Monday, May 28, 2012

Holy Shitake Mushroom

This is a few days late, guys, but whoa......Thursday night we got the call from our realtor and the bank accepted our super lowball offer.  As in, $26,000 off our original offer.  Hooray!!!!!!!!!  Obviously, it just goes to show how bad the inspection report was, but still, that gives us enough wiggle room to make all the updates (with a safety net for surprises) and still gain some pretty good equity right off the bat.  Our final hurdle is the appraisal, which should come in this week.  If anything fails, we may have to increase our purchase price and have the bank fix the issue (the roof, for example), but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

At this point, we won't be able to close until the end of June so we'll still likely be couch surfing the first few weeks of July while we work to make the house liveable.  Another downside is that we'll have to get our inspections done again because they're only valid for 30 days, but both the termite and well had issues that need to be addressed so the only one that is a total waste will be the septic (ha!  septic!  waste!). 

So that's where we are now.  I'll give another update this week when we hear back on the appraisal.  Thank you all for your well wishes and offers to stay with you!!!!!!! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Dreaded Update

Sorry I've ignored your call, text, email, etc. asking me how the house is coming along.  It's just about all we think and talk about these days (besides how adorable that kid of ours is), and yet it feels scary to share beyond our little family.  But here goes...

Last week was Inspection Week.  The home inspector forgot to reschedule us in his calendar, so he pushed us back until Thursday afternoon, while we kept our other appointments on Tuesday.  Since the home is a foreclosure, we are also responsible for the well, septic and termite inspections.  We were really concerned about the condition of the septic tank since it hasn't been used in nearly two years, but to our delight, it was just fine.  The holding tank under the house for the well water had a busted bladder, but we felt comfortable with the estimate provided to us.  Finally, there was only a small amount of termites in the garage, and again, we felt fine with treating that as well.  All we had left to worry about, we thought, was the roof.  We knew it hadn't been worked on since the house was built in the 80s, and we had to wait until Thursday to find out about its condition.  Our "worst case scenario" of just the roof being shot has now turned into a laundry list of items that must be addressed in the house before we could even move in.  One of the chimneys didn't have flashing adequately installed, so water has been dripping down into the crawl space and has caused the hardwood floor in the family room to buckle; there is likely mold underneath so it needs to be torn up, mold dried out, floors replaced and refinished.  Most of the window sashes are rotted and need to be replaced.  The roof is completely deteriorated.  Plus a host of other smaller jobs that need to be done (some we could do ourselves, some we'd need professional help).  Whew.  Thursday was emotional.  Then on Saturday we got the inspector's official estimate.  Patrick and I took turns freaking out, each of us trying to calm the other, then reverting back to our own worries.

We decided we'd bring in Jeff, a contractor who has done quality work for my parents over the last several years, come to the house and give his own estimate.  Which brings us to yesterday.

Jeff showing Zeph and me a snake in the yard.

To make an already long story short, he got us to a number that we feel comfortable with if the bank agrees to lower the sale price.  Since we are getting a USDA loan with 100% financing for moving to a rural area, we can use the money we would have spent on a down payment to work on the house.  But that just covers the major issues---we'll still have tons of ongoing repairs, upgrades, etc. so we really need to bring down that mortgage payment.  We submitted our counter offer to the bank this morning.  Our agent doesn't feel very confident that they'll lower the price at all, and if they don't, I think we may have to walk away.  I hate even typing those words!  To make matters worse, our Church Hill house has already been rented out starting in July (we had to give 60 days notice) so not only will we have to start our house hunt from scratch, we may also be homeless!  If this happens and you live on the East Coast, get ready for a Ward Family Tour this summer...but wouldn't you rather come visit us here?  Please continue the prayers and good juju vibes, everyone!  I'll update soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Let's take a walk

Sorry, everyone...I thought I scheduled this one to post last week!  Updates to come soon....

Our tour comes to an end today with a walk around the property.  Here's an angled shot of the front of the house with the garage to the right.

Here's the left side of the house and the back porch:

I love all the mature flowering bushes!  I think those are azaleas fading, and there are also several rhododendron beginning to bloom throughout the yard.

Here's another shot of the back of the house.  The area between the side and the garage is fenced in.  We're assuming the previous owners had a dog.  Since Schultz isn't one to run away, we originally thought we'd use that area for vegetable gardening.  However, we noticed the area directly behind the house seems to get more sunlight, so we may move the beds back there.  I'm hoping we can convince the county to let us have a  few chickens, and they could go in the fenced area.  (you have to have a special permit for hens if you have less than three acres).

Another view of the fenced area....

....And here we are at the front again!

I'd like to paint the front door to spice it up a bit.  At first I thought about a bright red, but then I thought, what about a kelly green?  Any other ideas?

I've got lots of design inspiration ideas on my Pinterest page (including a green door) - check them out!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

And up we go...

At the top of the stairs is a linen closet and the entrance into the master bedroom.  Directly in front of the door is an office/alcove.

I'm so excited!

We're thinking we will make it into a cozy nook and put our bed in there, and use the rest of the space as a sitting/reading area.

Can't you picture a lush [faux] sheepskin rug in front of that fireplace?  So nice.  We're thinking about painting the room a dark charcoal gray (almost black) for a really dramatic look.  I envision most of the house light and airy, but since Patrick would happily live a in a cave, this is a good place to go all out with that idea. 

The door on the left takes us to the bathroom and on the right is a walk-in closet. 

Also on the second floor are two additional bedrooms and a full bath.  We don't have pictures yet, but they're all pretty standard. 

That rounds out the upstairs.  Next we'll go for a walk outside.  Also, please keep your fingers crossed for us--our inspections are coming up this Tuesday!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Come inside, have a cup of tea!

Let me show you around the house (I can't actually offer you tea because the water isn't on.  And I don't live there yet.  Or even technically own the place...)

**Thanks to my brother Geoffrey for taking such great pictures**

There are actually four separate entrances,  one on each side of the house.  The driveway goes straight to the side of the house, with an entrance to the great room, and also forks to the right, where it goes past the official front door and up to the detached two-car garage.

Here is the side of the house that leads into the great room.   The porch also has a lovely swing!   

Entering from the side door, we see the great room in front of us and the kitchen to the left.

The great room reminds me of Girl Scout Camp.
Kitchen--check out that 80s light!  (ie, one of the first things to go)

From the great room you can see the sunroom.  I love all the skylights throughout the house, but they are fogged up, so replacing them will have to be one of our first projects.

The sunroom is to the left.

On the right side of the picture above, you can see the entrance to what will be our dining room (there are also French doors leading from the sunroom to the dining room).  Technically, it's the living room, with the original dining room behind the kitchen, but with our long dining table, we prefer this room to host Thanksgiving and other dinner parties.

There is so much dark wood molding in this house!  Can't wait to paint most of it.

Another early major project will be replacing the carpet throughout the house: two rooms downstairs and the entire upstairs.  It is so stained all over the place, I don't even want to know what happened.  We're still unsure of what type of floor to use here, since carpet doesn't make sense for a dining room.  Any budgetsuggestions?

Here's the actual front entrance of the house.  Basically, we'll be walking straight into the dining room, with the old dining room to the left.

Hello! This hallway contains a closet, a half bathroom and the stairs.

Finally, the last room of the first floor will be a playroom for Zeph (and hopefully a home to most of his toys and gadgets). 

There is an entrance to the kitchen somewhere around here, so the first floor is one large loop.

More to come!

Stay tuned for pictures of the upstairs, as well as a tour of the yard!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Road to Home

A few weeks ago, Patrick and I put an offer on a house, and it was accepted!  We are officially under contract.  We had been house hunting for a few months, and after some bumps along the way, a couple of other houses we [can't believe we] put offers on that weren't accepted (phew!), we are now inching closer to securing our dream home.  It's a foreclosure that needs quite a bit of work, but hopefully mostly cosmetic.  The bank has already invested around $25,000 in renovating the property, and while our inspection isn't for another week, we are keeping our fingers crossed that there are no major surprises.  We initially put a very low-ball offer on the house over a month ago, which was not accepted.  Anticipating much more work than we're now hoping it needs, we wanted to get a Fannie Mae renovation loan to get everything done before we even moved in.  In between offers, the bank did some more work and dropped the price $30,000 so we decided to jump on the opportunity and go for a more traditional mortgage while fixing up the place little by little as we live there. 

The home inspection was originally scheduled for today, but when the seller's agent went to dewinterize the house last week, there was a leak coming from the kitchen ceiling.  Because the bank wants to use its original contractor, everything has now been pushed back a week (well, I'm hoping that's all).  This also means our closing, originally scheduled for June 3rd, will also be pushed back at least a week.  Our house in the city has already been leased out to a new tenant starting July 1st, so we *really* need to get in by then....or some lucky set of parents will be gaining several new roommates! 

For now, all we can do is wait, sign contract addendums and keep daydreaming of the house's gorgeous transformation into our One Acre Manor.