Thursday, March 10, 2016

Infertility and buying a house are actually quite similar

Hubs and I are house hunting.  We've saved and sacrificed for a long time to be able to do it.  We're long time renters, mainly as a function of moving so much throughout the course of our relationship (we've lived five places in three states in nine years), but we're finally to the point where we're ready.  If nothing else, I'm ready to paint walls a color of my own choosing.  We're not in a hurry to buy.  We want to find the right house and make a smart investment.  We have a great landlord and are in a ideal renting situation because we've been her for so long that we're on a month to month contract.  So it really doesn't matter if we find a house in six days or six months. 

I was naive enough to believe that it would be like it is on TV.  I thought we'd see three houses, pick one, move in, and everything would be smooth sailing.  But it's been far from smooth sailing. 

To start we're at a very competitive price point.  Nice houses in places where we'd actually like to live go really fast.  Like the listing goes live and the house is under contract in 48 hours fast.  Also complicating things, our availability to go to showings is a bit limited since I teach one night a week and hubs has class two nights a week, though thankfully his last week of class is next week, so availability will improve soon.

After going to see about 10 houses, we found a house that we liked and after several days of tense negotiation we agreed on a price with the seller and were officially under contract.  It wasn't our dream house (that will never be found at our price point), but it was a nice home.  Cute.  Plenty of space without being too much.  A huge, flat yard (a novelty in western Pennsylvania, both the size and being flat).  An amazing neighborhood.  It checked off all of the boxes on our must have list.  We booked the inspection and that's when it all began to fall apart.  Long story short, the inspector found some pretty major issues, the seller wasn't willing to fix the issues, and we walked away.  We made the smart decision.  It sucked.  But had we proceeded with the contract we would have gotten ourselves in over our heads.  We're really glad that we had the inspection contingency in our contract.

I was woefully unprepared for the emotions that came with losing the house.  Not the house itself, the logical, rational part of my brain knows that there are other houses and that eventually we'll find our house, but I was unprepared for how hard it hit me.  It honestly felt like infertility all over again.  Being put through the ringer only to be disappointed.  Needing to make big decisions with a really fast turn around.  Money.  Stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Pressure from all sides.  Arguments with hubs.  All of it felt so familiar, but not in a good way.

The day we officially terminated the contract, Sunday, I had a big ugly cry.  In that moment I felt like such a failure.  All I could see was everything that hasn't gone my way in the past few years.  I lamented that if I couldn't have babies I should at least be able to buy a house easily.  I was not nice to myself.  I haven't had a breakdown like that in quite some time.

Even though I know that walking away was the best decision for us, it hurt.  I guess that sometimes the head and the heart don't always communicate.  I'm actually glad that we lost the house.  Hindsight is 20/20.  We learned a lot from the experience and we know so much more than we did a couple of weeks ago.  This will benefit us going forward.

I'm better now.  We've seen a few more houses and we're going to see a few more over the weekend.  Nothing has felt like home yet but we're confident that we'll find something.  Eventually.  Hubs and I don't do anything the easy way and nothing ever goes according to plans.  Why would this be any different?  Hell, our real estate agent left today to go to Italy for two weeks, so I'm sure we'll find a house while he's gone and have to bother him to write a contract while he's on vacation.  Because that's how our life works.


  1. Oh my..... You’ve given me a walk (ugh…flashback) down memory lane.

    I can’t remember how many houses we looked at before we found ‘the one’ (not the dream house but one we both liked that ticked a lot of our boxes). Poring over the realtor listings and local papers, week after week after week, and crossing out the vast majority due to price, unsuitability, or our failure to compromise, we’d be left with maybe 1 or 2 a week that were worth an actual visit. We were picky – wanted a particular suburb – and had time on our side, but gosh, the waiting and continual looking was frustrating.

    Of all those we looked at maybe only one or two just ‘felt right’ the minute we walked in the door, and that’s when the emotional roller coaster ride really started. Could we afford it with our budget, could we compromise because it didn’t have this or that, could we look a bit less eager when we advised the realtor to go ahead with an offer?

    Yes, the house inspection is a nail biting wait, and as disappointing as it is to discover major faults, knowing about them also helps to make a logical decision that protects you from more disappointment further down the track. A mortgage is a big enough commitment without walking into a house that also needs major repairs before you even begin to put your own mark on it.

    I’m here nodding my head vigorously agreeing with you (and getting strange looks from the hubby). The emotions stomp all over the rational part of your thinking, leaving you a mess; big decisions are in play by third parties and it’s mostly out of your control….

    House hunting is an anxiety-building event that needs and outlet valve; you’ve cleared your emotional slate (or at least diffused the pressure) for the weekend; I have my fingers crossed for your success.

    Hhmm, fancy a fixer-upper somewhere in Italy? (yep, I’ve been watching a lot of 'those' TV shows over the summer). Your dollar might go further there…. I know of someone who knows a realtor over there on holiday…. ; )

    1. I can't even tell you how much better it makes me feel to know we're not the only couple who has went through this! I don't even know how many listings we've poured over, but it's been a lot. We've seen probably 15 houses....some of them have been an immediate no. Some have been ok. The only one we really liked a lot was the one we put in an offer on, and that didn't work out. My anxiety has been really high since we started this house hunting thing!

      I'd love to buy a house in Italy! Maybe someday.....

  2. Yea I can relate to a lot of this! We've been house hunting for over two years and finding it very frustrating. It's so rare that something decent comes on the market and like you said when it does it's snapped up super quick! We came close to buying twice but the first time backed out after issues came up at the inspection and for the second house we were outbid. And hubby and I also had some big arguments when we weren't on the same page. He's much more cautious than I am when it comes to house buying whereas I worry if he's too picky or waits too long then we'll miss out!

    1. Two years?!!!! Wow! I hope we're not at it for that long!

      Being in a hot market isn't fun, especially when you have a firm budget (well, technically we were pre-approved for substantially more than we want to spend, but we know what we can realistically comfortably afford without needing to make changes to our lifestyle).

      Also comforting to find out that I'm not the only one who had arguments with a partner over not being on the same page. You and your husband sound so much like me and my husband!

  3. I find myself in those situations too sometimes, where I'm expecting or needing something to work to compensate for my lack o' children. It's funny how we connect those things in our heads without even realizing it.

    So glad to hear you're holding out for the right place and for a good investment. There's a real lack of control in the home buying process. We felt very pressured at a certain point and I had to point out to everyone that they were working for us and not the other way around.

    When you do find the right place, I hope the change of scenery is a good thing. I've struggled a lot being in the home we bought to raise our children in. Julio and I realized this year there's a strong possibility we'll move when we can, maybe in five years or so, and benefit from "starting over".

    1. Yeah, the similarity of the feelings took me by complete surprise. And the intensity knocked me on my ass.

      I must say that one of the nice things is that I am able to view a house through the lens of just us and what we will do with certain rooms, as opposed to through the lens of future children's rooms, unlike our current rental (which was chosen for the specific reason that there was plenty of room for a baby or two). So in a way this is starting over for us too. :)

      At one point last weekend hubs and our Realtor got into it a little bit, not shouting or anything, just a bit of butting heads. They have very similar personalities.... But in the end the Realtor agreed that he was working for us.

  4. It's such an emotional process, isn't it? You have to gear up to leave where you are, and then you have to emotionally invest sufficiently in a new place to be even prepared to put in an offer. I do think it's like deciding to try to have a baby, in many ways. For me, to decide to try was to think about what it (motherhood) would be like, and to decide whether I would love it. Only when we know we're going to love it can we fully commit ... and sign on the dotted line. And so it's really tough, even when we know the decision is right for us, to pull away.

    I'm hoping you find the right house again soon. In my limited experience (two houses owned, one commitment for a three year rental), when you walk into the house that you want, you just know. My three-year rental took viewing about 30 places or more (I can't remember - but it was complicated). We must have looked at at least 20 houses each time we bought, as well. In the scheme of things, looking back, I don't think that's so many.

    You'll get there. The good thing is that there isn't any rush. We were living with my in-laws after transferring back from Bangkok when we bought the house we're living in now. That really put pressure on a quick decision!

    1. Haha. Yes. Living with the in-laws would definitely speed up the necessity of finding your own house. We've always lucked into good rentals, which is probably part of why I thought finding a house to buy would be easy too.

      It is really hard to emotionally invest in a house and envision yourself in it enough to put an offer in on it, but at the same time, staying detached enough to not be devastated since it might fall through.

      Hearing that you also looked at quite a few before finding your house makes me feel better too! Hopefully ours is out there and everything works out!

  5. Well, you KNOW I can relate!! lol I went through all those emotions and then some as we first bought our condo and then sold our house. The condo seller was being a bit unreasonable in demanding a very early closing date, and we thought we were going to have to walk away, but we eventually came to terms. And both dh & I still have qualms that something is going to happen before we close to screw the whole thing up. (Now why would we think that?? hmmmm....)

    You will know the right place when you find it... and I will cross all my fingers & toes that when you do, all the pieces come together for you to buy it! :) (((hugs)))

    1. It's so interesting that we were sort of going through the same thing at the same time! Funny how that works. Also, what is it about sellers being unreasonable? After the deal fell through I actually told the real estate agent that I should have warned him in advance that nothing is ever easy or goes according to plans for hubs and I.

      Fingers crossed for the rest of your process to go smoothly! And hopefully I'll have good news to share soon too.

  6. This blog reminds me of the journey my wife and I went through. We looked for our house for over 3 years before we finally found the right one. So many listings that we went through only to be disappointed. Stay positive and we cross all fingers for your success. Please keep posting and keep us up to date, thanks.

    1. Hi Mattie! I'm sorry it took you three years! That must have been really hard! About three days after I wrote this post we found our house. Our amazing agent wrote an offer while he was on holiday in Italy, negotiations went smoothly and the inspection only revealed minor stuff. We closed in May and have already been living in OUR house for almost two months. :)