I’ve been looking forward to househunting for so long that I think I really ought to be enjoying, but it is proving to be exhausting. I feel absolutely drained! We went out last night and saw five houses — two that looked promising, two unknowns, and one we had very high hopes for — and came back with very muddled heads.
Two of the five we could eliminate completely: they were awful, ugly, damaged houses that would take months of work and tens of the thousands of dollars to put right. We backed out of them slowly and got back in the car. Two of them were good… quite good… mmm, yes, very nice indeed… but both are slightly above our price range and we are feeling uncomfortable about making that stretch. And the last one — the one we’d really had high hopes for — well, it looked absolutely wonderful as we walked through it. I loved the living room, kitchen, and dining room. M was chuffed with the basement, the driveway, and garage (these are his key areas, believe it or not). The garden was big and fenced in. The bathroom was kitsch in a chic way and the first two bedrooms were a nice size with hardwood floors. And then we got to the third bedroom. Bedroom? Office perhaps? Coat cupboard more like, and even that was generous. It was wholly unworkable as a bedroom and it instantly turned what was supposed to be a three-bed family home into a two-bed professional couple’s house. We trouped back to the car, disappointment written across our slumping shoulders.
I wrestled with those two over-the-budget houses all day today. I crunched numbers, I made spreadsheets, I rebudgeted with a creative flair — but I was unable to quell the nagging doubts in the pit of my stomach. At about 5pm, I checked the estate agents’ websites again, as I do nearly every day. There was new house.
It was so new, there were no pictures of it yet, so I googled the address and found it on another estate agent’s site. It was beautiful, just beautiful — very English-looking, in fact. I checked the details and it ticked every single one of our boxes. And the location was absolutely perfect — it was on a street I’ve often thought would be the ideal location for us. And… and… it was bang smack on budget.
I sent M out in the car to drive by it as I picked up the phone to ring the agent to see if we could go — now — and see it. The agent looked it up and said it was marked as under contract. No no, I said, it’s only just appeared on the listings today! It must have been under contract but then the deal fell through… He agreed to ring the listing agent and call back.
M got back and was swooning — swooning. I hopped in the car to go look myself. The agent rang back and told M he couldn’t get through to the listing agent, but he’d keep trying — if we didn’t hear back tonight, it would only be because he hadn’t yet got hold of him. I got back from my drive-by and gleefully agreed with M. It looked perfect. The agent rang back — he still couldn’t get a hold of the listing agent, but he would continue to try…
After several hours of not hearing back, I went back online and googled the address again. I came across the listing agent’s own website and there was the house, in all its loveliness. I looked at the price, hardly believing it was in our price-range. And then I spotted the words written next to the numbers: “Sold in One Day.” It would appear that in this market, where houses are sitting stagnant for months and months without selling, we lost the perfect house on the very day we found it.
Only two houses in the past six months have really made my heart flutter. We are back to square one. And I feel absolutely and completely gutted. Househunting is exhausting work.