Sunday, December 27, 2009

Looking for a House is Like Dating

My landlady informed me three days before Christmas that she intends to sell the house I've been living in for more than three years.  It was a bit of a surprise--I had assumed the place was a steady source of income for her and so she wouldn't sell it out from under me--and the timing, needless to say, left something to be desired.  She is giving me first dibs, so there is an option for me to own the space I've inhabited.

This house is a lot like a guy I dated on and off for a year.  There was a lot to like--I found him pretty attractive, we looked good together, and it was nice to have someone in my life when I felt like going to the movies or needed a date for a party.  He was, in short (actually he was kind of short, come to think about it), appropriate.  But when we finally called it quits for real, I was bummed because I had yet another relationship behind me that hadn't worked out, but I certainly wasn't heartbroken. 

This pretty little brick house is across the street from the elementary school where my youngest child has only one more full year to attend.  I left my old neighborhood when I got divorced, and it was a safe place to fall, with lots of supportive friends and the undeniable advantage over my ex that when the kids were at my place  they could go for a bike ride and visit their classmates.  I love seeing people from school when I am out walking, and I adore the old houses and even the old, unsteady sidewalks.  I socialize with my neighbors, and they are kind enough to treat me like a homeowner already.  The house is charming and comfortable enough, because, well, I am just dating it.  But what if I commit?  Will all of the little things that just kind of bug me suddenly make me decide to pick a fight with it when friends are coming over for dinner?  

If I buy this place, all the things that I've been able to live with--the handyman special bathroom, the deck that is well past its best years, the unpaved driveway (yes, you read that right), the teeny tiny living room--will not just be things in a place I'm renting.  I will be married to this pile of bricks.  Every newlywed couple has a pivotal fight where they both experience a degree of panic.  In the immediate aftermath, thoughts run along the following lines: I married this person?  I hate the way he chews, for God's sake! I've made a terrible, terrible mistake!  Sometimes it really does mean that a major error has been made.  But most often it just means that the gravity of the commitment has finally dawned upon the people who signed the contract.

So right now I'm feeling the itch to see other houses and am sinking my desperately-needed time off into on-line searches and drive by looks through neighborhoods in the right school district at a price I can handle. I'm basically at the Match.com phase.  I've texted a realtor friend and asked if she'll show me two or three I think I'd like.  So I'll be going out for a drink with a few 3/2's this week.  I'll let you know how it goes.

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