"You're competing against at least fifty other people. I need to know you're committed."
Fifty other people.
What sets me apart from fifty other people?
What makes me different?
What makes me more compelling than money? Cold, hard cash.
We began our conversation with an exchange that is second nature to me now.
Here's the contract.
Here are my bank statements, my pre-approval letter, my deposit.
Sign here, initial here.
This search has been an exhausting, reductive experience. Within a year I can now describe what I want succinctly, within a numerical range and in square footage. I know why a good school district matters and why you wouldn't want to be close to a railroad or industrial buildings. I know the difference between a standard sale and a short sale; between a place that is active and pending; between the words turnkey and as-is.
If you asked me, well what do you really want? I would say I want stability, I want a long-term solution for a pressing need. I want a place that fits us all - her old green Singer sewing machine, the white piano I never play anymore, her collections of purses, and her boxes of shoes. A place perhaps for figs, guava, and lemons. But lately, these wants, have been last in a long line of other requirements.
Its about numbers when all I really want to think about are the figs.
The home I've found is a short sale. The numbers are what I need them to be but more importantly it's in a beautiful, quiet residential area that feels safe. The floors creak, but they are solid beneath your feet. All it would need is a new coat of paint and possibly new tiles on the kitchen floor.
The housing market in Southern California right now is an unbelievably competitive, bloody field. I'm up against cash buyers and foreign nationals who want to invest in the homes that so many families have been forced for multiple reasons to relinquish. And really, my chances are slim, it's probably naive of me to believe that I have any chance at all. But what else is there to do but hope?
I am however, hopeful. It seems to matter to my realtor that I was the first to call him and the first to see the property before over fifty others began bombarding him with calls and cash offers. He spent longer than necessary with me over coffee this morning, talking to me, telling me his story and asking me about mine. He was probably simply gauging how serious I was about this property but I'm hoping that I've happened upon an advocate for me. Someone who's not only about the numbers, but also about the figs.