Friday, March 23, 2007

Adventures in House Hunting

I've joined the organization known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Ugly Houses, also known as PETUH.

We are house hunting. Can I just say that I love, love, love my realtor? No offense to any realtors reading this, but I have not always had the best experience with real estate agents. At times, I've felt like I've been in the middle of a used car lot with a middle-aged man with a middle-aged spread to match, learning about the benefits of anti-lock breaks and Sure Coat paint,promises of NASA- level gas mileage, and a new car smell that lasts forever.

And shopping is supposed to be fun.

But this realtor? Love her. We are close in age, both have little girls we adore and share a love for laughter. And laughing, we did.

Our first house was in a quiet neighborhood where little Southern ladies named Dorothy and Margaret walk their cute little dogs along the sidewalks, enjoying the shade of the oak canopies. I'll bet if you walk in one of these homes, you would be welcomed by the smell of a pot roast in the oven and potpurri on the coffee table.

Just lovely.

The house we viewed had been on the market for a while and was a "fixer upper." In a nice price range for the neighborhood, it was worth seeing. When we walked in, we were impressed by the older, unique architectural features and nice hardwood floors. The kitchens and bathrooms could use some updating, but so far, not too much work.

We ventured down to the lower level and I immediately smelled it.

"Ooo, I smell mildew," I said.

"Me, too," she said.

We walked on and saw the real reasons this house was a "fixer upper"- water damage. Then, my realtor turned to me with a look of anguish on her face.

"I smell mold. I feel it in my chest," she said.

"Let's get out of here!" I said, fearing that she was about to have an asthma attack.

We returned to the truck and breathed in some good, clean, toxin free air. She assured me that she was not going to require an inhaler or an epi- stick, and we continued on our search.

The next houses were very charming. All were a little older, but in wonderful neighborhoods. There were some pleasant surprises like a granite countertop in one bathroom, a gorgeous patio with a view and one home on a quaint little pond.

There were a few exceptions. Like the bathroom in top to bottom 1970's brown. I could picture Marsha brushing her hair at the sink... "98, 99, 100! Jan! Where are my Go Go boots?! "

Then there was the very, plush, 1/2 inch of nap away from shag bedroom carpet that I wanted to reach down and pet. "Good, dog."

While attempting to enter one home, we were nearly attacked by a bird. It swooped down from its perch on the porch in a fighter pilot maneuver. For a moment, I thought the realtor actually crouched down behind me. The house was great, but the bird? It was waiting for us on the back step as we tried to exit the backdoor. Oh, yes M'am it did. OK. Maybe it was another bird, but does that make it any less creepy?

We left the Tippi Hedren house and headed off to the very last house of the day.

And, honey, we saved the best for last.

The neighborhood? Perfect.

The house? Not so much. Let's just say that the realtor looked frightened when we drove up in the driveway.

She turned to me and said, "I think this is the house I showed months ago. If it is, you don't want it. Let's check it out and see."

Oh, we checked it out- after we stood to the sides of the door, knocked and said,"PETUH! Come out with your hands up!"

It was that bad. My realtor opened the door, took one peek, and closed it. No kidding. It may have been the reflection from the algae in the fish tank inside, but I am pretty sure she turned green.

I had no idea that Real Estate involved HazMat training.

And, in case you're wondering, we did see a few nice homes and one particular home that was absolutely beautiful. But those kinds of houses don't make for good blog material.

I'll keep you posted on our quest. Who knows? Maybe we'll see a house that has a Rear Window with a view.

Bada Bing! (couldn't resist)



Tracey/RealEstateGirl said...

Good realtors are few and FAR between and I'm glad you found a good one!

I could write a book on all the experiences I've had in real estate over the years...some funny and some scary ones too! I've seen some things I never thought I'd see and also dealt with some people I hope to never have to again!

I'm sure you're the dream customer, though! Happy House Hunting and keep us posted on how it goes!

Deena said...

I love you...only you could make house hunting--horror of horrors!--sound fun:-0

We gave up looking after our realtor took us to the "pot house"...'nuff said!

Clemntine said...

As we are considering selling the Clem Domicile, I have found your post to be most instructive.

You've given me hope that there will be an agent out there that can make me laugh and help us find a new house.

Anonymous said...

Oh how funny! We looked at a lot of houses here before we bought this one, and it is amazing the things you will see. We saw some of the most horrid wallpapers ever, and one house we really liked had a turquoise blue bathroom. As in the counter, floor, and shower stall were all this bright turquoise blue. Umm, no. It also had a cornflower blue tile floor in the kitchen. People are weird with house decorating.

Kelli said...

We are going to be "in the market" soon so thanks for the heads up.

Hip Boots - check!

Pith Helmet complete with Bird-Dar - check!

EpiPen - check!

Great realtor - well, does yours fly?

Mommy Dearest said...

Wow! You even got a comment from a realtor! House hunting is really fun, though. You get to see how the other half (or halves) live!

Linda said...

Girl, you are too funny. You need to write a book. My mom and I were just talking the other day about the particular odor in the houses of elderly people. Most, anyway. She wants to make sure her house doesn't smell like that. It doesn't. I think elderly just can't get around like they used to to clean or can't see very well. It's sad. But when you're house hunting, it's often a deal-breaker.

Betty said...

What an adventure you are on! A new home to decorate.....Hope you find the 'dream home.'

Justice Fergie said...

i know how you feel!! we just finished a weekend of house hunting and it's absolutely amazing how some people are living. and that they think they can show their house in that condition! good luck and keep us posted...