I have a realtor. She was referred by friends (thanks) and I really like her. We spoke on the phone on Friday (twice and for quite awhile). She's very helpful and explains lots of things that I never even would have known to ask about. When I asked her questions she either answered them or said she would have to do some research on that. She actually did do some research. When I sent her two other houses I was curious about she promptly gave feedback, both positive and negative and all practical and relevant.
Since I'm still not sure about the house that you've all seen, I wanted her to go with me to see it. And I took the brother along. (As an aside, it's weird to be a fairly goal-oriented person who is now in the position of just wanting to be told what to do, what decision to make... If it wouldn't be inconvenient and bothersome I'd like to take each of you to see the house. Then you could fill out little questionnaires, we could put the data in a database, and magically the decision could print out the other end.) My brother is pretty knowledgeable about house things, is handy, and has a weird, very selective attention to detail...I thought all this would be helpful. He's also my brother and it's important what he thinks. It was better walking through the house this time. The owner was gone as were some of her things. It was easier to take your time and some secret little cubbies could be delved into, some of which you couldn't see before. (cph...the upstairs secret cubby held shoes. Shoes! A secret shoe closet!) I could talk more openly while going through the house because I like this agent and she's actually working for me. She was great on the walk-through, too. She pointed things out that she'd want to ask the inspector about. She paid attention to all the little flaws; things that may be nothing or things that may be indicative of problems you'd want fixed. At the very least, you'd want to ask about them. But she liked the house and thought the price was pretty fair but that it should be able to go down a little.
Last week I emailed an old insurance connection and emailed him again yesterday to get specifics about this house. I also got pre-approved through my bank (just so I'd be pre-approved somewhere and it was easy to go there). Thanks to my lovely friends, one mortgage place kept coming up repeatedly in their suggestions so I contacted them as well.
Yesterday morning I looked on the har website with a really open mind. With a mind that was pretending the other house didn't exist. I looked at all the areas around here...even places that were a little further away than I want to live. I even went up in price about $25k more than this house costs (and way more than I could ever spend) and I still found nothing else interesting. They honestly all look the same. I want my friends to be able to know that that house is my house. I want people to be able to recognize it even if my car isn't parked out front. Even if there were no house numbers and all the landscaping died. Even if I'm not sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea.
There was only one set of houses in one neighborhood that looked ok. My realtor told me they have MUD taxes. So basically, I could get one of those houses that costs about $20k less but would end up spending more per year for less house and more taxes. How much sense does that make? (We're in the middle of rationalizing here.) So then, just for fun, I looked up houses in the Heights. Comparable houses there cost $200k more and sit on a lot that is less than half the size.
So I still love the house even if I'm trying to ignore it or trying to hate it. The difference in monthly payments between it and the arbitrary limit I had set in my head is only $100. I still have to wait on info about the insurance. I'll still sit here in the evenings plugging away at the calculator. And I'll still have a decision to make...