It was to be the most significant step into adulthood she had taken. Confidently, she toured house after house after house, knowing what she wanted and watching choice options disappear into the “pending sale” abyss as quickly as she had spied them on real estate websites.

Finally, after seven months of searching, she discovered a viable possibility. Rather than see one more home, she asked her agent to place her bid immediately. My cousin was seeing the home with her, and she approved. The chase was on.

I encouraged her to write a letter introducing herself to the owners and explaining why she felt their home would be a good fit for her. She did, also including a photograph of her with her three-year-old Maltipoo, Sully. The letter worked.

The sellers had two offers. The second offer was higher than our daughter’s, but the letter made such an impression that they chose to take the lower offer. From a state of desperation (other multiple offer situations had failed her) to a state of euphoria, she celebrated tentatively, knowing the home still had to pass an inspection.

Pass the inspection it did. The home then started its mission to teach her who or what is in charge. She thought she was.

After the sellers removed their furniture and took down pictures and art from the walls, it became apparent the house would need a fresh coat of paint. Cha-ching. She chose her own colors and hired a painter. The bill came.

There were minor repairs that needed to be made. A contractor came to evaluate and provide recommendations. Cha-ching. The repairs were made. One thing, however, led to another and soon she needed a new back door. Cha-ching. The back door was staying in place with one screw.

The contractor reported that the air conditioning did not seem to be working. Funny thing, that air conditioner. It worked well the day she saw it. It worked when I met the painters and contractor at the house the first time. Something happened, though, and the house became uncomfortably warm with no results from turning down the thermostat. Cha-ching.

I took another drive to Charleston to meet the air conditioning repairman, all the while dreading the words “she needs a new unit.” Thankfully, it only needed a new capacitor, and the repairman had it working in short order. The temperature inside the house immediately began falling, providing much relief.

The house had been advertised online with a stainless steel dishwasher. After she bought it and closed the deal, she realized there was a white dishwasher. She contacted her realtor; the sellers admitted taking the stainless steel unit and replacing it with a cheaper unit; but when our daughter had seen the house, they had already committed their treachery. She had no recourse.

She ran the installed unit and it worked fine. Then she ran it again, starting it just before she went to bed. Noises waked her at 6 a.m., and she found herself facing a possessed unit that had malfunctioned on just its second use. Water pooled in the unit and it refused to move through its cycle. Cha-ching. It had to be replaced … with a stainless steel unit.

Water bills arrived that were astronomically high. Calls to the water company led to ridiculous answers. Call the contractor. No cha-ching. He volunteered to take a look at no charge, finding that the water meter does not work. How do you get a $300+ water bill if the meter doesn’t work? What was that “reader” reading?

She’s lived in the house two weeks now. Stepping into this phase of adulthood is teaching her something only owning a home can do. Sometimes the home owns you.

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