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It all kinda snuck up on me. I’d been kind of halfheartedly looking for what seems like forever. Last week, I decided it was time to get serious. Real serious. I called up a friend of a friend and we had a good conversation. We agreed to meet on Saturday. More good conversation. We were out and about for a couple of hours. The results were pretty good.
And then, yesterday afternoon, I saw her. I couldn’t get her out of my mind. I looked around some more, just to be sure, but I found myself comparing. And nothing I found stacked up. No, that’s being too generous. Nothing else I found even deserved to inhabit the same universe.

I was smitten. I decided I couldn’t live without her.

Sunday, I made an offer on a house. It’s less than a mile from where I live (1.28 miles if you follow roads, which is generally a good idea). It’s been there for 37 years. I wonder where it’s been all my life.

I’m about to go seriously, seriously into debt. But I find myself liking the idea. I didn’t expect it to happen this fast. Nothing’s guaranteed yet, but my realtor says I made a solid offer.

But I’m finding I already have regrets. Although I rather liked their grand piano, I realize it would be totally wasted on me, and I made no demands about what stays, other than what’s standard in the contract, like attached shelves and the garage door. So I don’t think anything stops them from doing something crazy like taking, oh, doors, and, well, light bulbs and shower curtain rods. Don’t laugh. Growing up, we lived sandwiched between the two weirdest families in our subdivision. One family was the cool kind of weird. I liked them. The other family was psycho-weird. They finally moved away because no one in the neighborhood would speak to them–I think I still have a picture of their moving day–and when they did, they took the light bulbs with them.

What do you care if they take the doors? You Scottish simpletons never use them anyway. Especially you bachelors. –Raunche

Oh well. Hopefully they’re reasonable people. They’ll be able to see from my offer that I am.

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11 thoughts on “Milestone”

  1. …and the grand order of the giant wooden paddle for the most stirring tale of the years goes to …. (drumroll) Dave Farquhar! Come on down, Dave.

  2. Well, I found out the real reason why real estate contracts are written the way they are. If you have any trouble sleeping the night after you make an offer, reading that contract is a really quick fix. Works great.

  3. When we bought our first house, I read all of the mortgage papers at closing. When we bought our second house, I knew better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Well, David, it would appear that congratulations are in order. Somehow, you have become a landowner. I was surprised when your brother did it, and at first, I was startled that you have as well. But, given that you administer a network based on the premier enterprise OS – Windows, of course – my amazement has been tempered. Windows *is* where the money is made. I would offer you a snifter of brandy, but I doubt you could fully appreciate a liquor that does not contain bubbles.

    Were you able to find a home with your culturally standard thatch roof? Is the structure all wood, or all mud construction? And will the transaction be accomplished by the bartering of sheep, as I’d expect from the Scottish?

  5. Hi Dave:


    One thing I would do is make sure you get the title insurance the covers your interest in the house too. Standard title insurance protects the owner of the mortgage but not the person on the other end of the stick, it does not cost much more. Title insurance is handled during the closing but you would need to make it known in advance that you want this protection (it added about $80 to the cost of our title insurance).

    My wife and I are living in our first (and, ideally last) house that we bought in late 1995. Ours was built in 1917 and was a good deal for us because of the “loving care” it enjoyed all the years under its very eccentric owner (was in the same family since 1928 until we got it). It has been worth it due to how those houses were built but if we knew before hand the work we were in for I reckon we would have chickened out.

    Think “Money Pit” the movie and it will be only a little of an exaggeration. Well, more than a little but how about duct tape for corner bead, duct tape for window sealant, a bare “hot wire” in one of the electrical sockets (I have gone through all of those carefully), gutters that caused much water in the basement, 7 layers of alternating wood and wallpaper over the bare plaster (which we managed to get down to eventually), shag carpet in the kitchen, etc etc etc.

    Or – how about a “servant” button in the MIDDLE of the living room floor that was not connected to anything as my wife found out when she almost tripped on it and yanked that sucker up and found no wiring attached! Like I said, the prior owner was eccentric and was proud of that button, not to mention the “fresco” she had in the middle of the living room the ceiling that was made from magazine reproductions of the Sistine chapel. She was renting out (this is a true story) rooms by the week that last couple years and we had the police/sheriff show up thee times in the middle of the night before the finally believed us that one of her deadbeat roomers was no longer there!

    Believe it or not, our neighborhood is nice, we just took on what was formerly the “nightmare” neighbor house on the block!

    I am sure your experience will be better! ๐Ÿ™‚



  6. Way to go, Dave! Nice to see not everyone’s caving on the “spend money to keep the economy rolling” thing… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The good news is that, from four months on the OTHER side of buying a house, the regrets are STILL there. Sure, I might have found another, better deal. Then again, with housing prices going up, not down, there’s a good chance the house will be worth more when you move in than you paid for it.

    Couple of pieces of advice – if they have a housing inspection, tag along – with a camera (digital or film, or even video) and notepad. Measure the windows, rooms (roughly), and all the rest. You’ll want curtains, want to know if X will fit in room Y, and if that ghastly carpet can be replaced (couldn’t in my case).

    Once you’ve measured it all, look for obvious things – non-GCFI outlets near sinks. Ungrounded outlets. A 37-year-old house should have reasonably good wiring, but check anyway. Check the furnace and air conditioner (if any). Snoop, everywhere.

    It’s likely to be your only chance to look at the house until right before you close, and then it’s too late to get those curtains at a “stock-up sale” you saw two months ago.

    Congratulations, and good luck. And if you find a way to get rid of damnedelions, PLEASE let me know… — jd.

  7. Not to go too far off topic, but… John, laying down a layer of Scotts Weed Control formula works like a charm. At my old house, we had almost a field of the things. The Scotts stuff did the trick. Of course, at the new house, with “pure bluegrass” sod, there’s a whole slew of *different* weeds to tackle.

  8. You can talk this one over with the Dominik, but harking back to a fairly recent post of yours, just make very sure that when you take out a mortgage you take out insurance to cover the payments if you ever involuntarily become a free agent – either laid off, or illness.

  9. A congratulations are in order, old man! Since you’ve left everybody hanging by not reporting the outcome of your bid…

    And no thanks are in order for my acting as matchmaker in this beautiful event. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Enjoy. You deserve this.

  10. And, ooh la la, I come home from work the day after the bid’s accepted, and I’ve got e-mail from someone I don’t know and have never heard of that says nice Russian ladies want to meet me. As Raunche would say, moi?

    Property owning has its priveliges!

    Then again, it could be entirely coincidental.

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