Friday, July 29, 2016

The house - back story

This was written earlier but I do not want to post until after closing.

May 30th
It's amazing how the details are coming together on our home. We have the inspection in two days (Tuesday, May 31st) and I was going back through my emails and calendar to get dates together to write this blog. Everything is lining up more so than ever that this is OUR home. 

We first saw this home on April 17th (!!! first sign - our anniversary) via a random open house. We loved this neighborhood and stopped at a few open houses this day. It was out of our price range so we would have never requested a showing with our agents. Our comments about this home to our realtor was as follows "had some really nice add-ons but a bit over the top and not very usable in our opinion. Also the basement was dungeon like and you had to walk a maze from the attached garage to get to the stairs inside"

At this point, this home had been listed for five hundred and some days. We thought something had to be wrong with it. Given the way the market currently is with houses selling within 24 hours of being listed and people questioning why a home is on the market more than a week we thought we might actually have a chance. 

We continued our house hunt and boy did we sort through a ton. It wasn't until May 5th that we asked to go see the house again with our agent this time. We had dinner at punch pizza, which pizza had become our house hunting tradition somehow by accident. We just loved the neighborhood of this home. We saw it again and could really picture it as home and who's room was where and what'd we use each space for. We knew then we needed to put an offer in. We were knee deep in getting our house ready to list and knew we wanted to present a strong offer since we would be offering lower than their asking (our max, which wasn't even an option weeks before). 

We had our professional photos done on a Tuesday, May 10th and that evening we both thought "we need to get our offer in, let's not wait til we sell" both knowing we would probably have an offer come Saturday, four days later. 

Wednesday we get a call that someone had put an offer in!!!?! Seriously after 500 and some days, why now?! So we threw one together too. Not as strong as we had hoped being that it was contingent on the sale of our home. We also wrote a letter with our offer explaining our situation and that we had seen the house weeks before but waiting to get ours sold and we had a young family, etc. The sellers actually took quite some time to contemplate the two offers they had just received. The other buyer offered more but they really wanted to choose us, in the end they did choose the other buyer because he was able to close fast, more money, and no sale contingency. This was pretty depressing for us. We had such strong feelings that we belonged in this house and it was such an emotional roller coaster. We listed our home, sold in two days and continued to look at houses. We started to seek out cheaper priced homes that we could add on to or renovate. We were getting desperate and the last thing we wanted was to buy a home out of desperation or settle for something we wouldn't be happy for. There was something wrong with every one (like there is) but nothing was striking a cord and now we had the stress that our home had SOLD and we had no where to go. Luckily our buyers didn't ask for a super fast closing and choose two months out. Which gave us about a month before we would need to start looking for rentals. 

I continued to spy on our Drew house listing and wondered why the inspection process was taking so long because the house was still listed as 'active contingent - inspection'. Typically it's: the buyer has 5 days to get an inspection, then 2 days to come back to seller to re-negotiate if needed, then the seller has another 2 days to get back to potential buyer. That weekend we were about 7 business days out and I had a funny feeling, but we kept going on because we obviously didn't get that house. 

We saw another house that was very promising going into it. I had looked the photos over so much the night before at work and had a great feeling about it. It was actually a few blocks down from the Drew house but on the St. Louis Park side (which we would have preferred). It had an open kitchen and an amazing main level. It did only have three bedrooms but we could make three work. We were even talking about what we would offer going in, it had been listed a few weeks so we knew it was over priced a bit. We had three showings set up that Saturday morning and the first was this Joppa house. It had a tuck under garage and before starting out we had pulled up to it in the van... it was a little small. Once we toured the house and made it to the basement we decided to even see if the van would fit... it wouldn't. Uh OH! The bedrooms upstairs were good side except one. The master was small which was okay, it had enough space for us. There was a bigger one that would be great for the girls or even three kids, but the third was pretty small. There was potential to build out above the back room to add another bedroom and the master had a private master bath which was important to us. But that garage... So we decided NOT to put in an offer and see the other two houses. One of which had an offer put in so if we were interested we'd need to submit something for that right away. We weren't fans of the house. The third was also a bust. Our agent talked with the Joppa agent who replied "just have them make an offer, the sellers are motivated to sell". With that we thought well if we could get this at a lower price the things that are wrong aren't that bad as we could fix it. So the plan was to contact a couple contractors to see what could be done with the garage as far as widening the opening. 

Sunday came around and I remember having a break down during my workout, it felt good to cry and to just surrender. We volunteered at church that morning and when she asked if anyone had prayer requests I raised my hand. Just for prayers in our search, prayers for patience and comfort during this stressful time. (As our three kids were running around the room, they could definitely see our struggle.) That afternoon I was taking a nap on the couch while the kids were down just before I had to head to work. The phone rings and I look at my watch (caller ID on my fitbit), it was Brent! Kyle says "how did you know that?" lol. He says "I just got off the phone with the agent from Drew. ::gulp:: are you guys still interested in the house?" Well of COURSE!!!! Turns out the buyer they chose over us was being "difficult to work with" "making ridiculous requests" "the sellers said they should have gone with their gut the first time and choose you guys" So we drafted up our same offer (which verbally had improved from our previous written offer when we were at the table with the other buyer) and turned it in Sunday evening. Monday we heard back that they were canceling the contract with the previous buyer and then by Tuesday we had confirmation that we were in a signed purchase agreement with the Drew house!!! Talk about answered prayers! 

We did find out the requests the previous buyer was asking the sellers to repair. One being a missing section of the sewer line that goes out to the street (which would not have been detected in a normal inspection) and two a crack in the fireplace. Both of which the sellers said they would be taking responsibility for and fixing prior to our closing. 

June 12th.
Picking up where I left off, I will catch you up to speed following the inspection. The night before the inspection we were doing some online digging. Trying to get more story on this house and why it had sat empty for so long. I had first thought they downsized into another house just south of this area (we had their address from the tax records). But then discovered they had actually UPGRADED to a brand new house in a highly ranked high school district. Then Kyle came across the husband's career, which happened to be a vice-president role at his very own company! My how the stars continued to align. So our thoughts of "What is wrong with this house?" "why hasn't anyone bought it in two years?" shifted back to "it's waiting for us" "we had the twins and God knew we'd need a house and this neighborhood is awesome so here it is"  There was only one other offer put in on this house in it's two year listing (beside us and the buyer we were up against) back in August of 2015 and not sure what happened either they or the sellers backed out during the inspection process.

Day of inspection came (finally, time felt like it was standing still). I met the guy there are 1:00. Took us an hour just to do the outside of the home, then we moved inside. Another hour for the upstairs and main level. Then about two hours for the basement (which was unfinished but also housed all the mechanical.) Nothing too alarming was revealed. There was some rotting trim around a couple exterior windows. The windows are updated, installed in 2009 but they didn't replace the trim and frame at that time. There was some water damage in the corner of one room in a closet due to flashing not getting installed on the garage roof. The problem has been fixed but they did not repair the wall. Lucky for us it's in a closet and possibly a DIY if it's not too bad once we get the drywall off to inspect the few studs it could have effected. The plumbing is a mix of copper and galvanized and being unused for two years probably hasn't helped matters. Water pressure is fine but taking a shower while someone else turns on a faucet or flushes a toilet won't be feasible so we will need to get that galvanized updated to pex, probably sooner than later. The electrical was also a mess, the breaker-box was unorganized and a lot of the rooms did not have ground outlets, so we would like to get someone in to clean things up, cover junction boxes in the basement, cap some lose wires and make sure all the outlets are grounded and capable of handling power for this digital age we live in. The garage is also a little tight (those darn tuck-unders) but the van fits! There were some other things that inspectors point out and will be good to be aware of or DIY projects in the future. A few other things not revealed by the inspector that we want to get done soon would be to have the trees trimmed, groomed, and cleaned up a bit and to have the stucco siding cleaned, repaired in some spots, and repainted.

We also got report of the chimney inspection the sellers had done in response to the previous buyers complaints. The professional report checked out, however our inspector did point out some cracks in the back bricks that are not an issue until we decide to use it. Which we would probably have fully serviced anyway at that point. So another thing in the future we can cross when the time comes. They also had the sewer line looked at and there is a piece missing about 65 feet away from the house toward the street. They will be getting that professional repaired and will be providing us the receipts prior to closing. Knowing that we are getting this house for less than we could any other house in this neighborhood and that they are addressing the sewer issue we choose not to request any other work be completed by the sellers and to move on to the next step: appraisal. We could tell from some of the work that was done previous that it was either not done correctly or just cheaply. We did not want the sellers getting something fixed just to please us and then we have to turn around and get it done again. So we were happy taking the responsibility of getting done what we wanted to get done and having it done to our sanctification.

The appraisal is set for Tuesday and we are hopeful that will go well.

July 29th
We've been in the house for two weeks. Can't believe it's all over. We had anticipated July 15th for two whole months and then it has come and gone. I have already blogged about moving day. I don't have much else to add to this but realized I had written it and might as well share.  

The appraisal went fine, they got the sewer line fixed the week before we closed and the rest is history :-P 

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