The Shelter Saga: Part 2

A long concrete driveway without too many cracks in it leads up beside this brown gabled house. It’s set way back in the yard and three giant trees block most of the view, so there isn’t much to see from the street. The most obvious feature is the large matching shed that seems to peer over its shoulder. Like a shy toddler, a short, squat attached garage clings to the back of the house. There is a porch, and a front entrance framed with a short, forgotten tail of sidewalk. You’re clearly not really meant to use that door.

Nikki looks nice in the driveway.

The side door enters at ground level. Straight ahead, up a few stairs, is the kitchen. The kitchen is… It’s wonderful. I fell in love with the pictures on the website. So many cupboards! A breakfast bar! A dishwasher! More cupboards! Yards and yards of clean, sharp, new-looking oak cupboards topped with white counters and a sparkling brown glass tile backsplash. The dining room area is just beyond the breakfast bar, and has room enough for my big kitchen table, as well as a hutch or two.

The living room around the corner (with hardwood floors!) and a room devoted to the stair landing make up the first floor.

The second floor has three bedrooms – one with a walk-in closet, a full bath, and a tiny door that leads to a storage area beneath the eaves.

The basement is dry (a huge selling point for us) and divided up into three rooms. The main area has the laundry hookups, a kitchen-style double sink, and a toilet hiding behind a partition. There is enough room down there for a play room, or a rec room – maybe even a ping pong table. Along one wall, doors open up to a shelved storage area that was clearly once a pantry, and an empty room that could be anything we imagine.

(I will post interior pictures when I get a chance!)

View from the shed, you can see the cute little attached garage.

I knew I was sold. I loved the place before I even saw it in person. Especially that kitchen! And there was so much great garage space for Tim… He liked it, too, so we went back to Barb’s office and wrote up an offer. We offered the listing price with the kitchen appliances included, and a $4000 credit at close*.

The next day, we got back a counter-offer asking for the listing price plus $4000, with our closing credit still intact, and we could have all the appliances. (That meant the washer, dryer and freezer in the basement, as well as the stove, fridge, microwave and dishwasher.) Except, they added a 72-hour clause.

Their deal was: they would accept our offer, but they were going to continue to show the house and entertain offers. If they got an offer they liked better, they would give us formal notice, and we had 72 hours to clear all the contingencies and close the deal.

Tim and I couldn’t believe it. There is no way in hell we could get the bank to close on a loan in less than 72 hours. “Why would they do that to us?” we asked Barb, our real estate agent. She said it was unusual, and she would do some investigating.

The back of the house.

She came back to us a few days later saying the sellers wanted to be able to accept a cash offer if it came up, but they were not going to just sell the house out from under us for no reason. At the same time, she stressed that the quicker we could get some of the main steps like the inspection done, the better it would look.

Bob wasn’t available to do the inspection immediately, this time, so I called down the list of local inspectors until I found someone who answered their phone. We got a time set up for the next day (a Saturday) and I agreed to meet him at the house.

This inspector, Tom, was a completely different kind of guy than Bob. He was very, very talkative, wrote his inspection notes on a pre-printed paper form, and took about 16 photos that he e-mailed me later as a completely separate item from the inspection booklet. I showed up at the beginning of his inspection, along with the seller, the seller’s real estate agent, and my real estate agent. We stood around in a circle and made small talk for half an hour or so while I wondered to myself about why we were wasting time. Eventually, the real estate agents left. I felt like I was supposed to be there for the inspection, so I ended up standing in the kitchen for another hour, talking to the seller about the house, our families, and whatever else came to mind. Every once in awhile, we would hear the inspector chirp about what amazing condition the house was in, and that he didn’t have anything to write on his report yet.

Back of the shed – a solar panel powers the heater/fan!

Eventually, I started to feel ridiculous intruding on the poor lady’s house. The inspector wasn’t showing me anything, and I was clearly not needed, so I said my goodbyes and snuck away. I told Barb about the experience, and she assured me that it was a very good thing to have met the seller, as now she would recognize me and my family as people, not just an offer on paper. That makes sense to me, I suppose.

I had to work the next day, but Tim was home, so I set up and appointment for Tim to go over the results with Tom. They ended up chatting for an hour and a half, Tim said. At the end of the report, he really couldn’t find anything to complain about. There was a leak under the sink in the kitchen, but he pointed it out to the owner and she fixed it almost immediately.

We had our inspection, and signed a form to formally drop that contingency. There were still a long list of things to be done before we could drop the other contingency, though, and very little of it was within my control… And our July 31st deadline was approaching.

* The banker we were working with put the idea in my head that we should ask for $4000 at close. I don’t know why he suggested that, we just put it into the paperwork on all the offers we made.

 

Continue with The Shelter Saga: Part 3.

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One Response to The Shelter Saga: Part 2

  1. Pingback: The Shelter Saga: Part 1 | Paper-Tiger

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