Thursday, November 3, 2005
Much to my father's consternation, we drove to Ruston after dark on Wednesday night. I had explored Realtors on the Internet earlier in the week and set up an appointment with a Realtor in West Monroe for Thursday and in Ruston for Friday.
Prior to meeting with the Realtor, we drove around West Monroe to get a feel for the place. Although my mother had been told by neighbors that West Monroe was a nice place to live, what we saw was thoroughly unimpressive, at least in our price range. My father has become deeply negrophobic in his dotage and I also discovered he is deeply repulsed by houses with drainage ditches in the front yards - something quite common even in nice suburban Louisiana neighborhoods. I also discovered that my mother was insistent on having a garage, something surprisingly rare in homes under $200K.
The Realtor was surprisingly unfriendly and gave us some listings in our price range that we could view for ourselves. West Monroe has experienced significant growth over the past few years and the response has been feeble attempts at gentrification with modest new homes being build in older, less desirable neighborhoods. Compounding this issue is the presence of a very odoriferous paper mill just south of town.
The one nice thing to come out of the meeting with the Realtor was introduction to a very nice lady who discussed financing options with us. It is possible to get a "Bridge Loan" to finance a new house until your old house is sold. However, given my parents' excellent credit, options like just getting a regular mortgage and paying it off early might be cheaper. Later, we found out that one of my aunts was having problems with her bridge loan because she was unable to sell her old house, so this scared my mother away from serious consideration of this option.
Despite my mother's distaste for apartments (which I think would be perfect for them in their situation) I was able to get her to view one unit in a relatively nice complex I read about on apartments.com. This led to the significant discovery that most apartment buildings and homes have 23" doorways to the bathrooms. Because my father's wheelchair is 25" wide from rim to rim, this has presented a major obstacle in finding a new place for them to live.