I must be totally nuts

May 7, 2012 by

Remember how I said I needed to shit or get off the pot this year? Well, on at least one big decision in my life things are “moving” (so to speak). My husband and I are seriously looking into buying a condo or house. We must be totally and completely nuts.

So far the experience has been – in order of emotional magnitude – bewildering, terrifying, frustrating, exhilarating, scary, really scary, and even more terrifying. And of course me being me, the first thing I thought was: this is a just like looking for a job. (I know, I can make an analogy out of anything right?)

This is where we want to buy! Arlington Village, by Flickr user Arlington County

Here’s the deal about buying property and job searching*:

  • It isn’t about you, its about themJust like employers looking to fill a position, people looking to sell their home couldn’t care less about you. It makes sense of course: they are out to get the best deal they can and they don’t give a crap who gives it to them. It doesn’t matter if you’re cool or nice or really want it. It never will matter, so just stop thinking it will.
  • Your best offer is often rejected (very quickly) – We’ve put in 4 offers so far and every single one of them was rejected within 2 days. (To be fair, the market in Arlington, VA has not slowed down like it has elsewhere; it stabilized and leveled out in 2009 and 2010 but its clearly back to its pre-recession levels.) Just like in a job search, no matter how much you offer, how amazing your application is and how much you’re willing to give up for the perfect fit, it often doesn’t matter. You propose and then they dispose – it’s as simple as that.
  • You have no idea what is going on in their headsNo matter how much you prepare, you’re just not going to know exactly what is going on in someone else’s head. This goes double for those selling a house since you don’t often get to meet or speak to them. But that will not stop it from nagging at you: What do they want? Why didn’t they accept my offer? What did I do wrong? And it sucks. So stop doing it as soon as you can.
  • The more targeted you are, the longer you’ll have to wait for successI don’t believe in applying to every job out there or going to see every house for sale either. That’s great because you don’t have to do as much work. But it can also be awful because it means you have to wait a lot longer to get what you want. And just like a job search, sometimes you start off wide and get more targeted in your search. Either way, you’ll need to acknowledge the sacrifice of work versus waiting time.
  • There are SO MANY other people trying to get the same thing – When we hire at my organization, we regularly get 60 to 100 applications for one job. And in every open house I’ve gone to with my husband, there are a ton of other young couples hoping to get a little piece of the American dream. They are our competition and the nagging worry that they may have more to offer, more money saved, more flexibility, etc. is maddening.
  • Waiting for exactly what you want is totally worth it – Obviously we haven’t found the house (or condo or town home) of our dreams yet, but I know when we do it will feel just like getting a dream job: amazing, fulfilling, overwhelming and totally worth the wait!

*The bullets make it look like this experience has been entirely negative, but that’s not really true. I believe every experience is a learning experience – even those that are sometimes painful!

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