Once I got married it seemed the logical next step for my husband and I to look for a home to call our own. I live in a city where housing is reasonably affordable and therefore apartment living is not looked at as a particularly long term life choice. We currently live in a really cool old building in a super trendy part of town where there is a lot going on all the time and a place that has become a haven for trendy new restaurants, art shows, festivals, and just a lot of weekend activity. This would be cool if I was at all interested in art and did not have to rely on street parking. When we see flyers for a weekend event we don’t think, “oh cool a block party and art show,” we instead think, “oh great now we have to park our cars Friday after work and not leave the house for 3 days.” It is the feeling I imagine a trapped rat would feel but with more of a party atmosphere to it. There is also the issue of space. Our apartment is by no means tiny and by apartment standards is a decent size but we still feel quite cramped, especially with a double bed and the urge to kill at night while you’re sleeping with an elbow in your spine and dog between your feet. So needless to say we are not loving the apartment life anymore since being in close proximity to a pub everyone likes to hang out at has become more exhausting than convenient.
Thus, we started our journey of looking for a house.
I have learned some very interesting things during my visits to potential new homes that I wish to share:
1. 1.5 bathrooms does not necessarily mean both bathrooms will have walls.
We set a minimum parameter of at least 1.5 bathrooms with our agent ( I grew up in a house with one bathroom and ain’t nobody got time for that). I have been to at least 4 houses where the “half bathroom” is actually a free standing toilet in a basement (which I now call a “turlet”) that looks like a place you would keep a hostage during a negotiation situation. My personal favourite was the “half bath” that had two piece of plywood as walls and a plywood floor with a toilet and on the other side of one of the plywood “walls” a shower head with a plastic table cloth “shower curtain” stapled to the ceiling support beams and welcome mats on the floor. I was so terrified I didn’t care if that house was free or haunted by ghosts that gave out free money every Friday. I was out of there.
2. Bedrooms don’t always fit beds.
Some of the areas we were looking at were areas with older homes, some over 100 years old, so we half expected crappy closets and small rooms but some of the “bedrooms” we were shown were often times comical. One had a single bed in it and nothing else fit in the room. Another had a double bed that took up the whole room. Staging people, staging. There were also a lot of places with “loft bedrooms.” which actually meant a hot, smelly attic that someone painted and good luck getting anything besides inflatable furniture up there. (note: they still sell inflatable furniture. Awesome.)
3. Old people loved the 70s and never left.
Wood paneling, shag carpet, ceiling to floor wallpaper, lots and lots of pine, blue bathtubs and toilets, crocheted wall decor ( I won’t dare call it artwork), and carpeting in the kitchen and bathroom are but a few of the wonders of home decor of days gone by. These gems of the past left my husband and I cracking up and having to leave some houses without even trying to visualize what this house could look like if you resuscitated it back to life 40 years after it died.
4. The belief that a cookie scented candle will distract from your filth is rampant.
Now to be fair I am not the cleanest person in the world. I will leave a bowl in the living room for over a day or not put away my laundry for days upon washing it. But never will the realization of how gross some people are be more obvious than when you go to their house. When trying to sell a home I would expect that people would make their teenage pig of a son clean his death trap of a room (or at least Febreze it so potential buyers don’t want to throw up), maybe do your dishes, or clean the cat shit off your rug. It was really hard to think of some places as ‘home sweet home’ when you are shimmying through the filth hoping you won’t be attacked by an angry and hungry badger.
5. Some people will hang out while you look
I felt creepy enough wandering through someone’s house and judging it but it is so much worse when they are there watching you judge it. I am not great at masking my thoughts via the expression on my face and this is not a good scene when faced with home owners watching you eyebrow raise and make hilarious and disturbed faces upon discovering that you have been duped, yet again, by a “turlet.”
Well, we are still looking and hoping that we will walk into one sometime soon and think “yes” or at least “oh gawd, this will due because at least the bathrooms have walls.”
House hunting can be fun and hilarious but it can also be exhausting, terrifying, and life altering. So when you are about to embark just remember to laugh when you need to, practice your best poker face, and perhaps invest in some rubber gloves and a bottle of Purell.