Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How I Met the Neighbors

I closed on the house yesterday. I headed over after the closing to clean. The previous owner a lot of furniture, clothes, shoes, baby items, a stereo and other junk behind. Knowing this, last week I posted a "free stuff" add on Craig's List with a list of what was there. I received over 100 responses. I sent the address to the first 20 with the hours I would be at the house, and told them to come by and take what they wanted.

When I got there, several of the nicest pieces of furniture had already been removed from the house and were in the back of a truck parked in front of the house. There was another truck parked in my driveway. I suspected that the previous owner heard the house was closing and came to get her stuff. But why was the truck still in front of the house, and why were all the other items still in the house? And who's truck was in my driveway?

Anyway, people started showing up to take the other items. At one point, one of these people told me that a neighbor was calling the police. Cringing inside I ran out to find him. Hell of a way to meet a new neighbor. I explained the situation. He let me know that one of the Craig's List people had been extremely rude to him and told him "The stuff is here and we're taking it!" rather than say "The owner posted a free stuff ad on Craig's List." Under those circumstances, I probably would have called the police too. The cops showed up. We explained the misunderstanding and they left. The neighbor then told me that a) his wife died the day before and that they were holding a memorial service, b) that both of the trucks belonged to his sons, and c) that the previous owner was a good friend of his and he let his son park the truck in the driveway so people would think someone was home.

I offered my condolences and we apologized to each other for the inconvenience and misunderstanding. But, I can't help but think about the fact that his son's truck was full of the old owner's furniture. Either he has the key. or the previous owner does, and let him in and gave him permission to take what he wanted. There were a few other times when I came to the house with my realtor to find items rearranged or the stereo on. Had the neighbor been in the house then too? The surround sound speakers that had been in the bathroom and on the porch were missing from the last time I was there a week or so ago. Did he take them with permission from the previous owner? I'm not accusing. I just can't help but wonder. I feel terrible that the man lost his wife and appreciate that he was looking out for his friend and the neighborhood by calling the cops. But I want those surround sound speakers, dang it! They should have come with the house. It's bad enough that I had to replace what was taken during the break-in but now someone with a key is looting?

Long story short. The locks are being changed today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I Need Your Opinion

The house closes on Monday. Yeah! In addition to the 10,000 other things I need to do now that this is happening, I need to replace the missing light fixtures. However I've got paralysis by analysis. There are too many choices. So I need you to help me decide.

First choice: What color hardware? From the original dining room chandelier photo, it looks like the house may have had matte bronze hardware. I won't know for sure until I've stripped the paint from the original door hardware. But bronze seems to be trendy right now. I don't want it to look dated in a few years.

Second choice: the kitchen lighting. I need to replace an overhead pendant and a wall sconce. The walls and cabinets right now are an ugly yellow. I will probably paint the walls a very pale, pale green. Eventually the cabinets will be replaced with pretty white shaker-style models. That in mind, which do you like best? Keep in mind that they can be all white, white with black lines, or white with color (blue, green, beige, red).

 Then the sconce would get the same style shade, but sconce-sized.

Third choice: the dining room chandelier. Here is what the original, but, alas, stolen, period piece looked like:
Gorgeous, huh? Stupid thieves! I have looked on Ebay and reproduction sellers but have not been able to find anything quite like it. So which do you like best? They all come in all of the finishes mentioned above and with any shade.

I'm kind of leaning towards a plain, white, straight-sided shade. Am I missing and opportunity?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Emotional Rollercoaster

Photo courtesy no limits roller coaster simulation.
Why are real estate transactions always an emotional rollercoaster? The past week has gone like this:

My lender informs me that they tried to pull my tax transcript for 2010 and there is no record of it having been filed. (BOO!) I panic and contact the accountant because I definitely paid him to file my taxes. He pulls the record of the filing. I call the lender back. They pull attempt to pull the transcript in Corey's name. This time it shows up. (YEAH!)

The wire transfer of the earnest money to the title company was refused by their bank. (BOO!) I am charged for the transaction, then charged again when the money is redeposited in my account. Then I am charged a third time when I have the transfer put through again. This time it is accepted. (YEAH!) I call the bank to get the extra fees reversed. While on the phone they ask me if I want to  increase the interest my savings account is earning. I ask if the account number will change and if there is any minimum balance required. They say "no," so I give them permission to "upgrade" my existing account.

I logon to online banking to find my bank has closed my savings account and a new account with a new account number opened. (BOO!) I panic and contact them because 1) I have automatic  transfers set up for the account and 2) the lender has the existing account on record and requires the account to have been open for a certain period with the balance I told them I had. The bank reopens the account. (YEAH!) They close it three more times in the next 5 days. (BOO!) Each time I call and have them reopen it, they guarantee it won't happen again. They offer no explanation as to why this keeps happening. (BOO!)

The lender contacts me because they see the refused wire transfer and redeposited funds on my checking account statement and require an explanation. (BOO!) What on earth are they going to think when they see the statement for my savings account?!? (BOO!)

Since the Eagle Trace house is not under contract, my parents have generously offered to temporarily give me the money until Eagle Trace sells, at which time I will give it back to them. (YEAH!) The lender informs me that my parents will need to sign a gift documentation letter. They refuse because they do not want to risk paying a gift tax. I check into borrowing against my 401(k) instead to discover that most plan administrators will only allow a loan for a first time home purchase and, even if I could get past that, the maximum amount I can borrow is only half of what I need. (BOO!) My parents research the gift tax and agree to sign the letter. (YEAH!)

My realtor informs me that he cannot do the open house on Sunday and that none of his associates are available so it will have to be cancelled. (BOO!) Two people ask to see the house on Saturday. (YEAH!) Neither of them make an offer. (BOO!) Another couple ask to see the house tonight. (YEAH!)

I feel like a ping pong ball. I wonder what this week has in store for me.