House Hunting

The current housing market on Long Island is brutal. Imagine the opening of the Hunger Games when they all have to run to the cornucopia and grab whatever supplies they can to survive day one, only instead of an assortment of supplies and weapons, it’s a bunch of Cape Cod style homes, splits, and the rare ranch here and there.

Allow me to provide some background… After living in a garden apartment in Rockville Centre for the past few years, V and I began the house hunt. In June we celebrated our one year anniversary. We were done with casually stopping by open houses on Saturdays and decided it was time to work with an agent. Enter Jeff. Jeff and I went to the same high school and he and I have know each other for years. He has helped numerous friends and acquaintances find their homes and has a stellar reputation.

At first the house hunt was fun; our options were open so we had the luxury of thinking we could be picky (okay, maybe that was more me than V). I made my wishlist: I wanted to be walking distance to the train, I wanted a garage and a beautiful kitchen for V and a dressing room for me, I wanted central air and a finished basement, and builtins made of real wood that added tons of character. V was even calling me Goldilocks because this one was too big and that one was too small – you get the gist.

Now we’re both sick to our stomachs because we’ve found three houses in the past six weeks that were juuuuuust (about) right and it’s been one bidding war after the next. The last two houses we have put in offers on have had multiple offers, so each time we’ve heard those dreaded words that no buyer wants to hear, “highest and best.” Welcome to Nassau County, we’ll take your paycheck and your kidney, please. Promise of a 1st born and a letter to the homeowner might help too, but we can’t make any guarantees.

You think, oh, it only has one bathroom (without a tub) and three small bedrooms, that will be a deterrent. Nope!

Or you think, well, the foundation for the garage is cracked and there are aging trees all over the property that need to be taken down, surely people will be freaked out by that. Nope! Lost that one too.

Most recently we found a craftsman style ranch. We should have known that the curb appeal alone would set our fellow hunters drooling, but we allowed the fact that it was a two bedroom house with only one bath on the main floor lull us into a false sense of security. And then, bam! Gone.

To say that it’s a sellers market seems like a gross understatement.

So let’s say that – due to the fact that our search is restricted by certain things we are unwilling to waver on (certain school districts, being in a flood zone, commuting more than an hour each way for work) – we get to the point where we are willing to pay way over asking for a house, now there’s the issue of the appraisal. If the bank does not think that the house is worth what the buyer is willing to pay, that apparently brings up a whole new set of issues related to equity which effects your down payment. I quite honestly still do not understand it no matter how many times our agent and V explain it to me.

So that’s where we’re at; we’re putting in offers that are more than fair with solid down payments and time after time we’re being outbid. It’s fucking brutal. We are so tired. Like a dog up for adoption, we just want to find our “forever home.” A concept which is lovely in theory, but far more difficult in the reality in which we are living. We do find some solace in the idea that, if we wait for the one, that at least we wont have to put ourselves through this again in another couple of years, but some days even that’s not enough. Where it used to feel like we had options, now it feels like we may never find anything.

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