Sunday, March 07, 2010


I am officially sick of myself. Yesterday, I stopped by a couple of open houses, but I wasn't enchanted by anything I saw. I should have gone to some open houses today, but I just couldn't get it up to go. I knew that the houses I'd see were not houses I'd want, and so instead I spent the day ruminating. Pathetic.

So after two days of thinking, and plotting and planning, I think that it's very, very likely that I'll put an offer in on the house I described in my last post. But that is a big decision, and one that does freak me out. I've done some more thinking about why not to put an offer in, but I am really not bothered by the negatives as much, now that I've thought them through more carefully.
  • As for the dishwasher situation, the reality is that I could easily get a portable dishwasher if I don't want to begin my home ownership with renovations. There is totally space for a portable dishwasher in the kitchen, even though that wouldn't necessarily be my ideal first choice.
  • Also, I've continued to think about the dark wood trim, and I think the problem really is just with the current owner's decor. Darker furniture/throw rugs would make the trim make sense (and would also mean that I don't have to fuss with painting it).
  • I know that lots of people think one bathroom is just impossible, but seriously: when did we start thinking that every individual person needs their own flipping bathroom? My grandparents on one side raised 10 children in a house with one-and-a-half bathrooms. My other grandmother's house, in which she raised seven children, had one bathroom. I'm not saying that's ideal, but seriously: I'm one person, and one bathroom is really all I need. (Though I would ultimately would want to put in a half-bath downstairs, I do think, because it would be a nice thing to have that on the first floor.) Whatever the case, if I'm close enough to a person to let them sleep in my house, I think that we can share the bathroom. I'm not running a hotel for chrissakes. And the reality is that since this house has only two bedrooms, it's not like any potential buyer down the road who has a passel of children is going to want it anyway, nor would an old person who doesn't want to deal with stairs. So no, the one bathroom isn't perfection, but it's completely fine. (And I really like that bathroom that is there.)
The short sale status of the house is really the only thing that continues to freak me out. So. I think what I'm probably going to do is to try to get in to see the house with a friend over the next few days (as well as to go see a couple of other houses that could work), but if I think unless I notice something on that visit that deters me, this is a house I'm going to put an offer in on. That said, I also realize that the timing because of the short sale won't be ideal, so that means that I will keep my eye out for other houses through the time between when I put the offer in and the deadline for a response (likely about 3 weeks), so that I can bail and start this process over again at the beginning of April if necessary. I am not going to wait forever on this particular house, but I really do think that it would be a good house for me.

It does occur to me now, though, that it's going to cost me gajillions of dollars to move in. Well, not really. Just that I have a lot of ideas about purchases I'd want to make, which while not necessary would make it pretty and happy. So, for example, all of a sudden I want: a new toaster, a new microwave, new pots and pans, a new cabinet with doors for the dining room, new shelves, area rugs, doormats, a new mattress and box spring, new furniture for the porch and deck, a grill, a new sofa, a new armchair and ottoman.... Oh, and potentially a washer and dryer (I don't know if those are staying with the house).

All of the above is quite shocking, because I'd always thought that I was a person who really doesn't give a shit about home decoration. And, let's face it, historically, I haven't. But apparently now I have very strong desires to spend money on such things. However, of all of the above, I really don't need anything other than the rugs and some furniture for the porch and, if necessary, the washer and dryer immediately. I would just like it if I didn't move shit with me that I didn't want to keep. Ooh! But I just remembered something! Summer fellowship money! I will have a big chunk of money coming in right around May 1! Huzzah! Yippee!

Hm. Yes. I think this is what I'm going to do. I've made lists, I've checked them twice, I've thought about pros and cons, and really, what more is there to do? It just feels very big. But, I've done big things before. I've picked up and moved to a city in which I've never lived and known no one, not once but three times. I made the decision to go into debt for and to get a Ph.D. in a field where one won't necessarily get the job at the end of it. At the end of the day, buying a house is not as big as those things, keeping things in perspective. And I'm ready to move, and I'm ready to own the place in which I live. I'm ready to paint walls a freaking color!

You want to know something cheesy? After all of the practical ruminating, the thing that really made me feel like this is a good decision is that I can imagine this house being the place where I write that next book. Like, I can imagine myself really enjoying waking up in the morning, moseying down to the kitchen (I can go directly from bedroom to kitchen with the layout of the house), and bringing my coffee back upstairs to my little Nook of Ideas (yes, apparently I've named it) and starting my day. And I can imagine walking in that neighborhood, and on nice days hanging out with my laptop and writing on the front porch. I can imagine happily having dinner parties and, heck, just regular parties.

Now, if this house is not to be, then it's not to be. But it's time for me to take a leap. So, I'll call up Cyndi tomorrow morning and schedule a time to go back, and if I'm feeling certain, I shall make an offer. If I'm not feeling certain, my parents are going to come and see the house next weekend whatever the case, so I can wait for them if I feel like that would make me feel more secure one way or the other. (Hilariously, though, my mom told me not to wait if I'm feeling sure, even though G. wants me to wait so that he can advise, because, in her words, "G. will only nitpick and say no to everything. You know how he is. This is going to be your house. You don't need us to ok the decision.")

Enough of thinking about this for now, though! Enough!


Anonymous said...

My parents had a portable dishwasher forever and ever. With 6 children. It so isn't a big deal. We also had one bathroom until I was 13 (when we moved into the "big" house). Also not a big deal. The only time it is inconvenient is when you have a whole gaggle of people staying with you. And really, how often does that happen? For me, once a year? IF that? Meh, people can deal.

There is no magic to this process. If the house is a good fit, I don't think that it matters if it is the first one or the 90th one that you see. (We've bought both the first and the 90th or so....) Meanwhile I'm in lust with a house 3 blocks from here that will absolutely sell before we're ready to make an offer in April (so that closing lines up with the end of our lease on this place) and I"m PISSED BECAUSE I WANT IT!

Isn't this fun? :D

(Apropos of nothing I'm making your layered veggie gratin thing for dinner tonight and I'm very excited. It was so good last time!)

Tenured Radical said...

OK< this is great news. Please remember: everything does not have to be new -- in fact, Craig's list and other online classified services can be a bonanza of the *nearly* new. Think of all the people who are moving that won't be taking great stuff with them?

One bathroom is not a problem. Partner and I had one bathroom for over 20 years and did fine. Is 2 nice when you have guests? yes, Does it matter really? no.

Good luck!!!!! Save money on the move by hiring some club sport team that needs the $$$ to do it for you.


Anonymous said...

you named the nook, sister. This is your house.

I'm completely with you on the bathroom thing.

gwinne said...

Crazy, FWIW, LG and I live in a house with only one *tiny* bathroom, and it's upstairs. It's working out just fine, though it is the one thing that I don't like about the house. This is exciting!

Sisyphus said...

Ooh! New stuff new stuff! I totally hear you on this --- and the desire to paint rooms a different color, just because you get to _pick_!

Don't paint the trim, though ---- you can't really unpaint it once you've gone that route.

Prof. Koshary said...

Good luck with it! From what I hope will be my last-ever grad-student, cheap-ass, insufferable-neighbors, paper-thin-walled, roach-infested, too-small-for-furniture apartment, I am living vicariously through you, Crazy!

Dr. Crazy said...

I don't have roaches, and I do have a decent amount of space, but it's taken me nearly 7 years in a tenure-track gig to get to the point of home ownership (on my own - probably would have been sooner if I were partnered). And paper-thin walls where I heard some neighbors having the sex this morning? check. General cheap-ass-ness? Check. This is NOT to rain on your parade, but just to note that getting out of grad school does NOT solve the whole "I live in hell" situation entirely.

Anonymous said...

De-Lurking to say: when you make the offer, you can ask to include the washer/dryer in the sale. When I bought my house, the W/D came with, and it was soooo nice not to have to go out immediately and make that decision/drop that money (on top of all the others).

And a second on the awesomeness of Craigslist.

Bardiac said...

Sounds GREAT! I wouldn't worry at all about the one bathroom thing. Or the dishwasher.

It's fun to imagine what you'll do differently with the rooms, though, isn't it?

I'm probably the only one who doesn't know, but what is a short sale on a house?

Dr. Crazy said...

short sale = not a foreclosure, but the seller would end up there if the bank did not take pity on him/her. Basically, the person owes more on their loan than they can reasonably sell the house for, and for some reason they are unable to meet their obligation for their monthly mortgage. So the bank says, well, we'll allow you to sell the home for less than is owed on your mortgage, but anybody who wants to buy it has to negotiate with us for the house - not just with you.

Having to negotiate with the bank rather than just with the seller means that things take longer, it can be more difficult to negotiate, etc.

Susan said...

The other disadvantage of short sales is that sometimes people do damage when they leave, ripping out fixtures etc.

But it sounds like your house, so go for it. The bathroom is doable: if that's what you are used to, as all of us were lo these many years ago, it's fine. (I confess that I think a master bathroom is one of the great luxuries of life, but I can live without it.)

Also, think of things like pots and pans as housewarming gifts :) The rest of the furniture can come in stages...

Bardiac said...

Thanks for explaining! I appreciate it.

Does the bank have an interest in it selling, even if they'll lose some money? (They'll lose less, maybe, and have less hassle than if they foreclose?)

Dr. Crazy said...

The bank does, but it's just a matter of whether they want to wait around to see if there are any other nibbles that might be higher than my nibble, so it does (slightly) get in the way of my negotiating power. On the other hand, bec. it's a short sale it's priced to sell, and it was reduced from what the owner originally was asking. At this point, they have the owner living in the house and caring for it, which is not the case with many short sales, so they may not be as motivated with this one as they would be with some others. Impossible to know. But basically, if I were to make an offer, I'd give the bank a deadline and if they didn't meet it, I'd back out of the offer and look for something else.

rented life said...

Good luck. Your post reminded me of when we shopped around for houses. I felt ill during the entire process, especially taking that check over. But then we moved in and I thought "I can put holes in the wall and actually hang things without worry because I OWN IT!" It's all worth it in the end because you can do whatever you want to make it yours.

Oh yeah, I totally have dark trim and light wood floors. It's ALL about the rest of the decor. It can work.

Dr. Virago said...

OMG, I'm so glad you decided you could live with the darker trim. I was having palpitations thinking about your painting it! Seriously! And if the floors haven't be redone too much, you can stain them darker. (If they've been redone recently, they'll get darker, btw. We had our redone a couple of years ago and they were crazy bright, light, and kind of yellow, but now they've already darkened and mellowed.) And yeah, a rug can pull the whole room together. :)