I’ve written and heard a lot about the emotional and psychological elements of buying and selling real estate.

David Cleveland sleeps on a boat and showers at the gym, and his wife and kids stay with family in Orange County, while they navigate the local housing market.

That’s a major theme in the latest update from David Cleveland, our house-hunter who’s been searching in San Diego for a place to live with his family. You can read the previous two installments in this feature here and here.

Here’s the latest chapter in the Clevelands’ house hunt, which David e-mailed me this weekend. They’d started last week without any new leads — no new listings in their desired neighborhoods. Here’s Cleveland:

Jill kept at it each morning and in addition to looking for new listings, started to look at lower priced property as well even though we know that by doing so we’d be sacrificing either square footage, condition of the house, and/or location. 

By Thursday Jill had come up with a list of about 6 or 7 homes that she was interested in seeing. On Thursday 2 new MLS listings appeared and she added them to her list. On Friday just before heading out, she saw one more brand new listing bringing the total to look at to 10. After the hour and a half drive to San Diego she and our agent worked the list and I met them for lunch to get a feel for what they were seeing. Jill indicated that there were at least 2 that she liked and she would get back to me in the afternoon after they’d finished looking at the rest of the houses. At around 6:00 PM Jill and the agent faxed to me for signature and forwarding offers on 3 properties, each of them were bank owned so we probably will not hear from them until sometime next week at the earliest, though with the holiday, we likely won’t hear back until the week after.

That night I talked with Jill and wanted to get more information about the houses and she was not very forthcoming. This morning (Saturday) we talked further and she indicated that it’s hard for her right now since she doesn’t feel like she can get emotionally attached to a house until there is something definitive going in our direction. This is a big thing since not only is a house our biggest investment, in our past we’ve been able to know when we’ve found ‘The House’ and been able to see ourselves clearly in it, and been able to become emotionally attached to it. In our past we’ve had no difficulty in getting the house so this experience is unique for us.

This house hunt is different in that in order to stay emotionally healthy, we’ve had to become emotionally detached first. Every house I’ve bought in the past I’ve pretty much known it was ‘The House’ at first sight, and I guess it’s like putting yourself out there in the dating world, when you get rejected you have to start erecting barriers in order to protect your emotions while at the same time making sure you take the risk of rejection in order to get an acceptance. We’ll see how it goes, and in any case we have a lot to be thankful for this coming week and beyond. We have a place to rest our heads, family nearby, a good and rewarding job, and though we spend much time apart, we still believe this is going to be a good long term move.

Cleveland closed by saying the family tries to stay thankful and hopeful, attributing some of that to their religious faith. They’ll be together for Thanksgiving, he said, visiting friends out of town and taking a couple of days’ break before firing up their search again next week. We’ll continue to keep you posted.

If you have any thoughts on house-hunting in this market or another of these topics, you can send me an e-mail at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org.


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