eliminate ones that had foundation problems or "issues". We then battled through the calendars to plan our first "looksee" trip.
Tuesday afternoon....Ubercity better watch out....I'm on the hunt!!