Last weekend we went to (Southern City) to look for houses. We'd been searching online for the last month, hoping to find something good enough to justify flying into (City) early, but nothing great came up. So we flew in, spent an entire Saturday looking at houses and finally found one we liked.
Since at least half the people who read this blog have already heard (or were part of) the riveting bodice-ripper that is the ANCIANT HOUSE HUNT TALE, I won't rehearse every step of the quest. The summary is: we bought a somewhat quirky house in a very unquirky neighborhood. At first we thought the sale would go very smoothly. As we prepared to board the plane to return to LA, however, we learned that someone else other than us wanted our house. Drama ensued.
Below is an email I sent to some friends describing the last few days. Apologies for not writing up afresh; the email captures most of what there is to say about the process....
[Couple friend has sent us email saying how much they like house: this is the context]
....Thanks for your email. We have gotten so frazzled by recent events we have begun to question all our thought processes and reconsider the decision (not fundamentally, but, you know. Doubt creeps in).
The last few days have been incredibly hectic and tension-packed. On Sunday night we wrote an offer on the house, thinking we were the only ones interested. Because the house had already been on the market for a month, we assumed we’d get it for way under asking price. Then on Monday morning we learned another buyer had also made an offer. Various calls went back and forth—the sellers wanted us to be able to give them all their money at the end of June, all sorts of other stuff—and we assumed, as we boarded the plane to fly back to LA that we were going to have to make what’s called a “highest and best” offer. (Basically, both interested buyers make their best offer blind, and the seller chooses one).
We spent the whole flight trying to decide what that highest and best offer should be, while at the same time working out what would be our fall-back house if this house fell through. Then, when we landed we learned that the sellers did NOT want us to make a ‘highest and best' offer. Instead they sent us a very unorthodox (at least according to our realtor—who called it ‘amateur hour’) email in which they stipulated exactly the offer they wanted us to make. Make that offer, they said, and you get the house. Since their offer was actually BELOW what we we had been prepared to make (the money was the same, but we were going to throw in a number of ancillary inducements) we happily gave them what they wanted. We still got the house below its list price, too, but not as much below list as we’d hoped.
Then, in the last 24 hours we’ve each of us—the Wife especially—started to worry that maybe we were rushing into something, that we were buying a house just b/c we HAD to, that it was too unorthodox and odd, etc etc. This house is definitely better than anything else we saw, but is it our dream house? Maybe so, maybe not. On the other hand, are we going to find our dream house in two or three weekends? Probably not. So we’re happy, if a bit trepidatious. It’s a soulful house—not another [Southern City Neighborhood] cookie-cutter, and I think it has a lot of appeal. It’s on a huge lot, relatively speaking, but the outdoor space is a bit chopped up. It’s not necessarily a house where you have three kids running around on the lawn with a golden retriever—more like a house where you have one introverted child who locks himself in his room to memorize the name of all the French Generals of the Napoleonic wars—but, that’s probably what our child will be like. So, that’s ok. If he wants to frolic on lawns he’ll have to change families.
I don’t know if we mentioned this, but [WIFE] has recently gotten involved in providing HIV care for the Trans community. That will be one of her specialities, perhaps, when we move. I’m very taken with the idea of introducing ourselves to our neighbors by telling them that my wife is an expert in HIV Trans care, and to please remember her when they’re referring their friends. Also, maybe, we could tell them our house will be a sometimes clinic for Trans sex workers.
Shake things up a little, as it were.