While Jenn searches for her groove, I’m hunting houses. Well, just one house. I looked at it while Jenn was away a few weeks back and then it went under contract to some other buyer.
I love my apartment but, truth is, I am also tempted to do something crazy like buy a house in this soft market. Yep, take the small annuity I have and use some of it as a down deposit and become a mortgage holder once again. I did this once in my life, as a newlywed, and home ownership lasted thirty years. Then, I got my very first apartment. Most people do it the other way around: leave home, get an apartment, and then buy a house.
Now in my second apartment, life is good. No lawns to mow or snow to shovel. I can afford my monthly rent and utilities and sit on my back porch. The neighbors are sometimes noisy but, overall, it’s n-i-c-e. I’m in a duplex, and have the entire second floor to myself.
So, why am I going back to look at this quirky little house now that it’s back on the market? Do 60-plus single women really buy houses? Most seniors have paid off their mortgages and are downsizing. I'd be going in the other direction.
Not that this would be taking on a huge property. The house sits on the corner of a quiet, hilly street. It has lots of light and a narrow staircase that leads to one bedroom and a half.
The seller has put in a new kitchen and bath. And that's the strangest part of the place. The bathroom sits next to the kitchen and it’s about the size of a walk-in closet. The toilet is under a window and an outside red door leads directly into the bathroom. There is no bathroom on the second floor. Quite a leap on those cold Berkshire mornings to make it down the steps and into the john … and, at my age, I’d rather have a stall shower than a deep jet tub.
The rest of the house is kinda cute and has possibilities. As you can see, I took pictures during my first visit. Whatcha think?
Do banks really offer mortgages to women over 60? Jenn tells me that my dad would be saying “go for it” but I didn’t tell her that I remember when friends of my parents bought a house and took on a 30-year mortgage in their early 50s and my dad thought they were loony. Dad, of the “house is a good investment” philosophy, seemed to have a change of heart as he, and his friends, got older. He bought a duplex and then spent the rest of his life on what was originally his parents’ old land. Mom wanted out, and seemed to enjoy her small apartment near us once he passed away and she sold the house. What would they think of their daughter, a couple years shy of retirement, becoming a homeowner?
And then there’s Sophie. I drove the girls past this little red house while mom was out of town. Sophie lamented that it was “too far away” from their house. I tried again this past week.
“Sophie, do you remember the house babci took you past? What if she bought it?”
Sophie seemed upset and sad.
“Babci, I like your apartment. I can walk to you. You can meet me at the corner.”
I am two and a half blocks from Jenn’s. The house is two and a half miles from Jenn. Sophie is finding a new sense of independence – walking to grandmom’s seems like something to look forward to. Would she feel that I was abandoning her? Tough call.
Here I am, thinking of the immediate future and setting down roots, but also hearing family voices (present and past), wondering if this would really be a wise decision.
Oh, there’s a garage.