house hunt - on being a vulture

Ok, so while I reminisce about the old renovation, I am clearly stalking real estate today.  I am on Trulia about three times a day.  That's normal, right?

  creepster be creepin

creepster be creepin

Current obsession: the little Windsor Terrace house that belongs to a kindly old lady up the street from my inlaws, who is in the process of moving into a retirement community.  There is a very sweet back story about The Mister's family connection to her.  His Grandmother, who lives on the block, is church friends with this woman, and when I say church friends, I mean they are the kind of legit Catholics who attend mass together every single day.  Daily mass! As a godless heathen, I find this dedication impressive.  It also makes me that much more grateful that she doesn't ever bring up my godless ways, despite what I must assume is her private horror that I have gotten my secular clutches on her lovely boy.  She's the nicest, is what i'm saying.  ANYWAY.

When the owner of this adorable little house injured her leg about a year ago, apparently Kathleen (the lovely Grandmother) began bringing communion back with her from church every day and dropping it off.  I mean, come on.  The best.  So when word on the block got out that the leg issue was not resolving and needed hospital care, and the house would soon be put on the market, I immediately began scheming to use this heartwarming and sincere connection to my real estate advantage.

In my defense, the whole family was in on it.  I was getting phone calls left and right.  I think of them fondly as the Irish Brooklyn real estate mafia, with their ears to the ground and connections everywhere.  Both my in-laws grew up in the area, as did their parents and all their friends, and did I mention that everyone lives within a 4 block radius of one another? In Brooklyn, because of how densely populated each block is, this is more akin to just living in the same town as your family in a normal state.  It's not insane.  But it is awesome.  And I want in.

So I wrote a note and stuck it in the mailbox of this cute little house.  It was all about how much we would love to be so close to the family, and how we are a young couple hoping to start a family in the neighborhood, etc.  This is how at least 3 people I know got their houses in Brooklyn.  Anything to get an edge, man.  (Also, secretly, I am a giant cheeseball and it was all true)

Kathleen also made a number of calls for us, and my mother-in-law has put the word out on the block (a formidable method of wielding power in this hood, I assure you.  God, I love this town).  We have been told through this grapevine that the nieces of the woman, who are in charge of her affairs now, will let us come see the house before they list it.  They want to wait until she's settled, however, so she doesn't feel like her home is being sold out from beneath her.  Very reasonable.  Uuuuuuugh.

So now, we wait.  We wait to see when they will begin the process, while I make secret longing drive-bys in my car and hope none of the 15 people who live on the block who know both me and my car will go out to walk the dog while I do it.  "Oh, are you guys coming over for dinner tonight?" No, no, I am cruising past the empty house of a nice Catholic lady who is in the hospital, lurking to see if the mail has been picked up.  But how are you? How did Kevin do on that math test?

apartment of yore - love at first sight

This apartment and I were meant to be.  My dear friend Sebastian, a year earlier, knew that I trolled real estate websites as a soothing pastime when I was getting ready for bed (also while I was at work, and while watching TV, and sometimes after waking up).  He sent me the listing, which had only two confusing photos of the space which made it look tiny, and insisted in shouty caps that I HAD TO GO SEE THIS PLACE AND BUY IT.  He lived nearby and was in love with the space, but couldn't afford it himself.  It was wildly overpriced for its condition, and had no garden like I dreamt of.  I told him he was insane.

Cut to a year later, and I was actually looking to buy a one-bedroom fixer-upper.  My lovely friend Emily, who happens to be a kick-ass real estate agent, had set up a few viewings for me on my birthday, which was just about the best present I could think of.  She had picked two very lovely apartments with roof decks in great areas, neither of which really needed any work.  I wasn't hooked.  On our third stop of the day, we walked up three flights and opened the door to this coke-fever-dream:

  mmmm.  trash.

mmmm.  trash.

Emily looked around, bewildered and kinda grossed out, and turned to see my face lit up with wonder and joy.  Surrounded by fake columns and munchkin ceilings and bathroom tiles that looked like actual, literal barf, I whispered 'oh, little apartment, I can make you so pretty.' 


Two months, many legal shenanigans, and a FOUR hour closing later, she was mine.