We are in the middle of a house hunt. The search feels rocky and unsettling. Our current lease ends August 31, and we feel it's time to move forward. We're in a position to purchase a home after a long financial recovery. (Thankfully we avoided foreclosure on our Colorado home. Read more here.)
Our present search brings back the pain of the past. One thing I know for sure: I will listen to my instincts. I learned this lesson the hard way, as I recount in a previous post titled Haunted House Hunt, excerpted below.
I remember getting off the interstate 50 minutes after arriving in Denver. We were meeting our realtor to do a walk-through. For some reason I felt apprehensive. We drove up to the house, in a new development with lots of homes under construction. I noticed boys riding their bikes on the mounds of dirt.Indeed the signs were literally on the walls of this home. In light of our past trauma, here are the questions I'll be asking this summer during our search.
We walked through the front door and I felt "it" immediately. Disarray and clutter. The house felt "dirty." I felt uncomfortable. Assuming I was just reacting to the overbearing, gaudy decorating style, I continued the tour. We walked into each of the six bedrooms, the game room, the in-law suite. With each room I became increasingly uneasy. Instead of feeling just messy and dark, the house felt deeply oppressive.
As we drove away I looked at Chris and said, "I don't like it. I don't ever want to go back. I know I can't live there."
We spent two more days looking for the right home and didn't find it. We returned to Illinois unsure of our next step.
Our realtor emailed us, suggesting we reconsider the 5500-square-foot "oppressive" home. He sent pictures of each room. Chris encouraged me to imagine the home without the gaudy decorating and the clutter.
"The house is a shell. Imagine it without their furniture. Look at the floor plan. Think of the potential."
I hesitated. Then I saw the wisdom of it. It made a lot of sense. I agreed, the house did have potential. We made a deposit and moved eight weeks later.
We arrived the day before the closing with all of our things in a huge truck driven by a friend. At the walk-through, the home showed no signs of a move. It was as cluttered as I remembered. I left the walk-through and sobbed. Something felt "off."
We learned that the home was in bankruptcy. The family hadn't paid their mortgage. The builder's brother was in jail for murder. The builder wasn't regarded well in the community. Something was seriously wrong.
- Do I want to live here?
- Does it feel like home?
- Do I sense anything "off"?
It's possible we will stay another year in our current rental. We would rather wait than compromise. But I'm ready to move forward. Ready for the next stop on this uninvited journey. Ready to create a place of comfort, rest, and refuge.