Less than 48 hours after landing in Seattle, we met with our Microsoft-assigned realtor, Jenny. The home-buying process is so completely different here! Instead of doggedly searching through Rightmove and PrimeLocation, then calling each individual estate agent directly to request viewings whenever they can fit you in, you have a Jenny. Think of her like our very own Kirsty & Phil, but without the penchant for wildly inappropriate, sexy footwear, or the bulging biceps (sigh….).
Having given her our list of priorities in a family home (4 bedrooms, big garden for Milo and Evie, family kitchen we can live in, close-ish to Microsoft), Jenny showed up on Friday morning with a ring binder for us, packed with information on the home buying process in the US, as well as hundreds of listings she had dug out which either matched, or came close to, our requirements. She then spent four hours with us, driving around all the neighbourhoods / suburbs we had mentioned (and a few she added herself), detailing the pros & cons of each, explaining about school districts and ratings tables, and occasionally stopping to show us some actual houses. And, wow, we saw some houses!
There was the Stephen King house – so named because I could totally see a 1980s made-for-TV horror flick being set here, complete with blood red carpets and creepy organ in an otherwise empty room. Just waiting to start playing. All. By. Itself.
and more humble homes:
Despite the jetlagged sleep deprivation and the non-stop screaming from a certain very angry toddler, it was an exciting day – and by the end of it, Jenny said she now had a fair idea of what floated our boats.
We then spent Saturday morning driving around with Jenny again, this time looking at some houses more specific to us, rather than just as a general introduction to “what you can get in this neighbourhood”. On Monday, I spoke to our Home Mortgage Consultant (Chuck – of course!), who provided a better idea of our potential budget, and submitted our details for “pre-approval” from the mortgage companies (we can’t put an offer in on a house without this). With this information to hand, by Tuesday afternoon Jenny had sent me a huge list of potential homes, split by area, which I then shortlisted to 17 for us to view on Thursday. 17 was then reduced to 13 (as some had been sold or removed from the market in the meantime), and we spent five hours together on Thursday, running in and out of houses, reducing the shortlist further to just 6 potential Pepper homes.
But in my mind, there was only one. The Dream House.
This is the house I daydreamed about when I imagined what Evie’s American childhood would be like. This is the house I can picture being the Peppers’ “forever home”. This is the house I love.
And now all I need to do is convince the wage-earner that it’s his dream home too – simples!