Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weekend update

Our housing crisis is nearly over. We finally bought an apartment, and it wasn't easy. We had driven the real estate agents bonkers, perused local real estate internet sites daily, called people up to see their homes, nearly made deals on a few of them and ended up buying from a builder. Hubby likes new. Though there were some good things about many of these apartments we saw, there were also not-so-good things. For instance:

"the toilets had been shit in by others before us"
"the house is build into the mountain"
"the bedroom has no windows"
"there's no cellphone connection here"
"it looks like we're living in the basement"
"it's too much of a walk-up"
"don't want to pay agent's fee"

etc. etc.

So we were called in to sign a contract last week. I took off work for about an hour to sign, fully knowing my "Miranda" boss from my office, would get highly upset at me leaving 1 hour beforehand (even though she was at meetings), but at this point having a place to live is more important than appeasing someone who can never be appeased.

Even the signing wasn't easy. Our lawyer trudged in and asked for a receipt when they deposit our checks.

Their sales agent was like "No way. We don't do that."

Our lawyer - "It's standard procedure."

Then they started hurling insults at each other and after 5 minutes of observing this, our lawyer got up and told us "We're not signing today."

Huh? After I put my job in jeopardy by leaving one hour earlier? But after haggling back and forth with their lawyers, we were called back to sign 2 hours later.

I signed about a thousand pages with trembling hands. This whole homeowner thing is so new and so traumatic at 50 when you've never had a home beforehand, and are used to living in other people's places. But I was so elated. No one can tell me to leave because they're selling their place, or blame me for damages to their place when there weren't any. And the kids might even be goaded into being proud of living in their own real home and begin to clean up - but that's a far shot, I know.

We took a look at our home this morning and walked up the 8 flights. The tiles I chose seemed too dark compared to what others had chosen. What to do now? The floors were still covered in sand - and the tiles hadn't been shipped yet to the site. Maybe there's still time to change. I'll be preoccupied with these types of decisions daily until we move in. My daughter walked into her room and said it smelled like shit. I suspect, but I didn't want to inspect up close, that the little dark, sand-covered 'stuff' was indeed shit, perhaps left by one construction worker who didn't want to go down 8 flights to use a port-a-potty. And it will be covered up by tile one day. Some people walk on air. We'll be walking on shit.

We went over to the other building where people already moved in and went up to the 8th floor and asked the owners if we could see how "our" apartment would look like fully furnished. This ain't New Yawk and the people welcomed us into their home and we saw it looked absolutely lovely, once the construction workers' shit is covered and tiles put on and bathrooms finished off. It really looks like a home.

And after 11 years in this country - I think we really could use a home right now. Next step - applying for a mortgage.

1 comment:

Katherine said...

a big fat mazel tov! hooray! enjoy it!