Home Buying Woes

Home Buying Woes

“I just hope our air conditioner can survive until August,” I moaned.

It was a summer evening, when the sun’s western descent meant blissfully cool temperatures. However, it felt as if all of the heat our poor, much-repaired A/C had been fighting against all day was now seeping in through the walls, slithering through the closed blinds. The temperature might have been falling outside but you wouldn’t have known it inside. Every year, something on that unit broke and we’d already had a repair guy out twice this year–and that was before June.

“What’s in August?” The Husband mumbled. He’d just gotten back from his monthly National Guard duties and had collapsed onto his recliner.

“We’re moving.”

He groaned. “August is the worst time to move. Can’t we push it back a few months?”


The joke in the South is that July is practice for August. Most people don’t want to plan anything for August unless it involves air conditioning and iced sweet tea. It’s not so much the heat as the humidity ratcheting up to near-unbearable levels. I once met an Englishman who was going to visit Charleston in August. I told him he was going to melt. He probably did for all I know.

This August, instead of fanning myself and doing my best Scarlett impression, I’m going to be moving. I am going to be packing and hauling, digging up plants and putting them in new places. I’m going to be doing all that outdoorsy stuff that no one wants to do in August unless they’re being paid. And this on top of everything else we had to go through in order to get a new home.

Why is the process so very complicated? It is literally easier to get a new or used car than it is to get a house. For reasons known only to God and bureaucrats, a mountain of paperwork must be climbed before one can settle into a house, whether it was built this year or thirty years ago.

The Process

If it was merely a matter of money, a house could be bought in a day. But no. Once a final price is settled upon, the home must be inspected from shingles to foundation.

You walked through this house, poked into every closet and corner like the nosiest mother-in-law, and you come out of there enthralled. Dreams of redecorating the sunroom and outfitting your office dance in your mind like the tritest of sugarplums. But once the home and pest inspectors are through, your Martha Stewart-esque dreams evaporate faster than you can say “insider trading”.

More negotiations. More worries that what’s decided to be a “minor issue to be repaired some point in the future so we won’t ask the sellers to fix it now” problem  will turn into a “hey, why is the wall leaking?” problem after the first big storm. More fear that this is a terrible investment and more reruns of that wonderful late night game show called, “Why did I agree to be an adult?”

And right after the repair negotiations are done, right when it feels like you can suck down a breath, the realtor says, “And then after the repairs are done, we’ll have another inspection.” And before you’re done saying something colorful and decidedly NSFW, the loan guy calls. “Oh, yeah, here’s all this other paperwork we need.”

In the immortal words of Penelope Garcia: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

But the Ending is So Sweet

Whenever things get really crazy, though, I remind myself that, at the end, when the last box is packed and unpacked, when the last rose bush in its new spot, and when the dogs are free to explore a new backyard, The Husband and I can sit in our new living room with a sigh of happiness. We’ll be in a new place where we can make new memories. We’ll have more room to grow and to express ourselves as individuals. We’ll have more room for dinners and having friends over and there won’t be that spot in the hall we can’t step on anymore.

We’ll be home.


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