I checked back in with Annie Price* the following week to see how her Q&A session and workshop went. Annie had folders and notebooks and pamphlets spread out all over her dining room table. She told me she felt both smarter and dumber at the same time.

“I know a lot that I didn’t know before, but I also realize how much more I need to know,” she said. “But I’m enjoying the process. I can’t imagine doing something as important as buying a house without knowing all this.”

Annie is looking at fixers as well as turn key homes. Her real estate agent signed her up to receive automatic updates in her email, so she receives new listing every day. She has made major progress — she’s identified the general area she wants to live in.

She has no preference on the type of house — fixer or turn-key — she says she just wants to find a house she says “feels like a home the minute I walk in.”

The housing counselor at Annie’s workshop talked about some of the intangible reasons people want to own a home, including a sense of family, and the building of memories.

“After a major family event — a wedding, a graduation, a birthday — no one says ‘lets go back to the apartment. They say ‘lets go back to the house.'”

But the counselor also cautioned not to get overly emotional about a house when you first see it before you find out whether you can make it yours.

“Atlanta is a sellers market right now,” the lending counselor advised.”The market resets itself every year or so, so that might change. But at the moment, Atlanta real estate is going to the highest bidder who can offer the best terms.”

Annie has already seen a home she says she’s grown “very fond of.”

“I’m not going to say I fell in love with it, but I’m deeply infatuated with it.”  I probed a little more, and Annie finally showed my a photo of a little white house with black shutters and red door that needed “minor work.” But she vows not to get too emotionally involved just yet, until she knows whether or not she has a shot at getting it.

“I’ll let you know,” she said with a smile.

Annie Price* is a pseudonym.

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