Reserve the right to panic | Beth Dolinaire


So I bought my next house.

After looking at a dozen places, I found something that suits me perfectly. This is a condo surrounded by green space and offering spectacular views of a wooded valley and the Pittsburgh skyline.

“Good place to watch the fireworks,” I said as my realtor and I stood on the back patio. The interior is nice too, updated with a high ceiling and lots of natural light.

I walked around the place for about 15 minutes before deciding to make an offer – only 15 minutes: only a little longer than it would take me to pick out a new pair of cycling shoes. But as my agent said, the market is hot. Better not to drag your feet.

I signed the papers the next day. And then the nocturnal panics began:

Freak-out One: The place is too big! Smoothie and I are going to ride in there like two fleas on a lily pad. What was I thinking?

Freak-out Two: These skylights are notorious for leaking. I will have buckets in the living room to catch the rain.

Freak-out Three: I’m attached to the next apartment. What if these people were night owls-heavy-metal-garage-band?

Freak-out Four: The vendor disclosure mentioned a spider issue. He also noted that the issue has been fixed, but aren’t spiders like raccoons and always find their way home?

Freak-out Five: There is a heated garage floor. Will I pay my heating bill?

Freak-out Six: Will Smoothie like it? He’s such a creature of habit that he sits in the same place in our house at the same times every day. He will be confused.

Freak-out Seven: I currently live within walking distance of a very good auto repair shop. I can drop off my car and walk home. No waiting or car rental. Can I live in this new place without this convenience?

Freak-out Nine: Am I too far from the bike path?

Freak-out 12: Will the king bed fit in the upstairs guest bedroom? When my daughter saw the pictures she said she would be happy with it as long as she had this bed.

I wonder if all homebuyers have panics, i.e. buyer’s remorse. This will be the sixth house I have purchased in the past 35 years or so; I don’t remember any of them causing so much panic.

Maybe it has something to do with the lifestyle change that precipitated this move. I go from a small place with lots of green space around to a neighborhood with lots of people around me. I won’t have to mow the grass, shovel the snow, or drag the trash cans down the long, hilly driveway to the sidewalk. The exterior parts of the new place will make your life easier.

Glad to say I only shared one or two of my panics with the realtor. For most of them, I worried for an hour and then fell asleep, ready to put that worry behind me and start a new one the next morning.

Went back to the condo for a second look last week. It’s not too big. Skylights are fine. The homeowners association has a noise ordinance. Smoothie will be fine as long as he’s with me. I’ll find a nearby garage. I will be exactly the same distance from the bike path as now. I measured, and the king bed will fit perfectly.

The only unresolved concern is the spiders. They are unpredictable. I reserve the right to panic if necessary.


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