Full disclosure: I am the Judy Pitsios quoted in the feature, “The House or the Town.” (I kept my maiden moniker for use as what I refer to as my “stage name,” but according to NJ’s motor vehicle services, I am now Greek like my husband.)

Just over eight years ago, we bought a house in the town from which we trained it to Manhattan every day. It was a good move at the time (and a short one, too). We decided to invest in the potential of the tiny commuter town in which we rented. Real estate then was a sellers’ market, and we were cautiously ecstatic when our agent presented to us a local property that had just gone on the market. I recall dropping everything that Saturday to run the few blocks to convene at the address (and suspiciously eyeing a competing couple). We put in an offer the next day, and it’s “funny” recalling that the seller didn’t immediately accept his asking price. Houses elicited bidding wars in those days, and it was only fair that he wanted to wait to see what else would come in after having had the chance to actually market the property. Fair enough.

This is a far cry from today’s real-estate universe, in which properties sadly sit for 180+ days. Since the promise of our town has not yet materialized, we now invest our hopes in finding a sad house in a happy town with a stellar school system—Every Saturday begins and ends with Trulia.com.

I awake to pour over online listings within our 15-mile dream radius. By 10 am, I’m “driving by” promising properties on Google Maps, and after I begrudgingly allow lunch, we’re heading up the Parkway. After subjecting each house we visit to “Oh, okay… That’s why…” I find myself back online that evening, zooming out on the map, and trying to convince myself that I’d be okay with a two-hour commute (each way). Feeling snowed in by the dearth of possibilities, we find ourselves reexamining our priorities every few weeks. For now, we’re gonna stay put until that phantom fixer-upper within walking distance to a downtown (where the shops stay open past 6 pm) materializes.

We forgot our search this weekend to relish the snow—the glories of the white stuff is the same wherever it falls, eh? Nate, our littlest one, was not having it, though. Once I heard myself saying that I wished we could leave 4-year-old Keith in a fenced-in backyard while we watched him from a kitchen window, I knew I was late for my weekly date with Trulia.




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