Saturday, January 22, 2011

Instigating Change

So Bachelor Number Two turned out to be not-so-great... he wasn't a douchebag like B#1, but there was no spark, no excitement, and no energy.  He was too vague; vague about himself, vague about his plans, and not trying hard enough to show me that he was someone special.  I met up with him a second time to verify my impression of him, and he picked a crummy place.  Well, I thought, that's not so bad.  Let's see how it goes anyway.  But then he showed up and wouldn't answer my questions about what he did before he got into his current job, even though - at this age - he would have had a couple of decades of work under his belt doing SOMETHING.  (Two of my friends have already speculated about prison time!)  He mentioned again that he was thinking about doing something else, because keeping up with technology is so hard (!) but he didn't have a real plan about what else he wanted to do to earn a living.  I think that is where my interest stopped. 
I've already had a relationship (or two) where his Career Plans were vague or non-existent, and I already know how frustrating and un-interesting I think that is.   (Buster, anyone?  Ex-husband from my dark and murky youth?  No thank you.)  It isn't about materialism, it's about mental engagement and drive.  I am far too active and independent to want someone who can't form a solid idea.  It would drive me crazy.

So, realizing that the dating thing is going to be a process, and not a very satisfying one to begin with, I turned back to the things I've been looking into for a couple of years.  Since October of 2008, I've been researching real estate in this area.  I rented this townhouse so that I could get M settled into the school of my choice and then get myself situated job-wise and figure out the ins and outs of this community, since I used to live further north of where I live now.  I pay a fairly high rent, but part of that is so that I could have the amenities I wanted and make sure I could swing this rate financially.  It's been working out fine, so I have been feeling more and more like I'm ready to seriously investigate particular properties.

Lately my real estate porn viewing has been rather obsessive.  The internet won't answer all of the questions that a person has when they are looking for properites, but it is great for weeding things out that don't fit the criteria that you've chosen for yourself.  I really want to keep M in the same school, so the school district website's boundary maps are very helpful.  Then there is the plethora of real estate search engines to look up which communities have properties for sale and what's been selling and the various prices.  Since I'm looking for a townhouse to buy, it comes down to the variables within a certain price range.

I had it narrowed down to a list of three complexes.  What browsing online will NOT help with, of course, is what these places look like in person.  Pictures can be deceiving, and the condition of the building, the construction, and the fixtures, are all things that you just have to see for yourself.  My real estate agent is a very sharp woman that has her ducks in a row, and I like her energy level and her no-nonsense approach.  I also admire anyone who has managed to survive being in real estate through this depression.

So, lists in hand, we set out this morning to investigate the places I'd chosen.  I had a very good feeling about one complex in particular, but it is large and the units in the complex vary quite a bit in size and features, while still staying in a general range.  I really want a garage, for instance, and some of them don't have one.  This kind of thing is one of the things that is often unreliable when you're looking online; sometimes it is misstated, and sometimes the information is just missing.  I also want a fireplace (this IS Colorado, after all) and it would be nice to have some kind of outdoor space, although that is not as important as a garage when it comes down to it.  In fact, I've found that it's kind of "either-or" - they either have one or the other, but rarely both.

I had found a complex that had both, and was excited about seeing them, but what I found by actually going to showings is that the interiors don't measure up to the exteriors, and that the properties are overpriced.  One in particular was in not-such-great shape in the very things you can't tell by looking at pictures.  The flooring was not finished very well; it looked like someone had done a quick and sloppy job, and it would be something I would have to re-do.  The place was cleared out for showing, but random items had been left behind - again, the lack of attention to detail was a little disturbing.  And it smelled funny.  The concrete patio was in disrepair, the bathrooms needed work, and the price was higher than the other properties on my list.  Along with being too close to the freeway, it just didn't measure up in the end.

At the complex that was much more promising, one of the units we looked at was just awful.  On the front door there was an alert sticker to the fire department that the property had a dog and two cats.  As soon as we'd opened the front door, I knew I wanted to leave.  The place smelled very strongly of cat.  The occupant clearly was still in residence, and the whole living space looked as if it wasn't cleaned very often.  The carpet was covered in pee stains. It was incredible.  The icing on the cake, as it were, was the mechanical chair lift bolted to the staircase.  We turned down the opportunity to look at the rest of the rooms.

The one that fit every one of my wish-list items except one (an outdoor patio) DID have a balcony.  And a two car garage, and a wood-burning fireplace, and two master bedrooms, and a separate laundry room, and a nice sized kitchen.  It isn't too close to the pool, it is right next to the greenbelt we love to walk and ride our bikes in, and it has a brand-new carpet.  It's currently unoccupied, is squeaky clean, and is in great condition.  We're putting an offer in as soon as I hear back from my finance guy.

I could be in before school lets out for the summer!  I am so excited!


  1. Yay, house! While I myself have been burned by the real estate depression more than once in the past few years, there's still that little piece of me that wouldn't mind having a place of our own.

    However, after the home maintenance we endured in FL, I'm okay with renting.

  2. Woot! It sounds perfect! I hope it will all work out for you. :-)

  3. I hate shopping for living space more than shopping for clothes. The last one you found sounds nice, good luck on it!

  4. Elliott: It's been 5 years since I had a place of my own, and I miss it! I'm a nester, and I'm picky, so this is a good thing for me. But I understand what you mean... I can't believe what a Buyer's market it is.

    Daisy: Thank you! *fingers crossed*

    Frank: I definitely have to be in the right mood; it's daunting. And I can still smell the crazy cat woman's place. Yuck!

  5. How exciting!!!

    Are you blown away by the pictures that people will put online in attempt to sell their house? I was so surprised at how little people will clean.

  6. I'm so thrilled for you! I hope you get it!

    I agree with Kate -- I'm always shocked by the level of filth people deem acceptable at home.

  7. We once rented a house that had cats in it before us. It had no carpets, so we thought the faint smell of cat pee would go away after a good cleaning. We were wrong.

    Good luck on the condo. It sounds great.

  8. Kate: I'm blown away that anyone puts pictures online where they haven't even picked up, the place is cluttered and crowded, and there is crap all over the fridge... but then, I'm surprised by the "Sasquatch Sighting" profile pictures on the dating sites, too, so...

    Bev: :) That's why potlucks never get me excited...

    Cary: I've had roommates that had cats in years past, and so I know having cats doesn't mean your house HAS to smell like a full litterbox. So the fact that some do is just all the more disgusting. And the sight of the pee stained carpet is haunting me.