Halfway there

Pam and I spent a very busy week in Florida last week, me on business and house hunting, Pam on a pure house hunting frenzy.

Over the past couple of weeks we had been looking on the internet for homes near my office in Tampa, in school districts that have high schools that teach American Sign Language as a foreign language, not too expensive, not too old, etc.

We thought we had quite a few that would meet our criteria, and were hoping to have a number on which we would feel comfortable making an offer.

We caught the red eye last Friday night and arrived in Tampa around 10:00 Saturday morning (Eastern Time). We each only caught a couple hour’s sleep on the flights. Ugh. But, we were ready and raring to go! We called our real estate agent, grabbed some lunch, then headed off to view some homes.

AND WE WERE AMAZED AT THE PRICES AND WHAT THAT WOULD REALLY BUY.

On the internet you can’t see the surrounding neighborhood, or smell the interior of the home, or see the details of the house itself. Let’s say things weren’t too rosy. Ugh. Mmmm. Ick.

We spent a few hours looking in neighborhoods that were out of our price range – the houses themselves weren’t, but when you add on the “community fees” that were over $400 per month… Forget it!

Interlude

Saturday evening we headed over to my bud Joe’s Healy‘s place in St. Pete for a cookout. He lives on a canal with access to Tampa Bay. It’s a very cool home in a sweet location. What a blast! Joe had grilled up some fish that he had caught recently, and some lamb. His parents were there, his wife’s parents were there, some neighbors dropped in and out. Jimmy Buffett was playing on the stereo. Ah, Florida living at its best!!!

I spent most of the evening chatting with folks and daydreaming on the dock – thinking about warm winter days, hot summer days, warm summer evenings. I didn’t realize how much I missed living in Florida!

Joe and his wife were excellent hosts, and Pam felt right at home. We stayed for about 3 hours then had to head back to the hotel – we were totally wiped out from the travel and time zone changes.

Back at it

I had meetings for work on Monday and Tuesday. Pam spent the days with the realtor, weeding through the homes. Nothing caught her eye.

We expanded (relaxed) the search criteria and did a full court press on Wednesday. We were scheduled to fly back on Friday.

By Wednesday evening we had looked at around 30 homes all over the Tampa area, and we were worn out. We had one more house to look at for that day and our spirits were very low. We had just come from one of the “can’t miss” homes that we had seen on the internet – but the location was horrible and the house wasn’t in that good of shape. DRAT!

We pulled up to the final house of the day. Nice neighborhood – encouraging. But Pam said she was going to walk around for a few minutes in the neighborhood to try to relax (and to try not to cry). If this one didn’t work out, it would be like starting all over again.

Right when I walked into the house I knew this was “the one.” And it was! Nice neighborhood. Excellent schools. Built in 2001. Excellent floor plan. Small pool in the backyard. Good price. Everything we were looking for.

We made an offer that night and found out Thursday morning that the sellers accepted! WaHoo!!! We signed papers, took another look at the house, then had a relaxing evening with one of Pam’s cousins who lives in Tampa.

We flew back to Portland on Friday, giving each other high fives every once in a while. Mission accomplished!

We’ve set our closing for our house here in Vancouver for Feb 15. (Same day as the next Portland Nerd Dinner.) Closing in Tampa is set for Feb 17.

We’re half way to Florida. It seems as though  time is absolutely racing by!

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