On the outside chance that our home sales, I’ve taken the opportunity to look around at the Dripping Springs housing market at new home construction this week. I’ve found some incredible homes that at face value are affordable and filled with the latest and greatest comfort features. Unfortunately, there is a lot more to buying a house than the price of the house.
Maybe it is like reading the small print, but the property taxes vary by neighborhood and amenities. In fact, there are a couple of areas where simply paying the property taxes would feel like a high dollar mortgage payment for life even if the home’s purchase was a cash deal. Throw in HOA fees and heaven only knows what else, and you could find that home ownership is a lot like being married. You know what they say: “Till death do us part”.
In the decade that we were in Midland, we purchased four different houses. By the time we had them landscaped and decorated to fit my taste (oops, I mean our taste), it was time to move on. I can’t say it was an inexpensive hobby because the General sometimes was more of a reluctant participant than an active “let’s do this now” kind of partner.
The most trouble I’ve ever found myself in was when a realtor called my wife to ask to set up an appointment to show our house. I had talked to him at church on a Sunday morning and he telephoned three days later. You’d have thought he’d have given me some time to work this deal out at home before he called, but he had no idea that she didn’t know.
As it turned out, it wasn’t the beginning of WWIII, but the initial discussion was memorable. I actually went to bed that night thinking I needed therapy. I obviously have attachment issues when it comes to housing. So by the next morning, I apologized profusely and said that of course the General was right and that we weren’t going to sell the house. It was all so confusing, but trust me I remember it clearly. By the next morning, she woke up thinking I was right. We needed to sell the house. I decided to go with it. After all, don’t say I’m not flexible.
Of course, I could understand her initial reluctance. We had only been in the house nine months. To the General’s credit, we had both worked really hard to spruce the place up. It looked good when we bought it, but it looked a lot better by the time we left. Did I mention I enjoy hanging wallpaper? Removing the old wallpaper is the part I don’t enjoy. Trust me, the General doesn’t enjoy that part either. As far as hanging wallpaper, she’s never tried that.
Like I said, “We had been in the home for nine months”. I had also changed the color of the outside trim. As luck would have it, the windows were wooden frames and they had to be painted as well. I thought I’d never finish the job. My primary reason for selling the house had to do with the pool. Long story – short, I was too old to be a pool boy. The pool had self-cleaning equipment, but trust me that wasn’t enough. Nothing is prettier than a pristine looking pool with surrounding landscaping. By the same token, nothing looks worse that a pool that isn’t pristine.
When it comes to a pool, I am as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) as the General. Consequently, I quickly discovered that maintaining the pool wasn’t one of the joys associated to living. In addition, the leaves from the neighbor’s trees were intuitively drawn to my pool whenever the wind blew. It was almost as though “mother nature” was against me. Chicago may have the reputation for being the windy city, but Midland has its share and it is often filled with sand. That, too, doesn’t look good in a pool.
Now that the cat is out of the bag and folks are aware that I listed our home, I’ve had some interesting responses. Last night a friend called to ask: “Are you moving?” He had gotten a report that there is a “For Sale” sign on our property. In fact, someone had seen it earlier in the day. Surely not, I thought. I specifically requested that the realtor not put up a sign. Strange isn’t it? I didn’t want my neighbor’s to know the house is on the market.
He asked: “Are you moving?” I responded: “Probably not.” I went on to explain that listing the house was a business deal. Neither of my kids will ever want to live here. If we sell the place now, it makes it a lot easier for them. They won’t have to de-clutter to sell the place after we’ve gone.
Of course, when we moved into the house fifteen years ago (August 2002), the move almost killed us even though we had professional movers move us. I thought we’d never get things organized. The General said: “We are not doing this again!” I agreed. We resolved that if we ever moved again, we’d have the kids come and take anything they wanted and we’d have Goodwill to pick up the rest. We hauled it in, but we weren’t going to haul it out.
Okay, so if the house doesn’t sell, I’m already in over my head. I sold a lot of our existing furniture to the realtor that listed the house. He left it with us to keep the house staged until we move. When it comes to furniture, it is seldom that I walk through a furniture store and see anything I like nearly as much as what we’ve got. On my, what have I done? Regardless of what happens, I need new furniture.
Did I mention, I have yet to see a house that I like as well as the house we already have? Like I said, “This is a business deal”. What’s wrong with me? I probably do need to be in therapy.
All My Best!