We’ve just bought a second home! It feels very spur-of-the-moment, though it wasn’t . . . quite. We researched online (a lot!) before our recent trip to Key Largo, then met with a Realtor to look at the ten houses we’d culled from our much lengthier list of possibilities. I was particularly excited about two of the houses, just from their MLS listings. As it happened, the house we rented for the week was in the same neighborhood as the house that was my number one choice before seeing any of them in person. Even though our house-hunting day with the Realtor wasn’t until the weekend, we drove the few streets over on our first day to take a look at that one house from the outside. I was particularly curious about the pool. See, this house was a foreclosure, empty and without appliances or fixtures. We knew this from the pictures. The listing showed beautiful tiled floors, stained wood ceilings, a big, wrap-around porch and open, airy rooms. But no pool, even though one was mentioned in the description. As soon as we got out of the car we found out why (as we were swarmed by mosquitoes)—the pool was stagnant, covered by a deteriorating grid of wood, wire and plastic. BUT . . .
BUT . . . perched at the edge of the pool was a sculpture—a fountain!—comprised of five dolphins. I should probably mention here that I’ve been obsessed with dolphins since I was a very small child, and it’s still a dream of mine to someday encounter wild dolphins while diving. (I have swum with them, but in a controlled setting, which isn’t quite the same, although I did adore it.) Upon seeing that sculpture, I immediately turned to my husband, hand over heart, and declared, “It’s a sign!”
And so, apparently, it was. After touring the ten houses on our list, the house that I had already started calling “the dolphin house” was our clear favorite. After some discussion of the money we’d likely have to pour into the place to make it habitable (for us and for potential renters), we made a low offer—on June 17th. (My husband joked that I was buying him a house for Father’s Day.) A few days of dickering later, the bank that owned the house agreed to a price much closer to our offer than to the asking price, and we struck a deal. And here’s where the scary part comes in…
We closed on the house less than three weeks after our initial offer! In the interim between acceptance of our offer and closing, I made another whirlwind trip down to Key Largo to spend hours in the house taking notes, notes, notes on everything that needed to be done and bought, meeting with the inspector (it was an as-is sale, so of course we had it inspected!), the plumber, and generally planning out a timetable for everything.
I may well be in over my head now, with everything happening at a breakneck pace, but I’m definitely more giddy than terrified.
Oh, and just an hour after the closing was final, the perfect name for the house came to me:
The Happy Dolphin.