Friday, November 13, 2009

Stuff I Made: A Human!

Halloween at 16 ish weeks. The cautionary whale and her boss boyfriend.

So, yes, while I have been absent for a while - I've been making lots and lots of stuff. Flippers and chromosomes and other stuff. Making a baby. A big baby. So while the husband tackled many awesome home projects, I reminded him that I was also busy (... napping...) . There was A LOT going down in my uterus. Anyway, so yes, now I am in my pregnancy happy place where I can do stuff again without falling over or getting motion sick. Yay!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (or Buying the House - Part 2)

So, with our little hearts and spirits broken, we took a chill pill. For about a week. Yeah, we are kind of hyper when it comes to this stuff. We jumped back on the horse, and went on some real serious house hunting trips with our realtor. We saw stuff that I would have never stepped foot in based on online ads. We saw the good, bad, and a whole lotta ugly. But I’m pretty proud of husband and I, we aren’t turned off by ugly. In fact, we had an agreement that if something is “too nice” it just wouldn’t be right for us. We like to polish up something that is rough and unloved. We’re gluttons for punishment like that. Our realtor was pretty impressed with the amount of eyesore we were willing to overlook. Cute, right? These doe-eyed newlyweds don’t have a clue.. oh but we did. We have vision. Or something like that.

So anyway, jump to the current tour of slumping roofs and bad paint. We go to a house that I had already told husband was an impossibility. The pictures were just too generic. The place didn’t seem to have a personality at all. But I begrudgingly went anyway.

You know what? I got the feeling. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes you just get a feel for a place by just being there. I’m not a hippie, I swear. Sure, there were some definite cosmetic issues. A moldy bathroom and a dank kitchen. A sea of juniper out front. But, there were also lovely hardwood floors and nice architectural details that surprisingly weren’t in the ad. Maybe I’m the only one who would call it nice? I’m not really even sure what it is. Mid century swoopy light thing? I digress. You can’t put a price on the “feeling”, and it was definitely there.

So we did our thing, put our bid in, and guess what? We got it! Turns out this house’s specialness was really really overlooked by others because it had been on the market for over a year, and had gone through a few price reductions. Whoa. So that worked out for us. I’d like to think little housey was just waiting for us to come along.

So, looking for some real down and dirty details or advice? Loan crap? Paperwork up the wazoo? We did an FHA loan, so if you have specific questions about that process, feel free to drop me a line. It wasn’t the easiest thing, but we made it work. I don’t think I have a whole posts worth of info on it, but really, fire away in the comments or via email if you want to chat about it.

Up next… big announcement #2. You can probably guess..

Monday, November 2, 2009

Buying the house - Part I

So you’re thinking of buying a house, huh? Got the wanna-spend-crazy-amounts-of-cash bug? Well, I’m sure that in most parts of the country, right now is a pretty great time to do it. Interest rates are low and prices are down. Of course, we live in one of the most bloated real estate areas of the U.S. (the San Francisco Bay Area), so our prices haven’t been reduced all that dramatically. Anyway. Based on our experience, I’ll try to impart some world weary wisdom on the process, but I am no expert on this stuff. We lived, we learned, and we made some mistakes. Here’s our story.

Husband spends a lot of time looking at real estate online. Always has. His job is somewhat related to doing just that, so nerd herder that he is, he does it in his free time as well. He pores over Redfin. Zillow is his homeboy. I’d gotten very used to our Sunday ritual of reading comics and slurping fruity pebbles while the husband further ruins his eyesight by scanning hundreds of open house listings online. This is every week. For years. Except one magical Sunday was different. He had found the holy grail of houses. Charming bungalow, good neighborhood, and best of all dirt CHEAP. So we decided to go take a looksy, and it was all kinds of wonderful. Know what else? There were about 12 other couples there, all agreeing how wonderful it was.

But noooo… this was OUR house! How dare they even cross the threshold! Get your dirty paws off that antique doorknob! Basically, we went from zero to sixty on the house hunt in a few hours, because we were so convinced that this should be our house and we just HAD to WIN!

To that I now say, “brilliant marketing, realtor person.” Because obviously, we were playing right into their hands. Our realtor (who we hastily secured that same day over the phone) pressured us to put in an offer way above asking price. We didn’t. We put in an offer just at asking, and were outbid by 8 other people. Obviously, we lost the house.

We were dumbfounded. I watch the Today show, for crying out loud! There’s a recession! Since when are people fighting over houses? This is not 2006!

Valuable lesson learned – in the Bay Area, it really doesn’t matter. We learned about “teaser prices”. That listing was designed to create a bidding war. After that we had quite a feeling of bah-humbug. We didn’t really want you anyway (even though we really did, and our little hearts were broken). But dear friends, the story doesn’t end there. There’s light at the end of this here tunnel (if you want to spoil the ending, see the post right under this one..)