Do you know what it feels like to drink antifreeze with shards of glass in it? Well I do, because that’s exactly what my house search felt like. It was a painful journey touring 50+ homes, placing an offer on five houses, and having one deal fall through because the house was a literal death trap. But one month into the global pandemic, my dream home found me.
In March 2020 when COVID started to run rampant, I paused my house search because there were statewide shelter-in-place orders that made it challenging to see houses. The way that I understood the shelter-in-place mandate was that if you left your home for any reason other than going to the grocery store or the hospital, you would be shot. I may have misunderstood the specifics of the mandate but I didn’t want to take any chances with my life so I cancelled my house search altogether. This resulted in me deleting all real estate apps, turning off all notifications from every real estate website, and unsubscribing from all real estate related emails.
In spite of cancelling all real estate related correspondence, I received a notification on my phone from the website Estately about a new property that just came on the market. How dare Estately defy my orders not to contact me?! I was already bothered at the fact that I had to shelter-in-place, so I wanted to channel my energy into a scathing email to the CEO to express my disappointment. But before writing the email, my curiosity got the best of me and I took a quick peek at this newly listed home. To my surprise, it was perfect. It was in my favorite town where I lived when I first moved out of my parents’ home ,it met all of my requirements for a house, and the price appeared to be fair.
The next day, I violated the shelter-in-place orders and risked getting shot in order to see the house in-person. To my surprise, the house was better in-person because it contained things that weren’t listed in the real estate listing. It had five bedrooms, a three car garage, over an acre of land, a whole-house sound system, ethernet wiring, a security system that included driveway sensors, and a complex electrical system with four full-sized breaker panels. I wanted this house badly, but the listing agent shared that someone already submitted an offer on it. I considered ways to craftily find out who submitted the offer so I could report them for violating the shelter-in-place order so they can be shot in the foot, but God stopped me. Instead, I submitted a competing offer for the full asking price of the house.
To my surprise, the sellers accepted my offer over the competing offer as long as I was willing to accept an important contingency. Since they were in the final stages of building their next home, I would have to agree to close four months after we signed the contract to give them enough time to finish building. My house search already lasted almost 8 years and I was a professional waiter at this point, so I quickly accepted the contingency and we moved ahead with the deal. However, while waiting I became nervous because a lot of things started to change in the real estate world. In these four months of waiting, house prices were skyrocketing and people were paying significantly above market prices. My lawyer let me know that the sellers could easily back out of the deal by paying me $1,000 and relisting the house for a $50-75k premium. That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I thought that I paid this lawyer only to tell me good news?!
In spite of the potential of the deal falling apart, everything successfully closed days before my birthday. In 2020 I bought myself my dream house as a birthday gift! Every week since owning the house, I’ve worked to make the house unique to me and my preferences. I’ve converted three of the bedrooms into creative workspaces, I put display cases in the living room so it can be a personal museum, I’ve left the master bedroom with as minimal furniture as possible so I can play basketball indoors, and I made it into a “smart home” by building a home computer server that controls the entire property. It’s the most “Geremy” home that I’ve ever been to, and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve as I build my family.
It took a long time to get to this point, but I’m glad that everything worked out amazingly, despite giving-up on my house search, lightly violating a law, and patiently enduring through uncertainty. It took a while to get what I desired, but in the process I learned that great things take time and some of the best things can’t be rushed. All in all, if they would have shot me in my knees for not sheltering-in-place, it would have been worth it because I ended up with a nice new sheltering place!