We are 26 days in to this NaBloPoMo November, and today’s theme is Dream House. Don’t miss yesterday’s post about my dream diet, the Whole30. (Just kidding, if it was a dream it would permit deep fried peanut butter cups.)
I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret. Something Hubby and I refuse to tell almost all of our friends and family members. Here it is: we bought our current house sight unseen.
Go ahead. Go ahead and judge us hard. It was a bold and mostly stupid move, but we felt pretty backed in to a corner. When Hubby learned he had matched to a program in upstate NY, we had about four months to find a house, get approved for a mortgage, close on the house, and move ourselves and our two kids up from the DC metro area. It was a pretty steep timeline, especially when you consider the fact that it takes an average of 60 days to close on a house in New York state.
Anyway, Hubby was still in school, I was working, we had two very young kids, and we were trying to navigate a 500-mile move. To a market where flights were not cheap. All to say, it was pretty hard to go house hunting. Don’t get me wrong, we tried to do it right. Hubby drove up for two days and saw maybe 10-15 houses, but they were all total non-starters. Any house we were ever excited about was snatched up before Hubby could get up there to check it out. Ugh!
So when we saw what looked like the perfect house come on the market — in budget, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a lush backyard, beautifully finished, and a fricking Wegmans down the street — we decided to do something crazy and offer on it without first seeing it in person. Thankfully our agent was game to go check it out for us, and she confirmed that it was a steal. So we put in an offer the day it came on the market. And so did 3 other people, yikes! We subbed in another offer slightly above asking price, and our bid was ultimately selected. Who knows what to believe, but our agent told us that all 4 offers were essentially for the same amount, and the owner chose us because she liked our family story. Aww! We never met her but I still feel like she must have been a sweetheart.
So after the offer and the passed inspection, we waited an excruciating two months before we could check out our house and see if our gamble paid off. When the day finally arrived, we were giddy, and for good reason. The pictures had done the house justice, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was this really our new home? How could we be so lucky.
But as we walked around, we started to come to a sick realization. Cigarette smoke. The cigarette smoke smell was unbelievably pervasive. Oh shit. Did we just make a huge mistake? It had naively never occurred to me that there could be a smell issue we were missing when we looked at the pictures. And it wasn’t just a hint of something here and there, it was really bad. The garage especially smelled like a human-sized cigarette had died in there.
So, we buckled down and did some research on how to eliminate smoke odors. We washed the walls with vinegar, we vacuumed the rugs with baking soda, we wiped down all the fixtures, we even bought an ozone machine to see if it would make any difference. Everything helped a little, but there was never an inexpensive silver bullet. So after a few months of “should we, shouldn’t we,” we bit the bullet and had our carpets changed. You’re welcome, Home Depot, for that generous donation.
Where are we now? We’re thinking changing the carpets did the trick, at least enough to live with. If things start to stink again and we have to shell out money to have the whole house repainted, I might die of a bad mood.
In the end, we know we did something risky and stupid. But we also think we probably would have bought the house even if we had smelled it in person, first. Because we’re cocky and we probably would have thought it was an easy fix. That’s what I tell myself so I can sleep at night, anyway.
Is it our dream house? No. But we weren’t looking for a dream house. We’re here for three years, and just needed something to keep us warm. And now that the smoke smell is gone, this house exceeds our expectations. It may not be my textbook dream house, but owning a home is still a dream come true.
Until next time,