If you read some of our recent posts, you saw that we recently visited Bend, Oregon. The purpose of our trip was to look at real estate. House hunting is not my favorite thing to do. It always seems like the perfect house is sitting out there, just outside of our price cap…
If only there were some quick and easy way to slap together the right floor plan with the right yard and the right upgrades without the cumbersome process of building the house from the ground up. Alas, no house is perfect and compromises must be made somewhere.
We have been married for almost 12 years. We have bought 4 houses and sold 3 houses. (We also bought our 35-ft Winnebago as a tiny house but I’m not sure if we can count that as a real estate purchase.) We have learned that real estate is stressful and it pushes us to our limits of patience, flexibility, and understanding. I know it might seem like we should be fine by now. The Paradise Camp Fire was almost a year ago. Unfortunately, it takes longer than you might think to recover from the catastrophic loss caused by a natural disaster. We still feel stressed out and displaced. To quote our friend G.C. from his FaceBook post on the 6-month anniversary of the Camp Fire,
It feels like forever. It feels like yesterday.
While I tend to be a cynical introvert, my wonderful husband leans towards being an overly-optimistic extrovert. These stark differences have actually served us quite well in the past. If we have the same goal in mind, and we’re on the same page, and we’ve had plenty of sleep, we can debate about a topic and meet in the middle. These constructive discussions usually result in a well thought out decision. On the flip side, if we’re not on the same page, we both become very frustrated and things can easily deteriorate into stubborn disagreements. Again, we still feel stressed out and displaced. Those things that we found slightly annoying about each other have become insufferable. And those, very few, minor, flaws in our otherwise delightful personalities have intensified significantly.
Alas, this particular round of house hunting is proving to be a lesson in compromising and patience for us both. Here are some of our “post Camp Fire” tips for:
House Hunting With Your Spouse After a Natural Disaster
- Pray about it. Specifically, pray for wisdom.
- Look at realtor reviews online before calling a realtor.
- Wait to sign an agreement to work exclusively with one realtor. You might change your mind about them by the second house showing.
- Try to avoid being sucked into sales tactics. If you feel like your realtor isn’t listening to you. Find another realtor.
- If something is overly confusing or not making sense, there is a good chance you do not have all the correct information. (That’s my nice way of saying you are probably being lied to. I learned this tip my first day working at the prison from my supervisor Dr. G.G.)
- Bring a measuring tape and a level.
- Be careful about thinking “we can just fix that by…” Several little improvements can add up really fast.
- Smells can be really really hard to get rid of. If a house smells funny or smells overly perfumed, beware!
- Look for evidence of pets. If the previous owner had pets and you have an allergy, you may need to replace the carpets.
- Look for evidence of water damage, drainage issues, and dry rot. These issues may require costly repair.
- In our opinion, solar leases are not good.
- Stick to your price cap, or well below. Stay strong even if you’re feeling pressure to go over. Keeping up with the Joneses or the Kardashians isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
- Be aware of how your spouse processes information. While extroverts might want to discuss things right away, introverts might want to think about it for a while before talking about it.
- Try to be patient and understanding with your spouse. It’s rare that two people see the same thing in the exact same way. Neither way is necessarily right or wrong.
- If you like a house and you are considering making an offer, look at it again, and again if you want too. Taking a second or third look may reveal something you didn’t notice on your first visit.
- Take breaks as necessary and as you are able. Powering through is rarely beneficial.
- Sleep on it. Despite what your realtor might say, it would be unusual that you actually have to make an offer on something right away.
- If you make an offer be sure to get a home inspection. The whole house inspector might recommend getting other inspections like a roof inspection, a chimney inspection, a tree inspection, a pool inspection, an electrical inspection, etc. We recommend investing in the inspections that are recommended.
- Remember this mantra that my father (G.S.) instilled in my sister and me growing up, “Is this the hill you wish to die on?” It means, is this argument or disagreement worth it? Is your marriage worth risking over it? Is this issue really something that you are willing to sacrifice greatly for? (By the way, my dad is a retired Marriage Family Therapist just for credibility’s sake.
- Pray about it. Trust that God has this totally under control even when you feel like you’ve completely lost control of the situation.
Happy House Hunting!
P.S, As of the writing of this post, we have not made an offer on a house.