If you could see the U.S. from space, I am convinced there would be a visible line of cars heading from California back east – particularly to Nashville. I can imagine a lot of heads nodding as you read this. Yes, we moved to Nashville from San Diego last month. Our neighbor just came from California. My sister brought her kids out after ten years in Riverside. It’s the reverse of the Wagon trains of the eighteen hundreds.
I’m not the first to get this grand idea that somewhere-in-the-South would be a better place for a family than Los Angeles. I have become equally certain that I’m not the first Angeleno to hop online and start looking at Real Estate. And I know I’m not the only one who was glued to my computer until three a.m., rating homes and finding better deals like it was the latest Mario game I had to beat.
When I finally got a real estate agent on the phone, he threw out a few options that left me sputtering. I didn’t want to live in the crackerbox houses he was offering – because surely no reasonable house had ever been given away for such a pittance. In response to my stammers, the agent backpedaled “I can get you a fixer for twenty thousand less!”
It took me a while to explain to the agent that it was just me. Clearly, I had gone stupid. And I had gone stupid years ago not even knowing it. I had bought our first house in the LA market and had easily acclimated to the idea that you spoke of houses with less that two thousand square feet in terms of half or three-quarters of a million.
By the time we arrived in Tennessee, we had stars in our eyes, much the same way I had when I moved into my first tiny studio in LA ten years ago. Only this time the terminology was different. We were no longer throwing around phrases like Right off Hollywood Boulevard or behind Grohman’s Chinese Theater. Now the words were substantial things like cul de sac and second floor and the most important: acre. Only now, in addition to the stars in our eyes, I am certain we also had the word ‘sucker’ stamped across our foreheads.
In the end our agents were fantastic. They kept us out of unreasonable purchases and got us a great deal in an even better neighborhood. (Thanks Dan and Stan and Jan!) (Yes, those are really their names. Welcome to Tennessee.) In the end, my desire to put our family into a better place for us led us to do something we thought was original and exciting. We left our friends behind (*sigh*) and threw ourselves into the unknown – pioneers off exploring where no man had gone before. Of course, we took this great leap only to find that we were merely the next in a long line of wagons (minivans?) heading the same direction we were.
Trading Up – Part 2
Trading Up – Part 3
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