Contract Remorse

p1020303THIS WEEK I went to contract on a 1940s shingled cottage in Springs (or is it “the” Springs? I guess I’ll find out). It’s a hamlet a few miles north of East Hampton, on Long Island’s South Fork. I should be celebrating, right? Instead I’m worrying.p1020310

The seller took two weeks to return the contracts with her signature, after I had scraped together my down payment and sent my signed contracts to her attorney. As the days passed, I began to think she had changed her mind about selling (even though the house was on the market for almost a year before I came along), or had gotten a better offer. I decided that wouldn’t be so terrible, and began to feel relieved.p1020664

—————————————————————-  Then yesterday I got word that the seller’s contracts were signed. Now I have to start worrying in earnest. Not about getting a mortgage. That’s looking good at 5.375%.



Here’s a sampling of things I’m worried about:

  • The location. Will I like Springs? I’d never even been there before the January day I saw this house. I wasn’t even looking on the South Fork. I was on my way to the North Fork.
  • The garden. It’s neglected and overgrown. The garage was smashed to bits by an errant branch of a giant cherry tree and needs to be hauled away. There are lots of broken trees that need to be professionally dealt with. How bad will the deer be?
  • The money. Will it over-stretch me? Will I be able to rent it this summer? Will I be able to rent it in the off-season if I need to? Will I ever be able to use it myself?p1020315

Now you’re thinking, Fool! Why did she sign that contract?!

OK. Here’s what’s good about it:

  • The house itself. Of all the houses I looked at, and I had been ISO my next property for about a year, it felt the most “right.” Something I could handle, space with good feng shui, a potentially wonderful gardening property
  • The location. Despite the busy-ish road, the property has a feeling of seclusion. It’s backed by undeveloped Town land, virgin Long Island oak forest. It feels very country, yet it’s a short walk to a gorgeous bay beach (Maidstone, bottom) and a 10 minute drive to the ocean. It’s near Jackson Pollock’s and Lee Krasner’s home and studio, which is cool.
  • The property. Nothing compared to the mountainside you could get in the Catskills for the same money, but in terms of 20’x100′ Brooklyn brownstone lots: more than EIGHT of ’em.
  • The money. Having done all that house-hunting, I think I’m getting a good deal at 320K (the house appraised at 400K; does that count as equity yet?)p1020334

Beyond all that, I’ll have fun fixing the place up, and it doesn’t really require that much. And I’m gonna LOVE the garden – working in it, sitting in it, looking at it.

At this point, I don’t have much choice except to close my eyes and jump, and hope everything turns out all right.p1020328

About cara

I blog (for fun) here at casaCARA, and write (for money) about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites.
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7 Responses to Contract Remorse

  1. Mary-Liz says:

    That is great about the cottage! Go with your gut!! You are right – if it feels good then the rest will follow. AND you can entertain us all with your great blog about it!! Can’t wait to see to read all about it. That beach so nearby will make it worth it.

  2. ErayB says:

    Dear Cara — Oh ye of little faith…….I have endless confidence in your ability to find a gem of a house, to make it habitable quickly and to make it a fab and cozy home in a wink No looking back! Best of luck! …. and keep us posted! (Look at some of the early pix of Third Ave!)

  3. cara says:

    Wonderful to know my friends have faith in me, even when my faith in myself flags. Love yous!

  4. katyallgeyer says:

    Cara~ Congratulations on snapping up a bargain! I was attracted to your blog by your comment about feng shui as well as Jackson Pollack (one of my heroes).

  5. stacie says:

    It’s looking better all the time! You are going to make it fabulous in your inimitable style — and I will be lucky to be a house guest.

  6. martha says:

    what a great cottage. to answer your question – its Springs and definitely not “the Springs.” Although commonly used, using “the springs” only indicates how new your are to the area. Maidstone beach is one of the best places for relaxing. I hope you get the house and can enjoy one of the last gems of the east end.

  7. cara says:

    Thanks, Martha – I’m glad it’s not “the Springs” [pretentious]. If Maidstone is only “one of the best places,” I can’t wait to discover the other places!

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