New Home (hopefully)

Update 16:  Only 12 days left until desired closing date. The appraisal has been completed on the house, but I haven't received any word about it. I had to give my most recent paystub to the loan company and they asked if I work 40 hrs. Instead of using my year to date and looking at my pay as a whole, they are only looking at individual checks. It does not make sense that I'm being punished for taking time off work that I have earned by working overtime. I still do not know if my loan will be approved.

There is work scheduled to replace some fans with lights, and to replace old smoke detectors. I will be paying for those repairs. The roof color has been decided! However, my first choice color was not available. I'm sure it will be fine and at this time, the least of my worries. 

Mystery solved!! We went to the escape room last week! It was so much fun, and my son and I were winners! It was the Tesla room and the end game was to turn on the lights and open the door. It was dark and we had some little flashlights to navigate around. We did have to get two hints, and one clarification, but they were minimal. We finished with a little over two minutes left out of the 60 minutes that was given to us to escape. 

Update 15: The inspections were completed on Friday. The roof needs to be replaced, as well as one door and door frame, and the hot water heater.  There were some other minor issues that I decided not to address since the roof was a major concern. We've been told the sellers have agreed to the roof, door, and hot water heater replacement.  We are expecting the signed addendum tomorrow!

We are still needing to close in less than three weeks. My agent is scrambling to get contractors that can not only do the repairs, but they will have to accept to be paid at closing. I know they are working hard to meet my needs. It's a great relief to know I have someone looking out for my best interest. Hopefully these storms that are rolling through won't hinder getting a roofer in time.

My son flew in and we managed to pack up and move nearly all my stuff to storage on the first day. I only have my computers and a couple of bins of personal items and clothes. I also have my reclining love seat that I already have two possible buyers at the end of the month.  I sold a patio set, a bookcase, and table with chairs while we were packing up the apartment. It was a good day!

Since the moving part is all done, I booked a room at the beach for tonight. It has turned out to be a stormy day thus far, but the storm should be moving out by late afternoon. We also plan on going to an escape room today near the hotel.  My son, who has never been to the ocean, will be flying home tomorrow.  Although I'm not in a house yet, at least my stuff is in storage!! 

Update 14:  Yay for a signed contract!  We have inspections set for Friday morning. On Thursday, I will be getting my Covid-19 vaccine in the county where I plan to live!  Many places in my current county were already fully booked! The vaccine became available to all just today!  If all goes as planned, I will be in my new home when the second dose is due!!

I've already uploaded all my documentation needed for my loan - since I had it handy from the first debacle. I know there will be some things I will ask to be fixed after the inspection, like the door that is hung upside down!  I believe the seller did many DIY projects to the best of his ability.  

They mentioned they will be leaving some furniture and appliances behind. I hope to see the list Friday.
I don't want things left behind that I don't have a use. However, it may be the price I will have to pay to be in a home by the end of the month!  As we did the initial walkthrough, the seller mentioned I could have anything, including him. I didn't see anything in particular that I wanted. 

Update 13: It is Easter Sunday! My real estate agent has received verbal confirmation that my offer on house number 5 has been accepted.  I was surprised there was not a counter-offer. As it is a divorcing husband and wife selling the house, both must sign the contracts. He is signing today; She is signing tomorrow.  I still have an offer in on the foreclosure house. Until a contract is signed, I won't withdraw.

My frame of mind is indescribable. I'm optimistic, yet apprehensive. I'm excited, but reserved. I'm cautiously planning next steps in my mind, knowing the rug could be pulled out from under me at anytime. The best thing is to stay calm and take each day as it comes.

My son is flying in Friday evening for a few days. He was originally coming because I was supposed to be closed on a house the end of March! Now, as we already had his ticket, he will help me sell some things and take items to storage. It will be so great to see him and I'll be able celebrate his birthday with him this year!!  

Update 12: Fifth time the charm?  Five is my lucky number! I really liked the house overall! It has everything I need and may come with some extras!  I met the homeowner and one of the neighbors. I tried to stress to the owner how much I wanted him to accept the offer I was going to make. I may have stressed to the neighbor that he should put in a good word for me, as I'd make a great neighbor.

Sure there are some things that could be improved on such as the mint green kitchen cabinets and walls. The house has a similar floor plan to the first house I loved. The roof may have some issues, but possibly a quick repair. The mailbox is across the street, and I'm trying to come to terms with it. Maybe the neighbor will bring my mail to me, as a courtesy! 

The floors are tile or laminate. There is quite a mix, but it seemed to work well enough together. We looked at some houses where the floors didn't match throughout, and it sent my head spinning!  The backyard is fenced in with a nice black chain link. The neighbors have a row of trees that provide great privacy. 

I put in an offer and now to wait. There were five other showings on it today. It is my understanding they plan to choose tomorrow. I hope they will counter offer, if I'm not picked straight away. The window to find a house and close by months end is about closed. If we can't make this one work, or the foreclosure, than I will definitely need to find some temporary short term housing. This is so stressful!

Update 11: The foreclosure has potential. There are a few positives such as being in the gated community, and it is a good size. There are many negatives. Do the negative outweigh the positives?

Firstly, I'm just not sure I'm up to facing all the work that is needed alone. It needs to be completely cleaned and painted inside. One room, the carpet will need to be removed and replaced with some type of flooring. The cooling and heating unit appear to be over 20 years old which can be costly to replace. Secondly, the mailbox area is shared with the neighbor across the street. It is causing great anxiety. Thirdly, the house is very close to other houses. There is zero privacy. Fourthly, the washer and dryer hookup is in the garage. The dryer vents into the one of the Florida rooms. Fifthly, the master bedroom has a sliding glass door that opens into the other Florida room. 

Even with all that needs to be done, and not being excited about the size of the yard and proximity to neighbors, I made an offer. The bank is collecting offers before making a decision. Even though I don't care greatly for the house, moving into the community I want is a start. If I can close before the end of April, it will be a win.                          

I also rented a storage unit near where I want to live. It is over an hour away from where I live now. I moved a few things over today. The storage place manager told me it was an odd shaped unit, but the equivalent of a 10 x 10 unit. It was also a drive up that I wanted and it was close up front. When I drove up today for the first time, I was expecting an eight to ten foot door. Instead, it was a cute, small door, three foot wide max!  I'm quite happy with it, and it is very spacious inside!  

Update 10: Another offer rejected for the fixer upper house. Again, they did not counter. A real fixer upper is on the market. It is a foreclosure and has no appliances. I have no idea what else may be wrong with it. I'm going to look at it today. It has a double mailbox which I'm trying my best not to be irrational in thought. I will look at it with an open mind.      

Houses were popping up daily during February and the first three weeks in March that were in my price range. I was under contract so most of them slipped through my fingers. Then during the last week of March, when I was no longer under contract, only a couple of overpriced houses were available for purchase. Low supply of affordable housing is one reason I will consider this foreclosure.  

Update 9: The offer on the rock house was quickly rejected  The owner has some more medical treatments before she is ready to leave the premises. She is only entertaining offers that meet her terms. No other suitable properties have come available since we last looked at the two houses.

As choice one was rejected, I made an offer on what I will call the "fixer upper" house. The owner is leaving a bedroom set, a dining set, and a few living room pieces. Maybe I would use some of the items, but if not I could offer them for sale. Even with the furniture thrown in, the house is well overpriced. The offer I made is comparable to similar houses that have recently sold. I'm willing to negotiate.

Update 8: We went to look at a couple of more homes. Each had good things about them. Both over priced. I carefully pondered pros and cons of each house and compared them with one another and the previous house I had under contract. I took into consideration, square footage, privacy, location in the community, upkeep, upgrades and other things that may have stood out as a strong pro or con. 

There are some dumb things that limit my options. The mailbox being one of those things. Location, Location, Location!! Yes, location of the mailbox! I don't want it across the street, or grouped with other mailboxes!  I want to have it on my property! It really is a deal breaker.  If any part of the address such as house numbers, street name, town name, or postal code triggers a truly bad memory, I won't even consider it. I can put a positive spin on many things, but some times the cut is too deep.

One of the properties was far off the mark, even though it had a similar floor plan to the house I loved. There were too many things like a huge dangerous tree leaning toward the house, the bright pink bathroom, and ugly cabinets that would need work. Sure, these things are fixable, but it will cost money! The price is already 20k over comparable properties.  

The property I put in an offer on, the rock house, is super low maintenance, partially upgraded in the bath and kitchen, in a satisfactory spot in the community, not on septic, and just more turn key overall. The real only negative is it the house and yard are smaller than the house I loved. Not only is each room smaller, there is a lot less closet space. It has laundry in the garage, however, I would have preferred a separate laundry room. 

Word is the seller needs to occupy the house through May. I need to close the house before the end of April and take possession on the first day of May. I have so many notions running through my brain. Time is really of the essence and hope the contract is accepted without much push back. I offered quite a bit less than their asking price. Recent comparable properties are listed and have sold for 10K - 22K less. I believe my offer is fair, and the value I see in some things outweigh the negative. 

Update 7: When it was time to call the attorney for my consultation, the call would NOT go through! I was seriously freaking out! I quickly emailed to let them know. I didn't get a response. I called my agent, and her call would not go through also. She decided to send them a fax asking them to call me. To access my cable phone line, I hooked up my old telephone/fax machine that I've owned for over 30 years. It also would not connect.

Finally, twenty minutes after my scheduled start time, the attorney phoned from her private cell number and left me a message. For some reason, my phone didn't ring. I called her back straightaway and we had a good laugh about me stressing and her notating bad stuff about me for not calling in! They had no idea their phone lines were down. 

We then got down to business and within forty minutes my mind was clear and at ease. Although there were options, I really didn't have any practical recourse worth pursuing, I understood my next step was to sign the cancellation, accept my $790 loss, and begin my search again. I will get back my $1600 earnest money, and the seller walks away without a scratch. 

I've always believed things happen the way they are supposed to, and the perfect house may just be another signed contract away. To me it was worth the $245 invoice from the attorney to calm all the what ifs and should haves that would have consumed my mind.

Now to scour the internet hoping to find another house in my preferred neighborhood that I can afford. Many that are available are 50K higher than my limit. I'm not sure exactly what I will do about not having a place to live once May 1st rolls around. I'm going to look at another house on Friday. Stay tuned for further updates to New Home  (hopefully)

Update 6: The seller provided written notice "Release and Cancellation of Contract"

Update 5: It's five days later, and the Seller still hasn't provided anything in writing that he is not going through with the contract. It is only 72 hours until the closing date and again we just received verbal confirmation that the Seller will not be going through with the sale. He is now stating he will let the house go into foreclosure. 

I checked with my legal plan, and there are no lawyers in the area for this type of counsel. I contacted a lawyer in private practice and will pay out of pocket.  My consultation is tomorrow with the agreed cost of $350 / hour with a 30 minute minimum. I've also requested and paid $475 for the appraisal to take place since there is nothing in writing. It is my understanding that when a seller breaches the contract without just cause, a sale can be forced. If nothing else, I need to recoup $1600 earnest money, $790 inspections, $475 appraisal, and my attorney fees. I wonder if he actually read paragraphs 15, 16, and 17 under DEFAULT AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION of our contract. 

Update 4: The Seller decided he is not going to sell the house because he will have to pay capital gains tax. We are under contract! You can't just decide you don't want to sell! It is a breach of contract!! I'm so angry. I will be seeking legal advice through my legal plan I have with my employer. I've already lost a good bit of money with inspections.    

During the 41 days I've been under contract, I've missed out on houses that came on the market and are now sold or pending. Meanwhile, I have to continue looking for other houses or I will be homeless in 43 days.  I'm currently sick awaiting test results. Things could be worse. 

Update 3:
We already had the appraisal scheduled, but then an issue arose with the title to the house. We had to delay the appraisal. Apparently, the paperwork was not filed properly by the Estate or officially recorded. The heirs, who are the sellers, are refusing to spend any money. It doesn't appear it can be sold unless this needed document is filed with the courts. The sellers were given a quote to spend $1500 to get this fixed. As of now they have refused. The second issue is the Home Owner Association (HOA) fees are in arrears. The two agents (buyer and seller) have agreed to take this amount off their commission, but it is unknown how much in HOA fees are currently due.  

I really love this house.

My heart is beginning to break. 


Update 2: 
We got the pictures of the repairs and I wasn't happy with the roof repair. Much like usual, I feel forced to accept or walk away. It may seem minor, and I suppose it is in the grand scheme of things, but my mind doesn't care about the grand scheme. I haven't been to look at it. I don't want to walk away.

It is just annoying that someone considered this repaired! It is horrible! I'll make it work.

Update 1:
We had the house inspected and there were a few minor issue and an issue with the roof. We asked for the repairs and most were accepted. Concerning the roof, just minor roof repair instead of replacement. The house has everything I was looking for in a house and more. I don't get any red flags, and the roof will need replacement, at some point. 

The house had this neat little heart shaped sitting area which I adore. 

Just a few more steps to complete the house buying process. The appraisal after the repairs are made and then final loan approval. I'm still not out of the woods or should I say amusement park? It sure has been an emotional rollercoaster, and after all the twist and turns, and ups and downs, I hope to end the ride on a joyous note full of smiles. 

My journey to buy a new home began when I first started looking on real estate sites out of curiosity in January. I knew I needed to move mid year, but didn't really consider buying. There were a few desirable neighborhoods in the town I live that I wanted to explore. It became more apparent with each passing day that there were few rentals and not many houses to choose from to buy. The affordable ones, rent or buy, did not have what I was looking for in a home. I decided I would focus on purchase over rent. I was getting discouraged. 

My manager and I had a chat since she hopes to move to Florida. She motivated me to explore other towns. So I set out on Google and any real estate website that had good search capabilities. I was quite happy with because they had a user friendly website with features such as street view, crime map, and easily applied filters. 

I searched lots of areas in Florida. Was I going to ever find a place I could call home. I knew what I needed and placed everything on a mental checklist. I also needed to decide if I wanted to live close to the Atlantic coast or the Gulf coast or somewhere in between. The other item to consider is I was under lease for another 5 months. I did some mental math, along with other considerations, and thought I'd wait until April to get serious about home buying. 

Each day, I would search with no astonishing results. I searched the entire state, but only one area really caught my attention because of the town's name. I thought to myself: Who wouldn't want to live in a town with that name! I was, however, not thrilled with the street names that were numerical.  How was I going to convince my brain that a generic street name was not a deal breaker! 

I kept searching, but at some point I decided I could be happy in one of the communities in that area. Now I just needed to decide on which community, and find a house that I loved. Each day I searched. Each day a particular community felt more and more suitable to what I need. There were some houses for sale that were pending. A few houses outside my budget.  A couple houses had some things I couldn't look past. One house caught my attention, but it had already been on the market for six months. I continued to search, but the same house kept coming up without any real competition. 

I was worried that if I waited, someone else would would scoop it up! Then I saw this quote when I was looking for an unrelated image - it was definitely a sign.

I did not want to lose a chance at this house by waiting 2 more months. I knew I needed to contact a real estate agent, but my anxiety was soaring. I had dealt with an agent I really like several years earlier when I first moved to Florida, but I didn't know if she would be able to help me with this endeavor. It is outside her typical service area and a thousand other reasons in my mind why she wouldn't be able to or want to help me. I finally convinced my self that I had nothing to lose and texted the agent. 

The agent texted me right away and let me know she would call me shortly - which she did. She immediately set me up with a lender that could get me pre-approved as I requested. I paced a lot and kept telling myself positive thoughts so I'd be able to make that next call. I contacted the loan officer the following day. Within 24 hours I had a pre-approval letter and within 48 hours, I was looking at houses with my agent, including the house that had captured my heart.

There was so much I loved about the house after I looked at it in person! Another sign of the Universe is it had a painting with a lighthouse hanging in the garage. I then found out the actual lighthouse is within the community! Anyone who knows me well, knows I love lighthouses. It is a symbol of hope.
It doesn't get better I thought. I was wrong! I found out I will get all the stuff in the garage! Woot!

The owner of the house is deceased and the estate is handling the sale. We sent in an offer. It was rejected. We presented another offer. It was accepted. Now it is a matter of waiting for the appraisal, inspections, and final loan approval.  I suggested a March 26 closing date if all goes well.

March 26 is Purple Day. A celebration aimed at raising worldwide awareness of epilepsy, a condition that affects over 65 million people globally.  My son, Travis who lived with and suffered from epilepsy died nine years ago this month and is often a driving force. 


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