Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Make a house a home

For the second week in a row, we found a place during our weekly Sunday house hunting appointment with our realtor that we were nearly able to squeeze into our very narrow and potentially unreasonable idea of what a house should be, where it should be located, and how much it should cost. On both occasions, we put offers in on Sunday evening, received counter offers on Monday, and lost out to higher offers on Tuesday. That's a lot of stress and anxiety to experience in less than 48 hours. Especially for someone as emotionally attached to houses as I am. None of these houses were love at first sight, and they're all far from perfect, so it already took some emotional convincing on my part to even out the offer in. And even though we're slowly establishing reputation as The Lowball Couple in San Francisco real estate and the chances that our offers will even be countered let alone accepted is like one in a million, I'm very good at playing out the whole process in my mind: the offer acceptance, getting the keys, moving in and sprucing up various kitchens, yards or bathrooms, and of course having 5 or 6 more little babies to run around the place while bake cookies and Max smokes a pipe and reads the Evening Post. So by the time we receive the seller's outrageously priced counter offers, I've already watched Samson put his first lost tooth under his pillow in the kid's room (all 7 or 8 kids will have to share a room because we can't afford anything over 2 bedrooms). It's devastating, repeatedly devastating.

So this week, one of our Sunday offers was accepted. Whaaa? The offer we put on an old, poorly maintained little house in Bernal Heights was accepted, and we are officially in escrow. I repeat, whaaa? This all happened very quickly, and it's totally blowing my mind. Unfortunately, being in escrow isn't nearly as fun as it sounds, and we have to get all kinds of inspections done now so that we don't accidentally buy a house that's falling apart or was built on some sort of Vampire infested landfill. As good as I am at playing make believe about the future of our new home in the 24-ish hours between making an offer and not being able to match the higher offer waiting right behind us, I am surprisingly bad at trusting that this particular house will pass inspection and that we'll actually be handing anyone a check on Friday

I foresee many more Sundays with our realtor as she drives around the city in her monstrous Acura SUV, blocking driveways as she ushers us into our fifth open house of the day, explaining once again how certain parts of Western Addition really aren't that bad, and mispronouncing Junipero Serra. And we'll make more offers. And we lose out to higher offers. And eventually, the right combination of house and offer will come together. Has that happened this week? I doubt it. But you never can tell.

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