Saturday, May 23, 2009

homeowners...helping homeowners

it's been a while since i've checked in. sorry, buds. this maybe be because WE PUT AN OFFER IN ON A HOUSE. zomg. zomg. totally. what the frack? it happened SO FAST! one day, i'm calling the realtor to make appointments for viewings, the next day, i'm calling electricians trying to get quotes. it's madness i tell you, madness.

so, if you want to find out how to make a super-rash decision that will leave you financially beholden for many years to come, then do please read on!

tuesday was an after work session of many, many viewings, or whatever we could squeeze in that we couldn't see on the weekend that hadn't been snapped up yet. out of 12 i had sent our realtor, only 5 were still available. we drove around and came up on lil' ugmo. lil' ugmo is owned by a chinese family. the owners are a little difficult in the sense that they are ALWAYS there and aren't that amenable to showing the place - now showings on sundays, etc. it's been on the market for a while...it had popped up a few times in my property matches and i even recall seeing it ages ago before we had even retained a realtor when i was just trawling realtor.ca.

lil' ugmo is on a quiet, dead end street with a ttc stop right at the end of the street. also at the end of the street is a very large park with a playground, 3 baseball diamonds, a hockey rink, a dog park, and an outdoor swimming pool. it's not as nice as withrow park (not as many mature trees) but it's a bit of an urban oasis still. it's a 2 minute walk to the gerrard street car which will dump me off right in front of my current employment and a 7 seven minute walk down to queen street and the wonders that are leslieville. it's a 3 bedroom semi that's touted as having a finished basement with a bar.

that is a lie. no one would ever want to spend time in that basement. pros: it appears dry. cons: it's disgusting. it also has knob and tube and the whole place has to be rewired - service upgrade, new panel, outlets, etc. (can you tell i've been talking to electricians?) the dotytron was kind of keen on it. it's got 3 decent sized bedrooms and a really nice bathroom and an okay-for-the-basement-but-probably-not-holmes-approved sink and toilet in the basement. it's got a shared driveway and a giant garage in the back which is crumbling to say the least.

ANYWAY, the dotytron was a little keener on it than i was. i thought it was okay. the dotytron's rationale was that even if we DIDN'T get lil' ugmo, we would be buying something similar in the same price range later. so i was like, whatever, we'll see what happens. lil' ugmo already had an offer on the table that expired on tuesday night. our realtor said it wasn't a strong offer because they let the offer sit on the table for a long time (ie. there was a long deadline before the offer expired), which means that the potential buyers are giving other potential buyers a lot of opportunity to put their hats in the ring as well.

so the next day i email our realtor with this message: "hi realtor, we're considering lil' ugmo. what do we do now? we haven't read that book you gave us. we don't know what's going on!" and she CALLS ME BACK and is all like, "okay. we'll get together after work today and put in our offer at 8pm. don't worry" and then i called the dotytron and we were both like, "what the hell?!? zomg!" but she picked me up and we went to a few more viewings (none of which were as suitable as lil' ugmo) and then we grabbed the dotytron and we sat down and went over our offer. we went in $20,000 under asking. then the agent went to present the offer and we buggered off (aka ate big mac combos with filet-o-fish chasers at mcdonald's) and waited. the sellers countered with $4,000 less. we went up $3,000, they came down an additional $5,000.

this whole time, the dotytron and i were initialing pages (so many initials!!!) and signing stuff and the realtor would go deliver it. she kept remarking that she'd never seen any other couple so calm about the whole process. i think it helped that we're not the kind of people to FALL IN LOVE with a house. i mean really, the more houses we've seen, the more they become more and more the same. people either have crappy taste or they have the standard, $450,000+ taste that's ubiquitous. we're just not the kind of people to be totally emotional and GOTTAHAVEIT about it...which probably helped in the end. when she came back after the sellers countered our second offer with their $5,000 less, i outright said, "i REFUSE to pay more than X for this house," at which point our realtor was all crafty-like, saying, "are you willing to meet them halfway and go up to X" and i said, "absolutely not" we just didn't care, ya know? like, we obviously CARED but we weren't about to lose our heads for lil' ugmo. i really can't imagine myself losing my head for ANY house, because a house is a house. you lose your head for the life you build inside it. you lose your head for your choice in decor and aesthetics. not for the house itself. then the realtor got super crafty, being all, "well, are you going to be upset if it sells tomorrow to someone else for [$3,000 more than my maximum]? you know, $3,000 over the life of a mortgage is nothing." and i was like, "no! i don't care!" at which point i think she could see how obstinate and unyielding i am and backed down (i show everything on my face.)

so she went in with our final offer and at 11pm she shows up at our house and me and the dotytron are all like, "we didn't get it...ah well, at least we went through the experience," except when we open the door, our realtor is like, "YOU GOT THE HOUSE!!!!!" and me and the dotytron just stare at her, mouths agape, blankly. the next day our realtor told me she later told her husband that she has NEVER seen a reaction like ours. lol! to be honest, the whole time we were signing, it felt like pretend...you don't really conceptualize that you might actually WIN the everloving thing, you know? and when you find out you get it, you kinda are like, "gah! i don't want it anymore! can't you take it back!" hahahahaha...or at least you get that way if you're me and the dotytron.

so we were totally in shock and everything happened SUPER fast and the days afterwards are a total whirlwind of sorting our your financing and calling home inspectors and trying to get a crash course in being bob villa or mike holmes and making sure you didn't buy a lemon. it's like they keep you busy with busywork to prevent you from actually realizing what you've done. we were in the place for TEN MINUTES!!!!!!

our home inspection is tomorrow. we're going in armed with a digital camera and a tape measure. i've also got two electricians coming in to give us quotes (the house has the dreaded 'knob and tube' and probably requires a whole sale overhaul) tomorrow at the same time. if i find ONE thing i don't like the sounds of, it's OFF!

to say it's been a crazy few days is a mad understatement. last night for dinner i made us braised squid and artichokes with chorizo potatoes...it's the first time i've had a chance to cook since monday. felt weird!

today i went and met up with H super early in the morning and we biked out to roncesvalles, because it was the annual yard sale. it's crazy! we met up with M and a bunch of her friends and the Mister (M's mister) and i bought 3 catering trays (for mint juleps and to hold our bar supplies!) and an ikea tray for the kitty bowls, and 8 1-gallon glass jars with lids from some kooky herbalist for storing dry goods because glass is better than plastic. it was a solid haul. thanks to the kindness of A & C for letting me store the glass jars at their place. loves yous!

now we're taking a harvey's coupon (if we go ahead with lil' ugmo...it's going to be coupon eating for a while...oh well, alinea was a fitting last huzzah) and doing dinner and a movie at the amc. we're going to see 'terminator salvation'! it's been getting middling reviews.

tomorrow is a crazy hectic day...i'll try to come back with a full report.

fin.

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