Buying a house and other bad decisions

So you’re looking to buy a new house. Congratulations on embarking on one of the most stressful, financially horrifying experiences of your life. You now have the privilege of working every day to pay homage to the God of Home Mortgages. Displease Him even a bit and something will suddenly go wrong with the garbage disposal, garage door or any other number of parts that are waiting to break.

“But don’t worry,” your home loan agent will say, “you’ll have it all paid off in just 30 years. Just think, by then your daughter will have graduated college!”

“But we don’t even have a daughter,” you’ll say, confused.

“Not yet,” she’ll reply before laughing manically and disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

Before you set off looking for a house, you have to determine that the one you have has somehow become inadequate. The best way to determine this is by having a wife. Once you have one it’s only a matter of time before she nonchalantly declares, “I think we should buy a new house”, giving you that severe facial tic you’ve always wanted.

Buying a house is rarely a guy’s idea. Heck, we’ve worn the same T-shirts and underwear for the last 30 years. They’re comfortable. Familiar. If we had any say in the matter we’d live in the same house until it disintegrated around us before thinking, “Hey, it’s a bit drafty in here today.”

The fun part begins when your wife, having no idea what price of house you can afford, begins her search by looking at $800,000 homes.

“I don’t know if I we can get by with just ONE pool,” she’ll muse. “Maybe if we get one with a hot tub too that’ll be OK.”

When the bank confirms your suspicion that you are not, in fact, the Sultan of Brunei, the houses you’re able to get a loan for, in comparison, look like a cross between a meth lab and an abandoned hog confinement. Now comes the house hunt, an appropriate name as all the best houses are elusive – practically mythical – and you’re Elmer Fudd. So when your wife says, “We’re going to find the perfect house,” she might as well be saying, “I’m going to conjure a dragon with this spatula.”

It’s a delightful stroll on Judgmental Lane where you get to criticize people’s lifestyles. It’s like speed-dating, only instead of trying to find someone with a sexy smile and rock-hard abs, you’re trying to find someone with a sexy attached two-car garage and rock-hard foundation.

After you’ve given up all hope, you could be one of the approximately four people annually that find a house you and your wife can both agree on. Once you do agree, be sure to send it to your realtor so he or she can confirm it’s no longer on the market. By missing out on a house you both kind of liked, you’ll now be in the perfect frame of mind to desperately take the next one that comes on the market, no matter what.

Sure, you can spend upwards of two days figuring out the right kind of avocado oil to purchase online, painstakingly going through all 96 user reviews because you JUST HAVE TO BE SURE IT’S THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, but a six-figure purchase that’ll take you 30 years or more to pay back? By all means make an offer after scanning it for 20 minutes and opening a couple of drawers to ensure they’re not some of those fake “show” drawers that don’t open.

Realtor: “Well I do have one new listing. It’s a quaint ‘fixer-upper’ that some might consider more of a ‘shanty’ than a ‘home.’ It doesn’t have running water but what it lacks in comfort it makes up for in roof holes, termites and chalk body outlines. It doesn’t have any exposed wiring, mostly because it doesn’t have electricity. The windows are holes in the siding chewed through by some kind of not small animal attempting to desperately burrow in, or possibly out. The carpet is actually a layer of mold, so I suppose that can be written up as “sustainable” and it’s always foggy in the kitchen/master bedroom. Oh, and it may or may not have homeless pigmies living in the chimney.”

You: “We’ll take it!”

When going through a house, it’s important to know what you’re doing and/or talking about, or at least be good at faking it.

You: “I like the place but the bathtub here is a bit on the small side.”

Realtor: “That’s the sink.”

Once you’ve been adequately beaten down enough by the whole process and you’re just a husk of your former self, maybe you can convince your wife your current house is just fine. If she wants a hot tub, you can offer to take a hot bath with her. I’m sure you can figure out how to create a few bubbles.


Kelly Van De Walle can be reached at