April 22, 2015

On buying a house

Let's just start this post by saying that the house buying process has taken us through feelings of frustration, irritation, hope, excitement and disappointment.

The good thing is, I don't think we are alone.  I think everyone must have these feelings to some degree when going through the process.

That said, can we catch a break already?

It started with this house...



Looks pretty good right?  Well, these pictures are a year old.  The pool now looks like an alligator swamp.  The inside is pretty OK, but there was a lot of work done by someone who built things solid but wasn't a very good finisher (think large gaps between the sheetrock and ceiling, among other things).  The house is a short sale and we were hoping to 203k it.  If you aren't familiar with a 203k, it is essentially a construction loan, wherein you purchase a home and add into the amount of your loan a budget to rehab it.
Anyway, the bid to do everything we wanted to this house was $127k.  It sounds huge, but we could have made it work because the asking price of the house was low.  That said, it was going to be a TON of work and ultimately we decided the area just wasn't quite right for us.

Around the same time was this place.....


Awesome yard, funky house.  Like funky, smelled like dogs funky.  This would have again been a 203k.  I liked the private lane it was on and the yard that backed up to a little creek area with horses.  But alas, husband didn't like that the yard was so sloped and the first house I showed you seemed to have more potential.

Then there was this place....



An awesome old ranch with a great layout that was on the bluff above the river and bike trail.  That view!  It also had a beautiful pool.  We had looked at it before we were serious and then it went pending....and then it fell out of escrow.  So we tried to make an offer and they already had two above list.  We didn't think it was worth that so we walked.

So then we looked at this place.....


This is a 1200 sqft 2/1.  What, you might be wondering, is a family of 4 even considering this for? Well, the area is our ideal spot.  It's nearly impossible to get into this neighborhood with our budget but we could have done it in this house and made it into a 1800-2000 sqft 3/2.  So we were excited. But, we got outbid.  We were in position of first back-up but the house sold for $16k over list.

Then there was this place....


It was a short sale in the same neighborhood as the one above that had been contingent for months and months. And then it became active again.  And we tried to jump at it even though it was at the top of our budget. And, of course, they already had multiple above list offers.  And now, it is contingent again.

There was also a shack, seriously a 447 sqft shack in an area of town that we LOVE.  We planned to slap an awesome pre-fab home on it.  It went so quickly we didn't even get a chance to bid on it.  Then it came back on the market and again we tried, but we found out the reason it fell out of escrow was because the county was requiring the new builder to put in a paved road big enough for a fire truck to drive down and turn around on.  For real.  This would have eaten up the whole piece of property.  So that was out and now its off market.  Go figure.

So then there was this place....




Yes.  It was on the river.  Like the river was your freaking backyard!  And that part of the levy is private.  The layout was great.  The house was totally 70's but who cared, we didn't.  But of course, multiple offers over list.

And then there was this place....


All I should really say here is this:  BONKERS Listing Agent.
It is in a great neighborhood, it has all hardwood floors, a pool, a big backyard, an electric charging station (we drive a Leaf!) and our best friends live literally down the street.  This came up and we jumped.  Like for real jumped.  We made a sight unseen offer on this place.  Our cover letter was kick-ass.
They told us they got the offer, we were in first!
They told us they were going to send a counter, "great!" we said, send it over!
We waited.
They told us there was another strong offer.
"Great" we said "send us a counter".
We waited.
And then the house popped up pending.
Not.  Even.  Kidding.
And this is where I get pissed.  I mean really?
Was it so hard to say, "hey, we are taking another offer"?
Apparently it was.
That said, how did the agent know we wouldn't have bid much more? The fact is, she didn't.
But then this thing fell out of escrow and the agent came back and said "make your best offer" and we said, we made an offer, make us a counter.  And again, we never heard back.
And then she re-listed the house for UNDER our original sight unseen offer amount?  Um what?  So we made another offer at the new list price.  And then she sent us an inspection from 2012 and told us it would be an as-is sale.  Huh?  #wethinksnot.  Then she wanted us to remove standard stuff from the contract (like we the buyer are paying for the pest inspection).  We said no, then we folded, then it went into escrow with someone else.  I feel sorry for the owners on this one....if only you knew.

Then there was this house.



We'll call it the Streng with the awsome kitchen.  You can learn more about Streng homes here and see more here.  They are a personal mid-century modern favorite of mine and there are many in the Sacramento area. The kitchen was sweet (it actually looks better in this photo than in person, but still).  I was more in love with this house than hubby....that being said, it had a lot of great features, like a neighborhood pool/cabana club literally across the street and it was in a great neighborhood.  We made an offer, we asked for a counter and once again, they picked another offer (which they told us was "similar") and didn't counter us back.  (Seriously, somebody needs to teach some of these real estate agents how to negotiate the best price for their sellers!).  Alas, this home was not meant for us either apparently.

And then there was this house.


I sent this to hubby kind of as a joke.  This place is a flat with a unit underneath.  I told him we could buy it and rent out the bottom.  Then he suggested my grammy live under us, which would be awesome.  It opened up a whole new idea of living and we loved the idea of a multi-generational household.  When we showed up for the open there were about 20 people waiting on the sidewalk.  Seriously.  But we made our bid, and crossed our fingers, and we didn't get it.  We were sad.  So was grammy.

And now there is this house.


Hi house!  We currently have an accepted offer on this house!  Yay!  Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly.  If so I can talk to you about fun things like moving, building a pool, building a tiny house for grandma, etc., etc., etc.

My message to you is this: If you too are looking for a house, don't be discouraged.  The right thing for you and yours is bound to happen.

The houses I'm showing you here are only a drop in the barrel of homes we've looked at and ruled out.  Even though the process is grueling and stressful and sad.  Even though every time you find one you like you imagine your kitchen and kids rooms and your stuff in that house....and you imagine it as yours and how your family will look inside.  Even though all of these things, it just means you haven't found THE ONE.  You are not alone!

All photos in this post are from Redfin.  I purposely did not include direct links as they include exact addresses.


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February 27, 2015

Cool Thing Friday #18



TGIF!

What color is this damn dress?











It's blue and black.

Have you heard of ThredUp?  Kind of cool, I haven't tried it yet.

Just genius.


Penny In Yo' Pants from Penny in Yo' Pants on Vimeo.

In news of the weird.

I've found myself obsessed with makeup dupes lately.  I'll let you know what I find.

Happy Friday!



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