As some of you know, we have been very close to buying a house this week. It was a small house within walking distance to downtown. We liked it, even though it was small. It had all the requirements: A cute older house in a great neighborhood with a place for my office, a place for Kyle’s computers, a second bedroom, and a backyard. It was small, yes, but real estate is expensive here. It was painted funky colors, but that is easy to fix. It was a blank slate of a house, the kind of place you could fix up and make into your own. A good starter house.
All last week, we prepared for the offer we would make. We knew the house had been on the market for almost a year, so we thought we could offer much lower than the asking price. It all looked good. We got a realtor to represent us and asked my parents to come down and look at it. My dad has built several houses, so I wanted him to check it out before I made the offer.
But as soon as I walked in on Saturday, I was … unexcited. No matter how logically I could see how the house would work for us, I didn’t feel that spark that I have felt every time something is right for me. It is a yes! feeling, a sense of things sliding together and clicking in place. I knew I would marry Kyle almost immediately because of the spark. I know when clothes fit me well because of the spark. When I saw Quill, I was so sure of the spark I didn’t even want to look at the other kittens in the cage.
And yet, here I was thinking of buying a house, and there was no spark. I couldn’t figure out why. My reservations about the house were few: I didn’t like how close the house was to the neighbors. I was concerned that it didn’t have much of a re-sale value since a house that small can only sell for so much in any market. I thought we might outgrow it too quickly. Still, if the spark were there, these would have been minor concerns.
I wandered through the house, trying to pinpoint what my problem with it was. I liked the place where my office would be. I liked the kitchen. There were more closets than I originally thought. We could build me bookshelves. We could plant a tree to block out the neighbor. There were even original hardwood floors. What was wrong with me?
My dad had no major concerns about the house except that the floor was springy. When you walk on it, it flexes slightly beneath your feet. But he thought it had to do with the way the wood was beneath the house. We told the realtor we would meet with her at 10 a.m. Monday morning to make an offer.
And then on Sunday morning, my dad told me that he realized why the floor was springy: termites. He was almost positive that was the problem. It made sense, too, because the house had recently been tented. Obviously, it would be foolish to buy a house with floors that are little more than Swiss cheese.
My reaction when I heard this news was not sadness or even disappointment. It was relief. I saw that I just didn’t want that house. I still don’t know why. I learned, though, that next time I want a house, there has to be the spark. It has never let me down.