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Monday, August 20, 2012

"Radio Silence" and a Toilet Scrubber

House Update Post 

Here we are again. Another week has passed and I truly do not have any new news as to where we stand with the purchase of the house we are trying to get. After yesterday I even have to wonder why we do not move on to another home... but more on that in a bit. The standings are that we are in what seems to be the continuation of the waiting game with a dash of radio silence. We paid our 450.00 for the appraisal, money we do not get back, even if we walk away. I still have a very tough time wrapping my brain around that dollar amount gone with the swipe of a debit card and for something that has yet to happen. Come Wednesday morning it will have been a week since the order was put in to set up the appointment with the appraiser to see if we will be moving forward with this house. No word, not a peep, but they took the money. Be forewarned if you are about to go through this, it is not uncommon for it to take a week. We did not know that. It is also not uncommon for it to take place so close to the end of escrow.. "they wish to see if the deal is solid in other areas" we have been told. We just wired 2000.00 to the escrow company, I would say it is solid. Again, however I am wavering on the belief of this being the right house we wish to move forward on. I am sure that is natural, yet both the past two homes we have bought I KNEW. I KNEW when we put an offer on that house I mentioned a little over a month ago and got outbid. I have to wonder if I am/we are settling and fighting so much to get this home so that we do not have to go through all this over and over. Taking the ugly duckling that no one else wanted ( there was only 3 offers, including ours) and bidding so high and giving in so much on the contingencies that we have put ourselves in a bind. 

Not a single word of when the
appraisal will take place. It
is like radio silence. 

So let me fill you in on the misgivings. Like I said, either you have gone through this and can let me know this is natural, or you will be going through it and I can let you know it will most likely happen if you are facing all the hurdles we have and are. When the home popped up on the market, there was almost nothing available that was not a short sale or already in contingency (in escrow), or bank owned or a modular home (loans for mod. homes do not exist in California it would seem)and the few homes that were counted as strictly active were mainly cash only or were in such poor condition that we would and could not qualify with the strict FHA guidelines on what condition the home is supposed to be in. I saw this home, read the description and it sounded really good... nearly great. The photos were nice and the location was good, not great, but good. The price was a bit high, but not so high we could not go for it. Which of course we did. 

Myself and my agent took a drive over and went in. The owner and his father were actually there doing some work... awkward. Nice people, but you never want the owner there, you never look at the property that closely when they are and you feel obligated to say nice things. Now do not get me wrong there was some nice things to be said. There was a fresh coat of paint in every room, new carpet, new counters in the kitchen and one of the baths, new lighting and new flooring in the kitchen. That is all I really saw the first go round. I must have had blinders on. We left and looked at other properties and my hubby called and I mentioned the house and we all decided to go back and look. We again walked through, and suddenly new, less desirable things popped up.

I was afraid of the growing
list of need to do's and
it is still growing!

Upon closer exam, we noticed that the top of a toilet was broken, the windows, original casement windows with cranks, well some opened, and some did not. The slider did not open. There was some dry walling to be done in the garage to pass FHA, most of the cabinet doors in the kitchen did not match, and of course something we already knew in there, the "new" granite counters, well only one small piece was actually granite, apparently there had been a leak from the dishwasher (more on that in a bit), and when they had the repairs made a worker cracked the long piece of granite and the owner being over budget replaced it with stock counters... I am sure you know the type I mean. The back door will have to be replaced as there is a doggy door in it, and that is a FHA no-no, the yard was a mess, the fencing, well some needs to be replaced, and some repaired. There was not enough drawers in the kitchen there was none in the master bathroom.. OH MY! That master bathroom... EEEK! The very long list was growing... but we signed an offer all the same and made it so attractive to the owners that it was accepted.. with two changes.. the property was as is and had to have the inspection/appraisal in 10 days. I think we drank the Koolaide cause we signed. As you know from that day forward the fear and anxiety grew in me daily!! I know I have driven friends, family and our agent bonkers with questions and worries and woes... so much of it whirling in my brain that I have made myself physically ill. What had we gotten ourselves into??? Should we get out while we can?? The ticking time bomb is so loud it drowns everything out. It consumes me 24-7! I still look at homes daily online and wonder if we should pull out and go for one of them, one is even right around the corner, and turn key ready and 5000.00 less. But I am then reminded most likely there is already a bidding war on the properties by the time I think it over. 

Yesterday, we went to the house to work on a few things we know would be flagged in the appraisal process to be repaired. I bought cleaning products and we gathered tools, our agent and even our oldest daughter and started bright and early. Although we do not own the house, and do not even know if it will appraise where we can become the owners, fearing it will fall into a pocket between the offering price and the adjusted loan price, and not the right pocket at that; we decided we needed to be proactive. After fortifying ourselves with a breakfast from Sonic drive in and getting a Route 44 ice tea with extra ice to refresh myself while there, we got started. 

May not have scrubbed floors,
but we did worse areas! 

Hubby got to work with a mixture of white vinegar and Dawn detergent cleaning the track of the slider that would not open. After some time of being on his knees with a tooth brush, an old rag and the spray bottle of the mixture, I am happy to say that the door now opens and closes. Sadly, we also noticed there was a huge chip in the glass now, not from us, but it had not been there before and that was worrisome to say the least.. we one day would replace that slider, but not for sometime... and it makes you wonder how it happened?  Is it a safe neighborhood after all?? My daughter and myself along with the agent decided that it was time to tackle the bathrooms. Armed with the rubber gloves and every kind of cleaner I could think of we got started. 

Now, I have cleaned some disgusting bathrooms in my time, I shall spare you the details, and though these are not the worst that I have ever tackled, it was back breaking work to clean the toilets and showers. We worked and worked on all of them and I have come to the conclusion that we will be buying two new toilets, not the one as expected (due to the broken tank lid), because even though I sanitized the toilet(s) within an inch of their existence, the rust and lime stains on the toilets would not lift. I shall try again on the one, with some Limeaway and a pumice stone, given the chance, but I am thoroughly convinced it is not happening. The one tub/ shower combo, well the door on one side threatens to fly off... it will have to go... but I did get the tub pretty clean, and it will just need touch ups to get rid of lime stains. The other corner shower in what is called the master bathroom, but is really nothing more than a pit stop bathroom, well, it was scrubbed and scrubbed again and not any of the grime seemed to disappear. I shall not use it in it's current state, and well hubby has been informed that I want a new bathroom, even before the new kitchen... can you see the dollar signs gathering??   Add in the fact that the back yard is even more of a gathering spot for junk than we thought and we will need to clear that up and out, and tear down shelves in the garage... oh and put in the dishwasher should be moving forward as the latch does not work properly ... did I mention there was no cold water pressure in the kitchen and with all the minerals in the water we will have to put in a whole house filtering system as soon as we can?? I am sure you can see why I am wavering in my belief that we picked the right house... Hubby keeps saying it may not be perfect, but we can make it so... eventually. 

Upon our completion of the bathrooms to the best of our abilities and cleaning supplies at the time, hubby went to town putting up the lights so there would be no bare wires, and we tested and "oiled" up the gears of the windows that did have cranks. We still feel that the windows will be flagged and be in need of being replaced, as only half of each window open. We have funds in place in case we can not get the owners to replace them because of the "as is" stipulation, but hey we got them to open and close, so you never know; God willing that could be enough to get them to pass. Hubby tacked the fence boards and so it does not look like an abandoned house and we talked with our agent for a bit as to what we hoped would happen and what could happen once the appraisal finally comes in. Our hopes right now is that it actually appraises far below the asking price. Our reasoning is that in this ever changing market, with so many turn keys popping up all over the city we are looking in, especially with a home just around the corner (the one I mentioned in the beginning of this weeks tale) at a lower price, and that we can then go back to the table with the owners and tell them we still want it (why??I at times ask). We will tell them we are invested in making it happen (tell me again why?).We will state that if they will lower their asking price, amend the contract to allow time for us to fix everything (including the windows) to get the appraiser to sign off on it, and the lender to fund the loan, possibly even extending it 60 days so that we do not have to pay to get out of our lease here (first week of November would be perfect thank you), then we are all in. Not too much to ask right? This would be perfect, cause our payments each month would drop and we could recuperate quicker. HOWEVER, there is still a chance it will appraise right where we officially need it to, and we will still most likely be putting those darn windows in and just asking for the extension in return and be living on ramen noodles for a year to get back to where we are right now. With all this in mind, hubby and I departed and headed out to continue the day.

Minds and wheels spinning we decided to act as if we were not buying a home and forking out loads of money, and go to one of our fav places to eat, to just sit, relax and do our best to not discuss all the what if's, but instead all the what could be's. We chatted about what we would do to the house and the yard, what could stay the same and would would change over time. We shared a great burger, munched on a salad and sipped cool drinks and at times we said nothing at all and just sat there and people watched. 

More relaxed, but not ready to go home, we decided to go to a local wine tasting venue and sip vino and stock up our wine fridge before we are on 2 buck chuck for a while. We chatted with the servers as well as a couple of the wine makers who we are becoming big fans of their offerings, and when one asked me how the blog was going, and I told them that though not many are making comments on the current posts, and that in so many ways it had just become a therapeutic way to vent and release all the emotionally charged stress I was experiencing going through all this, that I was fine with it, and if it could help only one other person going through this as well to know they are not alone it was worth it. He raised his glass, and we raised ours and everyone said "cheers" and on that note, I conclude this weeks mini novel post of the journey to buy a house. Hoping that next week it will be good news to report, and if not good, then at least different.  


  1. Hi Ruby, After reading this post, I don't blame you for wondering if you made the right decision. I would be questioning my self also, but there will always be that question. When you are in a certain budget there will always be questions like that. Believe me....we live on a strict budget also, we are a one income family also. It would be a dream to have enough money to go out and buy a home that didn't need any repairs. Don't get discouraged, your hubby is guys will make it work. You give that home some TLC and watch it come alive. LOL I wish you the best of luck. Hope all goes well, I can see how hard you guys are trying.
    Thoughts and prayers are with you
    Dee xoxo

  2. While I don't leave comments, I do catch up with your house hunt every week or so. I share your love of home and how it looks, how it embraces you and your family. I recently read a list of the 10 things you should never say to someone when a loved one dies; I'm guessing it's a good list of things not to say to someone in your situation. So while I should not be saying "there is a reason for everything" and "it will all work out for the best"...I really do believe that...that it will all work out beautifully for you and hubby; wherever you land.

  3. I feel for you. Not much to say until the deal goes through. BUT, I can help you with the toilets. Don't use LimeAway. Look for a box of Iron Out. It's a burgundy and white box. You just wet the porcelain inside the bowl and sprinkle the powder all over. Close the lid and go eat a candy bar (or, two, or three) and give it at least a half hour to work. Go back and flush and almost every bit of that rust etc., will be gone! Just keeping doing the places you missed first time and around and save your elbow grease for trying on vintage dresses! Come visit when you can.

  4. Thank you ladies... look for an update with a bit more new news to come this next week. @Liz...Arranger hope you see this... thank you xx

  5. Good luck, Ruby! You've worked so hard to make this happen and who could be more deserving, I say! And you had the perfect way of ending that not-fun day, sharing a burger with your love and a trip to a wine venue! I know the feeling of wondering if this is the house for you. I even had that feeling with this little "piece of paradise." When we moved from our last historic home, we told ourselves we wouldn't look for a historic home. We wanted one with not much work, that we could simply decorate and that was it. Well, then this happened and this house happened to be sitting in a beautiful location. "It has good bones" definitely is true for this house, but there was a bucketload of work that we knew would need to be done and our budget, too, is tight, that's why we're doing the work ourselves. I had to laugh when you talked about the windows .. many of ours are painted shut, so don't feel bad. We have had no kitchen to use, as we knew this would have to be gutted to studs. My walls still aren't painted yet, as they have to wait until hubs is finished with putting down these lovely hardwood floors which have taken so long because of the shimming to be done. I have had to wait on the walls because they still have to be skim-coated before I can paint ... so, you see? As lovely as some things are, there's a LOT OF WORK involved! Keep us posted! xox

    SANDY M Illustration

  6. You've been a busy gal Ruby! I know that feeling all too well...there are so many things I want and just don't have enough money for...oh, for the woes of money. If only it did grow on trees!! You've got the right mindset...I just know whatever home you get you're going to make it look great and be filled with lots of love. *wink* Lots of luck to you lovely. xx

  7. I did see your response, Ruby. I hope the week has gone well. Liz


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