THIS 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.
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.
—————————————————————- 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?
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?)
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.