I consider myself something of a professional shopper. I started at a young age - a bit of a prodigy, if you will. I was 13 when I saw a shorts and matching cropped jacket in pink check that I absolutely had to have in the pages of my sister's Seventeen magazine. I flipped to the back, to the "Where to Shop" section, called the 800 number and learned that the shorts and jacket that would easily solve all my teenage angst could be purchased at J.C. Penny. I counted my paper route money, insisted my mom drive me to the mall that day, and bought what was sure to be the greatest first day of school outfit ever.
I knew I did well when my sister asked to borrow it. Of course I said no.
I've been disproportionately proud of my shopping skills ever since.
I love finding exactly what I am looking for; I love finding it on sale; or using a coupon, or seeing something a celebrity is wearing (you know, when they are being just like us) going out and getting a remarkably similar look for tons less (most of the time).
I'd thought after all these years of shopping I would be prepared to buy a house
I was wrong.
I was so wrong.
So. Very. Wrong.
I was prepared to be patient, to view dozens of houses until the right one came along. I am a person that spent a year and a half searching for the perfect pair of gray motorcycle boots.
Patience is not my problem.
It's quite the opposite, actually.
When I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of gray boots, I did Internet research, found some that were close, but not quite, but knew if I never found the perfect pair I could revisit and purchase then. I told my friends and family to be on the lookout. When I found the perfect pair: I read reviews (they were online so I couldn't try them on), weighed the pros and cons of spending that much money on something that goes on my feet, reasoned that I deserved them, bought them and then, when they arrived, knew that if they didn't fit or weren't what I had expected, I could return them, no questions asked, no money lost.
This is how a professional shopper gets it done.
When I found a house that seemed like a pretty good fit: I started a file, with all its specs and my notes and the cost breakdown from my mortgage guy and put it all in a file and then used that file to start a "definite maybe" pile where it stayed for six whole minutes before my real estate agent emailed to tell me there were already two other offers on the house.
If my life came with sound effects, I would've heard a needle scratch across a record as it abruptly came to a stop on the turntable.
It's just a definite maybe. It has everything I want, but was it perfect for me? Would I find a perfect house - Bridie said no. But what if there was something out there closer to perfect? But what if there wasn't?
Worse than having to make a decision immediately is the not being able to do any research on the house. I could research the neighborhood and the nearby property values, but I couldn't read reviews on the owner or the property. I couldn't find out if the water pressure is weird, or if the neighbor is really noisy. Or nosey. What if there are a lot of stray cats in the neighborhood making it impossible for someone with an irrational fear of them to host a BBQ on the back patio that the ad for the house claims is perfect for?
Where is that information on the disclosure form?