Thursday, May 24, 2012
Where the heart is
I realize, suddenly, that I do expect things to go a certain way.
It's not that I'm not flexible (I think); I can often imagine veering off a particular path and am generally willing to do so. When Dean and I get into the car at the end of the school day and I offer to take him out for ice cream, or mini golfing, or down to Cape Cod to go to the beach (quite a trek from where we are), I really mean it -- at that moment, I'm willing take a sudden detour (he's yet to take me up on anything, but someday....)
I'm grappling with an intense feeling of seller's remorse, now that it appears we're really on track to sell our home, and I think the reason is because it just all happened a lot faster than I thought it would. I thought we'd have the house on the market all summer. I thought we might still be in our house when school starts in September. I never for a moment thought that 12 days after listing it we would be signing off on an accepted offer (and, as it turns out, to the first person who looked at it).
I do realize that the world of real estate sales is no cake walk, and that there's plenty that could derail this freight train. But somehow I feel that it really is going to happen (or at least that there will be a back-up for this deal if we end up re-listing). And that's not at all what I expected.
It's made me review the list of reasons we decided to move in the first place. All solid, still valid. It's made me consider my emotional attachments, which run deeper than I realized.
I've lived in many places, but really have only had 2 homes -- the one I grew up in and this one. And though it totally blows my mind to say it, the truth is that I have lived in our current home for LONGER than I lived in that house in Chicago where I grew up; there's some kind of twist of time and memory at work to make that true in a way I have a hard time accepting.
And the thing, really, that's throwing me for a loop here is that we are NOT finding our next home. Remind me, people, how ridiculous it is that I'm saying that given that we've only looked at 3 houses so far with our realtor and gone to 4 open houses on our own so far. On the other hand, I've looked at EVERY house listed in our target towns online so many times that I can look over the list the realtor gave me of all listings in those towns and I know just from the address which house is which.
Why is it that the only people listing their homes are the ones who live in ancient houses, or on corner lots of two busy streets, or next to power lines or within spitting distance of a hospital? I mean, I GET why those people don't want to live in those houses any more (while respecting that some people are quite happy there, thank you very much), but aren't there people like us with nice houses on nice lots in quiet neighborhoods who want to move? In the Boston area, you can easily buy a home built in the 1800s, if that's your desire. It is not my desire. You can also easily buy a home built between 1900 and 1935, and then between 1946 and 1969. It's not that I don't respect and appreciate history, and it's not that I'm clueless about the benefits of going with what's there; but I'm realistic about our lack of handyman skills and our inability to manage a home that turns out to need drastic electrical or plumbing or mold mitigation work (or the many other pitfalls in owning older homes).
There's very little from the 1970s (which could be a blessing, of course), and then stuff built from 1980 until now is few and far between. Although often enough, some speculating builder bought one of those older homes on a tiny lot, knocked it down, and replaced it with a McMansion that's STILL on a tiny lot on a busy street (and of course ridiculously expensive).
I did see one of the most beautiful and unusual homes I'd ever seen. In our price range. Nice town, nice lot. We would have needed to add on to it, but there were some possibilities there. However, the owners smoke (cigars and cigarettes), and my research shows me that, particularly given the way this house is built, those chemicals and odors can never be fully removed. Ken's allergies, not to mention moving Dean into the House of Second Hand Smoke, take this one right off the list.
I guess one reason our house sold so quickly is that we've taken care of it, maintained everything, renovated what needed updating (the house was built in 1990), made lovely gardens, and listened to our realtor's advice about price (most people seem to be living in their own private Idaho when it comes to setting a listing price). Oh well.
We'll keep looking, of course. I'll be all on top of those new listings as they appear, and from our research we will certainly know it when we see it. And buy it, hopefully. And be able to move in on or before August 1, because otherwise we're hitting the road.