Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Me. Now. (Condo to Casa Edition)

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or

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That is all.

Buying a house is emotional, difficult stuff, ya'll,

I know.  I know.

First world problems.

But they're real problems.

I hardly have the physical and mental energy to push through.

But, in the end, it will all be worth it.

Gotta remember that.

Also, I know I'm blessed to be in a position to buy a home.  Truth. 

As soon as this adventure/ordeal/situation has some end in sight, I will let ya'll know.

I will also have a party.

By a fireplace, hopefully.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Insuring the New Property: Condo to Casa

Buying a house is an emotional event and you need to stay on track.
-Dad, October 28, 2014

I need this poster to stare at all day long right now.
Or vodka.  Lots of vodka.

Buying a house has so many moving pieces, ya'll.

Inspection?  Check.

Termite inspection?  Check.

Hydro Static Test?  Check.

Financing?  Check.

Sell my own home?  Check.

Begin to decorate in my mind?  Check.

The one thing I didn't think would be a big deal has been stressing me out today!  If I ever buy another property, I will definitely be doing it first.

What is IT?  Seeing if the property is insurable and how much it will insure for.

Before the inspections began, Sergio tried to make contact with our insurance agent to see the insurance cost for the home.  The insurance was estimated at about $55 a month by my mortgage provider.  I knew that was far too low of a quote.  The lowest quote we have received is $99, but that's with a multi-line discount, which we probably won't have.  It's cheaper to insure our cars through State Farm and our home through Allstate.  That might change tomorrow; we are going to call both places and see if we can get a slightly better deal.  I'd prefer to have everything covered by one provider, but I digress.

Back to Sergio making that initial call.  It was the weekend and they never called him back.  The inspection was Monday morning and both of us became busy with life.  We didn't think there would be a problem with insurance.

Fact is, when Sergio called State Farm today, they told him the property may not be insurable!  Seriously.  Apparently, someone made a claim on the home policy for that property back in April 2014 in the amount of $11,000.  I have no idea what they claimed.  No idea.  The man who owned the property passed away in April 2014, so maybe the two issues are related.  Who knows?

I have never filed a home property claim, so I have no idea what that has to do with me.  The inspector found nothing on the property to be of great risk or extreme importance, so we are amiss to understand what about the $11,000 claim could be causing the home to not be insurable.  I mean, no mold issues, no roof issues, no foundation issues.  Nothing.  Unless something fell off the house and injured the previous home owner or he fell off the roof or something?

No idea.

So now, we wait.  Other insurance companies (Allstate and Geico) said the home is insurable.  One agent with State Farm paid no heed to the $11,000 claim and gave us a quote.  Our own  current State Farm agent is the one who noticed the claim as a red flag.

We will stay tuned and see what happens.  If for some reason this home cannot be insured, this will be a VERY expensive lesson learned.  Check to see if the home is insurable BEFORE you even bother paying for  a home inspection or giving the seller your money for the option period.

Ridiculous.  Just ridiculous.  Hoping it all pans out.  We love everything about this house.

For now, I will be doing this.
Or drinking vodka.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes: Condo to Casa

Yesterday, I shared our wonderful news with you.  Our offer on a house was accepted!  As you read this, I am probably walking through the home with my realtor, my parents, my husband, and a couple of inspectors.

I know that the things that the inspection reveals are of utmost importance, but I can't help but already think about the little aesthetic changes I will be making within the next few years.  You can see a little bit of my future plans for some of the space on my "Casita Nueva" Pinterest board.  Let's tour the home and talk about some of the things Sergio and I have discussed: 

Potential kitchen.

The kitchen is in pretty good shape.  My only plan for now is to add my Anthropologie cabinet knobs in lieu of the builder's grade stuff.  Eventually, we will replace the refrigerator because we love our current, practically brand new French door fridge that is staying in our condo.  We will probably also get a double oven again.  Both of those appliances can wait a while, though.  Also, I loathe dishwashers, so we will probably sell that one and install some open shelving.  It's an eat-in kitchen, so we will be adding our little bistro set from the living room (currently, our only dining spot).

The study.  We will make this our dining room, though.

I love the French doors and the built in shelving.  Seriously.  I also love the fact that it is adjacent to the kitchen.  We plan on putting wood floors in here and painting the walls.  The pale, pale green is okay for now, though, so that can wait for a while.  We were at an estate sale this weekend and already bought our dining room table, a lovely walnut antique piece that can seat 10-12!  We just need to find some eclectic white chairs to go with it and we are good to go. Those shelves will hold books and some nicer pieces we have for entertaining.  I plan on fitting a small LCD television in one of them.  I know, TV in the dining room, groan!  But it's our life at the end of a hard day.

Living room.  Swoon.

I love the hardwood floors.  I do plan on painting the walls white.  I crave white walls right now.  The pale green MIGHT go with our teal couch, but I don't think so.  The wall that isn't pictured in an olive green, so I will DEFINITELY be covering that with the light green (if they left any paint) or white (if we decide to go that route).  Other than that, some lovely curtains and our current furniture will complete this room.  We will also need to buy a rug for this space and a new coffee table.  I don't think our current table will go well in here.  Craigslist may have to find a new home for it.

The screened porch.

This porch is adjacent to the living room.  I plan on painting this space and repairing a water damaged panel at the bottom of one of the screens.  I am hoping to paint this space before we even move in.  I also plan on putting terrazo tiles on the floor.  That fan will get replaced ASAP (it might get painted in the mean time) and the ceiling with get painted one solid color.  That little window?  It's a pass through to the kitchen!  I think that's pretty awesome.

Where the magic will happen.

Without a doubt, this space will get painted white before we move in.  What's up with that terracotta wall paired with the mint green?  It's not for me.  Nope.  I love that it has en suite bathroom.  We will eventually replace the window on the mint wall with French doors that will lead out to the deck from the master.  The fan needs to be replaced OR we need to find a light fixture for it.  The current fan just has wires sticking out where a light should be.


The master bath.

Love that walk in shower!  All we plan on doing in here is replacing the builder's grade cabinet knobs with Anthropologie knobs.  The mirror?  It is a giant medicine cabinet!  Love all that storage!

The guest room.

It's a small, simple space.  Sergio wants to get a larger fan for the space, but I think the small one is fine for now.  I am fine with the pale green walls for now.  This will be Sergio's space to decorate (though I will still have input).  He plans on hanging our vintage posters (from our current living room) in here.  We will also put the desk in here and along with a queen size bed that Sergio has at his family's home.  (Yay to not having to buy a new bed!)  Eventually, like the rest of the carpeted spaces, we will put hardwood floors in here.  We might even replace that window with French doors that will lead out to the back yard.

Guest bath.

It's a nice simple bathroom.  Again, we will replace the cabinet knobs.  We will also eventually replace that tub surround, but that is in the very distant future (if ever).  This space needs a little medicine cabinet.  That mirror is just solid mirror.

The exterior.

Raking.  Raking.  Raking.  Landscaping.  We plan on digging up a few of the plants that are now dead since the property has been vacant since April.  A fresh coat of paint where that 70s brown is.  I really think this property will liven up tremendously once fresh paint in applied.  Check out this Apartment Therapy story to see the transformation paint can give a home.

The deck.

We love the fact that a tree goes through the middle of the deck!  Without saying, sweeping will be the first thing to happen.  We will stain and treat the deck as well.  We plan on adding some kind of structure to the top of the railing in order to obstruct the view of our neighbors wall.  On the other side of the deck, there is a long narrow walk way that needs to have pavers added to it.  Here and there, we need to landscape, remove plants and weeds, and just kind of clean up the space.  We also need to install some stairs next to where the barbecue pit is.  It basically just kind of drops off into a flower bed and then you have to jump/step from the flower bed into the backyard.  The stairs are a "first week in the home" kind of project.  We were blessed that this property comes with that barbecue pit, a washer, a dryer, a water softener system, and an extra refrigerator in the garage!  

Our prayer is that we can fill this home with love and happiness.  The former owner passed away in April 2014; the day he passed away changed our lives, too.  We were able to buy his home from his family.  We hold this opportunity in reverence for the life that filled it before us.  We hope everything works out and look forward to making many happy memories here if the fates allow.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Making an Offer: Condo to Casa

If you stopped by here last week, you would know that we are in the middle of a major life change.  We are leaving our little condo (see it here) and moving to a casa almost double in size.  While this decision has only been about three weeks in the making, it feels like we have been going through this process for months.  It's emotionally exhausting ya'll.  Even though we saw the first home in our tour of San Antonio realty on October 11, 2014, picking our perfect home was a clear cut decision.  We both had a pretty clear view of what we wanted in our home; most importantly, we both know that we want a space where we can have friends and family over and a space that is HOA free.

So here we are.  

Could this be the one?  Finding the right home is kind of like finding a life partner- you just kind of know.

On October 19, we went to see a few houses with our realtor.  She was too busy to take us to one last house that evening, so we just went by to peek through the windows on our own to see if it was worth a drive out the next day.  I fell in love in an instant!  Sergio, on the other hand, felt like we shouldn't rush; also, he had fallen in love with a previous property that had an offer on it before we even had the chance to be contenders.

I didn't want to rush, either, but I knew something.  In the San Antonio market, sitting and waiting is not really an option right now; houses sell as fast as they go on the market or, worst case, within a month of having a price reduction.  Truthfully, I didn't feel that we were rushing at all because I didn't feel like we were settling.  This home had a character to it that had been hard to find in our price range AND desired locations.  We've seen many homes in the last couple of weeks in a handful of zip codes and when I saw the fireplace, the dining space, the sweet little kitchen, the screeened porch and the backyard deck, I immediately pictured life there. I could see holidays gathered around the fireplace, barbecues on the patio, and nights filled with wine and music under the stars.  Not to mention, it was within our price range and in an area of town we really like.  We need to be close to shopping, restaurants, a grocery store, and a little bit of night life.  

That evening, I contacted our realtor and told her that I had to see the home right away.  I let her know that I felt we might be placing an offer.  Even though Sergio still had hopes that the other property would become available, he trusted my intuition and my desire and said that he felt comfortable placing an offer if I felt like I loved the place in the day time.  (When we perused the property on the 19th, it was already evening which meant it was really dark outside.)

I called my boss and let her know I would be in late because I was viewing a house on Monday morning (October 20).  As soon as I walked into the home and saw everything I had seen the night before in the daylight, I knew.  We had to place an offer.  I called Sergio and let him know.  He trusted my opinion.

We placed an offer.  And we waited.

Monday night- nothing.  Tuesday night- nothing.  Wednesday night- nothing.  I closed on the sale of my condo Wednesday night, but the new owners are completely fine with me residing in the condo as long as I need to.  It's nice to have parents who buy your condo.  Wednesday night is when I noticed that the home was no longer "active" on Zillow.  I was worried!  It still showed "active" on realtor.com, but it was "off market" on Zillow.  I also noticed that Phyllis Browning was going to have an "open house" for the home on Sunday.  Why would they have that advertised if they had a good offer?  When did they schedule it?  Was it after we made our offer?  Thursday night- nothing.  Coupled with what I saw on Zillow Wednesday night, I was kind of sure that we weren't going to get the home.

Ya'll!  We were I was stressing.  I didn't expect them to take my first offer, but I certainly expected them to  at least make a counter offer.  We might have even been willing to pay full price if they paid closing or made some repairs or something.  Not hearing anything was driving me nuts.

Finally, on Friday at 230pm, we received a counter offer.  We bartered back and forth for a few hours and finally came to a deal resolution some time around 740pm.  (Thank goodness for timelines via text messages, huh?)

The house is ours!

Of course, that is provided that tomorrow's inspection goes well and there is nothing major wrong with the home.  We have a traditional inspection and a termite inspection tomorrow.  Later in the week, we will also have a hydrostatic test to make sure that the plumbing has not been compromised if there have been any foundation issues.  Foundation issues are normal in our climate.  All these tests add up and can be pretty costly, but they are worth it to ensure that you know what you are getting into when you buy a home.  I am really pleased that our realtor is so knowledgeable about homes.  She helped me make wise decisions on the first condo and she didn't steer me wrong.  I trust the tests she suggests for any property.

I am in love with the home.  That doesn't mean I don't see the need for improvements we will definitely make over time.  But that's another post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Contemplating a Move: Condo to Casa

Sorry for the silence around here!

Sergio and I have been busy doing this and that and life just got in the way of being good at this blogging thing.

When we are super busy, I become extremely tired and can't think of doing anything besides sleeping/resting/sitting on the couch.  You see, I have Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism and the doctor is still trying to find just the right dosage to get my body to work again.  I missed a pill yesterday and my body felt it!  I promise to write about my experience with it one day soon!

In other happier news, we are on a house hunt!  We have seen almost 25 houses (maybe more!) in the last couple of weeks!  I am sure my realtor is done with us!  We typically scout out the neighborhood and house before we have her actually schedule a visit, but even at that, we have had her escort us on a ton of visits!

This was my perfect idea of a home when I was 5.  I am sure Sergio is relieved I gave up this dream.
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House hunting can be quite something.  Between foundation and wood damaging insects and inspections and appraisals, it is definitely a nerve wrecking experience.  I had forgotten about all of that; I mean, I last bought a place seven years ago.

I am no realtor or inspector, but I am pretty sure this is bad.
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We are trying to stick to a pretty strict budget so that we still have access to be able to do repairs as needed.  I am hoping that a house we saw today is the right fit for us.  We made an offer and are waiting to hear something as I type this.

Sergio and I have different tastes when it comes to a house, so I am pretty surprised we found a home that we both agree on.  (We've actually found a few, but have only put an offer on two since a few actually had an offer or two come in as we were viewing the home; we lost the first one, but we didn't really love it.  We were much more discerning before picking another one to try for.)

I want this...
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And he would want this.
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Since I know how much work goes into cleaning and maintaining a home, I feel like tinier is always better... BUT I am compromising because I also love to have people over and love to have little shindigs.  A bigger house was definitely in order.  We've been married two years.  It was time.  I had a garage sale with my friend on one Saturday; when I arrived back home, I let Sergio know that I was not opposed to the idea of finding a home.  One hour later, we were at the first home on our tour of San Antonio realty and were already teamed up with a realtor.  (She sold me the condo seven years ago, so I totally trust her.)

And now, about two or three weeks later, we are in a waiting game.  Our offer is on the table.  I am hopeful that things will pan out just as they should.

This whole hunt has made me want to watch Under the Tuscan Sun on replay.  I love that little movie.

If you've never seen this movie, you should.  Love it.
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In other news, I am obsessed with pinning new little things and ideas for our new casa.  Every time we think we have found "the one," I start obsessing and pinning all kinds of goodies in anticipation (on my board Casita Nueva).  Maybe I should stop that, so I won't feel so let down if it doesn't work out but I can't help but get excited.  I think faith is a beautiful thing. I love decorating and having projects and making a little home that has good bones into a nicer space by the time I am done.

I am already picturing barbecues and the holidays and pups running in the backyard.  I am really looking forward to a little different take on life.  We will be back to to condo life one day, that I know for sure, but in the mean time, life just let us know that it's time to start a new chapter together.

This decision is based on love, which is what I try to base all my decisions on. This particular decision is based on the love for family, friends, sharing our space with others, and creating a home with my husband.  I believe that when a decision is based on love everything works out just like it should even if we don't understand the "why" at the time.

That's one of the best things about marriage- creating a life together, piece by piece.

Have a great rest of the week!