How to Buy a House: Part 4 – Find a House (now with extra feelings)

This is part 4 in my mini-series on home buying. If you’d like to start from the beginning, click here

Assuming you’ve done all your homework up until this point, you’re ready to buy a house. Or you think you are. But maybe you aren’t. But somedays you are. Yes, you definitely are!

Don’t worry, you have plenty of time to dwell on your feelings as you start your real search for a house. Unless you’re really lucky, you don’t decide what you want one day and have the perfect house for the perfect price pop up on the market the next day. Would that it were so.

Our realtor explained how our sales funnel would work:

  • The Man and I would spend an initial “phase” touring neighborhoods and houses that generally meet our goals, narrowing our focus and figuring out what we actually liked when we got in a space.
  • Our second phase would be the longest. Once we’ve generally got a better idea of what we want and what we oh hell no do not, we’d wait until an intriguing property popped up in our MLS feed. Then we’d make shuffle things around in our schedules to go tour it ASAP.
  • The third and final phase would be the final sprint to the finish line. When we found a property we liked online and even more when we toured it, we’d do some market analysis and make an offer.

And that’s pretty much how it’s worked. It looks so simple written out like that, but the process feels like it’s dragged on for loooong time. Every once in a while a house comes on the market that makes our heart jump into our throats, but we’d tour it and realize it wasn’t right. The location was too noisy or the foundation had shifted so much you could see light coming between the floor and the ceiling. There was clear evidence of flooding or the current residents chain smoke and the smell was everywhere.

I felt like Milo driving through The Doldrums (which is literally the worst part of the book to sympathize with.) Maybe that’s because, in home-buying, there’s nothing to “tide you over” to the next step. There were no small victories that gave me the motivation to hit the pavement again as enthusiastically as I first did.

Or maybe it’s because, at some point, The Man and I could no longer generalize our wants and goals. It came down to what was available and what we were willing to put up with. This meant that conversations we’d been having hypothetically until now — about what we want vs. what we can deal with — kept happening. We had to re-negotiate with ourselves, each other, the Spirit of the Universe every time one of us liked a house. The whole process was vaguely Kübler-Ross: excitement, hope, bargaining, disappointment, and acceptance.

This gambit of emotions often ran their course within a matter of hours, sometimes minutes. It’s exhausting to go from feeling giddy with optimism to pathetically hopeless multiple times every week. Combine that with the demotivation of “no small victories” mentioned above, and laying on the floor complaining loudly seemed like a better option than looking at the MLS listings for the eighteenth time that day.

But, we found a house. And we bought it. 🙂 That’s a post for another day. 

But until then,
I’ll be right here.


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