When Shea and I bought our current house, it was at the height of the real estate market in So Cal. We did what so many other folks did—we toured the Inland Empire on Saturdays, looking at models of homes still to be built. We entered our names into lotteries and huddled with hundreds of other people at 7 am, waiting to hear our number called. When it was, we had ten minutes to pick a lot with a model on it.
The price was predetermined, as was the layout. No negotiating. We didn’t need a realtor. Once we got the house, the rest was easy.
I’m telling you all this so you understand that I. Didn’t. Know.
I have not just one, but TWO realtors in my life. A local realtor who is going to do her best to make our short-but-almost-standard-sale in So Cal a success. And a realtor in Oregon who is stalking houses for us to buy. This poor woman. The home market in our price range is hopping, and here we are, 700 miles away and trying to play. Already, three homes have sold out from under us in less than a day.
What can you do when you’re this far away?
I didn’t know sellers would be so infuriatingly patient that even when it is clear to the whole wide world that their house ain’t gonna sell for that amount, they will not entertain a lower offer.
I didn’t know that we would find the perfect five bedroom home and enter into escrow. Only to have my neighbor, her hand clearly guided by the Blessed Mother, discover on page 3 of Google that the home had previously belonged to a sexual psychopath, with family still living in the area and a clear history of breaking his parole.
We walked, not just for the bad mojo, but for the fear that one day that guy would knock on the door for kicks and giggles, and there would be one of my daughters.
Oh. Hell. No.
(Buyer beware: The listing agent knew. It is not legally required for anyone to disclose that a sex offender used to live in a home. The Megan’s Law websites can only tell where offenders currently live.)
And then this house popped up:
I know. I wanted this house, so badly that I flew to Oregon on a whim to see it. And it was everything it promised to be except for one small problem: sloped ceilings. I guess folks were shorter in the 1940s.
Still, I found a lovely architect who could fix it for us if we were willing to live with it for a few years first. He was on vacation, then we were and when we came back, the house had sold.
That was when we started praying every night for “God to send us our house”.
Just pick a house, you say? It’s not that easy. One morning, over coffee and the morning Zillow report, I found a lovely contender. Great neighborhood, good lot size, enough bedrooms. Then I scrolled through the pictures and saw this:
Do you see that thing on the stairs? It’s not a shadow. It’s an absence of light, like the light has been sucked in or forced away. Now look carefully at the TV in this picture:
You see that???
I sent these pictures to Dana and Lesley, who called me a chicken for not wanting to live with a spirit. She’s right. I‘ve done ghost in the house and don’t need to do it again.
I’m sure the owners are wondering why their beautiful home—now priced below market value—is not selling.
I kind of want to tell them.
Today, we fly to Oregon to make a decision. We have a Top 12 list of homes we like. We are going to spend a fast 96 hours dragging the kids from house to house until we find it.
Please pray for us. Because the fatigue is setting in, and the worry about how I will fill my days after we find the right place, and if there is such a thing as Realtor.com Anonymous, because I may need it.
House-hunting: it’s not for the faint of heart.