My kingdom for a house?

1 Oct

Ah, the good old days, when a house in California didn't cost you your soul.

Remember the house we were going to buy?  Well, that deal is history.  Yup.

After a lengthy once-over by a reputable inspector, we have decided to walk from the house.  Yes, the house that I openly wept in, exclaiming, “I want to raise our children here.”  It turns out that, despite appearing rather clean and sound, the house is essentially built on a sink hole, riddled with asbestos, and prone to flooding like New Orleans during hurricane season.  And we wondered why the asking price was so reasonable.

Although we’ve owned property before, this is the first time we’ve gone to such trouble to find THE PERFECT HOUSE.  And why?  Because now we have Seabass to consider.  Is there plenty of room to play outside?  Are there pitbulls nearby?  Is the town walkable?  Is the community tight?  Where is the local library/park?  Does the house have enough space for entertaining friends?  What is the closest school like?  Do the neighbors seem, well, neighborly?  Oh, and can we afford to make the monthly payment?!?!?

To illustrate how we’ve deliberated on this decision ad nauseam: This is the third property we’ve put an offer on in the past year, only to decide later that it isn’t quite right for one reason or another.   Each time, our reaction to the failed deal has been different. 

  1. The first house seemed perfect to me, but we backed out because we determined it was out of our price range.  That had me in tears for a couple days, but I eventually (mostly) got over it. 
  2. The second house was bought by people who made a better offer, which was fine because the place was really small and smelled like hamsters.  Indifference. 
  3. This last one had me thanking Jesus, Mary and Joseph for saving us from a horrible future of cracked foundations, cancer, and sandbags.

That said, I am tired.  I am tired tired tired of thinking about houses.  I’m tired of imagining where all my furniture will go on each floor plan.  And I’m tired of moving; we have packed and unpacked seven times in the eight years since we wed.  And get this: I haven’t lived anywhere longer than two years since I left home for college fourteen years ago.

Jake, on the other hand, could host a house-hunting show on HGTV.  It is, like, his favorite thing to do.  In the whole world.  While I can’t imagine he enjoys watching deals fall through, part of me wonders if he isn’t a little excited to have an excuse to keep looking.

It’s taken so much energy and thought of late that I’m starting to wonder how important it is for us to own our home.  Of course, we’ve gone through all the hoops of considering moving to a more affordable state like Oregon.  But what of our community here?  What of our astronomically high quality of life?  What of our relationships with our neighbors, friends, local shopowners?  To wheel Seabass around downtown in his stroller is to run into at least three people I know and love.  How can I put a price tag on that?

8 Responses to “My kingdom for a house?”

  1. BA October 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm #

    I am sure that you have heard this before but when you stop looking, the perfect house will come along. I feel your pain – been there, done that.

  2. KatyM October 1, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    There is a, ahem, condo for sale in my complex. I know it isn’t as dreamy as a house with the yard and all that, but really, how soon will Seabass be running in the grass? AND you would have a nearly built-in babysitter across the driveway. Just throwin’ it in the ring…

  3. Cynthia October 1, 2010 at 1:52 pm #

    I have never owned a home, although I always assumed that my husband and I eventually would. But the more we hear about home ownership, the less excited we are about it. It’s not just the up-front cost. There are the ongoing costs of maintenance, insurance, taxes, repairs, stress, strife and constantly worrying about the housing market. I’m sure there are some positives, too, but I don’t think people should assume that owning is always the right decision. As you point out, you already live in an amazing community. That’s a lot to give up, and it’s not entirely clear to me what you’d gain.

  4. Jill October 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Excuse me…you’ve considered Oregon? If you dare do something like that we will personally drag you back to the Central Coast. It would never be the same here without you. period. Yes, once I read that part I forgot the rest of the blog.

    • Donna October 12, 2010 at 11:33 am #

      Oregon is enticing! And hey, it isn’t too bad (though we do miss SLO)! We can help drag you guys up here!

  5. Caroline Gordon-Elliott October 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    You’ll find that house, you will. Even if J has to host his own episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home-buying Edition”.

  6. Patty Thayer October 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Gotta say – I’m with Cynthia in many ways. You know my history – and I’m tellin’ you – SOOOOOO glad we didn’t buy when we almost did about 2 or 3 years ago – we’d be screwed!! And I’m also with Katy. I’m actually LOVING this condo thing! That being said, we do plan to buy in the next year. But I’m loving living in SLO. I know its more expensive. But we’re going smaller to stay central. And condo living is way cool – no yard work, a pool and the kitchen I’ve got is a-we-so-me!!

    Love ya — d’ya want tickets for tomorrow? I’ve got ’em!

  7. Debbie October 3, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    Sorry, I raised Jake to like looking at houses. It’s fun to dream, then move on to the next one. His Dad loves deals falling through because it’s cheaper and less work. Should we have warned about all this when you married him? Great post, sorry the house didn’t work out, though.

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