Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Long (Inter)National Nightmare Is (Probably) Over

So in the context of things that seem like they'll never end, but eventually do:

The Wars of the Roses: 32 years
Noah in the ark: 11 months (give or take; the passages in Genesis strike me as somewhat ambiguous, but it was a long time to be shut away with wild animals; besides, he spent a long time building the damned thing, though I suppose that when it was all over, he could have turned it upside down and used it as a barn)
The U.S. in Iraq: oh, wait

maybe my house hunt hasn't been so bad after all. Still, I feel like an underachiever. I started looking on July 25, and my offer was accepted on August 10, so I spent seventeen (17!) days looking for my new abode, and I figure the average time to hunt for a house has to be, what, 4.5 hours?

Anyway, I'm trying not to let my obvious shortcomings as a consumer dampen my joy at having found a place. On the other hand, I'm trying to keep a lid on the joy until at least the inspection, which takes place Friday. Then there's the loan application process. I was pre-approved, but it was by a different bank. There's really no reason why that should be a problem, unless the appraisal comes in significantly less than the loan amount. But I looked at the comparables pretty carefully and offered an amount that I was comfortable. The seller's agent had been going to counter, but my agent persuaded him that my offer was fair. (My realtor is really, really the man.) There are still a lot of things that could go wrong, but I'm optimistic.

Oh, and I love this house: I loved it right away. It's a cape. There are, technically, two bedrooms on the main floor and two upstairs, but the two upstairs will become most of my master suite. I will have to convert the upstairs half bath to a full bath, but I believe I can do that relatively inexpensively. And the basement is unfinished, but it's clean, and I wanted to have a hands-on renovation project, anyway. And installing some drywall and a laminate or tile floor seems like a lot more fun than mold remediation, which I'd have had to do on most of the other properties.

The downside of the property is that it's on a fairly busy street. I'm worried that may decrease its resale value, but I can always just die in the house. The street usually has a lot more traffic than you see here.

But the house is also less than a half-mile walk to the Metro, which was something I very much wanted. I'll still be driving to work, but it's five miles closer to the office than my current exurban home. The property's been very well maintained, and the exceptionally pleasant yard includes a hydrangea bush just like the one my grandmother had at her house.

(There are no spare radiators or decapitated ceramic fawns, but I know where I can find some less than a quarter-mile away. I'm sure EFU will rescue them for me if I give her twenty bucks.)

In the end, it looks like I'll have a mortgage for just over twice my annual income, and that's better than I thought I'd do. Back in the day, 2.5 times annual income was considered a reasonable ceiling. Lately, in this area, people have been spending closer to four times income, which, well, you know: financial crisis. Anyway: house I love and can afford. Yay.

The kids are thrilled about the purchase. B&c, well, he acts like he's been expecting this for a long time. I'm trying to figure out how to manage the separation and the post-separation relationship to make it as painless as possible for him. And for me, I suppose, but all of the excitement and work of moving into a new place distracts me pretty well from any potential separation anxiety. I'm sure that the actual move will be emotionally difficult, but there's a good chance I can do the bulk of that when he's in another country.

It's been very hard to concentrate on other things that I need to concentrate while this has been going on. In theory, now that I don't need to worry about where I'll be, I should be able to settle down, but I have a feeling that I'm going to spend much of the next few weeks dreaming of Ikea. There are worse dreams.


  1. Probably too early to say mazeltov on your new abode, but just finding a house that looks and feels like a satisfactory one is a major step in the right direction. Obviously you've already moved in mentally. Best wishes on resolving all the fucking uncertainties involved in such transactions. My current place is big enough and the weather's great, but etc etc. I get the sense that if the termites were not holding hands the place might collapse, but I try not to dwell on that aspect. The dog seems happy. Isn't that enough to expect out of life?
    Gerund guy.

  2. BTW, and you can always take advantage of the mild MD climate and rich soil to landscape the front slope to create a better buffer/shelter for the house....