Buying a Home in Boston
I don't want to overdramatize the experience of house hunting in Greater Boston, so I'll be temperate and equate the experience to dying a slow, painful death, only there's no merciful death on the horizon.
Everything about it is awful: from the outrageous prices and the outrageous prices, to the outrageous prices, the outrageous prices, and insane bidding wars and outrageous prices.
Last weekend, I saw a place I liked, but didn't love. It was in a great location, surrounded by restaurants and bars, which is important to my six-year-old daughter.
I drafted a compelling offer letter that I plagiarized from a liquor-fueled love letter Ulysses S Grant wrote to his wife, and met with my agent to finalize the offer.
My agent took me into her boss's office. Her boss looked up the property and gladly informed me that the owners had already accepted an offer that morning.
I let out a boisterous laugh, and channeling Vince Lombardi fuming on the sidelines, ask, "what the hell is going on in this market."
"It's the Chinese," he replies. I stare at him, prompting him to clarify that there is an influx of Chinese immigrants in Boston who are paying with cash well above the asking price.
I deftly attempt to preclude any possibility that our conversation veers off in a racially insensitive direction, and logically ask, "why are there more Chinese immigrants buying homes in Boston now compared to last year?"
Without missing a beat, he emphatically repeats, "it's the Chinese."
I again stare at him and start to blink rapidly like a sixth grade social studies teacher might look at an annoying kid in a vain attempt to suppress her rage after he says something asinine.
But lesson learned. First, the Chinese built a Great Wall to deter Mongolians from attacking them, and now this.
There's a commercial that gets a lot of airplay on the radio. I'm not sure what it's for, because by the time the announcer asserts that "buying a house is one of the most exciting experiences," I drive off a cliff and die.
For my second Act, I put in an offer nine percent above the asking price and barely make the top five.
After receiving my offer, the seller's agent asked me if I'd like to "revise" my offer, but refused to tell me what the highest bid was because it wouldn't be "fair" to the other buyers.
I wanted to ask her if she thought it was fair that my haircuts make me look like I hate myself, but showed admirable restraint.
How exactly am I supposed to revise an offer when I don't know what the highest bid is? Bidding against myself sounds like a fun thing to do, until you realize that you're no good at negotiating and end up losing to yourself. Twice.
She even refused to let me beat the highest offer by offering X above that amount, because again, it wouldn't be fair.
I have no idea how normal working people afford homes in this area, but I propose that in lieu of buying a house in Greater Boston, house hunters pool their money to build a Branch Davidians type compound and wait for the FBI to carry out a siege.