In truth, I haven’t always exercised the best wisdom when I buy things.
In fact, the bigger the purchase the wonkier I get. Several years ago I bought a Mazda RX7 simply because I was utterly amazed by the headlights that winked open as you started up the car. This cool feature distracted me from a far more important fact. I couldn’t sit upright in the car unless the sunroof was open. My torso is apparently freakishly long and no matter how I angled the seat, my head poked out of the roof.
Snow and rain were particularly bad days for me.
With this purchasing history looming over me, buying a home is sketchy territory. I can be impulsive and a 30 year mortgage gives you a lot of time to reevaluate your decision-making skills.
To ensure that emotions wouldn’t take over the buying process and to avoid another “shame buy” I sat down and crafted my house hunting wish list.
- A guest friendly home with 2-3 bedrooms.
- A small yard, since I don’t own a lawn mower.
- A pool, water is like Prozac for me.
- A big tub (same reason as above)
- An open floor plan with lots of light.
- A renovated space – so I can just move in and do all the fun creative stuff.
After my plane landed in Sarasota I met my realtor Rachelle Prost. We had only communicated by email and phone so I was completely unprepared for what she looked like …which was a Ralph Lauren equestrian model. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a low, smooth ponytail. She wore black riding boots over her camel colored leggings and a fitted jacket that emphasized her nearly nothing waist. I started feeling old and large. “Maybe she’s shallow.” I thought, hopefully. Nope, not a chance, she was kind, calm and a well informed Sarasota native.
She handed me a thick blue folder of my house picks and hopped into her immaculate Lexus. For the next several days we zipped in and out of countless homes until I narrowed the search to 2 possible nests.
One house was huge. It was in foreclosure and needed no renovations. In fact, it still had that new house smell. There was brand new carpeting, fresh paint, stainless steel appliances and a beautiful pool. Plus, since I am acting like a non impulsive grown up now… the price per square foot confirmed that it was a total bargain.
Now, the other house desperately needed a new kitchen and both bathrooms begged for a total makeover. Stenciled green ivy was spilling down the sponged tan walls. The flooring was an awkward combination of tile and wood. Oh, and it was more money and much smaller than the other house. It also was the brightest most beautiful space. The double front doors swung open to reveal a wonderfully open room with a wall of windows that looked out to the aqua pool. A majestic banyan(esque) tree proudly occupied the back yard.
I made a mental list comparing the two properties. There really was no contest. The foreclosure home was the way to go. I made an offer. That night I laid awake paralyzed in worry that they might accept it.
You may wonder if I learned anything about attempting to use my head and not merely my heart. I actually think I have.
I am pleased to report to you that I was wildly attentive to many annoyingly mundane details with this purchase, like do I need flood insurance and is the airconditioner going to expire before the milk in the fridge does.
It is just that in the end, after crushing all the logical details I realized that I would rather live in a sun filled home with an awe inspiring tree ( that I secretly named Rooty) than live in a well priced investment property.
Sometimes you just have to trust that pesky voice when it says “this feels right”. Then make quick friends with a herd of carpenters, painters and handymen.
The barefooted designer,