Thursday, September 03, 2009

Final countdown

I have less than a month. My living room looks like a warehouse, the 30 day notice has been given, and the u haul is reserved.
I'm really looking forward to the point when we are moved in, unpacked, and settled. I have so many balls in the air right now and I'm constantly paranoid about keeping on top of things.
What I really need is a completely uneventful boring week. Now, more than ever, it feels like a hurry up and wait situation. Wish me luck.

Friday, August 07, 2009


paper thin

The inspection went really well. Al (a really great guy) uncovered a few things we didn't know about but, there was nothing major. Our agent will discuss any issues with the relocation co. and we'll move from there.
Now, I'm waiting (impatiently) for the bank appraisal.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pre-Update Update

Where are we...oh, yeah. Inspection. As I write this, the home inspector is at the house poking around and whatnot. He gave me the option of being there for the whole 3 1/3-? hours but, instead I'm going to head over there in an hour and half to take measurements while he finishes up. I guess it varies from location to location but, the norm here is to go at the end of the inspection and go through the report with the inspector.
The relocation co. wants a quick and easy process, and have had their own inspections done and repaired what they felt were possible issues. I'm not going to jinx it by saying that this inspection isn't necessary, but, I think it's 40% inspection 60% peace of mind.
I'm still keeping fingers crossed* and rubbing my mini garden gnome**.
I'll have a post-pre-update update either this afternoon or tomorrow.

* The home buying process really brings out what little superstitions I have.

** not a euphemism.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

When you get to the bottom You go back to the top of the slide And you stop and you turn And you go for a ride*

Escrow. Eeep!

It wasn't supposed to be this quick. I thought, wouldn't it be nice to find the home and close in October? It would give us time to cull thru our belongings, freecycle items, pack in a leisurely pace. That didn't happen. We did a second walk through of our top two contenders on Thursday. The first one was a reluctant "no". The location and amount of serious TLC required were just too much. The second one was number one in our minds, we basically saw other homes and compared them to this one. The location, the price, the features (partially finished basement, hardwood floors, big kitchen, large yard, corner lot, leaded glass windows, etc)were knocking out the other options.

It's a slow market. We thought we had time. Trouble is, our number one was on the market due to relocation. This meant that a relocation co. was handling the details. The company was marketing aggressively, they changed agents frequently and dropped the price every 30 days. When we saw the list of recent showings, we knew we had to act. The home was already listed at around 20-30 thousand less than comparable homes in the area. I think the only reason it didn't sell before the last drop is because of it's one major flaw-only one bathroom.**
Bargaining with a relocation company is also different. They want to sell quickly but, may not get back to you right away. If you make a low offer and in the three or four days it takes to hear back, they receive a better offer, they have no reason to counter. We were lucky to hear back from them so quickly.

I'm excited but, mostly nervous. I'm waiting for something to fall through. I have a hard time working with a time line that I can't control. We need to have a termite inspection and a home inspection before the end of the month. We close on September 24th. Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.
If everything goes as planned we'll be in our new home with a rescue dog*** by October. Don't people that rescue dogs deserve to have a smooth home buying experience?
* Do I lose points for using the "we" of U2's cover instead of the "I" from the Beatles original?
** the basement has a rough in (emphasis on rough) for a bathroom, and we plan to renovate upstairs. The master bedroom has what was the walk up to the attic and it shares a wall with the smallest bedroom. The smallest bedroom shares a wall with the bathroom. We plan on re-creating a walk up (and possibly working on the attic), pushing thru the shared bedroom wall to create a master suit with walk in closet and full bath.

*** Petfinder is my new crack. They have videos of some of the dogs and that's just not fair. I want to adopt them all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fell in love with a girl*

* "girl" is actually a house.

The monkeys and I toured a home yesterday. It's a large (Second Empire Style- I think?)103 year old house. It has amazing original features. I loved the leaded glass windows,original hardwood floors, transom windows, pocket doors (functional!), herringbone brick floors in the basement, and an amazing stairway to the attic.

The back yard had plenty of space for a garden and patio, it's on a corner lot, and close to downtown and the bike trail. It's also a lot of house for the price and about 1000 more square feet than the other home we're considering. The electric, furnace, water heater, and roof have all been upgraded recently.


Location is a bit of an issue. The one thing we can't change. The corner is adjacent to a very busy road. It's zoned for a less than stellar grade school (Caleb has one year left) and it doesn't feel as safe as the other area we're looking at.
It also needs a lot of work. The windows are original and the house would be very drafty in the winter. Both bathrooms are in need of renovations, the garage has lawn and not a driveway in front, and the kitchen needs to be renovated as well.

The good news is that we've found a Realtor we want to work with. We're going to do another walk-through of our top contender house this week with him, and we'll go from there. This feels like a roller coaster when you're slowing clicking up to the top before a drop, rush of wind, and adrenaline.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I almost bought a safety orange vest today.

For house hunting. Real Estate agents like to see you coming.

This has been a fascinating process. When it's all said and done I think I'll offer up my services as a consultant to each of the local real estate offices in the area.

We looked at two homes on Saturday and two more on Sunday. The first house on Saturday was just too new, and I had more interest in the agent than the house. She might just be our agent; it would be really nice to check that off my laundry list of house buying to-dos.
The second house was a flip. The agent told us this fact, enthusiastically. I don't know why. I think it's well known that a flip house is purchased cheap, usually without an inspection, dolled up, and sold for as much profit as possible. It has some "features" that would be good, if they had been properly executed. But, it was mostly a lipstick on a pig situation. We're looking mostly at older homes and one of my inquiries is always about plumbing/electrical updates. I asked the agent and instead of an "I don't know, let me find out and get back to you." I got an "You could get an inspection." Could I? Really? Given the un-sanded but painted trim, cheap carpet over (possibly damaged) hardwood, and potted plants used as "landscaping", I think I'll pass.
The first house on Sunday was amazing. It had a ton of character. A vestibule, built in bookshelves next to the fireplace, a cute little nook in the dining room, original hardware on the doors, and cute quirky closets. It also had a high price for the amount of work needed to make the (very spacious) basement functional. It's also between homes, and has a smaller lawn. It's a pity; I really like the neighborhood and the awesome remodeled kitchen.
The second house on Sunday was cute, and had wonderful light but, it felt like we would outgrow it very quickly and it also suffered from Crammed Between Neighbors syndrome. I'm liking corner lots more and more.
The good news is that we've narrowed down our search area and have really focused in on want vs. need and must haves. Tuesday I'm killing two birds with one stone by viewing a home on my list with an agent I want to interview. Right now, it's tied with another home we've seen. By Tuesday afternoon I'll know which agent I'm working with. And, unless the Tuesday house* blows my mind, I think I'll know which house I want. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

* I think (if I buy it) I'll name it Tuesday house. It's very Martha Stewart to name your house.

p.s. Why does everyone have boob lights** in their homes? I have yet to see a home without at least one.

** large dome, finial in the center. I have one in my flickr stream titled "Mother"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

That's not lingonberry jam

Apparently, pumpkin french toast* smells like Ikea. Both kids, without first hearing the other say so, walked into the kitchen and said "It smells like Ikea in here".

*recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and her new cookbook Vegan Brunch. I'd buy a copy if I were you.

Speaking of Ikea, I've been flipping through my catalog and drooling over Ikea-laden images at Apartment Therapy. Why? Because I've also been looking at houses. I've only toured two so far. This one is a no. House number two is very nearly perfect. It is move-in ready, it's affordable, it's on a corner lot, has a two car garage, room for a garden (and possibly a green house), has finished space in the basement, and tons of potential. It also has only one bathroom, and both the bath and kitchen are due for renovations.
I think we have a realtor that we'd like to work with, I just wish there were a way to speed up the whole process. It's not easy to house hunt when you're picky and impatient.

In other news, Katie, my baby, will be starting Jr. High in the fall. Caleb has only one year left in grade school, and then I will have two tweens. It's bittersweet. It's easy to miss all the cute little kid experiences, but they're also turning into such awesome people. Katie is going through her pretentious I-can't-believe-you-cal-that-stuff-you-listen-to-music phase. She's been listening to Japanese death metal and a handful of Finnish bands. She's also been adding the White Stripes to her cello practice sessions. Caleb spends most of time reminding us that he's too old for things. I think the next few years will be very interesting.