Tuesday, May 21, 2024 May 21, 2024
87° F Dallas, TX
Commercial Real Estate

The In-Betweeners

What do you do when your house sells and you don’t have another one lined up yet?
Illustration by Phil Foster

We listed our house on a Tuesday and sold it on Wednesday. We got two offers at the end of that first full day on the market, both of them over our asking price, which was a number that our real estate agent earned his commission on by talking us into it in the first place. Thank you, revitalized housing market.

But even after we’d signed the contract, we wondered aloud, my wife and I, if we were making the right decision by selling. We took turns reminding each other that we were sacrificing our cherished Old Lake Highlands house for the sake of our children and the schools they’d attend. I don’t know when, exactly, my life became such a suburban cliche, but it did. I think it was around the time I expressed a sincere opinion on baby monitors.

Before we’d even moved out of our house, we’d zeroed in on our next neighborhood and would drive the streets on weekend afternoons. While the kids napped in the backseat, my wife and I kept our eyes peeled for For Sale signs that were never where we wanted them, or they were topped with “Contract Pending” as soon as they went into the ground. Our closing date got closer and closer. The chances of making a seamless transition from house to house grew faint. Curse you, revitalized housing market.

So off we went to The Caruth, those red-bricked townhouses just north of NorthPark. My wife had done the research, and for short-term leases, central location, ample storage, comforting vibes, decent pool, and various other factors and variables, The Caruth was it. As of this writing, we’re still there, just starting the second month of a 10-month lease I hope we soon have the chance to break.

Seems my wife wasn’t the only one who came to the same conclusion about The Caruth. It’s like everyone’s favorite home-away-from-home-because-you-have-no-home. We’re all of us there, with our Yukons, strollers, and still-packed boxes, thrown together by similar circumstances and feeling like kindred spirits because of it. We nod and wave as we pass each other on the tree-lined streets, and we make easy conversation by the pool and common grill, like we’re all on our honeymoons. Instead of asking, “Where are you from?” as an icebreaker, you ask, “Where are you looking?” These people are my new neighbors and friends.

Except I don’t want to make friends here. It’s not them; it’s me. I’m not over my old friends from my old neighborhood, and I’m saving up my New Friend Allotments for whenever we find our new, more-permanent address. It’s a shared situation, sure, but it’s a temporary one, right? Why become best friends with someone during the last week of summer camp? Saying goodbye to the old neighborhood is still fresh in my mind and still stings. Why would I willfully go through that again?

Also, not for nothing, but a little part of me wants to keep our plans a secret. Like I said, my wife has done the research on our next neighborhood. Let’s keep it to ourselves, I want to tell her. The market’s tight enough as it is, and we don’t need anyone piggybacking on the hard work she has done. What if our newfound “friends” outmaneuver us and end up owning our dream house?

And speaking of addresses: is it worth it, really, to update every magazine subscription, Netflix account, driver’s license, and billing information? I’d like to think that by the time the postal service catches up and the yellow forwarding stickers disappear, it’ll be time to change our address again.

Despite my efforts, I’m settling in to our current state of unsettledness. The idiosyncrasies of our apartment are now familiar to the point of routine. I have a go-to place to keep my wallet and keys, and I know which switch in the bathroom controls the light and which controls the fan. I’m even taking a more outgoing approach to our new neighbors, and the newer ones who arrive each weekend.

After all, they’re here today. We may be gone tomorrow.