The Art of Becoming a Homeowner

These days it can be difficult to pry our attentions away from the world stage, whereon so much melodrama and absurdity are being performed. A mixture of comedy and fear ripples throughout the globe as a manbaby plays at the controls of the biggest machine. Each day brings another mad headline, clicked and shared at a rapid pace before the next thing drops to our collective gasp (getting less gasp-y with each new thing).

But, despite the uptick in global happenings, local happenings still proceed forward (albeit at a much more manageable pace). So is the case for us. We bought a home.

Following four offers and four refusals, numbed to the excitement of the process, we stumbled into a spot we figured we couldn’t possibly get. Then we did. At this point, we’d really just go to open houses to see the places we’d likely never get. Lost was the gusto of the initial experiences when our lingo was adorably untrained. We now knew to ask about HOA dues, reserves, rental caps, the perceived level of interest. We knew to expect 10-20% escalations, and then to somehow expect even more than that. We’d still imagine our lives there, the commutes, the local bars and restaurants, the parks. We’d stare out the windows like we might if we slept there and all our furniture was just behind us. But the expectancy had slightly shriveled.

Then a place we’ve loved for years, old and iconic and next to the park, our park, had an open house. Redfin’s estimate had it outside of possibility, even with minor escalation, but the open house was Sunday and what else are we doing? Twenty minutes before the open house closed, we went by and checked it out. Nice hardwood floors, tall ceilings, radiant heat and tile counters. There was nothing remotely charmless about it. But we shuffled around it like it wasn’t ours, couldn’t be ours. Nice tile, she’d say. Yeah, nice tile, I’d volley. It was nice tile floor, but it was distant from us, beyond a money mountain we couldn’t travail.

We checked out the laundry situation, chatted up the agent, and were on the way out. Oh yeah, by the way, the HOA dues include property tax. Now, this would have been a terribly boring sentence to me just four months ago. But at this point, it meant that this progressed from the most unattainable spot we’d flirted with to the most just in the matter of one simple and boring sentence. We confirmed this new attainability with the Redfin app on our way out, then stood awkwardly at the corner like, holy shit, we can do this.

Personal letter, appropriate escalation clause, an agent on top of her shit. Our offer was accepted. We had become homeowners, sort of.

But, not really. Not yet. And still not yet. The excitement of the offer acceptance began a long month of money-related documents we would proceed to sign in our lifeblood for the next few weeks (and still). Further, our acceptance was additionally contingent on the board formally approving our neighborly existence with them. To the joy of our own estimations of ourselves, we were approved for that (though not before much homework about policies and meeting minutes and volunteer committees).

All this signing and money-pushing did not come before we had again looked at the place in person. Before we went on to 30-year contracts, we walked the interiors of our possible new home, imagining how our lives looked inside. The second bedroom window opened out to a rosemary bush. Sage below the kitchen’s. There was a bonus room, whose future was constantly mutable, from dressing room to project space. The old galley kitchen with ubiquitous cabinets and potential for renovation. No yard or balcony, but outside the front door was the park we’ve loved for all our years here, the biggest yard we could hope for and without the botanical grooming.

Beyond the unit itself, the building was a cooperative, wherein community is key and most maintenance is the responsibility of the residents. This in a city of few neighbors, a city of momentary glances and eye aversions. Whole apartment buildings who’d barely recognize each other. We were choosing a community over the chilliness of some former residences.

Of all the future homes that we have cyclically imagined for ourselves, we finally found the one for which we most loved the invented futures.

 

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6 thoughts on “The Art of Becoming a Homeowner

  1. So happy for you in finding your dream home! I would also say your style of writing has the same clarity as your Grandpa Tom’s. Enjoy your abode!

  2. I am indeed happy for you, and overjoyed that you two will still be local! We look forward to hopefully sharing time with you both soon. Cheers.

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