Posts from March, 2011
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the inspection for our sale of park was tuesday, and by the end of the day some of the sparkle had started coming off of the prospective buyers for our place on park road.
i should start by saying that we we’re a little cranky to start.
part of their original offer to buy our place was “complete flexibility” for our settlement and move out — they were living somewhere month to month, and just needed to give 30 days notice. however, by the time the contract came, that had been revised down to “no flexibility what-so-ever” and we had to move out the same day as we settled on Monroe, which is a logistical nightmare.
(in the end, we negotiated a scant 7 day rent back, but thankfully it’s all we needed.)
as a result, we decided to be a little more proactive with their inspection of our place — we tried to gave them a bunch of information on our place up front, in an effort to make sure they got everything they needed out of their morning kicking our tires.
unfortunately, they still couldn’t find our water heater — even though we had done everything short of drawing them a map based on our own journey of water heater discovery.
they gave us a provisional list of issues they wanted addressed — including two that to this day i have no clue what is broken (and neither of those are the one where they want something “adjustmented”):
(we opted to give them $500 to fix the stuff themselves.)
as for the “missing” water heater, they asked to extend the inspection another five days — just long enough to put our purchase of Monroe in jeopardy. instead, we gave them a day extension, and Brandon suggested that I be there the next morning to talk them the place everything myself.
what followed was a lesson in the power of eye contact — as it turned out that they were legitimately nice people, doing exactly the same sort of thing the lady sparkler and i would have done.
mr. firsttimehomebuyer was detail oriented and focused on making a great investment decision (not unlike my own beloved). mrs. firsttimehomebuyer was a neo-hippie (much like myself) who was excited primarily about the community and the neighborhood.
we talked about our place, the building and the neighborhood — and in the course of 20 minutes they went from inexperienced ogres who we’re screwing up the purchase of our dream home to people we’d totally have over for dinner.
if the lesson of the last two weeks to our real estate agent is to take all his places off the market to make them sell quicker, the lesson for us is to meet any prospective buyers ourselves and take them out for drinks.
the contract on our new place has been fully signed and ratified (tho, i have no clue what that means, unless it involves a 2/3rds majority of the U.S. Senate).
we’ve got our home inspection this saturday at 2pm, and the lady sparkler has been furiously working on financing and spreadsheets to make sure we’re all good there (and we are).
assuming that everything goes well with our purchase and our sale, we’ll have a very busy Memorial Day. we’d settle the sale on Park Road on Monday, May 23rd. we’d settle the purchase on Monroe Street on Wednesday, May 25th.
then we’d rent back our current place on Park Road from the new owners through Sunday, May 29th, so we’d have about 5 days to swap everything between the two places.
in the meantime, we’ve been watching a lot of tv — the “worst” being holmes inspection on HGTV.
the basic premise of the show is to find “homeowners facing massive repair bills and dangerous living conditions due to incompetence within the unregulated home inspection industry,” and then call in Canadian construction foreman extrordinaire Mike Holmes to “make it right.”
about a month ago, we saw an episode of holmes inspection where all the supporting walls of a 100 year old row home had been taken down, causing over $300k worth of repairs to restore the collapsing floors — which is exactly what we thought had happened to the very first monroe place we looked at.
this week we saw an episode where termite damage had done $150k worth of damage to a the first two floors of a different, but similarly aged rowhouse. the next day, we found out that the current owners of our future place have been monitoring termites on one of their neighbors’ front porches.
(the current owners have been treating “our” new porch regularly for the past couple years to prevent the issue from jumping property lines, and the faulty porch is “due” to be replaced this year.)
it’s nice to know that when the real stress starts settling down, we have some good “hypothetical” stress ready and waiting in the wings.
it would have been a stretch for us at full price, but it’s been sitting one the market without any offers for more than two weeks now. that means that the market has spoken and deemed the price too high.
so, tonight we’ve put an offer for (effectively) 4% off the list price, with the expectation that will be negotiated back down to between 2% and 3% off list — which is much more in line with what we were thinking for a house budget.
the place *is* beautiful.
it was built in 1915, resides within a formal Historic District, has all its original molding and the original floor plan — things that no other house we’ve looked at has had. the view from the porch and the front bedroom is across rock creek park, and just stunning.
our only real complaint is the lack of a second bathroom upstairs and a kinda small third bedroom, but both of those things can be fixed with a small addition off the back — something that both neighbors have already done so there is every reason to assume it’d be approved by the District.
(also, if we ever get around to having a “thing #2” of our own, the smaller third bedroom has it’s own porch so the demand between the two rooms will eventually balance out.)
our target house also has a rental efficiency in the basement that was (at one point) officially licensed by the city — a bit of a rarity as far as basement apartments go — which we can expect to take about $800 or $900 off our mortgage each month for as long as we care to rent it out.
so, all engines are go — let’s hope this thing works out.
UPDATE (FRIDAY @ 9pm): We’ve heard back from their Realtor that they’ll be responding tomorrow (Saturday) by noon. Responding is good, because it means our offer hasn’t been summarily rejected.
UPDATE (SATURDAY @ 11AM): The response timeline has slipped a little bit — from noon to “some point today.” It came accompanied with the story that the new house they’ve bought in New Jersey flooded this week, which seems to be reason enough to give them a break.
UPDATE (SATURDAY @ 5PM): Now we’re starting to get a little cranky. They reviewed our offer and decided that they wanted some more supporting (eg. financial) documentation. Seems like that was something they could have asked for, oh, say … 24 hours ago.
Brandon (our agent) said it’s because of how we structured the deal — instead of taking 4% off the price, we said we’d pay full price but they’d have to give us 4% of the value of the house at closing.
Apparently asking for the cash back can either be interpreted as (a) smart, because right now borrowing money is so cheap vs. having cash on hand; or (b) reckless, because the seller thinks you don’t actually have the cash to complete the transaction without the “subsidy.”
I don’t have the heart to break it to them that the only reason we asked for such a large number was because we assumed they’d chop the figure in half before the sent it back to us.
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 11AM): More waiting. They got the financial stuff, and are going to meet (Realtor and sellers) this afternoon to discuss.
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 1PM): They countered. They “kept” our 4% cash back at closing, but upped the price by three percent to take three-quarters of it back. We’re countering at exactly halfway between our initial offer and their list price (which is conveniently enough where we thought we’d end up anyway). Seems like a fair compromise.
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 2:30PM): God, this is excruciating.
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 2:45PM): The sellers are on their way to New Jersey (to their flooded house, presumably) but Brandon made it through to their real estate agent and she “didn’t see any reason why the counter wouldn’t be accepted.” I think that’s about as good a news as we could get without a formal “yes” — but i’m breaking out the hard liquor to numb the pain regardless.
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 3:15PM): “The waaa-aiting is the hardest paaart.”
UPDATE (SUNDAY @ 6:00PM): they agreed. we just bought a house. in dc. in mount pleasant. what the heck?!? good things really do happen all at once.