This will look MUCH better!

Hopefully this won't make the color mismatch between the counter and floor look horrible.  
I think the white looks WAY better than the wood.
See December 22 for a look at the glory of the full on Rose coloured kitchen
I threw some paint on the beautiful rose colored "backsplash" area just to see 
how it would look.   Right now it is plastic that we have to take 
down, but it will look much better in the antique white 
or the beigey/tan that we're going to put on the walls.


Ugly wood paneling? No Problem, just paint over it!

Perhaps the most retarded idea so far in this house is the second floor walls. See, this house has rock-solid plaster- and-lathing for most of it's walls.

It's very durable, and there are houses that are over 200 years old where the original walls are still there. Now when this type of wall gets holes or scratches, all you need to do is take a $1 drywall spatula, and a $5 bucket of mud, and smear it over the affected area, then smooth it with the spatula. Usually, you don't even need to sand, but you can if you want it to be perfect. Then you can paint over it, or wallpaper.

Well, in this house, they apparently must have felt that having walls that were hard as rock reminded them of living in a cave or something, so they covered the plaster up with El Cheapo wood paneling (remember back in the 1960's when people thought that wood paneling was classy?). Who knows how long it was just the brown wood paneling with it's artificial veneer finish, covering all the walls of the hallway.
Hallway? Usually, you would put that kind of paneling in a study or den. They paneled the whole hallway, but none of the rooms. Then someone, probably a later owner, decided to paint the paneled walls, rather than remove them and have nice smooth plaster walls to paint on. They must have wanted just that little extra touch of class, so they used high-gloss paint. They didn't use just any high-gloss paint, either. They used high-gloss pale ORANGE paint.
It is much orangey-er than the photos depict.

The results were a super fantastic classy hallway -- if "classy", to you, means a woman with a visible tatoo of a flower right above her butt-crack.

As I say, "classy" is a relative term.


Weekly Recap

If nothing else I will hopefully do a weekly recap

Here's where we're at on 12/29/08
  • I think about 1/3 of Dave's apartment has come over, about 1/10th of mine. Lots of books, knickknacks and cooking stuff.
  • Yesterday we put the bedframe together, but had to return the mattress pad since it was a full. It said queen. That's Marshall's for ya! They had no queen size mattress pads so we got a bazillion thread count - egyptian cotton - super lofty one at Kohl's instead. But we haven't stayed over yet. Maybe Thursday. We don't really have furniture over yet. A dresser, nightstand and bed is about it.
  • I have almost completed the downstairs kitchen cabinets. Should be putting the doors back on tonight.
  • We have investigated, and found hardwood under the laminate floor in the front room second floor. Yay!
  • I have removed fixture covers and patched almost every hole on the first floor walls.
  • About 1/4 of the first floor is primed, too. Front room could be ready to paint after tonight. Have to bring over a drop cloth.
  • We will sadly have to tear down some mighty real old plaster walls to open up the second floor and that is going to be a pain.
  • Birds live in the bathroom exhaust fan on the first floor.
  • There is less than 2 feet of counter workspace in MY kitchen(!) right now.


Going UP!

Lovely Third floor stairs

the room on the left (music room)


One Day, One Mouse

How many must die in this endeavor?

(I mean mice here)

Tuesday night we went and picked up a Craigslist furniture item then went to do a little work in the house.

We took the doors and hardware off the cabinets in the kitchen downstairs and sanded them down for painting. In the picture I haven't done the lower cabinets and drawer fronts yet. With white cabinets and a beigey wall color this kitchen should look much better. We're debating about new counter top. Might not need it after the paint, not sure if we can upgrade the whole place to the point where a really nice counter will get us any more $$


Whoo Hoo!

Signed and Sealed!
We finally signed everything and this is officially Our House!
I have to work, Dave is changing the locks (hopefully right now!)
Then finding the home in here begins.
This picture is from Sunday, December 21, 
when we did our walkthrough.
It was snowing all day, when we got there Ken, 
our realtor was shoveling the driveway!
The heat was on and the electric was on, 
nothing was frozen AND all of the appliances 
that had been an issue were there! So after 
all that hassle they didn't take any of the appliances!

The works begins today!
here's a taste of some of the beautiful stuff inside
First Floor Kitchen - 
The first floor will be the rental unit, we'll live on 2 and 3

who wouldn't JUMP to have this lovely kitchen?
Rosey red counters and peachy red tile!
Yes, these are BEFORE pics.
We won't be doing an overhaul here for a while, 
we need a tenant asap
but this kitchen will get a neutral beige-y paint job, 
white cabinets (stove is bone/black, fridge is white)
and possibly a faux concrete countertop for now.
It should be really cute when it's done.


Ignore the last few optimistic entries

Because we are NOT closing tomorrow!

I am flippin' livid here!
Pretty sure the seller is stalling because they haven't moved out. 
Meanwhile their short sale approvals expire Tuesday, 
so we have to close Monday, or not at all.  
Or start all over from the send P & S to the seller's bank.
And, of course, I have a really rough Holiday deadline Monday, 
(as in it is one of my busiest days of the year)
Our current goal is to get all paperwork emailed to 
us over the weekend so we can read it, 
Walk through the house 8AM Monday, 
get check 9AM Monday on the dot, 
run over to lawyer's by 9:15AM and get everything signed by 10AM.

I just wanna puke.



With less than 24 to go, my day really does seem to be moving in odd one hour episodes. Returning calls and chasing down Christmas ads is the "action".  
When I am using the computer is commercials.
There's no blood or explosions yet, we'll save those for tomorrow I guess.

photo snagged from someone else's blog



Obstacles we may face this week before we actually have a house

1)Weather - Old Man winter promised a storm on Friday ...yay.
2)Illness - I now have the head cold that's going around.  
Dave was totally down for 3 days.  
I have to work Wednesday and Thursday to get Christmas ads done.
I will probably be dead sick on Friday.


One week from NOW

I truly believe that one week from this moment
I will be cleaning up someone else's mess and LOVING IT!!!

'Nuff said.
Yeah, I was pretty darned wrong on this call!



We'll have a house!


Because frigde, fridge, baby just wasn't doing it.
As late as yesterday we were still clarifying the fridge situation.
Now it's done. Whew.
How can no fridge = move in condition?
Right, it can't.
We're getting the fridges as initially promised, then sneakily written out.

back to the Woot off, 3rd day in a row and I still have nothing.


Wallpaper musings

Wallpaper inspirations from Flavor Paper
They have a lot of groovy graphics.

Above: I just think this one is hilarious. It is called moustachio!
It could work in a different color. It is highly appropriate as well.

Also for dining room stylings...
Above: I think more a bathroom kinda thing. If you saw the toilet seat we have - you'd understand. I'll find that and post it later. I love this paper although it has no real place in this house.

Above: More dining room type. Ten speed...

Above: More potential for the dining room. Sassy.

I Love this one--Chinatown

This is the one that started it all. City Park.
I saw this on (probably) NotCot and it really started me thinking about wallpaper.


11 day countdown

While we're counting the days to closing...
[that's 11, or 8 work days(!)]

I figure I'll fill space with some randomy goodness.

So what's going on around here?
Not that you knew they were missing but...I still haven't found the Camera Cable, or it's friends the Other Camera Cable and Camera Cable III.
Yes, photos previously promised are still conspicuously absent.
The cables in question apparently left together sometime after I attended an awesome cookout/band gig.
I have pictures from that event downloaded, so I know I had the cables then.
But now? Who knows.
With the flurry of packing and moving stuff to parent's house for storage they have gone.
Since they have been away for a few weeks I thought I'd bite the bullet (or whatever) and buy a new one. Sadly, it is a special teeny plug from the camera out and no one seems to have them.
The Geek from Best Buy claimed it was old and they don't make them anymore and it is a propreitary Panasonic only cable. If any of that baloney was true I'd have had only one cable this size. But I had 3-one from that camera, one from another camera of mine (Canon) and not sure where #3 came from.
Also, this is my new camera that we're talking about here. I got it in the summer. Not an old model either. So I figure I have to go direct to panasonic online.
Grr--Trying to navigate the panasonic website is _______?
Right, akin to nothing else, so fill in the blank with your choice of foul situations. Hopefully I will get a human on the phone when I have 3 hours to spare and end this.

other stuff
Old Crumply...since we slid into that car a few weeks back, I have personally been thinking of Dave's car as Old Crumply. One thing I did notice about Old Crumply's look is that a wrecked up front end makes any driver who can see you just a smidge more careful and courteous.
When people ask what happened to the car and we've taken to playing it up as intentional.
This car is PIMPed out!
No one messes with a car that looks like this, (yo)!
This is the look that makes other driver's get outta da way! (really)

Old Crumply's bad weekend
Saturday morning Old Crumply was actin' strange. Very sluggish, no git up 'n' go. On the way from band practice to "The Secret Gig" the check engine light went on. I hypothesized tranny fluid was low and the car just wasn't shiftin' right. We couldn't open the hood cuz it had been smashed in and was way stuck and it was freezin' and dark by the time we left South Boston. Sunday Dave got the hood open, added trans fluid and windshield washer. This mornin' she was like a new girl. Dave's guess was that the gas cap was loose and the fuel mix was bad because the check engine light was off, without a mechanic turning it off. In the owner's manual for his car it says check your gas cap when the check engine light goes on because this might be why.
So things were looking good for Old Crumply.
Dave gave me a ride home this morning and on his way home...disaster.
Old Crumply lost her grip...hood flew open and cracked the windshield in the meantime.
So now Old Crumply must go into the shop before we close on this house for sure.
AND it's gonna cost one windshield more than before.

Today I found the paper signed by the seller that said All Appliances included!
It was not on a listing sheet, it was on our first offer. I just sent copies out to realtors and lawyer to see what they say.


While I still have a tooth left to grind

I think I have one tooth left to grind!

I just got a call from the #$@^%$! seller's realtor.

This woman has repeatedly been reminded that the house has to be delivered vacant, empty, con zero personas...since August, even.

So why did she call?
She just got a call from the lawyer for the short sale. The second lender finally approved.
He told her we are closing the 19th - she should know this it is on the P&S.
He asked her if the house was empty - it should be, it is a requirement on the P&S
She called me because the house isn't empty and "these people have no place to go".
She also acted like she had no idea at all hat we were going to close so soon.
I mean, heck, we made the first offer on August 21st, what's the rush?

I wish I could make $16,000 doing nothing.
She barely walked us through half of the house the first time we saw it.
I truly believe that since we aren't Hispanic/Latino/Central American(what term do I go to here?) she really wasn't going to put any effort into getting us to buy it.

I really believe that most of the holdups are related to her questionable decision making "skills".


One Step Closer...

one wallpaper I like

Still no approval from the other lender on the P&S.

Short of 2 pieces of paper our mortgage was approved!
Hopefully we'll have them by Tuesday as well as a bank approval and we can get this puppy done.

I have been looking at wallpaper for the dining room.
Currently the dining room does not even exist because it is a teeny bedroom. It won't be a dining room until a wall comes down and a new doorway is created, but I can still design and scheme right? Damn straight!

Without spoiling the surprise ending, the plan is to have a chair rail above either paneling or wainscoting with one wallpaper wall and the rest a pretty intense paint color. The room is small and with art and furniture the color ought to be some neat intense pops of color. That's the imaginary picture - foundation is traditional but it'll be a little twisted, oh yes, it WILL be twisted.


Slow, slow, slow

We are always waiting for the other side...

We signed the P&S last Thursday.
In a world where the other party has their act together they'd have also signed and delivered it to the mortgage broker. He still doesn't have it.

I really would like to be moved in before next year.


P and S

P & S is not short for Pain & Sorrow 
(garmonbozia anyone?).

It's the Purchase and Sales agreement. 
Only 15 pages.  
Now signed and delivered to lawyers, realtors and mortgage broker.  Yee Haw!  

The next big news should be that we have a mortgage!


Getting closer...

Well, we payed a visit to our Mortgage agent, to sign a bunch of forms. We neglected to provide a few documents (tax forms, etc), and forgot our check book to write a check for him, but since the seemingly lazy seller's agent hadn't sent all the forms that she was supposed to send weeks ago, there would be no problem if we were a day late with the Mortgage guy's check.
(sioux: he started the process anyway-locked in rate and ordered appraisal. nice guy, more about him later)

We heard that 2 of the people in the second apartment wanted to stay on, and move downstairs. We decided that we should send them an application to fill out, and we'll do a background check. There is no reason for us to treat them differently than we would anyone else.

We went back to Uncle Ken to sign a few more papers, and questioned a newly added line that said that the washer and dryer in the basement were not included. Come on -- the original ad said "all appliances included". Why the exception now? Ken made 2 versions of the form -- one with the exception clause about the washer and dryer, and one without, in case they let us have it. We're looking closer to being homeowners -- but it's almost December now, and it's been freezing lately. We might not be able to move in till January, which will suck, because it will be freezing, the most unpleasant time to move.

With a little reminder, I checked out the 401(k) plan from my former employer, as well as a retirement fund that I had from an even older employer. Amazingly, I've got several thousand available in each. So we might have more money to throw at the house -- or at least, I can stop worrying about not spending anything until the house is ours. I'll probably move one into my current 401(k), and the other into my savings account for new toys. I'm hoping to not have to use my newly found stashes of cash, but it's good that they're there if we need it.
(sioux says: save it!)


First Contractor quote

So there's a chimney issue we'll have to immediately address on possession. 
I figured I would try and get it lined up ahead of time.

First quote in $1400 to cap and repoint as needed.
I thought the inspector implied a lower price, as in the $500-$700 range.
Gonna send a couple more guys by.


Oh noooo....crunch!

Saturday morning, misty rain...
Project: Start looking for a new mattress.
Destination: Route 1ish.
So we're approaching the Wakefield exit (before Bob's Stores - if you know the area) when traffic suddenly stops, and we don't.We weren't going fast, maybe 35 tops and we slid probably 30 feet into the car in front of us.No injuries, no airbags...not a mark on the car in front of us. But Dave's car...big smoosh. Completely driveable, but I wouldn't be suprised if his insurance totaled it out.

About 1/3 of the way in from the right is point of impact.  
The mark is plastic something from the Dave car.

We still went shopping.
My opinion of Bob's Discount Furniture--most of that furniture is hideous!


It begins...

I just printed out 36 pages of forms from our mortgage broker!

I don't think I have to say anything else at this point.


The Ordeal of searching

Granny's House

We started looking for a house last December, 2007. My girlfriend had been bugging me, and I had recently gotten a raise at work, so we felt we could afford it. I'm kind of slow, and a bit lazy for such things, and was not really in the mood, but with her gently pushing me, we both got into a routine of looking at houses for sale. (sioux: i was probably nagging!) By February, we had seen a bunch of houses, and had our eyes set on this cute old 1920's house, which had most of the original brown-finished woodwork, and didn't seem to need a lot of work at all. It even had a virtually perfectly intact slate roof. The House was like a trip back in time. It looked like everyone's grandmother's house, with wallpaper, curtains, and even appliances from the 1950's or 1960's. The stove on one floor was clearly an antique style, but it was so clean that it looked brand new.
We affectionately called it "The Granny House".

Our first roadblock

We put an offer down on the house on February 7th, 2008, and the next day, I went to work and got laid off by surprise with hundreds of other people. We never saw it coming, as the company had kept a tight lid on the rumor mill. The company had suffered as one of the first victims of the Sub-prime Mortgage and lending crisis, which finally hit big-time in September, 2008.

So I called my girlfriend up, and told her to call the realtor, who we have nicknamed "Uncle Ken", to cancel our offer. Uncle Ken is not related to us, but he is a nice older gentleman who has a great sense of humor, and a charming, avuncular demeanor, hence the nickname.

Out of this was a lot of great news. Since I was among the first to get laid off, my company offered us huge severance pay. We got a full whole month of pay, and all of our accrued vacation and sick pay (3 weeks for me). On top of that, George W. Bush had sent out an "economic stimulus" check to people. I got about $x00 in a government check. All the severance pay, the vacation pay, and the government stimulus check went straight into my savings account. On top of that, I had a new job working for a hospital in just 3 days. The job payed me about $8,000 more per year than the job I just lost. I was out of work for only 3 days, and saw no lapse in my weekly income! By the end of the month, I had over $x,000 in my savings account.

So my girlfriend and I kept looking for houses. Unfortunately, when we were about to make an offer on the next house we liked, the lender told me that since I had just started work at my new job, and was not going to be permanent (I started as a temp, going perm in 90 days) for a few months, that they couldn't lend me the money. They said I'd have to wait until about a month after I was officially permanent. It would be around June when we could get a loan. So back to square one!

We continued looking. By June, we had looked at a lot of houses. One of the big themes we saw were houses that had been ruined by greedy, and arguably idiotic owners, by making them into modern day flop-houses. A lot of really nice looking houses have been modified to allow as many people to live on each floor as possible. It is patently illegal to over-occupy a house, but the local authorities really can't enforce housing regulations to that degree. In some of these cases, the owner made every room a bedroom -- large closets had doors with locks put on them, storage rooms were converted into bedrooms, back and front porches were enclosed and used as bedrooms, living rooms and dens were chopped up to make extra bedrooms.

House of Shame #1

We went to visit one house, and when we reached the top of the stairway to the second floor, we were faced by a wall of unfinished drywall that almost blocked the staircase; it was a tight squeeze to walk around it without falling down the stairs. Originally, it was supposed to be a living room and dining room area, but the owner erected a series of walls in the the room, and made 4 tiny bedrooms out of it. The kitchen was cut in half by another wall of unfinished drywall. We counted about 10 bedrooms in what was supposed to be a 2-bedroom apartment. There were at least 12 people living in this tiny space. It really disgusted me, because it was an otherwise nice house that had been ruined by a ridiculous and patently illegal construction.

House of Shame #2

Another house we saw clearly had about 4 different families living in a 2-bedroom apartment. Though no extra walls were erected, and no extra rooms constructed, you could see clearly that the 2 legal bedrooms had several beds in them, including cribs for a baby. There were people living in closets, on the back porch, and in the basement. We were all set to make an offer on this house, but someone beat us to it.

House of Shame #3

In Chelsea, a house we saw had the most outrageous and poorly executed renovations. They wanted to make the rear entrance to the basement a walk-in, instead of the bulkhead that was there originally. So they literally just built a large structure around the bulkhead. They paid no attention to the fact that a Living room window was sealed off by this project. They actually left the window in place, and when you looked out of it, all you saw was the basement entrance. It was pretty ugly. They wanted to convert the attic into living space, but there was no stairway to get up there. So they retro-fitted a long, narrow, steep set of steps up to the attic. It was all done wrong, and kind of roughly. The steps were not all even, and it was a serious hazard. Because of the badly designed staircase, the bedrooms at the top of the stairs were a step up from the end of the stairs. (sioux:such a sad house, they took out the center fireplace without propping up the basement and they kept the HUGE marble mantels...the whole house sunk towards the center.)

House of Shame #4

Possibly the worst house we saw was one that we like to call "The Crackhouse". It was a cheap house (2 family, with a 2 bedroom apartment on the first floor, and 4 bedrooms on the second and third) at $235,000. We drooled over the price. When we got to it, we were shocked. A good half the windows were broken. One of the doorways was clearly broken into. The building had been unoccupied for some time, and was most likely lived in by squatting homeless people or drug users. The wallpaper in the house was very old, stained badly, and peeling. The whole house smelled of urine. The carpeting was all stained and frayed. There was junk everywhere. One room had an old console piano in it that had been all smashed up. the kitchen looked like a fire had taken place in it. As we got to the entrance of the second floor, we could smell a strong odor of fuel oil. Apparently, the gas tank in the basement leaked, and the smell permeated the house. The second floor was more in tact, but that's sort of relatively speaking. There was a bedroom that had large holes in the walls, revealing the slats through the plaster. The room smelled strongly of urine. We left the house, disgusted and a little bit annoyed that any realtor would show this to anyone but a developer or wrecking crew. There were lots of non-English speaking immigrants being shown the house with us. Some seemed to think it was not such a bad place! I guess if people came from a country where a house like this is seem as a mansion, even though it's got problems, it's only good for the neighborhood, since they'll likely have enough money to fix it up after buying it at that low a price.
(sioux: at first, Dave said the 3rd floor smelled like animals had been living there, I replied that the animals were people with the emphasis on pee.. .eeew! Too bad, it had great potential--multiple fireplaces, great staircase and woodwork, but it was a TOTAL rehab. job)

The Mansion

We saw a gorgeous, classic, gigantic old turn-of-the-century Victorian house in Chelsea. It had high ceilings, was skillfully converted into 2 apartments, had only a minor amount of ugly renovations (all of which were cheap to remedy), but it had no kitchen on the first floor. The other problem was that all the rooms were huge, and the house would have been expensive to heat. It had 3 floors, with an attic. The 3rd-level of the turret was accessible via a secret crawlspace in the attic, which I thought was kind of cool. A lot of the original woodwork and the bathroom fixtures and tiles were still there. The hardwood floors were original, and had intricate patterns. It had several awesome fireplaces. The asking price was just within our price range, and we knew that we could low-ball it get it for possible $50K less, because of the work that it needed -- work that we could easily do ourselves. We really liked it and thought we could get it, but the lenders told us no -- because it needed so much work, and was being sold as-is, they didn't want to risk it. Curses, foiled again! (sioux:still on the market, nearly 4000sf, every architectural detail you want...grand curved staircase from 1 to 2, original Chelsea tile on the fireplaces, pocket doors, a couple of gorgeous stained glass windows, round turret, huge windows, big yard as well. and a $500,000 price tag to bring it back to real glory-labor not included)

The game we invented

While seeing all these over-occupied houses, we sort of came up with a little game we'd play. While driving to go see a house, we'd take a guess about how many people lived in it. While we toured each house, we'd count the number of beds we saw, how many rooms had locks on them, and the most telling sign -- how many name tags were on each mailbox. We saw some houses with about 8 name tags per mailbox. In Everett, there is a huge old victorian house that was not for sale, but we'd drive by it when going into Everett. When you pass by it, you can clearly see what looks like about 20 separate mailboxes on the front porch.
(sioux:winner edith st. we're pretty sure there are 24 people there. legally 5 bedrooms. sold at $20K over asking. we were thinking of offering $30K below on the day we first saw the house we're buying)

Another close call

We found a house that had most of what we wanted. It had a turret, and classic victorian looks, so we decided to take a look at it. It was clearly used as a flophouse, with every possible room turned into a bedroom, but none of them were done in a way that damaged the original floor plan. The back porch was enclosed, and you could see that it clearly was a bedroom. We thought it would be pretty cold there in the winter (not that we'd be using it as a bedroom), but we saw an innovative use of home appliances to make up for it. The dryer vent from the laundry room (which was not turned int a bedroom, thankfully) was vented to the porch, and we figure that it was heated in part by that, and also by electric heaters. It had a nice built-in china cabinet, and marble fireplaces. We made an offer on this house, too, but someone else beat us to it. Another one right through our fingers!

Needs a little work...

We saw this beautiful red victorian mansion in Chelsea, that was being sold for only $295,000. This was cheaper than the previous mansion in Chelsea, and when we saw it, it was gorgeous. The front entryway was all original woodwork, and the owner had it all decorated with (incredible) antique furniture. It was skillfully converted into 3 apartments. The basement was totally finished, complete with tile floors and woodwork. The first floor kitchen was fitted with expensive restaurant-quality appliances. The second floor apartment was not bad. There was a third floor apartment, but it was not legal. The people living in it had a makeshift kitchen on a folding table. The owner clearly was trying to maximaze his rental income by over-occupying it, but it was not done in a destructive way. We really thought it was nice, but the bad news was that the city told him that he had to build a legal second-floor egress. He only had one legal means of egress on the second floor, due to the fact that he didn't want to modify the grand-looking entryway in order to separate the first and second floors properly. It would have been pricey to re-configure things,(without ruining the overall grandness of the house-it really should have been a single, all 4500sf.) plus the first floor would have been made smaller as a result. We passed it, but grudgingly.

The one?

By August, 2008, we saw a house in Everett that seemed to be pretty good. It had only one closet/storage room converted into a spare bedroom (I'm telling you, this phenomenon of over-occupying houses is rampant in the area, and it really annoys my liberal sensibility), and seemed to not be too bad. We looked at it no less than 3 times, once with a building inspector. The inspector gave it flying colors. Though it needs a lot of work, most of the individual jobs are inexpensive and not time-consuming. The first floor is beautifully finished and recently renovated.(I'll disagree here-orange counters peach toilet--can you say 70's?) We can easily get a tenant to move in. We would live on the second floor, and use the third floor for storage and office space. The most expensive project will be making the stairway to the third floor, a proper staircase. The owner had built a rather steep, dangerous stairway to the third floor, and you have to duck to avoid smashing your head on the door-frame as you descend. We figure that paying a contractor to build the frame of the staircase in the correct position above the second-floor staircase will not cost too much, and we would finish it off ourselves to save money. The bathroom on the second floor was a bit ugly, and the kitchen small, but we've both lived in worse places. We could easily add more cabinets to the kitchen, and fix the ugly parts of the bathroom. We made an offer on it for about $1000 more than the asking price. This was done near the end of August, 2008.

But wait, there's more...

So we waited, and waited.(and waited and waited...) August and September went by, without a word from the banks. The Sub-prime Mortage crisis hit in mid-September, and there was all sorts of talk about banks getting bailed out by the government, the next Great Depression, and all sorts of gloom and doom. Our realtor and lawyer kept calling the bank to find out what was going on, and not a word. My girlfriend kept checking, and found that the house was still being listed as on the market. October came, and was almost over, then we heard word from our Lawyer that the bank owning the building said that they were expecting an offer for $310,000 (much more than the asking price) on it soon.

Just a little bit more...

I was really pissed, because we had seen so many houses get sold for low-ball figures that we could easily have afforded, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we never had that kind of luck. I thought that the bank was just trying to jerk us around and see if we'd offer more money, by making up a phoney story. So we started planning on looking at more houses. On November 6th, the bank called our lawyer, and said that our offer was highest. They asked what our minimum and maximum offers were. I immediately thought that they were jerking us around again, trying to see if they could squeeze more money out of us. My girlfriend and Uncle Ken agreed that we should offer a little more, to make sure we make the high bid. I still felt bitter about the whole process, and felt that if the second-highest bid (about $20K less than our offer) was as low as it was, then that's probably the maximum that the other buyer could afford. (sioux: that other lower offer was higher than number we started at for this house before we heard there were multiple offers. I figured if we were willing to go up $26,000 why wouldn't someone else, but this number was our max) I didn't think that anyone would jump and offer more than $20K more on a house than the asking price, especially in this market. I grudgingly signed a new offer for a higher amount, with my girlfriend and Uncle Ken, and waited to see what happened.

We got it... Almost...

We heard back from the bank, and our offer was (finally!) accepted! So we now have a house -- almost. We still have to close the deal, and sign a zillion forms. Hopefully, nothing unexpected will happen to take this one away from us. If all goes well, our next post will document the current state of the house, and we will start fixing things.

A little rewind...

We started looking in December 2007.

We looked at a lot of houses.

The word came down on Saturday November 8th that the offer (we first made on August 22, amended on August 24 and upped to "best and final" on November 7th) had been accepted by the seller's bank's legal team.

The wait was harrowing. I do nothing but eat under this kind of stress and was running out of clothes!

Yes, many things have happened in between, but the key thing now is

Barring disaster we'll get to move and fix it up and paint and decorate and tear down walls and find tenants and spend a ton of money and hopefully we end up having a funky house that we love.

I'd like to say never a short sale again, but in April 24th, this house was listed for $80,000 more than what we'll pay. I don't remember what it was when it first went on the market in the winter because it was WAY out of our price range. I do remember seeing it week after week in my listing updates and hoping it would make it to the point where we could look at it because it's a cute house in a very convenient location for us. If it weren't for the short sale process we wouldn't be writing this stuff!

Just found out the original asking price
(with this office,it could have been on the market for even more with someone else prior to this)
was $134,000
more than our price!

Yee Haw!
Of course we are still buying at a really scary time.