You’re going to buy a house… BY YOURSELF?
Yes, Daddy…women DO own houses by themselves these days!
Well, just make sure you own the land, Honey. Don’t get involved with any of that condo crap…
Once a father, always a father. Daddy was still giving his advice, even now at eighty-seven years of age and in failing health. He still had a keen mind for numbers and understood housing in general, the values, the neighborhoods and the choices I’d have in front of me. He’d walked through many of the same homes over the years, measuring the kitchen and bath floors to give an estimate on new linoleum. We were discussing some of the choices and the streets I’d visited with the realtor; I was keeping Daddy apprised of the week to week update of house hunting as a “single” woman.
I’m going to miss this Texan’s company once I finally find a house. He’s been really nice to work with.
Just be careful, Honey… you gotta watch those guys…you never know……….
I was by now forty-two, divorced for nearly six years, and had been back home long enough to realize that I’d be staying in the area close to the folks and my family. I had decided it was time for me to once again own a home. The folks had offered to help with the down payment needed, and a friend had introduced me to a broker acquaintance of his. I liked the broker very much. The broker’s part time loan processor had agreed to take me around on evenings and weekends as he still had a valid real estate license. The latter worked two jobs, packing musical instruments and parts in a warehouse during the day, and then playing loan processor in the evenings and weekends, depending on the workload.
In the first three or four weeks, we had looked at all kinds of houses; many well-kept older homes were now in very sketchy areas; or the neighborhood had declined so much so that the majority of activity was slowly changing over to commercial zoning use. Some entire streets had bars over the doors and front windows; not exactly your Ozzie and Harriet’s America. Chances were I’d have to forego the better neighborhoods if I wanted to own anything at all. As we had already scoured the existing listings on the market in my price range, bank repos were beginning to look like my last resort. My realtor was running low on properties, but didn’t seem to mind as it gave him something to do besides spending evenings working on paperwork or reading.
Finally, he suggested that I take a look at a home in an older, unincorporated area; so, we two set off that next September Saturday morning to view it. This particular home had been vacant for over two years. Surprisingly, there were no signs of vandalism or destruction on the outside; even the inside seemed untouched. Once I entered and walked on the hardwood flooring, and took sight of the built- in book shelves on either side of the fireplace, I was hooked! The cottage had a small formal dining room just behind the living room but adjacent to the kitchen door. The formal dining area was exactly what I had dreamed of, as cooking and setting a pretty table were some of my favorite things to do!
The kitchen was extremely oversize as was typical with homes built just after the Second World War. Surely a table or banquette had once existed in the far corner from the sink; I could tell by the second ceiling globe’s location just off to the side.
A real, honest to goodness laundry room stood between kitchen, front garage and the backyard door. I’d finally have walls for the wallpaper that I’d held onto for years! The two bedrooms were good size, each with a closet; though, typical of the period, the closets were very small. The home had only one bath; describing it as mid-size would be exaggerating, but it was workable enough for one and would suffice when My Only came down on weekends.
All in all, I kept walking around, smiling and returning time and again to the dining room, the fireplace, the kitchen, then back again. In only a few short minutes, I had given myself away.
This is the one, isn’t it?
Yes, I think so… I absolutely love it! It reminds me of the older home my aunts and uncles once lived in in Berkeley years ago. It has personality…LOOK! The built in room divider! I could just see my things sitting on the shelves there…
Well then, guess we’d better go back and write up an offer!
We left to do the initial paperwork at the office. Then, each of us decided it was too early to call it a day; so now what would we have to do? I mentioned the art and wine festival that was downtown this weekend; if I bought the glasses, would he pay for the wine? Seemed like a plan. We spent a really nice Indian summer afternoon in the downtown district, sipping some wine and realizing that we both loved art and artsy stuff.
As luck would have it, the Realtor and I had decided there was something more than first met the eye…somewhat surprising as neither of us was actually looking for anyone at the time. When I think back, I suppose getting locked out of a patio door at one home for sale and laughing over a cheap liver and onions dinner one evening eventually broke the ice! He didn’t have much money nor did I. Neither of us was anything more than we presented; there was no pretense. There was also no denying that we were beginning to run out of ways to spend inexpensive, Saturday afternoons…
The house closed about six weeks later. I took ownership a few days before my last month’s rent was ended, and took a couple days off from work to paint a good portion of the home’s interior. In between painting, I had begun stripping some of the old wallpaper. We would eventually find beautiful redwood paneling surrounding the fireplace wall.
I say “we”. I sent out Christmas cards earlier than usual that year, announcing my remarriage as of November 29th:
I bought a house and
the Realtor came with it!!!
Couldn’t have dreamed up that storyline in a million years…