Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer Vacation: Part Three, The House

We are lucky. The kids and I arrived here on a Saturday. Justin came up the next day, Sunday. We gave the realtor the go ahead to have the pictures taken of the house and it was listed that Thursday. That very first day, we had a viewing and that couple placed a bid that Friday! It took a couple of back and forths, but we ended up with a ratified contract. The very first couple to look at our house, on the very first day it was on the market, bought it. So yeah, we are lucky. Well, let's not give luck all the credit, either. We did our research and priced the house perfectly. We (mostly Justin) worked our butts off to get it staged nicely. And Justin might disagree, but it is my honest opinion, after looking at a dozen or fifteen houses up here in PA, that I don't think there was even one of them that was staged as nicely as our house in Frederick was.

In fact, I was getting pretty discouraged looking at houses here. We looked at soooo many online in the weeks leading up to our move and in the time before we were first able to go look at houses. I should say, too, that we moved into our hotel having only the vaguest idea what area we might actually settle in. Justin had heard that one area was nice, but it was out of our price range. We initially considered New Jersey, but decided we really wanted to be somewhere between Philly and my dad near Allentown. We slowly, slowly started narrowing down the areas based on price, commute, and other factors. We did some driving around, but even that is tough with the kids. It is hard to pick a place to live when you know nothing of the area. Then, when we finally seemed to settle on an area, we were disappointed in the houses we were seeing. We just weren't seeing the perfect house. Some were out of our price range and STILL not something I'd buy, or they were in our price range but dumps, or they were beautiful and priced right but in a really weird location. Some of them looked great in pictures but turned out to be awfully strange in person. I am pretty sure we almost burst into flames in one house...

I was starting to think that we might really end up having to rent for a while, only because we couldn't find a house we liked! It seemed a shame to rent for that reason alone. Finally we saw this house, I'll call it "Irish." I had seen it online and requested to see it in our first batch with the realtor, but it wasn't available for viewing and we sort of forgot to circle back around to it until much later. I kept looking at it online. The kitchen was pretty darn ugly. It had the same cabinets as our ugly hotel! And that orange paint on the wall... yikes! But it was priced low enough that we could hope to save up to finish the basement. The neighborhood was great. The commute seemed reasonable. The layout of the house was just about perfect. It had a great yard. So we finally got an appointment to see it. I had put a lot of hope into "Irish," looking at the listing over and over again on my phone. And when we walked in, we were relieved to see that it looked the same in person as it did online. The kitchen was still ugly, but we can deal with some aesthetic issues. So, we put in our bid. Again, a couple of back and forths (and at least one frustrating misunderstanding) and again we had a ratified contract.

The house is not perfect, but no house is perfect. We can make this house our own over time. We can take care of it and improve it and become comfortable in it. We better, because they can pull my lifeless body out of this house in a hundred or so years. I am not ("do you hear me, I mean it") going to move next time.

So here we are in our new house in Pennsylvania, truly starting our new lives. We really like our new neighborhood. The kids are having fun in the new yard and love scootering around the cul-de-sac. We've been given gifts and warm welcomes by the neighbors. We still have a long way to go in terms of making meaningful connections, but that is the kind of thing that can only come in time. At least we're home.

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