More House Talk (With a Punk Thrown in for Good Measure)

The verdict is out on summer camp.  My kids definitely like it, even though some mornings, they still balk.  I, on the other hand, am not so sure.  It’s not that I’m not enjoying the wee bit of time it’s giving me (to run countless errands associated with selling one’s house), it’s just that I can’t help noticing that when First Son comes home from camp he’s decidedly, jerky.

I’m pretty sure I know where, or rather, who, it’s coming from, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take, correct, or be patient, when he utters something like, “You just don’t understand me, anymore.”


What I understand is that I’m paying a good bit of money for you to act like a complete and utter punk.  How wonderful of me.

The other day, it was so bad, that I almost canceled a play date he had scheduled. But, I didn’t. Because really, who would I be punishing?  It was better for both of us that he went.  He was with a mom that “understood him,” i.e., packs her son cupcakes and junk food for snack, and I got to take a breather from the punkiness.

In other news, yesterday, was the big inspection day.  I’m not expecting any big surprises, but who can ever really tell.  I know home inspectors are bound by rules and all, but I can’t help but think that some inspectors have a chip on their shoulder.  I think they enjoy the power that comes with the position, especially in a down market. The exact opposite attitude they had in a seller’s market, when they saw that whatever they said really had no bearing, and sellers just went to the next person in line when a buyer started tacking on too many demands.

I’ve encountered both.  The one who marveled at the great deal we were getting (on the house that’s depreciated in value over the last five years), who blew off every concern with a “no big deal”, and the one who made my house seem like it was falling down.  In the ideal world, I would have met each of these people in the exact opposite circumstances.

Two days ago, I went and saw the two houses that we’ve been considering.  The big budget house, which is really just an attractive colonial, and the tiny house, that needs an addition.  I still like the colonial, but I still think it’s overpriced.  Then again, I think everything (except my house, of course) is overpriced.

As of yesterday, the tiny house went under contract and the colonial got a “really good offer.” Shows you what I know.

As much as I like the colonial and see the value in the ranch, putting an offer on a house right now is just not in the cards, especially since the buyers’ lawyer just sent us a letter with more conditions and demands, one which involves proving that permits were taken out on additions put on the house, sixteen years ago.  That’s three owners ago, for those keeping score.  Yes, just a little more stress to add to an already stressful situation.

After twenty-four hours of panic and running around, and being told that no, there had not been any final inspection, I found out that in 1996, the owners did take out permits for the addition and all those permits are closed, thank the Lord, except for one pertaining to the replacement of a water heater.  The inspector is coming Monday morning to, hopefully, close that one out, too.

It’s crazy to think that while I was fresh out of college, still in my partying days, and not yet, reunited with my husband, things were taking place in the town I had never been to, in the lives of people I don’t know, that would effect me sixteen years, later.  It’s funny how the world works.

Lucky for us, those people were conscientious, because I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t gotten final inspections done, but it wouldn’t have been pretty and I’m pretty sure that it would have killed this deal, just as it played a huge role in killing the deal, the last time around.

This whole permit issue has been a huge eye opener and really illustrates the difference between real estate in boom years and real estate, now.  No one, not I, the home inspector, title company, or our realtor, who should have been protecting us, batted an eye about seeing permits.  The former sellers checked yes on the disclosure and no one ever asked to see anything more.  I can tell you without certainty, that I will never buy a house with open permits on it, or a house where an addition was done without permits.

This is the second big real estate lesson I learned, thankfully not the hard way.  The first one was in Florida, when the house we bought didn’t appraise.  We should have walked away from that one, too, but we bought it anyway.  We got lucky that time.  Once I found out the full ramifications of buying a house that didn’t appraise, I was more than a little annoyed that no one explained to me what it could have meant for us (and I liked that realtor).  My realtor played it as no big deal, and bad mouthed the appraiser up and down claiming he didn’t have knowledge of the area.  In hindsight, he was probably one of the only people doing his job properly.  On the other hand, she was right, two years later, we sold for a slight profit and it still appraised.  However, now that I know the consequences of not getting the appraisal, I would never do that again, either. Of course, these days the bank probably wouldn’t give you a loan on a house that didn’t appraise.

Live and learn.

In the meantime, I’m still crossing my fingers as tightly as I can, hoping that everything works out, this time around.  Kind of crazy considering the amount of money we stand to lose.  Did I tell you that we had two buyers put in the same offer?  No one would go higher. We went with the people, who my realtor thought, were more secure. The relocation people. The ones with the lawyer.  I’m starting to think that I should have learned my lesson the first time around (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can read about it here).




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