You know those well-intended, helpful people who tell you, after your fifth relationship in a row crumbles, “when you find The One, you’ll just know”? Turns out they are the same people who say things like, “I’m sorry this house didn’t work out, but that just means you haven’t found the right one yet.”
Thanks, Watson. I guess when I find The One House, I’ll “just know” and miraculously, no other investors with all-cash offers will swoop in and set down a purchasing price $50,000 over asking.
In case you’re wondering, this bitter tone comes to you compliments of the seven billionth house we’ve put an offer on in the Gilroy/Morgan Hill area over our house-hunting careers that did not work out due to other idiots way overbidding.
Most of the houses we’ve bid on through the years I’ve been able to shake off. Some were merely decent homes in decent areas that could have been fixed up to our liking. Many were extremely generic track houses that were clean, fairly new, and workable. But there was one that stayed on my mind for the entire time we lived in Salinas.
It was the one that got away.
Back in our early, heady days of house hunting, we had not a lot of money, but the promise of an $8,000 Obama tax credit for buying a home by the end of the year, so we took our paltry savings out for a joy ride. The housing market had crashed, so for the first time in our adult lives, it looked like we could actually afford a home.
Sadly, many of the homes we looked at in Gilroy were absolute crap. There was the foreclosed house where the owners had removed every light fixture, appliance, closet door, and even the toilet seats. There was the house with the beige carpet that looked as though someone had changed their car oil in the living room. There was even a house with a giant “FUCK YOU!” tagged on the driveway. Yeah, we’ll pass on that one.
But then we saw a beaut. It was blue with white trim and black shutters. It had an updated kitchen with white, distressed cabinets and stainless steel appliances. A wall of built-in cabinets framed the TV in the living room. Closet doors had a Japanese flair, with dark wood and frosted glass panes. We put in what we thought was the highest could possibly bid for an offer.
We were beat by less than $5,000.
I still think back on that house longingly. It was already in the Luigi Aprea district of Gilroy, so we wouldn’t have had to sell our house like we did this year. If we DID decide to sell, we would have walked away with at least $200,000 profit in our pockets.
Let’s just say that again for emphasis. Two hundred THOUSAND dollars.
It makes me a little sick to my stomach to think about now. Even with an increased budget and a profit from the sale of our home, we’re looking at being priced out of homes in our target areas again. It’s inspired me to be smart about my offers, to keep my eye firmly on the right locations, and to put in top dollar for a home we really want.
And then we found it. The One House. The house to rule them all. A pretty little updated one-story in the best school district in Morgan Hill. And, to our delight, it was in our price range! We fell in love, and I did the thing you’re not supposed to do until you sign the closing papers and get the keys in your hand: I mentally moved in. It went a little something like this:
1930 Criollo Way, Morgan Hill. I like the sound of that. Mrs. Criollo Way. Mrs. Wendy Criollo. Mr. and Mrs. Criollo. The Criollos welcome you to their home.
Won’t you come in? Oh, thank you. We love it too. Come have a martini in our spacious dining room. Want to sit on the luxurious outdoor couches on the patio? Perhaps a swim in the neighborhood pool? We could hit a few balls at the tennis courts.
I wonder who I should add to the guest list for our house-warming party. Family, obviously. Should I invite people from my old job? My new job? My old job AND my new job? Will that be awkward? Nah, my old work peeps are my friends. My new work peeps probably won’t come. I should make a playlist.
And so on and so on, until we got the depressing news that the sellers were countering our offer at their other top offer, which was nearly $40,000 more than what we offered. So yeah. No house.
So we’re back on the market, searching for true love, or at least a spacious three -bedroom, two-bath house with potential. We don’t want to lower our standards, and we do want to stay in our budget. So we may be looking for a long time. There will likely be many more disappointments along the way, but we’ll keep on the house hunt (in a non-desperate way). After all, isn’t it when you stop searching that love actually finds you?