Read My Blog from the Beginning!

2011
09.23

click here to start from the beginning. This blog is actually really helpful to those buying and selling their home. Good luck to you… You may need it!

Tags: , , , , Category Buying a Home, Moving, Selling Your Home, Uncategorized |

My old house is for sale

2012
02.28

My very first home is for sale. I saw an ad for it in the March issue of Baltimore magazine. It’s weird… I’m feeling a bit nostolgic right now. I lived in that house for over 12 years. I met my husband while I lived in that house. Both my children were born while we were in that house. We left it and the city behind for greener pastures over 5 years ago, but it will always be the first house I owned. Would I ever go back?… Would I move back in?… HELL NO! I love my new place and I living in the county, fewer mosquitos, less trafffic, it’s quiet at night, and let’s face it… less crime. I love my new house! We’ve been here almost two years now and it’s definitely home! But hey… maybe I could just stop by and check out the open house… ya think?

Tags: , , , , , Category Open House, Selling Your Home |

My New Blog

2011
09.15

cupcake drawing
Come on Insanity friends… follow my new blog at LongBlueStraw.com! There’s nothing better than getting a daily dose of art! It’s good for your soul.
Click here and check it out!

Tags: , , , , Category sold, Uncategorized, What to do Now? |

What’s New With Me?

2011
07.15

Well, I’ll tell you… I have started a new blog. You must check it out and be a faithful subscriber! LongBlueStraw.com It will showcase all the art, illustrations, jewelry and design I do for a living, and for FUN! So, come on folks, jump on board. Cheers!

 

Oh, by the way… I’m happy and getting even more comfy in my new home. Although, the exterior needs a paint job!… Yes, someday.

Tags: , , , , Category What to do Now? |

Comfy and Cozy

2011
02.25

Yes, I know it’s been like 8 months since my last post. Things happen, people get busy, moving in and getting settled takes a lot of work and time. And geez I had to get back to my real job, it couldn’t all be… renovate this, paint that, where should this photo hang, oh no, my brand new couch got ruined in storage… blah, blah, blah. OK, to be honest, I kinda forgot about blogging. I just didn’t NEED it anymore. We were settled. We are happy. I didn’t have to rationalize my insanity anymore.

 

Truth be told, I stumbled across my blog today while looking for a wordpress plug-in for a client of mine and thought I’d throw something out there into the world of cyberness. Maybe I should find a new topic to rant about. What do you think? The economy? Parenting? Being a hockey mom? Well, let me think about it. I’ll get back to you… wink wink

Tags: , , , Category Moving, What to do Now? |

Pop the Champagne!

2010
04.15

Day 12 -

 

We are now the proud owners of a home!

 

Closing today was pretty uneventful. We did our good cop/bad cop routine, made sure transfer taxes were split 50/50, and that we weren’t paying for homeowners insurance through escrow, and tried to combat the incredibly high property taxes (we will have to go to the mattresses with the county on this one). All in all, not too shabby. And it’s over! YES!

 

The interesting part of the day was the final walk-through. Now, I mentioned how we found in the contract that the seller had to fix all prior termite damage. Well, I was thinking it was a few baseboards and maybe a square foot of drywall. What awaited us in the basement was surely not that. These people had to replace two whole walls! Like 8 sheets of drywall, insulation and framing. The contractor took photos of the termite damage as they were doing demo, and then more demo, and more… These little critters were not just a colony of termites out for a picnic. Oh, no, this was a whole country of termites feasting on Christmas Dinner (the whole 12 days of Christmas and New Years too). I could not believe these pictures. But… (happy sigh) It’s all fixed! Thank God! Just imagine if we had not read the contract through and not insisted on having that repaired. It was only a matter of time before those basement walls crumbled and took the rest of the house with them. And we would never have known the extent of the damage had the sellers not refused to remediate the mold and radon! Oh ho ho, I’m glad they were stubborn. Just desserts indeed!

 

As we close this chapter of our adventures in real estate I’d like to give a couple of shout outs. Thank you Ann for the wine, the advice, answering all our questions and helping us keep our sense of humor! You rock! And special thanks to Roxie, our fantastic real estate agent, for the sweet gift, for thinking of the kids and for being there for us throughout this incredible journey. We found ourselves the best agent around! Couldn’t imagine this adventure without you! Hope we will be remembered in your future endeavors as the fun and… not too demanding… clients who made you laugh along the way. ;)

 

Oh, but my friends… for you, it’s not over. We are now remodeling a house! Stay tuned!

Tags: , , , , , Category Buying a Home, Closing, Real Estate Agent, Uncategorized |

The Homestretch

2010
04.14

Day 11 -

 

Tomorrow’s the big day. Closing on our new house. It has been a challenging process dealing with our formidable sellers. Believe me, it’s been hard removing them from the grip on their home. It looks like we finally have everything ironed out. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who found them difficult. I’ve heard rumors of agents who also think them laborious beyond reason.

 

Nevertheless, our paths shall never cross. They have given power of attorney to their son who will represent them at closing. He’s flying in today. From where, I wonder…

 

We are still waiting on the “final” settlement sheet from the Title company. We need to head to the bank and get a cashiers check for the right amount. (Down payment, closing costs, transfer taxes, points.) Nothing like waiting til the last minute, aye? I’ve been pressuring them to get me that document for 2 weeks. Oh, could it be they waited so long just so that I won’t find the hidden fees? Oh… Find them I will, my young Padawan learner.

 

My days lately have been filled with renovation plans. Paint colors, wallpaper, flooring, light fixtures, where to place my furniture, etc. It’s been fun being a temporary interior decorator. Now I have to implement it. I haven’t bought anything, not even a paint brush. I’ve been anticipating the deal going south. With those sellers, one never knows.

 

Just one more day and we will be Home Freeoh, how I wish it was free.

Tags: , , , , , , Category Closing |

Closing in One Week

2010
04.08

Day 5 -

 

Closing one week from today. There has been no real response to our last exchange regarding contractual items. Except for a back and forth between realtors on estimation for cost of repairs. Hmmm. In a waiting pattern right now, walking comfortably in circles like cows.

 

But, moving forward we have lots to do. Called the contractor to go over the renovation list. Need to schedule the turning on of utilities. Have to get the Radon remediated. Get paint, plaster, a dumpster, tools to squash the peach…Blah, blah, blah. All stuff I just don’t want to spend energy thinking about on such a gorgeous day. I’m going to try to not dwell on it and look forward to the upcoming weekend, my husband’s birthday, fun in the sun with the kids and maybe a good movie. Monday, I will stress again. Afterall… that’s what Monday’s are for.

Tags: , Category Closing, Contractor |

The House with the View

2010
04.05

Day 2 - Out for blood!

 

Push back. Yeah, that’s what I’m calling it. Let’s see, so much going on, how to jump in… Home inspections.

 

Well, there wasn’t anything major, a few things that needed to be fixed, circa 1970 washing machine that leaks, sump pump that doesn’t work, a baffle that won’t close on the septic system, a skylight that was installed incorrectly, a shower faucet that you can’t turn, a slight mold problem (we all know how I feel about that one), some radon, old termite damage, etc.

 

After a few back and forths with the seller we decided to ask for the health issues to be addressed. Radon, mold, sump pump (if that fails, well… leads to more mold). We waited, no response… and we waited, still nothing. And we waited, the required 5 days. Turns out they have elected not to respond.

 

The sellers, we now know, are elderly. In their 80′s to be exact. And have recently entered an assisted living facility. These people have been the only owners of the house which was built in the 1970′s. So, needless to say… They are just a bit attached. Old sweater syndrome kicking in.

 

What is old sweater syndrome… Well, you give your friend a sweater you no longer like or need, you see it on them and immediately want it back.

 

The sellers think that they got ripped off on the purchase price. Well then, I ask you… Why did they accept our offer? In their minds, it should have sold for more and now they are refusing to budge. Hmmm. I’d like to see them get more for the house once it sits on the market a few more months with radon and mold issues, which they now must disclose. How much do you think people will offer for a totally peach house with spores partying with radon gas? Anyway, they weren’t budging, not even in writing and our deadline was here. Today we have to decide if we want to go forward with them not concedeing to anything, or find the contract null and void and walk away.

 

Well, my friends, I thought about it long and hard. Even slept on it. Skipped doing my morning exercises to do some research and here is what I have concluded. First of all, there is no law stipulating that a seller must fix a radon issue. Quite frankly, I think there should be. Also, it looks like if we walk today we should be able to get our deposit back. We have, however, forked over around $1,300 in inspection costs, which we will have to do again on another house. Locked-in on an interest rate that seems to be rising by the minute. Spent countless hours with Roxie marching around town seeing what’s for sale. And quite frankly there isn’t much out there that compares this house. Actually, if the sellers would watch some of the shows on HGTV they would see, some fresh paint (not peachy) and a few minor updates they probably would have gotten another $40,000 for the house. So, my conclusion, We’re going forward… with the tricks I have in my back pocket.

 

The contract… ahh, The Contract (yes, read this one too, three times.) Here are my favorite “legally binding” highlights:

 

#21 (on my contract) “Condition of Property and Possession” which states the following:

 

“All electrical, heating, air conditioning, plumbing (including well and septic), and any other mechanical systems and related equipment, appliances, and smoke detector(s) included in this Contract shall be in working condition.”

 

Oooo, that covers the broken washing machine, the master bedroom shower handle that doesn’t turn and the sump pump, which happens to be a “plumbing” issue.

 

Also, #18 “Wood Destroying Insect Inspection”:

 

“If there is evidence of present infestation as described above, or if damage caused by present or prior infestation is discovered, Seller, at Seller’s expense, shall repair any damage caused by present or prior infestation and have the present infestation treated by a licensed pest control company.”

 

Ok, we’ll have that “prior infestation” fixed too. Thank you very much.

 

I know you think I’m being a bit of a sore loser here and kinda mean toward the old people. I’m sorry your old. I’m sorry I’m 40, I’m sorry it’s my turn to get a better break. You see, early on we agreed to play nice and pay for the heating oil that was left in the tank and according to the contract… we didn’t have to. Wouldn’t you think they would be kind in return and fix the health issues of the house, that’s all we ever really wanted. I do have cute children who would be inhaling poisonous gas and I would like them to grow as old as you are.

 

So, if I have to fork out more money for remediation, well — I’m going to get my just desserts.

Tags: , , , , , , , , Category Buying a Home, Contract, Mold, The Offer |

Locking In

2010
04.04

Day 1 - This being Easter (and Happy Easter Everyone) it is a time for new beginnings & rebirth, so my count down changes. Day 1 of my families new adventure into a new home.

 

Locking in, gambling the monthly payment away… Oh, the fun never ends.

 

Once we were under contract with our “house-with-the-view” we received a estimated settlement sheet from our mortgage broker. To my amazement and glee right there written at the bottom was printed our projected monthly payment. It was… Beautiful. Less than I was expecting. I was very happy. This whole move seems to be working. We are going to have less of an outlay and actually save money! The quoted interest rate was 4.875%. Pretty damn good. I was happy. So I tucked that thought into the “happy place” in the back of my mind where I tend to venture when I’m feeling down. Since then my brain has been occupied by moving, inspections, contractors estimates and work…

 

Drawing closer to settlement means the beginning of lots of papers to sign with the mortgage company. Things that have to do with our identity, social security numbers, blah, blah, blah. These were all signed in the middle of the moving process (not kidding, I believe I signed them on the floor because the table was in a POD somewhere). I actually can’t really remember what they were regarding, but I remember reading them and them making sense.

 

I’m not sure how we got here, but all of a sudden we couldn’t get the 4.875% interest rate anymore. But that’s what was on the estimated settlement sheet. Doesn’t that mean that’s our rate? No, you have to officially “Lock-in” But I thought we had. I’m confused. It was right there in print. OK, so I didn’t actually say the words “Lock me in” out loud, apparently you need to do that. Oh, the rules… Ok, so where do we stand today? Well, we could still get that rate if we take a point. A point, what’s a point? Apparently it’s 1% of the loan amount. 1.5 points… 1.5% of the loan amount and so on. And it’s not like you can wrap that into the loan amount, you have to pay cash up front. AARRGHH! There goes my renovation budget.

 

Well, what should we do? Now that the rate has gone up? Lock in at 5% or take the point. I don’t know, let’s think about it and get back to the broker tomorrow. Oh, my friends… you can’t do that. The next day the rates and point spread went up. What? Point spread? When did I wake up in Vegas? Ok, so we could do 5.125% or 5% with .675 points, or 4.875% with 1.5 points. The whole thing makes me dizzy and my dream monthly payment keeps rising. Should we gamble and “let it ride?” (Vegas again) hoping the rates fall? Well, we did. Wrong choice… The next day, even worse. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? What happened to 4.875% with no points that we had a few weeks ago? That’s what I had always believed was ours. Why can’t it be?

 

Oh, let’s just lock-in and get it over with. The longer we compare and discuss it just keeps getting worse. Oh, anger was brewing in my soul. As you can see, I’m still not over it… So, in the end we put it to rest. We got 5% and 1.75 points. Wow, I feel like money is just disappearing. This raises my dream monthly payment by about $30 per month. And forking out the “points” is killing my future hardwood floors. Oh the humanity! Not quite sure I understand why we were so screwed. Guess, that’s just the way the world works. But, in the end… the next day it all went up again. So we locked in at the right time… two weeks too late. :(

Tags: , , , , , Category Buying a Home, Finances, Mortgage, Uncategorized |