Me and that one dude I’m married to are 15 days away from closing on our first house (no jinx, no jinx no jinx! *knocks on wood.*) It’s been a quick emotional roller coaster, and we haven’t even made the final leap yet. The best way I can describe it is in a timeline of dating, because while there are really exciting, life-altering fun parts, mostly its just waiting for someone to call you back. Let’s break it down:
Stage 1: Boy crazy
When you first start looking for a house you are crazy and stupid. You are in love with every single building in a 50 mile radius that has four walls and a roof. A one-bedroom shack next to an ally? I’ll take it! Boy with a mullet who probably won’t pass middle school? He’s so charming! Your eyes are open to the world of possibilities and everything looks like a good option over your smelly apartment that smells like old people. Even the house that smells like old people is appealing, because it’s a HOUSE.
Stage 2: The dating scene
By now you’ve stepped further into the world of home buying and have passed the stage of stalking them on Redfin to actually stepping into one to see a showing. It’s intimidating at first, you’re not really sure how to act, trying to sound like you know what you’re talking about, yet ultimately ending up knocking on a random wall and saying something dumb like, “do these walls come in different colors?” But with any new risk, practice makes perfect, and by the 10th house, you are eyeing the basement for seepage and scoping out the ceilings for water damage like a pro.
Stage 3: Get yourself a good wingman
Your realtor is the one who is going to hold your hand through this entire God-awful, emotionally raw and painful process. They are the ones who sit on the phone with you through every bad breakup, make fun of the dream house who seemed perfect on the outside but was a complete mess on the inside, and keep you entertained during a dry spell. Get yourself a good one that has your back, because you don’t want to go through this alone.
Stage 4: The shitty break-up
It’s inevitable, something throughout your house hunting stage will go terribly wrong and make you curse that day you were lying on the couch watching House Hunters thinking about how that could be you. It could be that you put an offer on a house and it doesn’t go through, your bank lies behind your back and breaks your heart, or the inspection goes wrong and you find that the house you pictured yourself with forever isn’t as committed as you thought and has a foundational crack that tears you two apart. Regardless, the best thing you can do is walk away, evaluate your loss, and hope that the next one won’t screw you over as bad.
Stage 5: Finding the “One”
You found it- the one that makes your eyes light up whenever you walk into one of its many well-lit, hardwood floored, reasonably priced for the area rooms, and you are ready to make a commitment. You sign your contract, hope for the best, and visualize growing decrepitly old together, which makes you wonder if you can put in one of those chair lifts up the banister for when you do.
Stage 6: Getting ready for the big day
Just like this entire stage, there are several ups and downs in this part as well. The planning itself is enough to test your relationship and is used as a rite of passage to make sure you are worthy for the final leap. While it might be fun at times, mainly you are going crazy trying to find your birth certificate and getting ready to sign all of your money away to people you have never met.
While I haven’t even finished this journey, I can sum up our time so far as 70% thinking “OH GOD WHY WON’T THEY JUST CALL ME BACK, 10% I HATE HOUSES AND AM SWEARING OFF HOME OWNERSHIP FOREVER, and 20% of cold night terrors thinking OH MY GOD THIS IS TOO MUCH, ARE WE GOING TO HAVE TO EAT CAT FOOD? Followed by, HOW MUCH IS CAT FOOD?!
Stay tuned for the final chapters… also, I think I should turn this into a book.