I used to watch House Hunters on HGTV all the time. I LOVED seeing the joy in the hunters’ faces as they approached their potential new homes. They’d get out of their vehicles and meet the realtor with smiles on their faces and for the most part, they had the look of oblivion. Of course, the neighborhoods were beautiful. The realtor would talk about the shops and eateries in the area, if that was their “thing” and if the realtor knew the neighborhood very well, they’d give a little history. They would also discuss how great the schools were.
Thinking about some of the episodes makes me happy. The realtors, for the most part, would “tick” every box for me. Except, the list never felt complete and that brought a sense of sadness.
For a long time, I couldn’t figure out what the lingering sadness was — why do I feel this way?
It wasn’t until my husband and I began the discussion of selling our current home and buying another one that the answer came to me. You see, when we purchased our first home we only had our one-year old daughter so some of the things that concern me now didn’t concern me back then. Of course, we were thinking about her future and safety. We asked all the right questions: is it a busy/main street? How is traffic? Can we grow in this house? Most importantly, can we afford it? Obviously, all of the answers were affirmative because we purchased our first home.
So much has changed since then…
We now have two children and all they want to do is run wild. They are both looking for their independence. And like most children, they want to explore our neighborhood. But, there is a problem with that. In our current neighborhood there are Confederate flags, our shed mysteriously caught fire one January morning, and my children have been called “little blackies” by our neighbors. The name-calling incident was a tough blow for me. But at least, right now, I know who my neighbors are. I know those who “like” us and those who don’t. I know the “safe” places to walk, run, play and bike. We “know” them and who or what to look out for.
Any neighborhood we would move to, we’d have to start the process all over AGAIN.
And there you have it….my SADNESS.
Unfortunately, there are no other families in our neighborhood that look like us. There are no truly diverse neighborhoods in our city or its surrounding suburbs that jumped out at us when we were house-hunting. We looked and looked, we asked around and we came up empty-handed.
I would love nothing more than to buy a house in a diverse neighborhood. To live in an area that is not only diverse racially and ethnically, BUT also diverse in gender, nationality, culture. That would be a dream come true. I would love to move to a neighborhood where we don’t have to prove to anyone that we aren’t lazy, ignorant, or ghetto. It is my desire to live in a place where my children could run free and we would be accepted for who we are; accepted for the fact that we are also home owners, just like everyone else who lives around us.
I want to be free to choose ANY neighborhood, just like the couples on House Hunters and ONLY worry about the things the House Hunter couples worry about: shops, eateries, schools, etc. You know…the basics. And while, in theory, I am free to choose, I have to constantly weigh the risks (some mentioned above) of any new neighborhood.