The New House

Another one of those “life milestones” occurred this spring which make me realize how old I am: my daughter bought a house.

She enlisted my help on this project and we began perusing house listings in December; our lives soon became consumed with the back and forth emailing of ads, and weekend drive-bys of anything that looked remotely interesting and in her price range.  That was complicated somewhat by the fact that she could not afford to spend a huge amount, but Capital District real estate was not suffering the value sag that other areas of the country were experiencing, so bargains were harder to come by.  On the up side there was an $8,000.00 tax incentive for anyone purchasing a house before December 1, so it seemed like a good time for her to take the plunge.

It was interesting to see my daughter’s reactions to the various places we looked at and to see her wrap her head around the real meanings of real estate listings;  “convenient to local highways” meant the house was located on an on ramp,  and “needs updating” usually meant the house was completely trashed. After looking at a half dozen houses it was clear that she was undergoing some adjustment in her expectations while her personal wish list was being whittled down.

My responsibility during all of this was to remain as neutral as possible while pointing out potential pitfalls and positives; this was not always an easy task.  Having looked at nearly a hundred houses during my own search I was quick to notice rotting eaves, crumbing foundations and other perils of the first time buyer without becoming too enchanted by a pretty piece of woodwork.  I knew that if she looked at enough houses and was patient with the process, a house would come along that felt “right”.

After about six months and dozens of house tours, we looked at a little bungalow in the Upper Union area of Schenectady that finally felt “right”.  It was an older home with good bones, gorgeous floors and woodwork and new mechanicals. The house was less square footage than her apartment, but had a walkup attic that could be converted to a master suite some day.  Bonus.  The kitchen cabinets were cheesy, but it had all new appliances including a washer and dryer that came with the house.  Another bonus. And the house had central air…serious bonus!

It has been several weeks since the closing and she is now settled into her very first home.  I am happy to have been associated with the process, and happier still with the independent manner in which she handled the transaction.  Some of my friends have expressed surprise that a 26 year old unmarried woman would purchase a house on her own, but I’m not surprised in the least; I expected nothing less.


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