Saturday, November 7, 2009

Driving by slowly and looking at your things ...

Chuck and I are house hunting. So far it has been mostly internet-based house hunting, which is a lot like shoe shopping at Zappos: Click on house-buying site, select 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a price range, and let 'er whirl. Weed out things in neighborhoods we loathe, coo over hardwood floors, question decorating decisions of current occupants, mentally rearrange furniture in a space that in all likelihood bears a faint resemblance to the wide-angle photograph shot by some savvy real estate agent.

"This place is totally haunted," Chuck will say, poring over a ramshackle bungalow filled with snow babies.

One of us brings to the house-hunting table a down payment and pre-approval for a loan. The other one of us brings a sunny disposition and a winning smile.

I graduated from high school with our real estate agent. (Go Eagles!) He showed us two houses this week, one in West Duluth and one in the East Hillside area. The former is still tickling my brain. I can't decide if it was awesome, or if distance has distorted my memory of it. I just doubled back to the online photos, and played the montage over and over while listening to "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin. That house is like a boyfriend that enlisted in the Army.

As for the East Hillside house: totally haunted.

Basically I'm seeing that being a real estate agent is a lot like being CSI: Duluth. He carries a flashlight in his back pocket. We wander the house, opening strangers' closets and making sure there is a dishwasher. Meanwhile, he's on his hands and knees next to one of those huge basement structures checking the font on the label of the furnace and saying: "This company doesn't even exist anymore. And this label was made in the 1960s. This thing is gonna blow."

I'm mentally chopping onions on the ample counter space; he flashes a beam of light to the base boards. "Looks like they didn't quite finish the trim here."

For many years I've thought that I might want to be a real estate agent. I now suspect that what I found appealing was the sound of high heels on hardwood floors, and the idea of a pencil skirt.

So, that is what we are up to here. Wake up, Chuck points out houses he's found. I send emails littered with an uncharacteristic amount of emoticons to our real estate agent. Later I look at listings suggested by CSI: Duluth, and text Chuck with the deets.

The most surprising thing in all of this is that I spent yesterday monitoring whether the home buyer tax credit was going to be extended. That is the most boring sentence I've ever written in my life.

But you know what isn't boring? Open houses tomorrow.


beret said...

Househunting is my idea of heaven. I love everything about it. We bought our first house and built our second (and LAST)house from scratch. There's nothing about the process I don't like except the part where you hand over thousands of dollars to the bank.

I'm always on looking at houses in Duluth. Which one are you looking at in the East Hillside area?

Best of luck finding something you love and can afford. Let me know when you buy something and I'll send you a crafty wreath that says "Welcome Friends" for you to hang in your foyer. :)

Futbol said...

what the hell's a snow baby? is this a regional thing?

christina said...

Collectible figurines, frequently displayed in hutches and atop doilies.

Futbol said...

doilies? hutches? figurines? it appears we have tapped into a whole category of english words i have never actually used before.

christina said...

Back away from the words slowly. They suggest a lifestyle I'd never want for you.

Futbol said...

*drops vocabulary and runs*

Amy said...

i'm excited for you guys!

Sproactually said...

House Hunting is a great experience if your loaded. Consider yourself very lucky if you know a realtor they can get you the early looks at the new listings.

For someone like me, on a budget. I hated it. The only bright side for me is the plumbing nightmares and furnaces from ACME heat and boiler are a non-issue.

There are really only 2 things you can't alter in a house, where it is, and overall, the size. So make sure those 2 things are right. Everything else can be changed in lumps of $10,000 checks.

Good luck and I hope it works out.

feisty said...

watch out. first comes house, then you become boring HOMEOWNERS (and Quinlans will miss you both).

chuck said...

"Homepwners" is our preferred nomenclature.

Wahkonamama said...

I actually had a sneaking suspicion about this.

Woo hoo!

For the record, I didn't even bring a sunny disposition to the table. Also, homeownership is so not boring. You can throw house parties!