My Professional Background - Once upon a time, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Actually, I was a professional motivational speaker for about 5 years.:
Home Sweet Home Hunting

October proved to be our busiest and most exciting month in recent memory — traumatic flu shots and ER visit aside. Though our lives have always been in flux, we’ve never experienced a whirlwind quite like this one. The process of leaving the Air Force, looking for a new job, moving to a new city, and searching for a home is absolutely thrilling. Also, stressful. And terrifying.

After a series of interviews and lots of prayer, Brian made the decision to go with a wonderful company in . . . (drumroll, please) . . .

Birmingham, Alabama! (Y’all know I’m not crazy enough to say which company — for their sake.) You may recall that this was the first interview he had. The interview where ONE of us forgot his tie, and we had to leave the hotel at 9:30 p.m. the day before the interview to go buy him one.

The tie

I think we made a good choice. 

We were both blown away by this particular company, the people, and the city itself, so the decision to accept their offer was certainly the easiest decision of this entire process.

But then we had to find a place to live. 

After months of building his résumé, networking, looking for jobs, and interviewing for jobs, Brian was thrilled to essentially hand the process of buying our first home over to me. If you know us well, you will agree that this decision just made sense. Decisiveness is my gift, and I’m pretty sure Brian was still worn out from having to pick out that tie.

Two weeks ago we left the kiddos with my parents in Georgia and headed over to Birmingham to start the search. Brian’s new employer provided us with a fantastic realtor who should have been the 7th member of the Steel Magnolias cast. She was hilarious. We couldn’t get over her Southernisms and the way she would say, “y’aaaaaallllllllllllllllllllll” and “sweeeeeeeeeetie” like they were each 14-syllable words. It’s so fun to be back in the South.

These are my people, y’all. 

On a Thursday afternoon, our realtor began our search with a tour of Birmingham. She pointed out monuments, hospitals, malls, restaurants, schools, libraries, and city offices. As we drove I must have asked a dozen times, “Is this neighborhood in our price range?” And she would reply, “Oh, darlin’, not even close. I just wanted you to see it.”

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the first day of touring with our realtor was frustrating. I was ready to start looking at houses that were in our price range, and I didn’t think we had the time to dawdle and gawk at the $10M ones. Finally, by that evening, we were able to step foot in a few of the homes I had seen online. I spent less than approximately 5 minutes in each of them before I knew they weren’t a good fit. Though it was only our first day, Brian and I both felt a bit defeated by the lack of progress. We are, after all, the generation of instant gratification.

As our realtor drove us back to the hotel that evening, Brian piped up from the back seat, “Do you think we’re being too picky?”

We? Are WE being too picky? 

It was our first day, and the man who took two hours to pick out a tie wanted to know if WEEEEEE were being too picky.

Our realtor, who is a very wise woman, said, “Hoooooney, I’m not even going to answer that one.”

She left us that evening with a list of subdivisions she thought we should research based on my very specific criteria. And while Brian snored like a man without a care in the world, I spent the entire night — literally — researching homes.

I began the next day confident that there would be something in this fantastic city that would suit Mrs. Picky Pants and Mr. Back Seat House Hunter. We drove and toured homes for nearly 9 hours. We saw some beautiful ones that didn’t quite have all the features I desired. We saw some fairly new homes that had been “ridden hard” as our realtor so eloquently put it. But none of them could compare to the one we will forever call “The Pit Bull House.”

Y’all, let me tell you about The Pit Bull House. I’ll start by saying that I won’t show you any photos of the house for two reasons. One is that I don’t desire to embarrass or shame anyone on this blog unless they have given me permission to do so. Second is that I flew through that house so quickly I didn’t have time to take any.

As we approached this fairly new home, our realtor informed us that though it was at the top of our price range, it was being sold “as is.” And I know what you’re thinking. But I just assumed the homeowners needed to get out of there quickly and didn’t want to be stuck with any repairs prior to moving.

Uhhhhhhh . . . not so much.

We entered The Pit Bull House and were immediately greeted with — you guessed it — an enormous and ferocious pit bull in the dining room. I’ll call him Killer for the sake of the story. Thankfully, Killer was caged, but I think someone forgot to tell him that. I was certain he would chew through the flimsy metal on that cage and eat us for an appetizer.

[Hey, jerk. Not all pit bulls are ferocious.]

Well, Killer gives them all a bad name. 

All I could see as we walked through that house was how much of it Killer had actually eaten. The doorframes were shredded. The walls were destroyed. And, I’m not even kidding, the dog had eaten the hardwood floors on the stairs. Eaten them. Not chewed. EATEN them.

Side note:  If you are selling or plan to sell your home in the near future, might I suggest removing the rabid pit bull from the home? It’s hard to admire the tray ceilings, crown molding, and chandelier when there’s a wild animal licking his chops. 

We practically ran back to our realtor’s car, and I could smell nothing but that dog for the rest of the day. My pregnant nose was not satisfied until I had the chance to scrub myself head to toe with some bleach and steel wool.

[At least she’s not dramatic.]

Thankfully, our 5 days in Birmingham weren’t completely fruitless and full of foul odors, but I’ll tell you the rest of the story this Thursday. I need to go wash the smell of pit bull out of my hair. Again.

I’d loooove for you to share your house hunting horror stories in the comment section below!


Comments to "Home Sweet Home Hunting"

  1. Kelley

    November 4, 2014

    I love how houses get nicknames! We almost bought a house we dubbed “the 70’s house”. It was straight out of 1974, complete with a bar in the family room. We did love it’s charm and weirdness, but we did not love when the water started pouring out of the ceiling during the home inspection. Someone forgot to tell us that ALL of the pipes were in the attic and ALL of the pipes had burst the previous winter since no one was living there.

    Glad ya’ll found a safe place to “land”. Birmingham is an awesome city! Plus you’re only 2 hours from Atlanta. I know that makes your family happy too!

    • Katy in a Corner

      November 4, 2014

      If it started with 1970-something or 1980-something, it was immediately off my list. I know that makes me a house ageist, but I’d rather spend my money on furniture than a furnace. Or new plumbing. Or removing asbestos. I do wish I had more of an adventurous spirit when it comes to remodeling, but that is not one of my gifts. Aren’t you glad the home inspector caught the leak? That’s a blessing! Oh, and we’re THRILLED to be so close to our family again. 3 hours seems like NOTHING compared to an 8-hour plane ride or a 19-hour car ride.

  2. Jill Kemerer

    November 4, 2014

    House hunting horror stories. Yes. I have many. It’s never fun and festive like on HGTV’s House Hunters. No. We’ve moved several times, so I know this is a process to be dreaded.

    My favorite house viewing? We walked into early eighties carpeting, cat towers in every corner, and an odd odor. Naturally, a cat greeted us when we entered. I love cats, so this was a plus. Then we rounded the corner to a large bowl full of dog bones, a few dog cages (empty) and more smell. Another cat weaved around my legs.

    Upstairs, the outdated fixtures continued, but the added bonus of stale cigarette smoke began. A cat was curled up on one of the beds. I ventured into a spare bedroom, opened a closet, and a CAT JUMPED OUT AT ME. Yes!

    It was one of the strangest experiences I ever had!!

    I hope you love your new home and new city!! Best wishes to you!

    • Katy in a Corner

      November 4, 2014

      Personally, I like cats. But I wouldn’t want to buy a house from someone who has had many of them. That smell is almost as hard to remove as nicotine! Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Fred Baragona

    November 4, 2014

    Katy, good to hear the great news! Staci & Craig are settling into the Virginia/Chesapeake are as well. I have a sister, Deborah Baragona, in Birmingham and she has always loved it!!

    • Katy in a Corner

      November 4, 2014

      Staci and I do stay in touch and have even talked about her possibly coming out here at some point in the near future. I’d love it if you nudge her in that direction. 😉 Thanks for reading, Mr. Fred. Makes my day.

  4. J Linger

    November 4, 2014

    Ok my friend…I have one for you. When Lauren and I were house hunting about 4 year ago, we looked about 2 dozen houses. All of them had their issues, whether is was the dated carpet/drapes/cabinets/appliances (fill in whatever you want to), not enough space, or it was just beyond our price range. However, there is one house that sticks out in my mind as to how bad it was. Lauren, our agent and myself opened the door and stepped onto the 6’x4′ wood laminate entry floor, took one look at the family room and turned around. We did not want to soil the bottom of our shoes with whatever was on the carpet. The smell of urine and feces was overwhelming. The carpet was supposed to be a solid slate gray, but appeared more like a psychedelic rainbow wave. The walls had several gaping holes showing the wooden studs. We couldn’t get out fast enough. Lauren and I still joke about it. You might have to ask her for her version, as she is the more dramatic one of us.

    • Katy in a Corner

      November 4, 2014

      Ewwwwwwwww! That makes me sick just thinking about it. And holes in the walls? That’s craziness. I’d be afraid to know how they got there.

  5. Monica

    November 5, 2014

    Congrats!!! What great blessing to have a house and a job!!! I too am the decisive one. After 6 months (looking in the same town) and lots of tears, we finally found our house. 10 years later, we’re still here. Loving our choice and treasuring all the memories that have made this our home.

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  7. Bekah

    November 6, 2014

    I would LOVE to see that realtor’s blog discussing taking y’all on a tour of Birmingham and all the houses from HER point of view. THAT would be Something! I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again! You will LOVE Birmingham! It’s such a great city!!!

    • Katy in a Corner

      November 6, 2014

      Haha! Now, I’m sure she’d have some stories to tell. That’s a pretty scary thought, actually. I think we’re safe, though, since she asked me, “What EXACTLY do you do as a blogger?” I’m pretty sure my answer included something like, “Uh…um…well…I write about my life and post photos to social media.” It sounded so impressive to say it out loud.

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