Each time my husband and I began our home buying journey we have VERY differing visions of what our dream house looks like. My dream home has a beautiful yard, a hot tub, pool or both. There is a beautiful outdoor kitchen (complete with a vine wrapped trellis in full bloom year round) where our friends will all come and sip on pretty drinks and enjoy the feast I’ve worked on for hours while the kids play perfectly in the yard. The inside of the home is bursting at the studs with light and airy colors that will make you happy even on your darkest days.
Most importantly? There is NOTHING that needs to be done to the house except clean it.
My husband’s dream house must be begging to be demoed. It must be old. And decrepit. It must have an odor so horrible it makes your eyes water. It must be so awful that everyone who enters it, other than my husband, thinks it is surely a tear-down and is cursing their real estate agent, as they gag their way quickly back out the front door, for wasting their time.
And so when I got the call from him saying he had found the perfect home for us to buy, I could literally feel the droplets of my dream house bubble splatter my face.
“Oh,” I said scanning the room for my bottle opener, “Let me guess, it was built in the 70s.”
There was a long pause, long enough for me to think maybe, just maybe, he was about to surprise me with my airy colors and hot tub.
“Actually, the 50s,” he said.
Something that sounded like a wounded animal escaped my throat.
The next day we left the kids at home and headed over to check out his 1950s dream house. He was like a kid on Christmas morning. I spent the entire drive saying the same prayer over and over in my head, “Please don’t make it as bad as I think it is going to be.”
“Just wait until you see it,” he said. “You will see the vision, just like last time. Remember how you thought I was crazy? But look how beautiful that house turned out to be. And we made good money when we sold it. Right?”
He looked so sweet in his excitement and he WAS right. Though washing baby bottles in a bathtub on my hands and knees and cooking dinner on an electric stove from 1978 in our garage (the kitage as we affectionately called it) had sucked, our last remodel turned out stunning and we HAD made money. I started to reach over and affectionately take his hand when this came out of his mouth.
“You should prepare yourself for the smell. It’s terrible.”
Turns out 30 cats lived in the house. Along with termites. Both in-the-wood and subterranean types (didn’t even know those existed). There were also three dogs and a horse. Oh, and we didn’t know it at the time, but there were over 20 rats’ nests scattered in the rafters. Nothing had been upgraded since it was built in the 50s. And nothing, I repeat NOTHING, could have prepared me for the smell. The real estate agent opened the door for us and said she would wait outside while we looked around. I ran, gagging, my face shoved into my sleeve though the front door. My husband followed and began to gleefully tell me his vision. He wasn’t even done with the entry way before I was back outside gasping for fresh air.
And somehow…we now own that house.
It took my husband about a month of convincing, and by convincing I mean talking nonstop about the house until I was so beaten down I couldn’t take another second of his begging and visions, and I finally acquiesced on the House of Smell Horrors. There might have been a really nice pair of shoes thrown in and a girl’s trip…or two…negotiated. Oh, and this time, I put my foot down and we got a rental instead of living through the remodel with the scorned rats.
I’m glad I gave in. The Holly House is now in the drywall phase. The smell is long gone. Three glass garage doors have been ordered for our main room and open to the stunning canyon views. All new appliances have been ordered, including the Viking oven I have always wanted, and will arrive in a couple of weeks. So will my beautiful claw foot tub. The anxiety attacks of the demo phase being about three times what we expected have faded to a distant memory. The house is soon going to be amazing. We both ultimately got what we wanted. We bought his dream house and he is making it into mine.
Thanks to Trulia for making it easy to find a home, a neighborhood and a real estate agent. The home-buying process is an emotional roller coaster, a gauntlet of unknowns. What can I afford? Is it the right house? Is it a good neighborhood? What’s the best kind of mortgage? Trulia provides home buyers with information – on neighborhoods, schools, crime, local amenities, agents, and financing – so that they can answer those questions with confidence.
Go check out all of the hilarious and relatable homebuying postcards from Trulia. Which one most relates to your experiences?
I am blogging on behalf of Trulia, but the views expressed here are solely mine, not Trulia’s. To learn more, visit: http://on.trulia.com/1glQksz