House Buying Sucks

Oh, my friends. We have had a WEEK. I always knew that buying a house could be difficult and stressful, but nothing I had heard could possibly have prepared me for what we are going through.

Last Monday, we submitted an offer on our dream house: a lovely little 2 bed, 2 bath ranch on 6 acres. It backed up to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, my favorite place to run. It had apple trees and lilac bushes. It had a detached 2 car garage. Basically, it checked every box for us. We knew that the owner was old, and possibly not of sound mind, and that there was an estate lawyer involved in the sale. We figured, hey, they’ve got their stuff covered. Things should be fine. We started thinking about where to put furniture, planning what we would need to buy. We got excited about being in a place of our own by Christmas.

The deadline on our offer was that Wednesday at 10 am. The deadline came and went with no news from our realtor, so we emailed her after work that night. As it turned out, the estate lawyer had decided the seller was definitely not of sound mind, so he needed to involve her family in the sale. Both he and the listing agent thought our offer was solid, and would encourage the family to accept, but it would take some additional time. OK, fine. We loved the house and were willing to wait a bit.

Thursday came and went with no update. Friday came and went with no update. On Monday, we emailed our realtor again, emphasizing that we still really wanted the house, and asking if there anything we should do. She emailed back with good news–the estate lawyer and selling agent were meeting with the seller on Tuesday at 12:30, and she would sign the offer. Our realtor was told this by both the listing agent AND the estate lawyer. We breathed a sigh of relief. The next day, the contract would be signed. We once again started making plans, allowing ourselves to get excited.

Tuesday at 12:30 came and went with no news. We agonized all afternoon, waiting for an email, a phone call, SOMETHING. At 6 pm, our realtor called me. No, the offer had not been signed. Seemingly all of a sudden, the estate lawyer had realized that if they signed the contract, the seller would have to be out of the house by closing, but she didn’t have anywhere to go, and they weren’t sure they could find somewhere for her within the timeline laid out by the contract. So they didn’t sign. Our realtor presented three options:

1) Bail on the house entirely.
We weren’t super excited about this option because the house, the land, and the price point are all pretty much exactly what we’re looking for. But on the other hand, the estate lawyer and listing agent have demonstrated that they can’t adhere to deadlines, and also straight up lied to us about signing the contract, so we’re reluctant to continue doing business with them.

2) Walk away for now, but ask them to call us if they figure their shit out.
This option is attractive, because it allows us to explore other houses in the meantime, and leaves us free to put in other offers if we find something we like as much as, or better than, this place. It’s unattractive because it also means other buyers could potentially swoop in and outbid us because the house is still on the market.

3) Offer a new contract with a two week or one month housing contingency built in.
This would mean that the house is technically ours, but if the seller can’t find someplace to live within that one month, we can bail on the contract and move on. It’s a bad idea for several reasons. First, there is absolutely no guarantee that the seller will find housing within that time frame, meaning we could be back in this same position in another month. Secondly, we’d be under contract for that entire time period, meaning that if another, better house came up, we’d be unable to move on it. Thirdly, an extra month in the contract would push us into the new year. Ben’s new contract, with higher pay, goes into effect 1/1/18, which could potentially affect our financing. And of course, I refer you to the part where the estate lawyer and listing agent have repeatedly missed deadlines and lied to us. So yeah.

Obviously, we are devastated and beyond frustrated. This is a highly unusual situation. Typically, an offer is either accepted or rejected within the specified time frame, and that’s that. Sometimes there’s some countering back and forth, but it’s generally resolved within 48 hours of the initial offer. We’re now over a week out from our original offer and still in limbo. We love, love, love this house, but we need to be intelligent and rational too. We contacted our mortgage broker to see what effect increased income might have on our financing, and we’re taking a couple of days to cool off and think things over. I don’t think either of us want to walk away, but it might be the smartest move.

Have you bought a house before? How was the process for you?

Friday Free-For-All – 10/20/17

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We’re off to Toronto! Both Ben and I are off from work, and we’re headed to Toronto for a long weekend. This is our first “just us” trip pretty much since we’ve been together, and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re driving there and back, which is a long trip, but with music and snacks, it should be great. We’re no strangers to long car rides together. We’ve got some ideas of what we’d like to do, but no firm itinerary. Mostly, our priority is just to spend time together. Stay tuned for a recap next week!

House hunting has stalled a bit. The combination of our realtor being out of town plus the market starting to slow down has meant that we didn’t see any houses this week. Booooo. It’s disappointing and frustrating, but unfortunately there’s not much we can do about it. Hopefully when Jill is back in town next week we’ll get back into the swing of things.

Halloween is coming and I haven’t a thing to wear. I feel like I’m in this predicament every year. Halloween always sneaks up on me and I end up wearing some really lame, thrown together thing. Of course, we haven’t even been invited to any parties yet, so it doesn’t really matter that much, but it’s the principal of the thing. I love Halloween, and aspire to be one of those people who always has a kickass costume. *sigh* Maybe someday…

I was reminded this week how freaking delicious chai tea is. My coworker gave me a tea bag and I added some honey and a bit of milk and OMG HEAVEN. Honestly, it was the best thing I’ve drank in ages. So you best believe I went out and bought myself some and it will be my afternoon drink of choice from now on.

TARGET IS COMING TO VERMONT. You guys, I don’t have enough words to express how exciting this is. For years, I have been living in a Target desert. Litereally, Vermont is the only state in the US that doesn’t have one. The closest one was an hour and a half plus a ferry ride away in upstate NY. Now there will be one within striking distance of my office. SQUEEEEEEEEEE.

Are you Target-obsessed like me?

Friday Free-For-All – 10/06/17

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We’ve been looking at houses. Yay! It’s still early times, but I figure, the more stuff we look at, the more it will help us zero in on what’s important to us, what we really want vs what we don’t want, and ultimately help us find “our” house. Unfortunately, due to the rapid pace of real estate turn-around here, cramming in viewings is messing with my schedule. Stuff keeps coming up last minute, or we can only see things on a weeknight, so I’ve been having trouble making it to CrossFit/running. It sucks, but since finding a house is really important to us, it is what it is.

I’m trying to break the “snooze” cycle. I’ve written about this before, but I have a huge problem with hitting the snooze button multiple times each morning, or resetting my alarm for a later time after it goes off. This leads to feeling drowsy all morning, and from everything I’ve read, is generally bad for one’s sleep cycle. To combat this, I’ve started leaving my phone on the desk across the room, so I HAVE to get up to turn it off. Not only that, but I turn the lights on immediately, which forces me to open my eyes and wake up. I started this on Wednesday morning, and so far, the results have been great. I wake up a lot faster in the mornings, and generally feel more energized. Fingers crossed the trend continues!

Work is gonna be CRAZY next week. Not only is it our quarterly reporting time, which is always my busiest two weeks each quarter, but my colleague is out and I’m covering all her work in addition to my own. Eek! I’ve written before about how this can be very challenging. She’s been with the company for 20 years and knows everything backwards and forwards, whereas I’ve only been with the company 3 years and only cover for her a couple of times a year. Inevitably, some weird and wonky thing comes up that has me scrambling. Fingers crossed that this week is relatively smooth.

Happy Friday!


Friday Free-For-All – 09/15/17

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My company’s annual United Way campaign kicks off next week. I’m on the planning committee, which means that this week is usually a ton of work and stress. I’m already dreading it. I know it’s all for a good cause, but this is my fourth year on the committee and I think I’m just burned out. I really hope that next year I can excuse myself and get some fresh blood in there.

We had our Client Appreciation event on Wednesday night. This is another annual event that I have to help plan, and that is usually very stressful. Thankfully, it went off without a hitch, everyone was happy with the venue and the food, and it’s done and over with for another year.

I’ve been cutting back on caffeine lately. My trick is to drink two cups of half caff instead of two cups of full caff. So far, it’s going well. I haven’t felt too tired or like I’m feeling any withdrawal symptoms. I’m not particularly sensitive to caffeine, but I love the taste of it, and the feeling of comfort it brings. I doubt I’ll ever completely give it up, but a bit less most days is a good idea.

Ben and I are looking at a house tonight! This will be our first time actually going to see a house, versus just looking at stuff online. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, but depending on what kind of shape it’s in, we definitely have the know-how to fix it up ourselves. It’s a bit further afield than we’d like, and the lot is quite a bit smaller than we envisioned, but based on our future plans, the price is right to at least make it worth looking at as a “starter home.” I really hate the concept of the starter home, but it’s a thing for a reason. It’s a way to become homeowners in the short term, and maybe sell it to get our “dream house” later. We’ll see. I’m probably getting way ahead of myself here. It’s just exciting to finally be LOOKING at stuff.

Happy Friday!

Friday Free-For-All – 08/04/17

Photo Jul 14, 10 05 37 AM

Holy crap it’s August. I mean, seriously. I know I say this pretty much every month, but I feel like July didn’t even really happen. I’m not happy about the fact that summer is almost over already. Boooooo.

It’s the last week of shows for Dogfight. We’ve got one tonight, and one more tomorrow. This show ending is even more bittersweet than usual. Bitter because I love the music and show so much, and because this may be my last show for quite some time if we get pregnant. Sweet because the rehearsal process was so frustrating, and I’m EXHAUSTED from doing two shows in a row. I’m just trying to enjoy every last minute. On that note…

My bestie and her husband are coming to see the show tomorrow! Mandy and Vinny live in Jersey, so I only get to see them once or twice a year. They’re making the 6+ hour trek up to see Dogfight tomorrow night and I’m so excited and so grateful. I can’t wait to see them!

Ben is officially on the last leg of his whirlwind summer tour. He’s currently in Prague visiting his sister Emily, and he’ll be home for good on the 10th. And I can’t. Freaking. Wait. Of course I’m happy that he got to enjoy his summer break and have lots of adventures, but I missed him! And I’m also very excited to go get pre-approved for a mortgage and start house hunting in earnest. Whee!

I know this is really silly, but I have recently had a delightful string of celebrity interactions on Twitter and Instagram. Or, people I consider celebrities. Specifically, Broadway stars. One of my idols, Stephanie J Block, replied to my tweet about her upcoming Live from Lincoln Center performance. Caesar Samoyoa, a member of the cast of Come From Away, replied to my response to his tweet about the new immersive Star Wars experience coming to WDW. And Mamie Parris, who is playing Grizabella in Cats on Broadway, liked a comment I made on one of her Instagram photos. It’s SO INDESCRIBABLY CHEESY, I know, but I love it nonetheless.

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Happy Friday!