After nearly seven years of apartment dwelling, Mt. Man and I are looking to buy our first home. And according to most knowledgeable sources, we couldn’t have picked more difficult time or location to try and find a place.
Dallas is currently enjoying a seller’s market. Which means we have more competition than just other folks like our selves – but also mystery corporations that like to go in with cash offers, very appealing to the seller. So in order for us to complete, we have to be ready to pounce within hours of seeing a house we like. And even then, there’s a certain amount of finger crossing required. Le sigh.
Also, Dallas, or more accurately, the Metroplex, has a very large, complicated sprawl with varying degrees of “doable-ness” (I really should be a word creator by profession) in relation to our respective workplaces. That means we have to be very picky, and simultaneously open minded to our future location. As everyone who’s ever tried to purchase property knows, it’s all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Le sigh deux.
With the help of trusty Realtor, we found a few houses yesterday that could be really good. One that I absolutely loved (dang it!) but that was not in the best location in terms of commuting.
Head spinning with real estate stuff, I’m trying to simplify the cluster. What is house hunting like? Mt. Man and I decided yesterday that it’s most definitely not house “shopping,” but absolutely house “hunting.” It’s deadly. But what is house hunting like? Here are a few of my own metaphors:
House hunting in Dallas and the Metroplex is like…
- Speed dating. You see a handful of eligible bachelors who try to impress you (or not) in a short time frame and you have to make a decision almost on the spot wether or not to pursue them. Being a decisive person in nature, this isn’t exactly a problem for me, but it is bizarre. No courtship. No funny, “how I met your mother” story. And a much bigger check at the end of the night.
- Grabbing lunch from the Soup Nazi. Can’t decide between clam chowder or tomato basil? NO SOUP FOR YOU!! Not prepared with exact change in hand? NO SOUP FOR YOU!!
- Shopping at TJ Maxx when you’re not a that kind of shopper. Some people love to sift through all the racks and find the ideal bargain, because in the process, they find some great deals and snag them all at discount prices. I’m not that kind of shopper. Not that I don’t love a deal (who doesn’t?) but I do not like to sift aimlessly with only hope to guide me. When I have a purchase in mind, I have something in mind and I research it before I even grab my keys to go to the store. I’m typically confident in the fit, the quality, and even the color in my purchase before I even see it. TJ Maxx is a crapshoot. You never know what you’ll find there and even if you think you’ve found something good, when you get to the fitting room, it’s got a busted zipper, or you can’t find the item in your size, or it only does in a hideous shade of yellow. You feel like you try on half the store only to leave empty handed.House hunting is like this because A) there are far more “poor recommendations” than there are deals, B) it requires patients and a great deal of sifting, and C) it’s best done with someone who is better at finding deals than yourself – or someone whose company you enjoy because it’s time consuming.
- Playing darts with a shifting bullseye. Topping the list of my favorite bar games, darts requires you to focus on a stationary target and to use precise aim to hit your mark. House hunting is like that, but only if the bullseye keeps moving a bit to the right every time you get prepared to throw your dart, forcing you to pause, realign yourself and prepare to toss again. The bullseye shifts for two reasons: one you have to adjust your own expectations, and if it were on a map, there would be literal shifting because you have adjust your geographic requirements.
- Looking for flights via a Pegacorn to the lost city of Atlantis. Or rather, I should say that it feels like that, and Lord willing, it won’t actually be like that.
We’ll eventually find a place that will fit. But will it be that house? Will that house be the house? Can I please, pleeeeezzzz, start packing? Is it possible to physically lift a house from one spot and move it to another? That’d be sweet.
House hunting is a little mad. But we’re all mad here.