Housing Market Madness

I’ve had to take a break from watching my house porn on HGTV – no Property Brothers, Love It or List It, Too (the regular version is hateful, plus Bachelorette Jillian!) nor my beloved Fixer Upper.  It’s just too frustrating to watch, especially Fixer Upper.  Waco is apparently the only place to buy a house in Texas these days, and you can get a good one for $100k and painted shiplap.  #shiplap!

I decided early on that I wanted to head back to a more central location, preferably Richardson, North Dallas or Addison.  You know, somewhere between Tollway, Bush, 75 and 635.  Convenient to work, downtown and my suburb friends.  The suburb friends are a big deal, y’all.  Most of you have gotten married, had beautiful babies and wanted some square footage and a decent school district.  I get it.  I’d like to see you a little more often, and I think being 20 minutes away in Addison will be easier than 45 minutes away downtown.  And hey, I have a pretty good sized budget and that’ll go far for me in the ‘burbs, right???

I didn’t consider all of the companies coming to Dallas, though, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never buy a Toyota product in sheer protest.  It’s gotten OUT OF HAND.  I could have gotten a house in the Seattle suburbs for $300k (ish) and had an hour commute.  Maybe a ten minute commute to Woodinville, and who wouldn’t want to be near so much wine?  Hell, I have an hour commute now and there’s barely a tree or water to be seen.  When did Dallas decide to be as expensive as the rest of the country?  It’s madness.

Anyway, five offers, all over asking (some substantially so), some with letters, some owned by friends of friends and I’ve still gotten beaten out.  Some by cash, and it’s hard to argue with cash, but it still really stinks.  I already know I’ll have at least a month and a half of paying month to month rent, which is BRUTAL.  In good news, it’s apparently been warm enough to use our complex pool for the past two weeks.  I haven’t really been up for it, but Jersey Shore has already started right outside my patio.

I’m kind of at a loss right now, and honestly, I have so much other stuff going on that I would LOVE to just put this behind me.  I’m starting to worry about hospital fees eating into my down payment and remodeling funds, plus work is nutty, and OMG.  I just want a little house, would prefer a pool, so I can spread out a bit.  I’ll have a room for all of my quilting stuff and I can get a dog.  A DOG!


Houses, Health Care and the Word of the Week…Mystifying.

I think I have four good reasons why I’ve been a little quiet on my blog this week:

  1. I’ve gained five pounds, and I’m annoyed at myself.  Hard to talk about my big life changes when I seem to have lost all enthusiasm.  I’m pretty sure it’s just all salt bloat, but I still feel gross.  I’m not excited to cook anything.
  2. The Dallas housing market is a beat down.  Seriously.  All I do is look at houses, make offers on houses, get rejected.  Rinse.  Repeat.
  3. No new health news, but my rounds of specialists gets kicked off this week.  First up?  Gastroenterologist.  I’ve been a projectile vomiter since I was an infant…let’s find out why!
  4. Quilting.  I haven’t done enough quilting.  Loved going to the Dallas Quilt Show Sunday, though.  So fun!  I pity the fool that didn’t get to see Mr. T in person:


You know what’s not fun?  Getting shut down on a super kickass house that you’re in love with, despite offering $16k over asking, agreeing to a 60 day lease-back, not asking for a damn thing and having financing approval.  Not just pre-approval, but actual approval.  I don’t know if I’ll ever manage to buy a house in this stupid market, but gift cards and letters of thanks will certainly be due to the two lenders I’m working with, not to mention my super amazing realtor.  Love you, Betsy!!  (Hanne too, I’m sure, once I meet her 🙂 )

So I woke up kind of ugly today, these things happen to the best of us.  I get some work done, I check my email every ten seconds like a crazy person to see if we’ve heard back on the offer, I eat healthy things full of too much salt, I check my email again.  How is the ugliness supposed to improve under these circumstances?

No house, and even my realtor is “mystified.”  Gosh that’s a great word.  I’m going to use it to describe everything going on with me right now, like dating in Dallas, buying houses in Dallas, dealing with my unknown health BS and why my scale isn’t nicer to me.  MYSTIFYING.

Know what else is mystifying?  How health insurance works.  Remember when I had nine vials of blood drawn last month?  My first bill said I owed nothing – AWESOME!  Red herring, though, because I got a new bill today for $600.  That’s right, there are two zeros.  TWO.  $600 is a big chunk out of my couch fund.  Fortunately my current living room furniture still looks good, because even though I’m sick of it and ready to move on, my finances might require me to drag it out a bit.  Sea foam for a whole decade, y’all!

Anyhoot, I’m a little scared of these specialists for a whole new reason now.  $600 out of pocket for the lab tests my regular doctor had me do…what fresh hell will be unleashed with a specialist?  I already know I have to get a scope done, so I guess that’ll just push me up to my deductible.  Good grief.  And I get an extra scoop of guilt because now that I’m aligned with the health care industry, I’m also part of the problem.  Our government is a shit show, so I see why socialized medicine is unpopular, but good grief.

See where my head is spinning right now?  I’m spinning, I’m stressed out, therefore I’m not being as careful with food so I feel like crap AND I gain weight.  At least I’m not drowning my sorrows in vodka, so I’ll take that as a win.  The human body is a mystifying thing, my friends.

Hopefully I’ll have some good news from the gastroenterologist on Wednesday.  And maybe a new house will pop up.  Have I mentioned none of the good ones last longer than 24 hours on the market?  Sheesh.


Ode to a Cow. A Judgmental Cow.

I’ve been back in Dallas for nine months, which seems absolutely insane.  There are still people I haven’t had a chance to see!  Time just passes in a blink, doesn’t it?  Life changes so much – marriages, babies, careers, relocating, moving to the ‘burbs…it goes on and on.  It used to be so easy to grab a drink on a random Wednesday evening!  Ah, growing up.  It’s all part of the fun.

Speaking of growing up, I’ve been looking for a home to buy.  I’ve gone back and forth – do I want a condo?  A townhouse?  Square footage?  Not the kind of square footage that requires a move north of George Bush, and definitely not the kind that requires living north of 121 (love you ladies and gents!) but probably more than Uptown has to offer.  You see, the Dallas market has gone insane.  It’s just like the rest of the country!  Well, it’s still cheaper than anywhere else.  But expensive for here because we don’t have any views.  Or trees.

Anyhoot, $350,000 used to get you a decent older home in the M Streets (just needed a little love) – now it gets you a tear down.  HOA fees of up to $1200 a month for a one bedroom FIXER condo at $250k.  Fixer upper townhouses in Addison for $290,000.  EEEK.  Makes me miss my baby fixer in Richardson – she was a great home for six years and she was practically free.  I’ve earned my MBA and have done alright for myself since then, but sheesh.  Who wants to be house poor when there are handbags to buy and vacations to take?

As usual, I digress.  You guys clicked on here to hear about cows, and I’m gonna talk about cows.  Specifically, the kickass cow painting in the home I put an offer on today.  Who knows if I’ll get it – this house is the belle of the ball, 30 showings in two days and an open house to go tomorrow – but I loved it.  And the biggest sign?  This giant judgmental cow.


Also maybe the pool.  Because you have to have a pool in Texas, and I can see barbecues all summer long.  It’s how I’ll bait my Uptown friends – I have a pool, boozy treats and spare bedrooms!  It’s only 20 minutes north!

When the first thing you hear from the few people you’ve shown the listing to all say, “Do you think they’ll let you keep the cow?” you know you’re on to something. Because here’s my own badass cow:


You see, because this market has gotten much more aggressive, I decided to take an extra step.  I wrote these homeowners a letter about how our cows should be united.  People, this house had 30 showings in two days and there’s an open house tomorrow.  It’s going to be ugly.  I figure whatever I can do to get the edge, I should do.

Here’s the letter I wrote:

Dear So and So (I put their names, but you get the idea.)

I really adore this house. Sure, I love the high ceilings, stone fireplace and plaster molding (not to mention three master closets.) I have plans for the pool and I love that there’s a pet door already installed, but I have to admit I was smitten with the cow.

You see, I have a delightful cow painting of my very own. We call her Judgmental Cow. She hangs above my wine fridge, judging me with every bottle I might withdrawal. She’s also given me a graceful side eye while I’m making a steak. She’s the Mona Lisa of moo.

I bought her at a flea market south of Grapevine – a goodbye present to myself when I moved from Dallas to Seattle four years ago. My cow is painted on top of a rusty piece of barn siding, and I wanted a little piece of home to take with me.

I’ve been back nearly a year, and I am ready to make a home again.

When I forwarded the link to your home to my parents and best friend, here was their response:

BFF: “It’s cute. You should tell them to leave the cow so you can have two judgmental cows.”

Mom: “I love it!!! Do you think they’ll let you keep the cow?”

I’m not kidding, and whether you decide to leave me the cow or not, I think it’s a sign we were meant to be. I thought it might be awkward to pop into the offer letter, but if you don’t happen to have a wall for her at your next stop, you can always leave her with me.


Christina Lee

PS: I’m not sure if she’ll look best in the wet bar, and continuing to side eye me while cooking beef in the kitchen, but she’ll look great.

And then I attached her picture.  Who wouldn’t?  I might be a little crazy, but it’s been a nutty week, I swore off booze for Lent and I needed a little levity.