Like apartment shopping, but twenty times scarier

The longest I have ever lived in one place since college comes in at just under 18 months. I could have extended that record out at least another eight months if it hadn’t been for the creeping death-mold infestation. At that point, in early 2006, January and I had been discussing our impending engagement, so it didn’t seem like a great idea to get locked into a new lease. Instead, I did what anybody else would do: I moved into my office.

Technically, I wasn’t living in my office; I was living in a small closet on the second floor of the apartment that Phil and I rent for our office space. It really wasn’t even a closet as much as it was an access room to get to the HVAC system. Just big enough for a single person mattress and pile of clothes, and that’s where I slept for close to four months. While it had the distinct advantage over my old apartment of not slowly killing me, it really wasn’t a whole lot better. This was evidenced by the near-corpse of a bat we found the day we finally moved to new office space.

As I may have mentioned before, our current living situation isn’t exactly stellar and we’ve been thinking a lot about what our future might be in the fair city of Columbus, and whether or not it might make sense to look into a housing situation a little more permanent. And by “permanent,” I of course mean “scary and expensive.”

For us, the process started about the same way the pet buying process works:

January: “Don’t you just love little kittens?”
Andy: “Why yes, January. I do, in fact, love kittens.”
January: “What about this kitten? Isn’t she adorable?”
Andy: “She sure is, January. “
January: “We could go look at her. She’s at the pet store right down the street.”
Andy: “I don’t know…”
January: “C’mon! She’s cute, she’s right down the street…. we don’t have to buy her, just go over and pet her for a while!”

A five minute car ride later, and BAM! One more mouth to feed and nose to scratch. I’m trying to be a little less impulsive when it comes to the house shopping, but really I can see myself being quite content in almost any of the houses we’ve looked at online. But now that I’m an adult, I understand I’m supposed to do adulty things to get through this process. So here we go, into the wonderful, magical world of morgage applications, real estate brokers, third-party appraisals, offers, and counter-offers. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.