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Do I Have a Home?

12/26/2004

When we found out we had sold our house, we were a little at a loss. Panic mode set in and then a blizzard made it impossible for us to go see any houses before Christmas. I was a little tense, but not too worried. Mostly the same houses are for sale now that were for sale when we left Madison, and we're looking for different things now anyway. This time, we made two lists, Wants and Needs. Our Needs have changed a little, the list is actually shorter now. Our Wants actually changed significantly from when we bought this house. The list isn't any shorter, we've added a bunch of former Needs to it, but it's different.

That's the thing about moving so many times, you begin to get a good idea of what you don't want. Which, in my opinion, is more important than what you do want. Some people do this with wives. I was lucky, mine told me right out what I wanted and everything is cool now.

The interesting thing is, when we did up this list of Wants and Needs, and compared it to the houses that were for sale in the area that we wanted to live, none of the houses in our new and improved price range met the whole Needs list, and they barely touched the Wants list. So it was a toss-up, we can compromise on some of the Needs if it's got a few of the Wants. Doesn't have any of the Wants, but it comes close on the Needs. We went on and on until we got to the point we were at yesterday, namely, just stuck on price. "This house has two of our Needs and none of our Wants, but it's dirt cheap! We can add our needs on, as soon as we get the blood washed up." Yup, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel, murder houses, meth labs, HUD foreclosed, trailers. All of this in the four days since we sold our house. It didn't bode well.

Only one house that we knew of met every requirement on our Needs list. It was the house directly next door to our old house. Sure, it was ugly and needed a lot of work, but it had the room, the lot, the basement and had recently had the entire first floor re-done. They had started re-doing the upstairs baths and had just finished studding out the basement. It has a brand-new huge eat-in kitchen and new exterior French doors. In short, perfect. Perfect house, perfect neighborhood, perfect TAXES, perfect neighbors. There was only one problem. It wasn't for sale.

So I thought, "What the hell? You won't get what you don't ask for." So I sent Charisa over with a digital camera to spec the place out, she came back with decorating ideas, so I knew it was time to make an offer. We did, and to our surprise they were willing to sell, and could even make our deadline! We were stoked, let me tell you. But then the kicker, there always is one. They countered our offer.

Now what they countered at was and is, I think, a fair price for the house. If the house had been more complete, if the landscaping had been better taken care of, if any number of things. If we had been using a realtor, I might have been tempted to split the difference. But we weren't and it was more than I wanted to spend. We decided to look at the other houses for sale at the same price point and if we didn't find anything, well, then negotiations would start. But it was still more than I wanted to pay, and I really wasn't willing to go where I was sure this guy wanted me to go.

We called our friend Pat Lynch, whose father sold us our first house in Madison, and set up all the house showings for tomorrow. Even the murder houses. We were on our way. We had completely written off the house next door, and ready to find our new homestead and make it our own.

Then last night I got a call at about eight. They were willing to accept our original offer and could move immediately.

I'm still looking at the other houses, why not, but this one will be cheaper, and it's got everything we need, and we can be in it when we need to be. So, provided home inspection, title search and all that stuff goes well, and there's no problem closing on the house we're selling, I've got a home.

And I got it for Christmas.

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