Four months ago, in a private post, I wrote about the frustration of searching for a house and doubting whether our then-two, soon-to-be-three failed offers were a sign we were being too rational:
[W]e’d probably be in a house by now if we let irrationality take over just once—if we reacted with a crazy excited emotion to a perfect kitchen while ignoring the crap elementary school, the old boiler, and the hand-carved headstones in the basement marking where cat corpses have been buried in the foundation. And after twelve and a half months, I don’t know if our—especially my—adherence to auditable decision-making has been a good thing or bad thing.
It was a good thing!
Yesterday, Lindsay and I closed on a great house.
It’s a single-family house; on a semi-dead-end street (the street runs up to a major park but winds just a bit to connect to another small road); we’re a short walk to the great elementary school, to bus stops, to good friends’ new house, to a BBQ joint. In fact, we’re bookended by BBQ: there’s the restaurant down on the main road, and our friends tell us the town has barbecues in the park.
The year of bad luck came in handy to make the good. Our three prior failed offers meant we knew exactly what to pay (we beat out eight other offers) and we had all our paperwork in perfect order, making for a quick P&S…so that when an offer $18,000 above ours came in two days later, it could only be relegated to backup offer status.
We’ve met a few neighbors and have been offered babysitting services already (one step at a time, folks).
The house itself indeed needs work, but nothing overly terrifying. We’ll have to replace the hot water heater. We needed a structural inspection to make sure the cracks in the foundation needed simple sealing—which they do—rather than major work. And in the grand tradition of my house-hunting spreadsheet, I’ve already made a home-improvements spreadsheet with the 80 tiny items mentioned in the inspection.
If you’re looking for a stellar inspector, go with Morgan Cohen. Our family was warning us that most inspections aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, but then they saw Morgan’s report…so yeah, go with him, though only if you’re good at letting the sheer number of things he finds wash over you and concentrate on the things that need addressing immediately.
Besides the mortgage aspect of “adult stuff we haven’t had to handle before”, there are some other things. We’ll have an energy audit so we can be eligible for tax incentives when we switch to gas heat. We hired movers well ahead of time and will pay them in cash rather than hire friends two days before and pay them in pizza. We have to learn new vocabulary: flashing, disposal gasket, soft mortar joint, and, most importantly, “get the scotch, your father just finished the sheetrock”.
But after so very long, so many open houses, so many offers, we have the house we were looking for.