I wanted to note this down before I forgot all of it, and decided to do so now even though I am reserving emotional judgement on whether or not this saga is actually going to conclude this fucking year.


I think it started with [livejournal.com profile] whispercricket and [livejournal.com profile] teinedreugan going to interesting open houses as a recreational thing, and finding a fascinating old seven-bedroom place in Lowell.

We are crowded here, and due to become more so. It is exhausting and stressful. So 'finding a new place to live' wandered up the priority list a bit, and we started looking - going to open houses, contacting the buyer's agent we've worked with in the past. We compiled lists of things we were looking for, and refined those lists over time as we worked through and collected data - what we needed to have space for, what our location constraints were, and so on.

We talked about the seven-bedroom place and how we would need to rework it to be functional for us, which was 'pretty extensively, especially since they sold off the yard a few years ago'. We looked at it several times at open houses, talking with the agent extensively, as he appeared to be sadly waiting for someone to talk to. I think eventually it dropped off the market silently.

Time passed. We looked at other houses. We looked at a lot of other houses. (Including a really run-down castle. Pity it needed like half a million of repairs and renovations, minimum.) And at the other end of the house from the somewhat run-down seven-bedroom was ... this brick colonial in grand style. Huge parts of it were perfect. Some of it I had reservations on (largely on animistic grounds). It appeared to have been perfectly maintained. It even had air conditioning! It was worth trying.

We floated a verbal offer at its owners. They did not bite. They had people come to see it recently who looked really enthusiastic, and would certainly put in a better deal than that. We were not willing to go too much higher than our verbal offer because while we (or at least I) happen to adore the city of Lowell, we have concerns about it. So we filed the brick fucking mansion as 'keep an eye on this and occasionally ping the sellers to see if they're sane yet'.

These sellers will henceforth be referred to as the neutral overoptimistic sellers.

We sighed. We shook our heads. We moved on to looking at other things. For the most part, we did not find other things. Partly because the market in our price bracket is not actually all that good; partly because we are ludicrously picky in complicated ways, such that the things one subset of people is ludicrously picky about does not necessarily overlap with other people's ludicrous pickiness.

The next place we found was clearly kind of shady to start out with - three open houses on three days in a row! Signs posted ridiculously densely, to a point that our agent said "Yeah, I'd report them for breaking the law here but I might have to do business with them someday." (Real estate oversight on these things: sucks.) Had apparently been fixed up by flippers, posted with a "We will totally put in a new septic system before closing, don't worry!" and with an "We will sell this to the top bidder on Sunday!"

Three of us liked the place well enough though expected, under the circumstances, it to have hidden problems. KJ loved the bay windows. So we went in on Sunday intending to put in a bid if [livejournal.com profile] whispercricket did not veto.

When we got there, the round of initial bids was not only over our intended initial bid, but over our maximum offer. We said, "Well, foo," [livejournal.com profile] whispercricket took a quick look around the place, and we went home.

These sellers will henceforth be referred to as the incompetent evil sellers.

The neutral optimistic sellers dropped their price! We re-floated our verbal offer. Oh, no, no, they had had someone come through who really liked the place, they weren't going to accept something that low. Oh gracious no.

We kept looking at houses.

And kept looking at houses.

And kept looking at houses.

By this point we're coming around to spring. We looked at houses. They sucked.

Then we found a place that had ...

... it was an eclectic Victorian with a barn on the back side of downtown Chelmsford, adjacent to a cemetery, walking distance to the library, a grocery store, a Bertucci's, and our pediatrician. We waited for our agent to get there with neurotic eagerness so we could look inside.

It was beautiful and almost perfect. It had 400 sq. feet on the roof that could have a deck/astronomy watchtower/perching place put on it. It had a little playhouse in the yard, and a stream down the back. We dithered briefly.

Finally we said we would put in a formal offer on this house or the neutral optimistic house. We decided this one, after much dithering and a little arguing, and the next day the neutral optimistic house was listed as having an accepted offer, so, okay, that's the way we have to go.

These sellers shall henceforth be referred to as the chaotic stupid sellers.

We put in the offer. Got the standard "We have another offer too, we like yours a little better, will you settle at such-and-such and waive your negotiation post-inspection?"

We said, "Mumbletymumble. Well, whatever, sure. That just means that if the inspection sucks, we have to walk away without them having any obligation to care."

We lined up an inspection and a couple of specialists - because we had noticed that the barn foundation was sketchy.

The barn foundation was about $35K worth of sketchy. The roof was in poor condition. The chimney was a stack of bricks and the inspector wasn't sure how they got a permit to vent the furnace through it legally.

We said "After that inspection, we're afraid we can't buy your house at this price" and ended the contract.

We reoffered at a lower price, not even one that was lower by the extent of the repairs we'd specced out (did I mention the barn roof also needed replacement, there was encapsulated asbestos in the basement, and one of the bathrooms had had a leak for a Long Time?) or the improvements we'd want to do.

Oh no no, those repairs are not necessary at all, you people are crazy, we will not sell it to you.

Much swearing. We go back to looking at houses. And looking at houses. And looking at houses.

Quietly, without fanfare, the auction house being sold by the incompetent evil people comes back on the market, at a ridiculous price. We say "Oh weally."

Quietly, without fanfare, the neutral optimistic seller's house sells. Our agent contacts the sellers to ask about it, and finds out that it sold for less than we had been intending to offer. We say, "Oh, fucksake."

The chaotic stupid people contact us. "We have another offer. Do you want to reoffer us money?"

We reiterate what we are willing to pay for the place.

Nothing much happens.

Meanwhile, we do a ridiculous amount of financial crunching and realise that we cannot get a fucking renovation loan anyway. They will lend us $N to buy a house, but not $N-X to buy a house and $X to fix the house, you see. Not without a lot of rigamorole. And even if we could do it, we're running out of time before the winter, and that chimney is ... down the centerline of the house, not capped, and not watertight in the slightest.

We scramble around looking for sources of money and ways of making it work, calculations for how we could make the place work. I am flatly in love with this house and all of its potential upsides. We talk about other loan sources, supplemental stuff, generalised other things, the possibility of renovating an in-law apartment into the barn for my father, having a side relative buy it on the cheap (if they're willing to buy), possibly renovate it, and sell it to us afterwards, everything.

It can't work out, and I am bitter and angry about this.

... I am eliding a lot of drama and iterations. That section basically took from April until the beginning of August.

The incompetent evil sellers have an open house on their place, and have dropped their asking price a bit. Well, whatever, we go look at it. The suspicion is that it failed the inspection on the first go around, as they are all "New roof! New septic system! We did some landscaping too! Come see it please!"

Different young, perky woman minding the open house. KJ does not lodge herself in the bay window the entire time we are there. We look around. [livejournal.com profile] whispercricket likes it better than last go around, presumably the repairs they did post-failed-inspection fixed a lot of the stuff that was bothering her.

We say "Fuck it" and put in an offer I think the Tuesday morning after the open house, figuring that the sooner we do this the better a shot we have.

(The chaotic stupid people go under contract again, breaking my heart once more. But they haven't had the inspection yet, so their agent's "Oh, this time the offer was much higher than yours!" may not last all that long, assuming the potential buyers have a competent inspector and are not idiots. We do not know whether either of these are the case. I am ... if it sells, tempted to send a letter to Resident asking them to please not park their cars in the barn until they have it repaired, our inspector said it was dangerous and I don't trust them to disclose our inspection stuff as they are legally required to do. See also: no oversight on this shit.)

Within an hour of the receipt of our offer, the agent drops the price on the house.

We say, "Seriously? Seriously?"

We say, "Ah, the bidding war worked out well for them last time they failed to sell this house, they're trying to set up another one."

Eventually they come back with a verbal counteroffer of "slightly more money than you had set as your max for paying for this place; roughly at the asking price now that we've dropped it". We notice that they have an open house scheduled for the following weekend.

We dither - briefly - about whether or not the "slightly more" is worth having this saga over and done with, and then accept their counter. We will submit new paperwork come morning, and do so.

Note: we agreed to their terms.

Response: because of the complexity of this offer we want a time extension to consider it. We have to ask our lawyer if your standard, completely unremarkable boilerplate is scary.

[livejournal.com profile] whispercricket's response is something like, "They're scared of the 'someone died there' clause. Just tell us."

Our general consensus is "They're stalling us to get to the open house and pick up more offers. They think we're desperate, since they know we looked at it the first go around and we enquired about the situation before. We're okay where we are, so if this falls through we will be pissed but not inconvenienced more than we are already."

There is a dramafit in here about how we didn't provide a full customary 24 hours to review the contractual version of our agreement to their proposition, to which we give a resounding fucksake. There is also a dramafit about our agent being cranky about this process of being fucked around for fun and profit.

Somewhere in here we get something like an "Kid's soccer game is delaying paperwork review". We say something like "For fuck's sake." THis may have been earlier in the week, but it existed.

Meanwhile, [livejournal.com profile] artan_eter is planning on visiting his grandmother with KJ. Grandmother lives one town over from incompetent-evil sellers' lawyer. We plan on dropping off deposit check with lawyer. Then there is drama about grandmother maybe not feeling well enough for this, but the check still needs to be dropped off, but the grandmother visit does eventually happen.

The lawyer refuses to accept our check.

It's not a bank check, you know. It could bounce.

(Because when you're dealing with $BIGNUM transactions in which people are going to have to be putting down tens of thousands of dollars up front, the personal checks for $1K always bounce.)

We come to the conclusion that they just want to keep us on the line until the open house, at which point we will say "We don't have time for this shit" and walk.

Friday night we get an "Here are the changes our lawyer recommends." Which includes something about the specifics of some windowpane replacement they had said they were going to do at the open house.

We say "Great! Put the in the contract and we will sign the revised version."

They say, "... no, you rewrite the contract." Presumably so they can get their 24 hour review period and then be having the open house.

We say, "..."

Then we say, "... so what do you want in the contract about the windows? Since you're the people who know about the windows?"

They say, "... we have to talk with our contractor about that!"

We say, "..."

The seller's agent - who has some interest in the property - confesses to our agent that she wants this deal to go through, but that the seller is going out of town at 2pm the following day and won't be able to do anything after that point.

We say, "..."

Also, "Shyeah, right. We totally believe you."

We rewrite and submit the contract.

Our agent says "I am in my office until 1:30."

They contact him at noon saying, "Here's the info from our contractor!"

We have the signed contract back to him by 12:45.

Oh, I forgot to mention: our agent is not able to receive documents from us in email for some unknown reason. [livejournal.com profile] teinedreugan has to drive to his office to fax him everything for every round of this madness.

He goes out of his office at 1:30.

At 5:30 we get email from him that begins, "Surprisingly, there was a signed offer in my email when I got back."

We were all very surprised to not be dicked around for the remaining day.

The inspection is in a half hour.

From: [identity profile] metahacker.livejournal.com


Mutha f-----.

Just remember: your schedule is more flexible than theirs. They MUST sell: you have many opportunities to buy. And "there will be another house", even in this sucky market. So any delays are aggravating but utimately you must refuse to make their panic your own...

From: [identity profile] mindways.livejournal.com


"Yeah, whatever. If you're assholes, we can leave you hanging! Neener!"

This is an immensely valuable tool (particularly if the evaluators are immense tools?).

And: many *hugs*. Homebuying is maddening with two sets of constraints. I can only imagine how much further each individual has had to bend (either in preferences or in having to look through umpty-bazillion houses to find matches) with four sets of constraints.

From: [identity profile] metahacker.livejournal.com


Yeah. Neener!

I took--still take--a certain vindictive schadenfreude at a bunch of houses where we looked, and they were priced at (say) $550k, and I said, "I think that's worth $380k", and our agent said, "but we'll never talk them down to that--they're going to have to have the market tell them that". And so we walked away, because we didn't need to wait the year that would take to happen. And then it did, and they ended up selling for $360k, or whatever. HA! Told you so, you unrealistic sellers!

(Or, there's one *still* on the market last I checked, which was basically ruined by the insanity and arrogance of the previous owners, who took a large house and made it larger by building upward. But not all at once; it was like a split-level, except with split roofs, and all the roofs come together into a valley in the middle with no good way to drain...but the sellers paid good money for it, and don't want to take a loss. Or something.)

From: [identity profile] boojum.livejournal.com


When we were looking at houses last, we looked at one like that, plus two years.

It would have easily been worth $300K more if there hadn't been a 6'x6' square shaft of complete ruination through the center of the house, where all the water had come through. It had clearly been an utterly gorgeous house before the roof had given in to physics. (I don't think it was extended into roofline stupidity. I think it was built new into roofline stupidity.)

From: [identity profile] chelidon.livejournal.com


good freakin' gods. What a saga. And I thought *we* all had stories from pour two home purchases... May it end well (short and long-term)!

From: [identity profile] leanne-opaskar.livejournal.com


Here's hoping the inspection goes well. Best wishes!

From: [identity profile] jerusha.livejournal.com


Youch. Would it help if I had the nervous breakdown for you guys? I mean, this is just /nuts/.

From: [identity profile] tiger-spot.livejournal.com


Good luck!

That is a shame about not being able to get repair money folded into the loan. Banks, sheesh.

From: [identity profile] zenten.livejournal.com


Wow *crosses fingers*

Please at least tell me that a house for 7 people is cheaper than a house for 3 plus a house for 4.

From: [identity profile] nex0s.livejournal.com


This reminds me of NYC real estate.

In conclusion: real estate stuff sucks.

Good luck.

N.

From: [identity profile] jinian.livejournal.com


Wow. I am... impressed? by the multiplicity of the flaming piles of crap. May it all be really settled and done with as soon as possible.
coraline: (Default)

From: [personal profile] coraline


oh FFS. I hope it all goes in smoothly from this point forward.
also, I was thinking of you today, wandering the British museum :)


From: [identity profile] hawlla.livejournal.com


That's more drama than my entire four years in high school.
ivy: (polite raven)

From: [personal profile] ivy


I applaud your restraint in not setting them all on fire. Best of luck with it. Yaaaaaaa!
.

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