Thursday, April 17, 2008

House on the Borderland (Part Two)

After doing the math and seeing how expensive it would be to both buy the A-Frame and fix it up, I began to panic.

We'd looked at a great many houses in Borderland, but the A-Frame was definitely the coolest we'd seen of them all so far. (Actually, there was another house that was arguably cooler and in much better shape, but which was quite a bit more expensive. Furthermore, it did not have cool land, had more neighbors closer about and had interior decoration that looked as though Pier One Imports had taken a shit in it. I'm so serious. It was exactly like the worst, most cramped Pier One you've ever been in, magnified. You could NOT take a step without bumping into big honking statuary and delicate vases on rickity wicker-wrapped tables. There was, in fact, barely any room to walk with all the crap in there. And, properly divested of metal statues of ballerinas and goats, the place would have been quite roomy. It was a minimalist's screaming nightmare, but was one we were still considering, minus the crap.)

With the A-Frame's future in jeopardy, I was determined to find something equally cool to trade for, should that become necessary. So I went online and looked some more and immediately found the place. The exterior shot alone with its wood and rock siding told me it was our kind of house, but the added description of it that mentioned how it offered distance from its neighbors and quiet seemed like a place we definitely would want to see more of.

Meanwhile, we were still very actively considering the A-Frame, despite its problems. We'd even decided to have the place inspected, almost hoping there would be some massive deal-breaker that would block our path to purchase. Since we wanted to be on hand for the inspection, we scheduled a Saturday showing of what we had come to call the Wood House, followed immediately afterward by the inspection of the A-Frame.

The day before we were to head over to Borderland to visit the Cedar House and have the A-Frame inspected, our real estate agent called to ask if we could flip the order of business. Instead of meeting him at 9 to see the Cedar House, we'd just meet at the A-Frame, have it inspected, and then roll over to see the Cedar House afterward. As it turns out, we would have probably saved $250 by doing it in the original order.

The A-Frame inspection went well. Our inspector gave the place a three hour thorough once-over, pointed out some things he thought needed to be changed, made some suggestions, but overall gave the property a passing grade. In fact, we were a little afraid he wanted to buy it himself by the end of things. Feeling very good about our decision to pay for the inspection, we headed over to the Cedar House where we realized the error of our ways.

While while not quite as eclectic as the A-Frame, the Wood House was very nice indeed. It was a 20 year old ranch-style seated atop a hill overlooking trees and countryside. It was indeed very private, comfortably distant from neighbors, and, best yet, could be moved into with a minimum of work. Sure, some of the rooms had paint and wallpaper choices that we would not have made ourselves, but that's cheap enough to fix.

In short, we liked it quite a bit. To me, it didn't have the same atmospheric vibe as the A-Frame, particularly in the land-department, but it certainly made up for it in a lack of back-breaking work to make it our own. And when your major bread-winner is also the major skilled-laborer of the family, as my wife most certainly is, that counts for a lot.

We made an offer on the place that night. Within a couple of days, we learned that our offer had been accepted--though just barely. Despite some pretty fierce competition, our offer won out . The competition evidently came back with larger counter offers, but the owners fortunately decided to honor their verbal agreement with us and keep us on as the buyers. Unfortunately, the owners were actually only owners in name because they were working through a relocation company that had technically purchased the house from them, giving them a say in who gets it, but otherwise taking care of all other decisions about the house. As we soon were to learn, the particular relocation company in question is seemingly staffed by canker-encrusted dicks.

You would think in a housing market as crappy as ours is right now that the buyer would have a good deal of leverage. And perhaps that might have been the case if we'd had no competition at all. But the Relocation Dicks knew there was competition, so they pretty much bent us over a coffee table at every opportunity. Sellers fees that all sellers in every home purchase agreement from time immemorial have traditionally had to pay, with the actual words "SELLER'S" and "FEE" in their very title, the Dicks refused to pay. We had to pay them. In fact, we paid all fees for all the inspections of the property, all the closing costs and even a few more fees that cropped up during the process. But let me say, in what little defense the Dicks have, we knew about most of this going into the process (except for that whole "SELLER'S FEE" thing) and we went in willingly. In fact, we were prepared to be pretty accommodating in all of this because we really wanted the place.

Even with the hassles put upon us by the Relocation Dicks, things really went smoothly for the most part. Not to say there weren't bumps...


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An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.