Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's been a fast and furious fall

I was doing quite well, there, for awhile, chronicling my excellent Alaskan vacation. Then one friday afternoon, I took a drive through a neighborhood that was of interest to me for shopping to buy a home. I saw a few homes with for sale signs and I jotted down the addresses and the realtors' names and numbers. Saturday morning I called one of the realtors, and she was very un-friendly to me, almost rude. She told me the asking price, and I said, "That's high ..." and she didn't say anything. So I said, "That's high for this neighborhood." and the realtor told me about another house in another neighborhood that was a short sale. I clearly sensed this realtor didn't want my business. She said the house I'd called on was vacant, so why didn't I go look around, and if I wanted to see inside to call her back. I hung up and called Deborah, a friend and realtor who has been successful even in this market. "Would you be willing to help me with this?" I met her in her office and she called the realtor and we drove up to the house and looked inside. It was a dream home. On a lake, landscaped with beautiful gardens, even a doggie door from the garage to a fenced area. Nicely tiled throughout, great porches and updated kitchen and baths. The asking price was $220,000. Appraisals for this neighborhood were coming in around $165,000-$185,000. We wrote up and offer of $170,000., I got a pre-approval letter from the bank and we submitted the offer. The seller never even countered - just flat out refused the offer. We were dumbfounded. But Deborah was determined to get me a house, and signed me up with I looked at hundreds of houses online, and dozens on foot. I looked at short sales, forclosures, and good old fashioned homes for sale. Some had pools, some had yards, some needed alot of work. The short sales were sad: clearly folks just walked away - leaving belongings, even dirty dishes and food. I looked at what I would call McMansions - brand new homes - never lived in - tiled throughout, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, simply gorgeous. But they were built right to the set-backs, and in new - or newer - developments. I wanted mature vegetation, and a yard.
Then I noticed on listingbook a house in a neighborhood called Heritage Farms, which had mature vegetation and nice sprawling homes in a quiet area. I placed it in my favorites, and drove by to see it. We had been having a lot of rain, and this neighborhood backs up to the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve, so it was a good time to see how wet it gets back in there. The lot was half an acre with mature live oak trees. I didn't get out of the car, just drove by and checked out the neighborhood. It needed some work, it appeared, but otherwise it was very charming. Deborah called me the next day: "I see in your favorites a house in Heritage Farms - do you want to go look at it?" We drove up after work. Deborah learned that the house had been empty for two years. The occupant was an elderly woman who suffered from alzheimers. She had a dog, that messed throughout, and the master bath needed work. It was 4 bed/ 3 bath. We walked in the front door, and it was a goofy layout - it had two living rooms and two dining rooms, with a kitchen smack in the middle. There was obvious signs of a leaking roof, and the master bath didn't need work, it needed to be completely redone. A friend of mine who makes his living as a building inspector offered to give me a free look, so I took him up on the offer. He pointed out signs of copper piping that were damaged, signs that the floors had water damage, obvious roof damage, and so on. There was a large oak near the rear corner that was uprooting the foundation, and low hanging limbs that were beating the roof. Money Pit. The seller should raze the building. It was disappointing.
I returned home and adjusted the search criteria in listing book. As I browsed through dozens of homes, I told myself that I'd just wait - obviously the time wasn't right.
The next morning, Deborah called me and asked if I'd considered McGregor Woods. "No," I said, "I don't want to live in a gated community with Homeowners Associations that tell you how to live your life" "McGregor Woods is different" she said. "I'll send you the listing." That was Friday morning and I was busy at work and didn't give it another thought. At 4:30, Deborah called. She was going to go look at the house in McGregor Woods, did I want to meet her there? I reluctantly said yes - reluctant because I'd become discouraged. She and her husband were already there when Gracie and I pulled up. The house was darling. The neighborhood is beautiful, lovely landscaping, peaceful and well maintained. The house was perfect. The back yard backed up to a drainage swale and a wooded area, the side yard was adjacent to a large common area of lawns. 3 bed/ 2 bath, very well maintained. Sunken living room with cathedral ceilings, formal dining room as well as breakfast nook, screened porch and patio outside. But the best part was the master bedroom suite. Large room, walk in closet, master bath with large walk-in shower beautifully tiled. Both the bedroom and the bath had sliding glass doors that opened into an atrium!!! This is truly a dream home. "Do you love it?" Deborah asked. "Yes!" "Do you love it enough to make an offer?" YES! The asking price was $220,000. We went back to her office and wrote up an offer of $180,000. The next morning came a counteroffer of $195,000. which we accepted. That was September 19th, and closing is set for October 20.
I have been busy packing. It couldn't come at a better time, because of difficulties here where I'm renting. I can't get out soon enough. I'm going to love my new home!
so I probably won't finish my alaskan vacation chronicle - we are now in home ownership mode!

1 comment:

LeAnn said...

wow, congratulations Michelle! I hope you will be very happy there