Buying a home anywhere is scary. Buying a home in Los Angeles is like The Shining, but with earthquakes. Figuring out which area of LA you’re going to settle in is the first hurdle, and let me tell you, it’s a doozy. People are committed to their little slice of LA, and each section truly does have its own personality. Do you love the beach and also love reminding those around you that where you live is the better than where they live? You should move to the West side. Are you too cool to shower? You should move to Silverlake. Do you like to pretend that a giant is cooking you in his oven? You should move to the valley. We do shower, the beach is too far from my husband’s studio, and giants are just so…big. Despite all this, we found a few areas that would work, and began the search for our home.
You know those HGTV makeover shows where the host brings the potential homeowners into a house that they’re going to completely remodel anyway, but they can’t decide how they feel about a house because of the ugly wallpaper in the dining room?! I am sorry, but I want to physically harm those people. YOU’RE GOING TO SLEDGEHAMMER THAT WHOLE WALL ANYWAY!! There is actually something so wonderful and comforting about loathing elements of a home when you know you can actually change those elements. Does the house have good bones? Do you like the location? How’s the yard?
One of the first houses we looked at had piles of dog poop in the back yard. I’m not talking about a week’s worth of poop (that your kids conveniently forget to see/smell/pick up every time they go outside.) I’m talking about a level of poop that makes you question whether the owners should be guests on “My Strange Addiction.” So we did what most normal people would do in that situation, which was to PUT AN OFFER ON THAT BABY. Our offer was under asking, because piles of animal excrement usually go along with other, less-than-ideal characteristics and it was promptly rejected (poop fumes are bad for the brain.) I firmly believe that perfectly normal people turn into lunatics when they have to buy or sell their house. Thankfully, our realtor was also one of my besties who kept us from getting bit by the crazy bug in the process and helped us move on. Having a realtor who will keep you sane is key. I have a girlfriend realtor on the West Coast and a brother-in-law realtor on the East Coast, so if I decide to buy a house pretty much anywhere in the country, I’m covered. I highly recommend talking someone you love into getting their real estate license before you buy a home…or I guess you can use Yelp.
When we first toured the house that would become ours, I wasn’t so sure. I like to know what I’m walking into, and from the outside, this house felt a little bit like the casseroles I encountered all my life at church pot lucks, but without the ritz crackers and cheese that let you know whatever is underneath is going to be good (and also contain cream of chicken soup.) My casserole house was a bit of a mystery to me. The Spanish roof, brick foundation, vertical siding, trapezoid front window, and tri-level structure made me wish I could go back to 1975 and have a one-on-one with the architect. But we loved the location, flow, view, and the white brick interior walls. We felt like we could see our family making a home in this mildly confused casa, so we decided to take the plunge and get the house some therapy, later.