Monday, April 28, 2014

Why I'm Not a Realtor

Not a house we looked at. This was in Seattle.

Looking at houses for sale on the internet is addictive. So is driving by them, and going to open houses, and pestering your mortgage broker dude and realtor.

I don't want to do anything else. It's weird. Like I'd imagine a junkie would act--only looking for fixes, not caring about, say: writing, learning more about Scrivener, paying bills, eating healthy, or going to yoga class. But maybe junkies don't do any of those things anyway.

Saturday Ali and I went to two open houses, and yesterday three. But then we drove around for hours looking at more that weren't open and peering in windows, striking addresses from lists because a house was in that neighborhood, or it didn't have a big enough back yard, or it looked too small for our needs.

After we got home, I went through another six pages of listings in the online version of the Eugene Register Guard. I've started a new list of drive by addresses, and one list for the realtor of houses I definitely want to see the inside of. Seriously, it's as time consuming as first setting up your profile and browsing the singles on OK Cupid. Or Facebook.

Of course, this is all very pre-mature, as are lots of things I tend to do. We haven't even met with the mortgage broker to see if we can, together, get pre-approved for a home loan. That's tomorrow morning.

Moving in together will mean big changes for all of us, but mostly not-so-big changes. While Ali likes and genuinely cares for and worries about my teenage children, he's never lived with kids before. I'm worried that occasionally he'll need a quiet place to time-out in (not so much different from traditional parents, actually), away from the noise, chaos, or drama teenagers sometimes bring--depending on the kid. I'm sure Ali worries a little about this, too.

That--plus our three large dogs, and my desire to garden and raise chickens--creates some unique (but not strange) housing needs. We're quite obviously looking for a large fenced lot. And we'll need a certain amount of separation of space in the actual living quarters, not to mention the general square footage required for four people, three dogs, lots of art, and myriads of books.

In our preliminary searching, we've found one in particular that we keep using as a reference. Do we like this house as much as the other one? No? Then, strike it from the list.

As with every home, even "dream ones" you construct yourself, there are things about it that are not quite perfect. You'd change them if you could. But, generally, the positives far out-weigh the bad, and that is the case of this "reference" house we've found.

The back yard isn't as flat as I'd like it, the location of the home isn't in my favorite neighborhood, and one of the bathrooms would rarely be used--given its location in the house. Which just seems wasteful. Other than that, though, it's pretty near perfect to suiting our needs. The property taxes are lower than in some places, the dogs wouldn't bottle-neck in the hallways, there's a great place for Ali to escape to, AND it boosts an artists' studio. With at least three artists in the family, this would be great fun to have.

And, in lean times, if I couldn't manage my rent downtown, I could use the studio as a place to practice massage out of. It has an outside entrance, and an accessible bathroom--one that wouldn't have clients traipsing through my dog-haired living room, or messy kitchen.

All in all, pretty nearly perfect.

But here I am waxing poetic on a house I don't know for sure if I can get a loan for, a list of eight other homes I want tours of, and twelve more I'm going to drive by. Just to see. They fit under the category of: Eh. It might be cool. But it might be too small. I can't tell by the pictures. And I don't even know where Myoak is.

I swear I could make a full time job out of looking for a house to buy. I certainly spend enough time on it--it's even bleeding over into my writing! Though pretty soon I will be sick of it, and will just take whatever house I'm looking at the time. Which is why I'll never be a realtor.

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