Tag Archives: real estate

We’re in debt again. Yay!

Before closing on our house today, we had zero debt.  No credit card debt, no student loans, no car payments, no mortgage.  It felt good.

Now we have a mortgage.

But we also have a house.

This feels better.

Night off

We sort of have the night off tonight.  The kids are staying overnight at the in-laws, as we are CLOSING ON OUR HOUSE TOMORROW.  Can I get a “woo woo”?  I’m too excited for words.  Plus, my mother-in-law is a pretty considerate person when she wants to be, so she got movie tickets for Frank and me to see Mamma Mia.  I think we both probably would have preferred to see The Dark Knight, but a free movie is a free movie so I’m not complaining.  And Mamma Mia was entertaining enough.  Except Pierce Brosnan cannot sing nearly as well as the movie tried to convince you he could.

So we saw the movie, and are now enjoying a romantic evening of sitting on the couch and looking at our corresponding laptops.  Frank’s doing actual work — you know, the stuff that’s buying us that house tomorrow.  I could be doing actual work, like editing some photos I took last month to sell as stock but I apparently would rather blog about gas prices and put a blue clay mask on my face (which startled Frank quite amusingly).  We’re also watching The Daily Show/Colbert Report replays.  I do think this is my favorite hour of TV, even when Big Love is in season.

Tomorrow morning, we have to hit the bank and completely drain our savings account to pay our down payment and closing costs.  Maybe I’ll make Frank do that and I’ll go to the gym.  Then lunch with the in-laws and kids, then we’ll walk next door to our NEW HOUSE and do the walk-through, then go to the closing.  AND THEN, HAVE I MENTIONED, WE WILL BE HOMEOWNERS AGAIN?!?!

Woo woo!

Delays, delays

We’re in the process of buying a house.

We were aiming to close around July 15th.  Then we decided we weren’t really settled on our mortgage.  Our initial lender started to leave a bad taste in our mouth over a few things, and then we found a much better deal, anyway.  So they did a rush job to get us through the underwriting and we got our final approval (meaning we were all ready to schedule the closing, on our end) on the 15th.

The house is currently owned by a divorced couple.  So, on their side are two sets of signatures, and two sets of lawyers, and a lot of animosity and very little talking between the ex-husband and ex-wife.  Once we had our mortgage stuff all straightened out and stuff,  though, it turns out there was some paperwork on the sellers’ end that the wife hadn’t signed yet, and no one would commit to getting it done by tomorrow, the earliest we could close.

So next week then.  Right?  Wrong.  The husband’s lawyer, who is the main lawyer handling the transaction for the sellers, is going on vacation all week next week.

Then our realtor will be on vacation until Monday the 28th, slightly interfering with our ability to do a final walk-through and potentially mitigating any issues that might arise from the walk-through.

That means the earliest we can now close is Tuesday the 29th, assuming both our lawyer and their lawyer are available.

Yes, a bit of this is our fault because we switched lenders at the last minute — but it looks like they still weren’t ready for us even if we’d gotten the mortgage stuff sorted out earlier.

I can’t really say I’m annoyed… though I am.  I’m more exasperated, and wearing thin on patience.  I just really want to be out of this apartment and into our own house, and I want to get started on making the new house our own.  We know the couple we’re buying the house from, so Frank is going to call the husband and see about maybe getting in there before the closing to start doing some of the painting we want to do.  Maybe we at least can get a head start.

Movin’ on up

I am pretty sure I’d mentioned our interest in buying the house next door to our in-laws, but let me summarize anyway, to refresh or inform any newbies.

Two weeks after we moved up here and into our apartment, the house next door to my in-laws went on the market.  At first we were both apprehensive about the idea of living right next door to the in-laws, but after a while the idea grew on us.  The only problem was that the house was just a little out of our price range, even with the help from Frank’s parents on the table.

The people who are selling the house next door are family friends; Frank was best friends with their son growing up.  Frank broke his ankle in their backyard, the son was a groomsman in our wedding, and the parents attended.  They are nice people.  Unfortunately, they are selling the house because they are divorcing… one of those situations where they’d just grown apart, it seems.  The kids convinced them to get divorced sort of thing.

Frank called the dad, whose name is Mark, and talked about the house.  They came to an agreement of sorts, months back, that while the house was a little too expensive for us, they would still give us the opportunity to match any offer that came their way.

Thing is, though, there have been no offers.  So they lowered the price.  And there were still no offers.  So they lowered their price again.

Gotta love today’s real estate market.

Then came today.  And they got an offer for $515,000 – $35,000 below their current asking price.  Mark called Frank and basically said that rather than haggle with this other guy, could Frank offer him $520,000 for the house and we’d call it a day?  Well, he could, and we are.  It’s not official yet, but soon we will have an official offer in and then, hopefully soon, be under contract for the house.  Probably closing within 60 days.

Can you say yay?  I can!  Yay!!!




The cool thing is, too, that because they’re selling the house because of a divorce, they left a lot of the furniture behind because they both moved into smaller places.  They’re going to give us whatever is still in the house.  None of it is super new, but it’s certainly in good condition and useable if we want to use it.  A master bedroom set, a couple other twin beds that were their kids’, a treadmill, and a big leather sectional in the family room.  I’m also hoping beyond hope they left their dining room set, because it is AWFUL.  I mean, horrendously, cheesily AWFUL.  First, there is a hutch that is like peach-colored either formica or some sort of veneer – I haven’t gotten close enough to it to really inspect it.  But the table set is the coup de gras.  It is a glass table top on a similar-material-to-the-hutch pedestal.  And the chairs.  Oh, the chairs.  They are acrylic.  Clear, perfectly see-through acrylic.  Their whole dining room is just ultra-hip from 1982.  It looks like the kind of thing that would have been in a Vanilla Ice video or something, because he would want to look refined and elegant and rich but didn’t want to appear dowdy.  The set is totally the fishizzle.  Or something.   I just want the stuff because it’s so bad it’s awesome.  I will offer photographic evidence if I get the opportunity.

So, hi!

Right about last Wednesday, I decided we should all pack up on Friday and go to Buffalo and visit my family for a long weekend.

A bunch of stuff has happened in the last few days, nothing hugely groundbreaking, but mostly interesting.

I watched part 2 of Pride & Prejudice.  I enjoyed it a lot.  My BFF Amanda constantly soaks her panties thinking about Colin Firth in this movie, and yes, he was dashing.  Though… sorry Manda.  Just not panty-soaking-dashing for me.  But I can see why he would be for someone else, even if I can’t experience it first hand.  This was probably good, because I watched part 2 in the car on the way to Buffalo and since my minivan has leather seats, I didn’t have to worry about sliding off of them.

I was offered some work on – I think it was Thursday.  And, I accepted.  My old boss called to see if I would want to take on some once-a-quarter work that needs to urgently get done each quarter but is time-consuming for the full-time staff and nobody wants to do it anyway.  It would be about a week’s worth of work every 3 months, and the hourly pay is more than I was making when I was full-time.  It was really a no-brainer, and it is an excellent excuse to buy the laptop I’ve wanted to buy but had little justification of the expense.  Ahh, justification!

The visit to Buffalo was good.  My dad goes on these weird whims and this weekend was no exception.  We discovered he’s thinking of moving.  These seems to be partially fueled by his general and ongoing overwhelmed state for upkeep of the small 3 bedroom house we grew up in, and partially by the fact that “black people” have moved into the house next door.  Though according to all accounts the new neighbors are friendly and quiet and just generally good neighbors so far and my father made sure to tell this to me many times to try to dissuade me from believing he is a narrow-minded bigot.  Not that the fact that he actually felt like he needed to tell me this is evidence itself of the bigotry, but whatever.  It also doesn’t help when he ends the story with “Well, at least they are friendly drug dealers.”  [insert animated eye roll with slow head shaking here]  So, he wants to start looking at houses.  In the same neighborhood.  3 blocks away.  Umm, OK.  Since he won’t admit that at least part of his motivation is not because of preconceptions of his new neighbors, he’s planting it firmly on not wanting to clean the house anymore.  I don’t think he gets a couple things about this whole transaction – first, it will cost thousands of dollars to move to a new house, and second, he could hire a cleaning service for those thousands of dollars.

Dad also has that girlfriend, Linny.  A small part of me suspects there is talk of moving in together and that maybe she doesn’t want to live in my mother’s house.  That’s fair enough.  But geeze, just be honest with me, Dad.  I’m a big girl.

But besides that it was a good visit.  We saw my grandparents, and it was fun watching my dad and brother hang out with my kids.

No room at the inn

We’re currently living as transients.  In October, we sold our nice, roomy, on-over-an-acre house, I quit my promising career to become a stay-at-home mom, and we moved to a very small apartment in another state.

We moved to another state because we were bribed, quite frankly.  It all started before Jake was born.  I was still all into my career, not pregnant with Jake yet but I think we were trying, and a couple different really good positions came up in my company, that both offered great learning opportunities for me and the possibility of permanent part-time work, but they were both at another location, a state away.  Frank and I had some serious talks about moving so I could pursue them.  And, I mentioned it in passing to my in-laws.  My mother in-law lamented that we already lived so far away (over an hour by car) and this would make us even farther.  Couldn’t we consider moving closer to them?  And, in a rare display of subtle manipulation on my part, I answered, “Honestly, we would truly love to live near you guys.  But real estate there is even more expensive than it is here, and if we move again, it will be so that I can work part-time, or maybe even not at all after we have another baby or two.”

And the next day, something happened, exactly as I thought it might when I opened the door to the possibility.  My in-laws offered to help us buy a house in their town.  We wholeheartedly accepted.  Their town has one of the better, sought-after school districts in the state.  Plus my in-laws, 95% of the time, are really nice, thoughtful, helpful, funny people.  I can live near them without losing my sanity.  And once we entered parenthood, we were honestly sad that we didn’t live near any family.

As we’d planned this major event, my mother in-law kept wishing aloud that the house next door to them would go on the market.  This house currently belongs to a family that my husband is friendly with; their son was a year younger than him, and Frank and he spent countless hours of their youth together.  Frank broke his leg playing football in their backyard; the son was a groomsman at our wedding, though he and Frank are not exactly stellar at staying in touch.  So the MIL kept hoping they would sell their house, because wouldn’t it be just PERFECT if we could live RIGHT NEXT DOOR?!?!

And I smiled and nodded, and agreed, sure, it would be great.  The house wasn’t on the market, so I entertained her with some feigned enthusiasm.

So, October 1, we move into town, into our tiny interim apartment while we get used to living in the area and start househunting (and also just making sure we aren’t making a huge mistake).  And not two weeks later… oh you guessed it, that house next door went on the market.

I had some serious soul-searching to do.  Would it really be great – even tolerable – to live next door to my in-laws?  Sure, they really are great people 95% of the time, but we’ve certainly had our moments.  Once they took Lane in a car without a car seat (though I can guarantee you it will never happen again).  They are opinionated to a fault, especially my mother in-law.  MIL also, I swear, goes out of her way to disagree with me on things.  Though through this, one redeeming quality has surfaced – my father in-law is often quite quick to come to my defense and side with me (which makes me giddy beyond belief when it happens).   But again, they have their good qualities — kind and caring, generous, helpful, fun-loving and adventurous.  They are really good with their grandkids, especially as Lane has gotten bigger and Jake is just the mellowest baby in the world (and it doesn’t hurt that he loves his grandpa more than almost anything in the world).

So, with the consensus between Frank and I that we are OK living next door to them, we have started pursuing the house.  Since we know the owners well, and they seem to just adore Frank, right now we’re all exploring the possibility of buying the house outside the realtor process.  The house is just a little out of our price range at its current listing price (even with the help we’re getting from the in-laws), but without a 6% realtor commission in the mix, they can take a lower offer from us without really taking a loss, and for that house we’re willing to take on just a slightly higher mortgage than we would otherwise.  It might mean we can’t make an offer until June, but I think we can live with that.  We might also see about renting the house before buying it, since it will soon be vacant.  (They are selling because the parents are getting a divorce.  What a shocker!  None of us predicted that.  But according to the son, it is an excellent move for them; they apparently were just going through the motions for the last, like, 10 years or so.  Their kids were encouraging them to divorce, even.)

The whole thing is exciting and nerve-wracking and fun and scary and oodles of other emotions all at once.  And importantly too, it’s a great house.  I can definitely picture myself living there… and I want to live there!  Now we just have to make it happen.