In the same way that I’d rather read while smelling newsprint and dirtying my fingertips with cheap ink, I would rather shop in an environment with buzzing fluorescent lights and the vague yet ever-present musk of old person.
Of course, I have found that in some circumstances, shopping online can save time, money, or sanity, and I’m not completely shut off to the idea. But mostly, I prefer to browse online – you know, getting an idea of what products are available before heading into the physical building.
Browsing online has become a whole new form of fantastic, because how do you look for a house in a community nearly 1,000 kilometres away if not for the Internet?
Since we found out we’re moving to Cochrane, we’ve been on real estate websites repeatedly, trying to get an idea of what’s available in the town and at what cost. From our first browse, things looked promising – there were a handful of houses that, from pictures and overly enthusiastic descriptions written in ALL CAPS, would perfectly suit our needs and our budget.
On second, third, and fourth looks, my impression stayed the same.
That was probably because the houses stayed the same – all 31 of them in the Greater Cochrane Area. In the six weeks that we’ve been browsing online, I haven’t notice any changes in the houses we’ve been looking at. The reality is starting to sink in that perhaps we’re no longer looking at houses similar to those we’ll be looking at when we’re ready to move, but instead we’re looking at the exact houses that just might become our home.
All of a sudden, we’re no longer browsing, but instead shopping online, and the whole experience seems less appealing.
I want to open the cupboards and feel the carpet and run my fingers over the counter tops and take a deep whiff of the back yard. I want to shout nonsense words to try the acoustics of each room and test out the angles for spying on neighbours and make sure that the basement doesn’t seem haunted. I might even want to give the toilet a test run (is that allowed while house shopping?). In short, I want a tangible house shopping experience.
We’re hoping that we might be able to do everything in one weekend – visit the town, become familiar with its burgeoning subdivisions, and get a chance to visit each of the houses that interests us. It all sounds less tangible when you add in the 20 hours of driving that would be required.
Oh, and it wasn’t that tangible to start with.
For now, the best we’re going to be able to do is to look from afar, imagining the smells, sounds and feelings that go along with each house from the carefully manicured photographs that are provided to us.
I’m sure it will be close to the same thing, right? Right!?