Friday, June 08, 2007

Shell Shocked!

"For a man's house is his castle." ~ Lord Edward Coke

The man and his castle.(Click picture for larger view)
I started the search with a pooled list of at least sixty homes in two cities; then eliminated ALL houses without a downstairs master bedroom. Then I had to visit the remaining houses. Some felt too closed in, some wasted space and many had poorly thought out floor plans and others were simply too out of date, requiring many thousands of dollars in upgrades and the headaches that go along with that. But some were drop dead and love at first sight gorgeous..... although, none were the 100%, everything you could possibly want, bells and whistles home. I kept so many on the list, but slowly and surely and with comparison and contrast and the infinite wisdom of an energetic realtor, I managed to narrow it down to nine homes in Chesapeake and five in Virginia Beach.

What a happy camper!
Then Stephen flew in from Europe on Monday... I was a nervous wreck! What if he didn't like anything I chose for him to look at? What if we couldn't get all this done in three days? What if he thought there weren't enough on the list to look at? I took many, many pictures of the houses and had a packet on each one with all the particulars, MLS sheets and made a spread sheet for each city to show the facets of each home in a way that was easily comparable. We started at 10 AM on Tuesday...and he spent almost 45 minutes in the first house. My main questions to him were.... is it spacious enough, is the kitchen satisfactory, is the yard satisfactory, is the layout ok, and most importantly, does the house "speak" to you?

Entering a new world.
By the end of day one there were three top contenders. Day two brought elimination of one home because of the Dryvit stucco issue and another because of less than great workmanship. One was just quirky and fun but had obvious water issues. Then we saw a house with all the bells and whistles, the pool and fence and a .75 acre lot. It was 99% perfect with fabulous kitchen, great layout and he loved the colors. The house didn't just "speak" to him, it "screamed" his name! It was a bit more costly but had been on the market since November so he decided then and there to make an offer.

Thus began the part of real estate that I would not be able to do... the negotiation! Back and forth with the seller giving very little until finally our realtor was disgusted as was Stephen. She gave our final offer and gave them three minutes to get back as we had our number two choice waiting on the other line. He would accept our offer if we used him as the mortgage lender!!!! Well! That not only was unacceptable, it is illegal! He is a mortgage broker and while we could have asked him to do the loan, he cannot demand it as part of a contract agreement. We turned him down and moved on. This seller lost a sale because he wouldn't come down $13,000. Turns out it was the fourth time he had mangled his chance and lost the sale.

The number two choice became our number one choice and after a few exchanges, our offer was accepted, but only verbally. We had a home inspection the morning of day three and had to write a supplemental addendum to the contract. Then it was the sit and wait and see if more back and forth would be in store. He didn't want to do a fence so Stephen dropped that but he had to agree to a drop in price. We had to agree to an earlier closing than expected. Not sure if we had a ratified contract, we headed to the loan officer and as we finished up there, he received a call from our agent.... As they say on House Hunters, "the house was Stephens"!!! Sighs of relief all around!

And there was immense quantities of light!! Posted by Picasa
So this is it! Stephen is happy! Oh! And the agent of the first house called back with another offer by her seller... this time he wanted to accept our offer if both agents would wave part of their commission. His agent just wants to get rid of him, ours was willing to do it so we would get the house. But both Stephen and I said, "NO WAY!!" This seller would have been a pain in the behind the entire time, unreasonable, difficult to deal with and most likely would use every detail to get out of the contracts. And in three more months when I drive by his house and see a "For Sale" sign still there.... I will just smile smugly and drive on "home".

By the way.... closing is set for three weeks from today!! Arrrrgh! Move in will have to be done slowly... much sorting and discarding and selling are in order as we strive to combine 2.5 households. But Stephen is pleased, Mom and Dad seem pleased and Nyssa is smug because she "called it"! (She said he would pick the one he finally did.)

Of course, now Stephen is on his way back to Europe and I sit here with power of attorney to sign and do all the details. Another inspection Monday, insurances, utilities, etc. Sigh! Oh yes! Now another house to sell... it never ends! I just have to remember these sage words of wisdom:
"Unless you move, the place where you are is the place where you will always be." ~ Ashleigh Brilliant
Yes, wise words indeed!

(end of post)

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