Yesterday, I soaked morel mushrooms in water and salt, hoping to drive away gross, horrible creatures that tend to make homes in them. No, not Tea Party Republicans, but little bugs and insect. We were saving them to eat in celebration when our offer on the house is accepted, but hearing no such news yesterday, I sautéed them in olive oil and garlic, and ate them anyway over fettuccini drizzled with truffle oil.
They were awful. I mustn’t have cleaned them right, and they tasted very, very sandy, as if I had soaked them in cat litter instead of sea salt. It was strange, because I rinsed them at least three times. It was very disappointing.
Today the sellers faxed in their counter-offer. Nope, they said, no reduced price. They wanted full price. They’ll help pay some of the closing costs. But they’ll let us keep the kick-ass stainless steel fridge and oven. You know the oven with the smooth ceramic top that you can clean by simply wiping? There are TWO inside this house!!
So I rushed to Jameelah’s school to be stared at by her 28 students while she initialed the counter. On the way over, however, I just had to call my brother Long, who is a real estate investor who has made quite a load of money flipping houses.
“Are you nuts?!” he said, “That’s way over what you should be buying! Do you want to be a slave to this house? At that house payment, you won’t be able to enjoy life! You’ll be trapped in your house forever, and when you sell it, you’ll lose money. And renting out your basement may sound like a good idea, but you might encounter horrible tenants who trash your place and be a nuisance.”
“You two are young,” he said, “Don’t you want to travel the world? Don’t you want to explore Africa? Trust me on this, you don’t want to tie yourself down, working only so you can support your mortgage. You don’t want your house owning you!”
He’s completely right. We could wait and find the perfect fixer upper. Long would make sure it’s a good deal. He would help us fix it up. We would live in it, and he’d help us sell it, and instantly, we’d have 30 to 50K. “Your first house won’t be your dream house! You need to use this opportunity to invest!”
But we’re not real estate investors. We’re just trying to find a place that we’re comfortable living in! I want to be able to go home each day and relax in my yard and plant herbs on my deck and stare at the clouds and raise ferrets if I want to. We’re homebodies! On my birthday Jameelah and I stayed at home and cooked and then we watched “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” on Netflix. And I was happy. We could travel every season to a different country if we had the money, but home is always where we’ll be spending 90% of our time. I want it to feel good.
And this house feels good. We’re not going to make 30K when we sell it in five years. We might even lose some money. But during those five years, dammit, we’re gonna enjoy the hell of it. Needless to say, we agreed to the counter-offer. The house is now pending inspection. If the inspection passes, we start financing, mild renovations, and finding tenants.
Long’s words linger, like those morels, crunchy and slightly bitter. Sure, we’ll have to cut back for a year, probably have to survive on ramen and pasta, and those have to be on sale at Grocery Outlet. But just thinking of being able to eat ramen on our deck, or cooking oatmeal that we dumpster-dived for our guests on our awesome stove, or picking apples from our neighbor’s trees late at night when they’re sleeping, those thoughts fill me with happiness.