• Hershey Office
    (717) 533 6222
  • Lebanon Office
    (717) 279 6222

It was 1988

tape measure. . . when I bought my first house. Big hair bands ruled the airwaves, neon jelly bracelets and leg warmers where essential fashion accessories for women and gas was a whopping .91 per gallon.

I was starting a new job in administration for a real estate company after eight years in property management, and was becoming a first-time homeowner almost simultaneously.

The house was pitifully small (my husband and I had lived in larger apartments) but it was a single family home with a tiny yard and we had wanted something unattached.

It needed work but we were optimistic. He’s a good DIYer which enabled us to make a number of improvements inexpensively (if you don’t count grunt work, sore muscles and an aversion to digging up shrubbery). It was several months before we realized the home had a full attic accessed by a drop down ladder over the basement stairwell. Yes, stairwell. You had to flip a subfloor into place across the stairwell in order reach the pull-down cord. Old home. Built in the 1930s, solid as a bomb-shelter. $300 in oil heat took care of an entire heating season from mid fall to early spring. And the attic? We found stacks of old magazines up there along with evidence bats and squirrels had squiggled in through an opening around the chimney. A new roof went on not long after that.

I knew absolutely zilch about real estate when my husband and I bought that house. We were young and eager to be property owners, mildly traumatized at the thought of settlement (we have to sign how many papers?) and up against a deadline to move. There was no seller’s disclosure, no lead paint disclosure and, certainly no way to view properties online. I remember when we sat down with our real estate agent to begin looking, he plopped a multi-list book on the table, an impossibly thick tome like a phonebook on steroids. Today, with a few clicks of the mouse or, a tap to your tablet or iPad, you can view virtual tours, photos and pertinent information online.

two cats looking out a windowI have good memories of that home even though it was equivalent to a shoebox. I remember waking up one night to the visual theatrics of a terrified bat flapping around the bedroom pursed by two house cats who suddenly fancied themselves sabre-tooth killing machines. And all I could scream at my husband was “save the cats!”

That little bungalow was the first place we lived where we didn’t pay rent and, when we sold it, moving to something larger, we walked away with cash in our pocket. Not bad for a couple of twenty-something-year-old-kids. To quote an old cliché “home is where the heart is.” And that’s a good place to be!

Candy Ortenzio
Executive Administrator
Brownstone Real Esate Co.