Housework.

Posted by DmentD | House,Pictures | Wednesday 21 May 2008 1:38 pm

After receiving several requests for pictures of the new house, I am simply going to link to the gallery I am posting pictures into as I take them.

Go HERE to see work in progress pictures of the house.  There are appropriate descriptions accompanying the pictures.

New roof is installed, and looks great.  Started painting the garage.  Kitchen cabinet refinishing is done… just need to build doors and shelves now.  The fridge was delivered and is chilling like gangbusters.  New attic ladder is installed.  Ran all new coax cable and stripped off the miles of old cable from the outside of the house.  Pre-installed rear-channel surround sound speaker wires in the attic to save trouble later, and to avoid disrupting the insulation that is going to be blown in in a few weeks.  Installed new locks and security strike-plates, and window locks.  The alarm wiring is pre-installed, and ready for the alarm company to finish up next week.

The move happens on May 24th.  That’s when the movers come and haul all the heavy, bulky, unwieldy shit from my second floor apartment and place it right where I tell them to in the new house.  This week is finding me packing boxes and moving them a truckload at a time to the new house.  My intention is to have everything in the apartment — with the exception of the big stuff — boxed and moved before Saturday.  Moving sucks donkey cocks, and if I can avoid imposing said donkey cock sucking on my friends, and avoid a HUGE push to move everything in a single day, I will.

So far, so good.

More news to come as is comes.

Share

I Am House.

Posted by DmentD | House | Thursday 1 May 2008 2:14 pm

It’s official — my bank owns a house, and they’re gonna let me live in it.

Spent an hour signing eleventy-billion pages of paperwork.  The moment of comedy came when I was asked to sign a sheet of paper two ways for the bank that demonstrated my signature both with, and without my middle initial… and anyone who has seen my signature knows that you’d be hard pressed to make out any letters, much less the presence or absence of a middle initial.  I gave the title lady a look that said “you’ve seen the chicken scratch I used on the last hundred pages, are you being serious?“, to which she chuckled and told me to sign it the same way on both lines.

After closing, I met the seller’s agent at the house to receive the keys.  That is the first thing to get changed… the cheap-ass, made by Tonka locks on the house right now, and of particular note, the deadbolt and knob lock that are upside-down, as they are made for a door with the hinges on the other side.  New, well made door locks (Schlage), heavy-duty strike plates, window locks and a lock bar for the sliding glass door.  Then blinds, and a garage-door opener (the original one is MIA).

Bought a fridge too.  Well, ordered one.  25 cubic ft, “titanium finish” stainless steel, bottom freezer and french-door fridge, and ice maker (thank Jeebus).  To be delivered on the 10th, and it will just squeak into the space I have available.

Starting the address change dance.  Joy.

This weekend I go and start prepping the location to begin trickling things over.  Not much in the way of room painting needed, but the garage has some unpainted drywall, and frankly, could use a coating that dust and grime won’t stick to.  Also, the upper kitchen cabinets will eventually get glass-front doors, but the insides of the cabinet are nothing I want to show off, so those will need paint too, along with a few coats of poly for the cabinet fronts (the seller re-stained them, but neglected to seal them).

The new roof should get installed next week, and the following few weekends will likely hold some coax cabling work, new ductwork and a hefty dose of attic insulation.  The movers are scheduled for the 24th, and they are moving all the big crap I don’t care to carry down a flight of steps.  Everything that can be put into boxes will be transported by me during the next few weeks.

That’s all the news fit to report.  I ditched one elephant off my shoulders, so my stress is lessened by that much.  I can move forward with regard to the house, and not just sit here with my thumb up my ass.  Hopefully soon, one of the other elephants will at least reduce dramatically in size once Sweets finishes with the visa application and approval.

Share

House Update.

Posted by DmentD | House,Stress | Monday 14 April 2008 1:36 am

So, inspections are done, and turned up nothing that would give me cause to “run, don’t walk” away.  It’s a 25 year old home, and as such has things that need doing.  I made a list, checked it twice, and submitted an amended contract to the seller.

And waited nervously.

One of the things I did want taken care of was the roof, which had about a year-and-a-half of viable life left to it, and showed damage from hail and trees.  This was a point of contention with my insurance company, and as such an important issue with me… an expensive issue.  The seller has to be well aware of the condition of the roof (as it was quite obvious), and the property was a rental, and I’m sure he was reluctant to put any more into it than was strictly necessary.  So, my request for funds for a new roof were likely not to be a surprise.

So, along with the amended contract I submitted a letter from my insurance company basically stating that any policy they issued me would indeed be very temporary, and replacing the roof was a condition of a long and healthy relationship with them.  I also got quotes to have the roof redone and submitted those as well.  I asked for the sum of cheapest of the two quotes to be paid into escrow, to be paid directly to the roofer upon closing.  I also asked for a number of other necessary repairs.

They agreed to pay in full for the roof repair, and offers a sum of cash to cover the cost of the other repairs, and I could do them myself.  Deal!

I’ve signed off on the above amendments to the contract, and sometime tomorrow it should be filed with the title company.  Once that happens, I am on the fast track to actually buying this house.  Now I need to lock in my interest rate and finish the mortgage process (which I was pre-approved for).

Should all go well, I close on April 30th.  I’m more than a little excited.  Nervous too.  But hell, I’m one door-slam away from going homicidal on my downstairs neighbors, so this is for the best.

Share

Home, Home On The Brain.

Posted by DmentD | House | Monday 31 March 2008 12:45 pm

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been looking to buy a house.  The one in NOLA sold near the end of 2007, and that marked the moment when I seriously considered home ownership again.  My slate was clean, and I now had the finances to put a significant down payment on a new place.  My debt is nil, and my credit is awesome (and nobody was more surprised than I was about that).

Started the search January 7th.  Looking specifically for a single story house, around 1300 sq ft, a two car garage (one side to park in, one side to have as a workshop), three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a reasonable yard, a spacious kitchen, and located in South Austin.

To keep within my calculated comfortable budget, my sacrifices would fall along the lines of proximity (looking further south, and consequently further away from downtown) and attractiveness (finding a place with good bones and lots of potential that had a certain amount of “ick factor” that I could spend my own time renovating bit by bit).  I have a few deal breakers: foundation issues, obviously crappy neighborhoods, low flood elevation, natural drainage issues like a driveway that slopes down toward the house or a yard graded toward the house rather than away from it, location immediately on a busy road, and direct close proximity to train tracks.

In early February I went under contract for a house that had a phenomenal multi-level yard, and was located on a third of an acre.  The house itself was dated, had obvious potential, but was a two story home and had some immediately apparent problems that didn’t seem unsurmountable.  We haggled the price down about $8k — it was at the high end of my comfort zone for price, but certainly worth it considering it’s location.  The lot more than made up for the shortcomings of the house.  That is, until the inspection.

Settling had caused some flexing of the foundation.  No breaks, but there was dramatic difference in elevation from the center of the house, to the corners.  The bulk of the house had vinyl siding on it, and that was becoming another death knell right there as there was a 90% chance that the siding was concealing a deteriorated original exterior, and would invite future expenses to have the whole thing stripped off and redone with proper fascia material (and another deal breaker was added to my list).  The heating and AC systems were “antiquated”, and the ductwork was riddled with holes and in need of immediate replacement.  There was a mystery leak from the roof that had rotted the interior of an outside wall in the utility area of the garage.  There was a buckle under the floor of the second story that ran front to back that was a side effect of the flexing foundation. And many, many more problems… too many to list.

I walked away from that house reluctantly, but happy that I didn’t buy into a lemon.  That foundation problem alone would have been an inherited albatross around my neck, and would have dramatically devalued the house when I went to resell it.  But damn, that yard was awesome.

Continued the search, and found another place I liked.  Started the haggle over the price until the owner put his foot down and wouldn’t go any lower… a meager $3k less than his listing.  The house was about $7k more expensive than the other most expensive house in the neighborhood, and about $10K more than the average neighborhood prices (and as a rule of thumb, you never, ever want the most expensive house in the neighborhood).  Fine.  If you can get that price from another buyer, go for it, but you’re not getting it from me.

About that time the interest rates for mortgages took a jump due to the high rate of foreclosures and underwriter skittishness as a result.  They were in the mid to upper 5% range when I started looking, suddenly they were in the high 6%.  Anything under 7% is a deal, but I’ll be damned if I don’t take advantage of this downturn in the market to get a killer APR.  I put on the brakes to see where they were going.

Meantime, home prices are dropping a bit.  The advantages have been falling to the benefit of buyers with the big home sales slump, and all the foreclosures — and apparently sellers are getting the message.  Home prices have been over inflated (and climbing) for the last decade, and now they’re starting to head back down to normal mortal levels.  Good for buyers who plan to stay in a house for a while.

Resumed the hunt when the interest rates came back below 6% (and they’ve been hovering there for a while).  In the last two weeks I’ve had two houses sniped out from under me before I could even put an offer on them (one of them went under contract an hour before we set foot in it).  Both were on the market less than 3 days, in decent neighborhoods, and reasonably priced from the start.  This was a sign that buyers were paying attention now, and that I couldn’t waste time when putting an offer in on a house that I liked.  It also meant I was getting better at targeting houses that suited my tastes, and were attractive to others as well.

Saturday I looked at four houses.  The last one was a winner.  Got a great vibe off of it, the layout was nice, it was a reasonable size and seemed to be in really good shape.  And Jeebus, the kitchen is huge.  It was on the market for two days.  Left there and went right back to my place where my Realtor an I banged out an offer.  Ours was the first they received.  A few hours later I got the word that they accepted it.  Wow, that was fast.

So, the main inspection happens this Friday, the 4th.  The plumbing inspection is next Monday, the 7th.  We have till midnight on the 8th to get out of this contract scot free for any reason whatsoever.  If all goes well, I close on April 30th.  But, should the general inspections turn up anything nasty and expensive, I’m outta there.

Stay tuned for updates, kids.

Share
All graphics, photos and site content © 1997-2017.  All rights reserverd.  "DmentD" and "DmentiA" are trademarks.
Site created and maintained by DmentD.  DmentiA powered by Wordpress.