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How to age 20+ years in a few weeks – Part III

 

 Real Estate

In case you have been following the tales on how I have literally aged 20+ years in a matter of weeks, here is the third installment. You can read parts one and two here;

When I last left off we had seen seven houses, none of which seemed like contenders. That is except the town house. That town house stayed on all our minds. We would love to make an offer on it but the price was a bit steep and we were not sure if we could afford it.

We kept looking for new listings.

My husband was working with a mortgage broker who told us the town home would be $400 MORE than what we figured out. That killed our dreams right there. We were crushed. We really loved the town home.

Many people told us NOT to use a mortgage broker because some of them tack in unnecessary fees so that they can get more of a commission. We are not sure if that is true or not so my husband reached out to a bank mortgage person whom was recommended to us. He told us a whole different story. He was giving us mortgage amounts that we could afford. It would be tight, but it’s “doable”.

Then we found out there was an offer on the town home. :-( At this point my kids are frustrated and I am so upset that I find that I’m crying myself to sleep at night and constantly feeling “down” and on edge.

My husband and I were also getting frustrated with the whole mortgage thing as far as what we can and cannot afford. The banker sent us three spreadsheets for three different options (3% down, 3.5% down, 5% down) as well as information on FHA loans, conventional loans and a million other things we simply cannot understand. He wants to meet with us but now is a busy time at my husband’s job and he can’t get away.

So now the kids are upset, we’re upset, we’re also stressing about $$$$ (or lack there of), waiting for the contracts needing to be signed to sell our place, worried about not finding a place and either settling or having to pull out from the sale… a million things are hanging over our heads. I’m NOT exaggerating when I say I have never seen my hair this gray/silver/white in all my life. Even my husband seems to have aged practically overnight. He looks young for his age but suddenly he looks his age, and that is concerning. The wear and tear of selling/buying has got the best of us.

Then there was a glimpse of hope. The town home was still on the market. The seller couldn’t get a mortgage for is.

My father told us to pick out a few more houses and he would come with us as an extra set of eyes. We found a few homes and also included the one my husband liked (the one where the bushes were consuming the house) and the town house we love.

The house my husband liked (the “bush” house) was sold. So we had three new houses to look at and the town home.

Pretty on the outside - needed a lot of work on the inside.

Pretty on the outside – needed a lot of work on the inside.

House #1 – It was big but the layout was weird. There were two rooms upstairs and one in the basement. The whole basement layout was off because it was going to be an apartment but the town wouldn’t approve it so it’s a basement with a kitchen and the room that was going to be the bedroom was not finished. The basement ceiling was also low. I’m 5′ 3″ and I almost hit my head on the side where it sloped.

There was a large area of the backyard that was recently dug up. That was a concern. Was something replaced or repaired and why?

The kitchen was outdated and needed new appliances (the stove didn’t work). The back deck (upper and lower) needed to be repaired or replaced.

There was a shower stall in the upstairs bathroom that was so tiny I could barely fit in it. My husband and son would have to bend over so as not to hit their heads on the shower head.

The neighborhood was nice enough, but it was also in a school district we knew nothing about.

 

Outdated kitchen and needed a new oven.

Outdated kitchen and needed a new oven.

House #2 – This was an old house in the village. It had potential, or so I thought. The kitchen was outdated, the oven (built into the wall) had to be replaced. In order to get into the 3rd bedroom (which was tiny) you had to go through the master bedroom. They listed it as a 4 bedroom but the 4th bedroom is suppose to be the attic which was unfinished. The basement was too scary to go into and had a sub-pump which apparently is used frequently because of the hose that runs out of the basement window and into the driveway.

I had hope for this house but after seeing it I wasn’t too sure anymore.

House #3 – This was a short sale about to go into foreclosure. We had a feeling it was going to need A LOT of work. It was listed at $160,000. We thought we could offer $140,000 – $150,000 and then take out a mortgage of $180,000 and use the $30-$40,000 to fix the place up (new appliances, new flooring, new windows…).

Let me put it to you this way – I never got further than the front door. My husband, son and our agent walked in, I stood in the door way with my father, stepmother and daughter. There was a sign on the wall next to the door where people wrote about the condition of the home. At one point it said “good” but then all it read was “poor” and the most recent updates include MOLD! And from what my husband describes from what he saw in the kitchen it might be black mold, one of the most toxic kind.

There was no saving that house. Our agent said “Well, maybe you can gut the place and re-do the inside”. NO WAY! That entire house needed to be knocked down and rebuilt. The condition on the outside was just as bad.

I even asked why “mold” was not listed in the description. The agent jokingly said “Well that is not exactly a selling point”. You think? The description would read “Contractors only – house must be knocked down”.

Looks are deceiving. Nice outside, black mold, gutted and horrific on the inside.

Looks are deceiving. Nice outside, black mold, gutted and horrific on the inside.

On to house #4 – the town home we love.

My daughter was the first one to walk into the house (aside from the agent) and the first words she said was “I’m home”. :-)

My father and stepmother loved the town home. They even commented on how many more updates the town home had compared to their beautiful home.

My father looked at the utilities, such as the hot water heater. He gave my husband a crash course in hot water heaters. He told him it was small so all four of us couldn’t take showers one right after the other, but we could replace it in a few years if we wanted to.

Our agent said if we wanted the place to make an offer (she gave us a number about $28,000 less than the asking price).

We couldn’t stop talking about the town home. It’s unanimous – we love it and we want it. But can we afford it?

It was back to crunching numbers and going back and forth on things. It’s the PMI insurance that is the issue. We can’t put 20% down so we have to pay that insurance which is about $250 per month on top of the mortgage and taxes. That is A LOT of money.

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My father was looking into the numbers on his end too.

Worried that we might lose out on the town home we made an offer (the number the agent told us to offer) only to find out there is ANOTHER OFFER ON THE TOWN HOME!!!!

We were told they were in a stand still. The buyer didn’t want to come up anymore and the seller didn’t want to come down anymore. She gave us a number to offer that was $21,000 MORE than the original offer we were told to come in at. So we made that offer.

My husband spoke with our neighbor who also works with mortgages (business, not personal) and told him that at the current offered amount it’s right where we want to be as far as monthly payment. We’ll have to pay the taxes separately (not include them in the mortgage) but that is “doable”.

So as of right now (the time of this writing – Monday 8/26/13) we have not heard back from our agent on whether or not they accepted our offer. We are all on pins and needles. My husband was so stressed over it last night he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

To be honest this was the first time in weeks that I felt a little sense of “relief”. I don’t know why. Maybe that means they will accept our offer and we will have our home. My husband doesn’t want to jinx anything.

If they do (and I pray they do) accept our offer it’s not going to be cheap, but we’ll make it work. I plan on getting a job (I won’t give up blogging) which will help elevate a lot of the expenses. Anyone want to hire me? :-)

Wish us luck!!!! I hope and pray all goes well. If it does, and after we close and move, I’ll be needing ways to erase the 20+ years that have been added on to my life from this whole selling/buying experience. I honestly thought it wasn’t going to be THAT bad. I was way off.

Have you sold and/or bought a home? Was the experience BEYOND stressful?

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Kimberly

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About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family, five cats, dog, a tank full of fish and snails. She is also a freelance writer and photographer.

Comments

  1. I hope they take your offer. I am with you on buying a home it is very stressful. I wish the home prices in CA were that low. We had to look at about 40 houses or so, it really takes a look of looking to find the right one.

  2. It was hard enough buying in Colorado much less California. I always think about earthquakes too. Yes my dear, home buying is very stressful.

  3. my daughter and son in law bought a house in CT, it was the same thing, the PMI is ridiculous and takes
    the mortgage payment over the top

  4. I hope they accept your offer. Here in the Midwest, there are an abundance of reasonably priced homes. We built our first home and are planning to build again in the next year or two. Looking at floor plans is stressful. Good luck.

  5. Good luck with all of this! I can’t believe all of the duds you have looked at. We have moved around a lot in Santa Barbara, first in owned homes and now in rentals, and I have never seen any as bad as you described!

  6. Olivia Rubin says:

    The mold story reminds me of house hunting with my mom and stepdad when I was 9 or so. We were in the basement and I asked “why is there grass growing through the carpet? My mom was so glad I came along because they like that house, but I guess me being shorter and all I saw the grass.
    So happy for you all. I’m sure everyone will want to spend thanksgiving at your home this year and new ornaments for Xmas – our first Xmas

  7. My heart goes out to you and your family as you navigate your way through the emotional roller coaster that is buying and selling a home. It can be done, though, so I hope you can stay sane until you reach your goal.