Saturday, July 2, 2016

Step by step

So you are buying a house or a condo, after thirty years of renting through marriage and divorce? How interesting. Here is what happens.

Step one. Look at online real estate sites, endlessly. Zillow, Trulia, Plug in location and maximum price tolerable. You've been doing that for a while anyway.

Step two. Notice a stroke of luck. The owners of that promising little yellow house very nearby are hosting an "open house" on your day off. Set yourself two tasks that day, one, go see it, and two, go to the office of the realtor whose business card you saved just for the heck of it, back when his mass-mailing envelope stuffed full of information -- and business cards -- ended up in the mailboxes of everyone at the apartment complex last February.

Step three. Day off. Go to the open house. Wear a dress to impress the potential neighbors. (You've been watching three-minute instructional videos from advising on all aspects of home-buying, including when to look professional.) Imagine yourself living there. And mowing that huge lawn -- oh dear.

Why does it all look so impossibly perfect? Professional landscaping, wonderful, but why the everlasting stella d'oro daylilies? They are a mess to clean up when their bloomtime is finished, as you learned from gardening around the old rental farmhouse belonging to your ex-brother-in-law. Of course there are more important things to think about, but still. The lilies will be there too.

You walk around to the yard. How quaint. Actual clotheslines, as of yesteryear. It's very quiet. The neighborhood is charmingly of yesteryear, too. Now where are the owners of this cute little yellow house? The sign on the door says "Please knock." You do. A cat appears in one small window, and then another in the other. No one else answers. You begin to wonder. What if it's some psycho in there, who has not the remotest intention of "showing" the house? Seriously. What if it's a man, alone. Do you follow him in? One thinks not, somehow.  

Step four. After five more minutes, give this adventure up. Drive to the realtor's office, he of the mass business card mailing last winter. Explain briefly to his secretaries that you know nothing. Take a brochure, and give them your name, plus the address of the little yellow house.

Step five, and so on. Pretty soon you're going to forget what counts as a new "step" and what is simply unfolding with tumbling, not-quite-kaleidoscopic-but-still events.

In less than an hour the realtor calls. "I can show you that house tonight."

My goodness. Okay. I'll meet you at 6:45. 

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