So in case you didn’t listen to my podcast, or you got bored halfway through my trawl through Wikipedia’s pages on chromosomal disorders, this is the big secret I was supposed to have confirmation by 8 PM yesterday: We are buying a house.
The saga began this August when I realized that, against all odds, we had assembled a decent down payment. At least in a down market. So we told the landlady (who is also a realtor) that we wanted to start looking at houses.
It took a while to get the mortgage organized – look, we are both self-employed, and Ben has *no* credit history – but by the beginning of September we had it in process and started looking.
Our landlady’s husband, Lorenzo, took us around to a bunch of houses. Most of them were basically one bedroom apartments in house form – an open living area, a bedroom, a kitchen, a loft. Many didn’t even have basements. None of them had enough space for us to both live and work in, though we considered one that had an electrified shed. (“Ben, you can write in there!” I said. “That’s what Mahler did!”) But finally we saw one that was just right.
When I say “just right” I don’t mean that it’s perfectly maintained or well decorated or has nice floors or a granite countertop. It has none of those things. It is a very narrow semi-detached house with many small rooms, currently stuffed full of Buddha statues and fake flowers by the elderly Vietnamese couple who live there.
Most people would not want this house. It’s old but not historic, it needs work, and it lacks all those nice little amenities that people like. But for us it’s perfect – lots of rooms so we can each have a private workspace, a separate entrance for the studio space, a fully fenced backyard for the dogs, and all the Buddhas you could ever possibly need. And it’s really cheap.*
So we put in an offer, haggled a bit, and they accepted. We got the inspection done (some old wiring, an old furnace, and a couple of missing roof shingles). We impressed upon the bank the necessity of getting the mortgage finalized before the deal fell through. “OK,” our mortgage person – Lisa – said, “It should all be done by Friday.”
That was yesterday. As it stands, the bank has approved us, but the Canadian Mortgage and Home Corporation has yet to approve the house. (That’s the mortgage insurer.) I think they are trying to kill me.
Anyway, it has to be done by Monday or else the damn thing falls through. Lisa has assured me that she’ll make it happen, and she’s good at her job, so keep your fingers crossed for me. I want that goddamn house. If the CMHC keeps jerking us around and the approval comes on Tuesday I will have to seriously consider a letter bomb.**
I’m tempted to go buy a bottle of Scotch and drink it now, but I think I’ll try to do something productive, like go through the books and decide which ones to throw away, or make a dog coat or something. Then Scotch.
*As in, a vacant lot across the street sold for $50,000 more than we’re paying for this house.
**Kidding! Honestly, just kidding. Don’t send the Canadian version of Homeland Security after me.