Archive for June 2008

house drama

Just to keep you all in suspense a little longer for the pictures of the inside of the house... I'm going to take a break and fill you in on some of the drama that has been part of this whole house buying process. I decided to do this now, because surprise surprise, there has been even more house drama today... ugh. I can't wait until we just close and the house is ours!

We first saw the house in mid-May, on a Saturday afternoon. We had actually seen several really good options that day and decided to take the evening to think things over. Later that afternoon we decided that this was the house we wanted, so we went back and saw it again on Sunday. By the beginning of the week, we had our offer in. Now, the woman who was living in the house had the house on and off the market for the last 2 years. She wasn't in any hurry to sell, and she was described to us as "feisty." We weren't very hopeful, but, surprisingly, after going back and forth on the price a few times, she accepted our offer. We were told that she was excited to sell her home (of the last 51 years) to a young couple who wanted to move into the city. Part of what we asked for is that she install air conditioning in the house, since there is no way we'd survive a St. Louis summer without air conditioning. Things seemed to be moving along fine... until the seller became ill. A few days before our inspection she actually was moved to the hospital. That night, someone broke into the basement and took all of the copper pipes. So our inspection got pushed back until the pipes could be replaced. Then we found out that the seller only had a short time left to live, and that all house related decisions were now being made by her children. We had the inspection and found several big issues, like a crack in a sewer line, rotted fascia boards, and poorly done electrical work. Mike and I really didn't want to have to ask the seller to make any other repairs since we had already asked for the ac install, but we couldn't afford to fix these things on our own. So we asked that they fix some of the major things. In the middle of all of this, the seller sadly passed away, and we stepped back from the process while the family made the arrangements. After some more back and forth, and after almost having to walk away from the deal due to some over estimates on repair costs, we were finally able to reach an agreement. It took over a month, but we were in firm contract!

Meanwhile, this whole time, we've been working with a really difficult schedule for moving, fixing the house, me starting a new job, a vacation, etc. We were set to close on Friday, July 18th, and we have the movers scheduled for the following Saturday. Our plan was to close that Friday, spend the weekend and the next week in the evenings taking out the carpet, removing wallpaper, painting, etc. before we moved in. Then we'd have another week of more home stuff and unpacking before we left for a previously planned vacation. And, my parents were planning on coming out to help us those two weeks. We also have the new renter moving into our current apartment on August 1st. So today we find out that the lender is having an issue with the appraisal amount of the house b/c the air conditioning isn't schedule to be installed until right before we close, and probably won't be finished until after we close. Apparently they need the air conditioning installed earlier, prior to closing. This is only three weeks away now and the air conditioning installer can't move the schedule up any. This is so frustrating b/c now we're looking at a July 23rd closing date, which gives us really no time at all to do any repairs on the house before we move in! I don't know why this didn't come up earlier! There is a chance that the realtors and the lender will be able to work something out (something about pulling different comps and doing another appraisal) but I'm getting nervous cause I really don't want to move into that house in the condition that it is currently in... anyway, that's actually the very short version of the house drama story even though it seems long, I'll try to post fun pictures tomorrow and maybe I'll have some good news about the closing date...

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outside part 2

The weekend was a productive one - we booked a moving company, got some boxes and started packing, and had our first big house shopping trip at Lowes! All the little things that we'll need will really add up fast... I think that the most exciting purchases were the little paint sample cans and the painting supplies. You'll see why the paint is exciting in the next few posts, but first, the backyard as promised:

One of the things that we really wanted with our new house, but had a hard time finding, was a 2 car garage. We also needed a good size back yard for our dogs. Our poor dogs have been without a yard for the past 2 years and we kept promising them we'd get a yard for them soon :-) The tree in the backyard is kind of sad looking, I guess that some big branches came down in a recent storm. We're thinking that we'll do some landscaping and try to plant some additional trees. Eventually we'd like to put in a privacy fence instead of the chain link and paint the garage to match the house.
The house already has a nice big deck and a little porch off of one of the upstairs bedrooms. When we got the home inspection, our inspector told us that we'd need to put some kind of deck sealer on the wood b/c it's starting to twist in a few places. We've been looking at patio furniture and hope that we can find a good sale at the end of the summer. Here's one last picture of the backyard looking out from the kitchen. The tree looks a little better...

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I'm just going to start this off with a general apology - I have never done this whole blog thing so I have no idea how it will turn out, but I imagine I will blog like I think, talk, dream, or do most things in life... completely randomly and only making sense to me. So if you're looking for a nicely organized, easy to follow house blog, I will do my best, but I can't make any promises.

Anyway, I thought that I would start to go through the house, room by room, and get some of our ideas out there. Plus, everyone likes to look at pictures and I actually managed to take a few during our inspection! I thought I'd start with the exterior, it doesn't need a lot of work, but we have some things that we would like to change. The first and biggest thing for me would be to replace the plastic (?) front door with the original front doors. I'm not sure what's up with the current door, but it's pretty bad:

Luckily, we found the original front doors in the garage and they seem to be in good shape:

Eventually we'd also like to repaint all of the trim on the front of the house, maybe with some nice neutral grays. But that probably won't happen for awhile. I think that some new landscape and plantings could help a lot with the curb appeal:

Sorry for the quality of some of these pictures, I had to take some from the listing website. I'm impressed that I was able to post multiple pictures in one post, so I think I'm going to stop at that tonight. Next time I'll move on to the backyard.

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It's finally ours!

Welcome to our blog! Mike and I have bought our first house, and we hope to document our adventures of turning the house into our home. I really enjoy reading other home blogs, so I thought I'd start my own. Our new (old) house was built in 1911 and the seller had lived there for 51 years, leaving all of her personality behind :-) We saw over 30 houses and knew this one was "the house" the first time we saw it. It needs a lot of work, but we can't wait to start. We don't close on the house for another month, but I'm going to start posting pictures, ideas, inspiration, and all things house related so that I can have it all in one place.

front of the house

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