3. Moving On, Part 2

10 AM Saturday, 24 September 2022 was my walk-through of Plan E. It did not present any surprises, although I confess for the day leading up to it I was more nervous than a bridegroom. Mostly I wanted to sniff out stuff one could not see in or infer from the listing photos, such as the the bathroom layout and, most importantly, the utilities: electric service, HVAC system, and so forth. I made an offer just an hour later. What followed was the typical flurry of phone calls, emails, documents, signatures, and all of the usual ulcer-inducing stressors that come with buying a home. So now I had two clocks ticking: the seller was ready to close almost immediately, so I could dovetail it right after the closing on my home, which was just a little over a week away.

Then the nail-biting intensified tenfold when I learned that another offer was made an hour or so after mine. Conclusion: the property was hot, and my offer of the full asking price was probably already at risk of being trumped. So I upped mine by another $10k (there went the new kitchen). Would it be enough? I wouldn't know until the seller accepted an offer, which could be days. These are the times that try our souls, and mine, which was already stretched to the limit, was threatening to rupture. Once again I started combing the listings, as much as it pained me. I had to have a backup—a better one than previous options I'd explored, at least.

A message arrived Sunday evening: the seller would make their decision as to the winning bid by the end of the day Monday. Awake at 1:30 AM, by noon I was a complete nervous wreck, utterly failing at any attempt to distract myself. As my chest pounded furiously, I grew certain the stress was shaving days off of my already-limited lifespan; more than a few times I felt as if I'd pass out. Then the news arrived: the seller accepted the other offer. (My agent didn't even need to tell me—I could sense it just by the way he said, "Hi, David.") I was back to square one, with less than a week to go. Say what you will, I do not care; before pressing on, I first had to get drunk.

I was back online yet again in an increasingly desperate search. I found a pair intriguing, identical units (above) in a campground-slash-resort just down the road from Plan E. Although these faux "log cabins" were smaller than I'd prefer, they were nestled in a sublime woodland setting. However, when I investigated further, I learned it was a gated community that didn't accept mail delivery. WTF? Worse, some digging turned up highly unflattering information about management. Oh well.

I then found two candidates down in the northwestern-most outskirts of [shudder] Toms River. Separated only by a mile or two, the units were lost amidst super-dense suburban sprawl. That they'd both been on the market for months also raised some red flags. But, you play the hand you're dealt.

One of them (below left) was in a bizarre park where the trailers were scattered around in a haphazard fashion, as if dropped there by a tornado, with most properties having gravel "yards"; the only thing going for it was a 1999 build date. The other one (below right) was in a more aesthetically pleasing community, but built in 1969. Of the two, I liked the older one better. Recently renovated, it was kind of isolated, with empty spots to either side—a benefit, albeit one subject to change. However, it backed up against a condominium construction site, with hardly anything to separate it from the scorched earth and bulldozers. That said, I'd be living on the inside, so I wasn't too bothered by it.

Indeed, the more I looked at it, the more I liked it, and I felt myself slipping into that vaguely obsessive "I really want this" mood, which has never ended well. I placed a call at 9:00 AM Tuesday, 27 September 2022, then began pacing the house, mind racing. With less than a week remaining, these waiting periods were becoming ever more anxiety-inducing. Finally I got tired of waiting for a call back, so I started punching every "Contact Agent" button I could find online, got hold of an agent, and arranged to see Plan F on Wednesday. I also learned that the 1999 unit was sold; no loss there.

But then... an hour after making the appointment, I received another call: it too was sold. My curse of losing anything I wanted remained in effect. I felt like Charlie Brown, when Lucy swipes the football away at the last second, and Charlie lands flat on his back. I was getting sick of it. I was also getting really pissed about online listings not being kept up to date. It's irresponsible, and makes it unnecessarily difficult for people to make informed decisions that affect their very lives.

Once again I was drowning my sorrows in pizza with my friend. This time I had a different revelation: I didn't need to stay wherever I moved; assuming I was still alive for a year, I could use that year to find a better home. So, how bad would it be to hole up in a less-than-ideal location for a while? My friend shuddered, because the place I had in mind was Plan A, the first one I'd considered: that brand new trailer in the shabby-looking park. (I didn't want to tell him that I'd probably stay there. I simply did not have another move in me: if I wasn't already dead by the time I'd move again, the move would kill me.)

The agent I met when touring Plan E, the unit I'd lost to another bidder, was a hungry young dude who would do practically anything for a buck, so I cut him loose on Plan A (below left), with the mission to bring the price down as much as possible. I gave him some ammunition: I'd found an identical unit in the same park that sold for $25k less in 2021. Plus, it had no AC, which I considered essential. Unfortunately, this was a sellers market, which placed me at a distinct disadvantage: I'd have to pay through the nose to get a roof over my head.

Given how long it was taking to arrange a walk-through of Plan A, I had a nagging suspicion I'd need a backup for the backup, and I found an old trailer in a park just around the corner from me (above right). It was in pretty dismal shape, and the neighborhood wasn't great, but it was being sold by the original owner at what seemed to be a fair price—I'd have plenty of capital left over to renovate it from top to bottom. So I cut my young dude loose on that one as well.

However, the backup for the backup went nowhere quickly, and subsequent searches yielded nothing new, which left me with naught but Plan A. So a considerable amount of nail-biting ensued. It was Wednesday, five days left. Then Thursday came and went without a single word. I was running out of time, patience, and liquor...

Moving On, Part 1 < Index > Moving On, Part 3

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