February 14, 2009

House Browsing

Some of you know I've been house browsing lately, trying to make up my mind about whether or not I can afford a house and whether or not it's the right time to buy. For the past month there have been three contenders (for what I can afford), but I noticed tonight that one has been taken off the listings. I knew this house would be removed soon because the owner indicated he would rent it if no one showed an interest in buying it, but still I was surprised and it made me a little sad. What if one of these houses is the best I can do? And if it is, I'm sad because the happiest house of the three is now out of contention.

What do I mean by happiest house? As I've walked through houses I've noticed they each have a feeling about them. The happy house felt loved. It felt as if it had protected and provided warmth to people who cared about each other and about the house. It's hard to explain and maybe it sounds a little kooky, but places do have vibes. For instance, the house next door to me is up for sale so I had a Realtor walk me through. Ugh. By the time I was done I wanted to cry. The feeling was heavy, dark and full of despair. It wouldn't matter how much they came down in price, I would never buy the place. One of my contenders, the biggest and the one with the most to offer, felt sad. My mom went to see it with me and she described it as heartbroken; very appropriate. It's a perfectly good house, but it feels as if there was an extended period of sadness inside and as if the house itself hasn't been truly loved for a very long time. My third contender is a tiny house that feels a little unsure. It's been redone very nicely inside, so maybe it just hasn't gotten used to its new look.

I know some of you may think I'm a little crazy to say that an empty house has an atmosphere left over from its previous life, but I know I'm right. There is a feeling that lingers in the air. Years ago I was searching for an apartment. I took an afternoon off work on a whim and visited three complexes. The first two were huge disappointments (one was run down, the other was too small, both felt dismal), but the third was pure perfection. I walked in the door and knew I had found my new home. It embraced me with comfort and felt secure. The deal was sealed when I opened the blinds in the dining room and saw two doves in a tree next to the window. It was the perfect place for me at the time. I'm looking for that feeling again. I'm probably hesitating with these houses because they haven't felt like home. The house I buy doesn't have to be perfect, but it does have to be perfect for me. It needs to feel happy, secure, and loved. So the house browsing will continue. I just have to have faith that the right place is out there.


  1. You are SO right! I've always chosen my home by "feel" as much as anything else. Some places just have the wrong spirit, but when you find the right one, you'll know. My advice (for what it's worth) is to wait a little longer for one that feels right. After all, you need to love the one you'll be forking over so much cash for every month. Not that you'll find the perfect house, but when you walk into the one that feels like home, go for it.

    It's always worked for me.

  2. You're SO right! I know exactly what you mean. I've always chosen my house or apt that way. Some have what I can only describe as 'bad spirits,' some are just ok, and then you walk into one and feel like you're home. Even if it's just that it has the potential to be home.

    My advice (for what it's worth) is to keep looking. You're going to want to love the home you end up with; it makes writing those mortgage checks so much easier. There's a place out there for you.

    Meanwhile, happy house shopping!

  3. And just in case my second version of the first comment appears, I wasn't trying to talk your ear off - I just had trouble getting the darn thing to post!

  4. Good luck to you. My husband and I have been looking in Spokane too and have found that people are still asking too much. Apparently no one has told the home owners here there's an economic crisis going on. Or maybe I'm the only one who knows people who have lost their jobs or may lose their jobs.

    Also what I've found is that the homes in my price range are terrible! No one is bothering to fix anything or spruce the homes up in any way. They evidently don't watch HGTV or TLC rabidly like I do.

    I expected a lot more and I'm very disappointed. My family and I have decided to stop looking. Sad for the sellers because they had a guaranteed sale in us, if they had just been realistic about their prices.