Thursday, July 21, 2011

I Bought A House

I wanted to blog sooner, but life has gotten in the way.
Or to be more accurate, home buying and renovating has gotten in the way.

Especially renovating - everything seems to be taking longer then I thought it would.
I have been typing this little by little while on break at work but haven't been finished with it or even gotten online since last week. (Except to play Scrabble on my IPOD which I am addicted to.)

I closed on Friday - July 15th at 5 PM!
Whoo hoo!
I am so happy!
Still doesn't seem real. Very hard to believe I own a house. I think it will feel more real when I actually move in and all my stuff is there. I cannot wait to be out of this smoke smelling apartment!

I will list a time line of everything that has taken place, but will go into more detail with some items in later blogs. I want to make sure I document this for myself though before I forget. And I know Matt and family are anxiously waiting to hear about and see the progress on my house.

Before going to the closing me, my mom, and my brother met my realtor at the house for the final walk through. We looked around, talked for a few minutes and then went on to the closing. Thankfully everything looked to be the same as it had prior to closing.

Once at the closing office we went into a room where the seller, his wife (I assume) and his realtor were already waiting. We all sat around a table with us on one side and them on the other. I was a little nervous - not sure why though since I was already prepped on the process and already knew all the dollar amounts. My hands were shaking at one point so I placed them under the table onto my lap.

The closing was as fast as I was warned it would be. It was sign here, sign here, initial here, sign here. When the lady went to make copies of everything we signed the seller gave me the house keys and the check to make the repairs.
They seemed like nice people. He even told me who the neighbors on the right were and how they are nice people. (I met the man that night - seemed nice.)

My realtor warned me how I probably will not get a copy of the taxes in the mail and will probably have to go to the court house(?) to obtain a copy of them for my records. After I get the copy I am to make another copy and send to my lender to make sure they are spread out within my mortgage. The taxes are the only thing that can make my house payment fluctuate year to year.

Need proof as to how wonderful my realtor is? He said he always gives all his client's a choice of getting the locks changed or a gift certificate to a restaurant. I chose to have the locks changed. The keys I received for the house - let's just say each lock had a different key. So frustrating since it took me FOREVER to open the door! The locksmith came yesterday and made all my locks on the house open with one key and the garage has a separate key. So nice! Sometimes it really is the little things that make all the difference. :)

After closing my mom took us out to eat. We then went to MY house to drop a few things off and look around again.
Wyatt even took his first #2 at his new house! He seemed very happy to be there but I am sure he has no idea this is his new home. (He hasn't been there since then due to it being a mess though.)

Saturday the real work began!
We ripped out ALL the carpet, vinyl flooring, and most of the wood floors. (Except in the bathrooms and laundry room for now.)

OMG - the wood floors! Not only do the wood planks lock, whoever installed them also glued and nailed them in! And when I say nails, I mean like 12 nails per board!

 Before - Hallway
 Some boards were too hard to get out so we had to buy a small handheld saw.
My brother was able to get all the hardwood flooring out today. He worked at it for a few hours with the hand saw. I can only imagine how much pain his hands are in.

We loaded the vehicle with all the carpet, padding, and other flooring and threw it out.
I am glad to see it all gone! It will be even nicer once new flooring is installed!

Check out all the non-floored rooms!
Sunday we continued to remove wood floors, bent all the nails from the boards in, removed all light/electric socket plates, I decided on a few paint colors, started taping up the baseboards, and bought and unpacked all the new laminate wood flooring.
29 boxes of wood flooring!
My poor brother ended up doing most of the lifting.

Monday and Tuesday when I got off work my brother and I thought we would be able to remove all the wallpaper borders from the 3 bedrooms. Boy were we wrong! So hard!
First I tried warm water and vinegar.
Then he went to Lowe's to buy a tool to score (?) the paper and then some sort of Parannah spray that worked better then the vinegar but made my walls so dirty! I still need to clean them.
Next we tried fabric softener and warn water which worked the best.
The wallpaper must really be glued down though since it is still taking forever to be removed. As of Tuesday night we only had one room completely done and half done on a second room. I plan on working on it some more tomorrow.

I called the mold people Monday morning who said I will get a call to set up an appointment. Well by 2:30 that afternoon I still had no call so I called back. The lady said the technician will call me tomorrow. Tomorrow?!?!? I explained how I am on a tight time limit but she didn't seem to care. So of course I argued some with her. No help either. So yesterday I still had no phone call around 9:30 AM so I called the technician directly who said someone else would be doing the work and he would call me same day. Fine. No phone call by noon so I called the place again. Once again I got an attitude from the woman. After really arguing with her about how it should not take 2 plus days to even set up an appointment she said she would call the technician. Wasn't long before I got a phone call that my appointment will be this Friday.
I don't think it is nice to argue with people, but I could tell I was never going to receive the service I needed.

Oh - I didn't tell you yet.... when we pulled up the flooring we discovered mold in one of the bedroom closets and in front of the back door. Not good!
My mom even tried placing bleach on the mold in the closet and it still looks bad. Mold is NOT fun!
The past 3 nights I have also tried cleaning it up with bleach.  It seems to be going away in the closet. I have not messed with the mold by the door since that wood will probably need to be replaced.

Here are the before pictures:

The carpet people came today to measure and will hopefully be installing on Monday so I need to get it gone!
I would have the mold people do it, but they would have to do another estimate and then I would get a price and then I would make another appointment - doesn't work with my tight time frame. I have to be out of my apartment by Monday! I did remove the tack strip in the closet and most of the black has gone away. I think I will clean it one more time and then on Friday paint it with Kilz.

Sorry this post is so scattered - I just wanted to update you and document for my own memories. Like I previously stated, I will go into more detail and show more pictures once I am settled.

Here's what we accomplished today in the living room and hall.
Tomorrow it will get another coat of paint - after I buy another gallon of paint. The walls seem to be soaking up the paint so I am assuming all the rooms will need 2 coats of paint.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Time Off

I have been thinking about this all day...
When you buy a house, make sure you have plenty of time available to take off from work. It seems like I have had to miss a lot of work and would have taken off even more if my mom hadn't of been able to take care of a few things for me. No one ever tells you about all the things that need to be done prior to closing, during closing, and after closing.
Thank GOD I work at a job where I am able to accrue and use leave!
And thank GOD for all the people - my mom, my brother, Greg, and Matt who have helped me with everything!
I am also thankful I had a good realtor and lender who helped me along the way and recommended some good people such as my home inspector, insurance lady, and land surveyor.
(If you live near me I can recommend any of these people if you send me an email.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Travelers Is Cheaper

For years I have had State Farm Insurance.
Years - as in since I have been driving.
Currently they hold my car and renter's insurance and I had planned on adding my homeowners insurance to be with them.
But then they made me mad.
I do not easily forgive. I especially don't forgive companies who I am giving money to.

Let me back track...
A few weeks ago when I sat down with my lender he told me I needed to shop around for homeowners insurance and then once I picked a company they needed to get in touch with him so he could draw up my loan and monthly house payment properly. He was estimating my insurance to be around $48 a month.
Being as I have State Farm Insurance I decided to call them first thinking they would offer me the best rate because I have been a long time customer. When I called she quoted me $30-something a month. I thought 'wow - awesome rate!' On Monday my lender emailed me all the paperwork to look over that we would be discussing and then I would be signing when I make my purchase and it showed my homeowners insurance at $58 a month.

That cannot be right I thought to myself. That was not my quote! I would have shopped around more!
I called State Farm and the lady I got couldn't/wouldn't help me and said I needed to speak to the lady I originally worked with. I left my name and number for her to call me back since she was on a late lunch. Did she call me back? Nope! What is with people not returning my calls?

So yesterday morning I call again and she is with someone. I leave my name and number with the same lady again. Who says 'She didn't call you back?' Ummmm.... no!
This time she calls me back.
Tells me it is $58 a month.
I told her I would be shopping around for insurance and that she quoted me $30-something a month. She didn't apologize or even acknowledge this fact. Had she of said something I might have been more understanding.
About an hour later when my lender called me to go over my paperwork and I asked him about this and luckily he gave me a name and number to a lady who compares rates with over 70 companies. I gave her all my information and she said she would call me much later in the day. She did. But due to the storms yesterday evening I forgot to call her back until it was too late.

So I called this morning.
She can get me car and homeowners insurance through Travelers for a few dollars cheaper. Had State Farm not of upset me I might have kept my service with them, but maybe it is time to move on. Hopefully this is a good decision - I can always change it later. Thanks to my mom I did make sure they were a preferred company with an A-plus rating!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

3 Days Left & I Made Egg Rolls

I close in 3 days!
As in this Friday!
Time is flying now!

I need to stop using so many explanation points!
I can't stop!
They are essential to my post!

Okay - it's out of my system.

I have so much to do in such a short amount of time since I decided to procrastinate on certain things.
I did finally go to Lowe's and actually picked out a few paint colors I want for my new home.
I am pretty sure on flooring too. I am going to buy laminate wood floors from Sam's for my kitchen, living room, and hall. I am getting carpet for the 3 bedrooms. I found 2 I like for $2.97 a square foot. Seems kinda so I plan on shopping around for a few more days at other stores.
Both of those tasks (paint and flooring) were my goals today while at the store. I might change my mind on flooring, but I don't think I will.

I meant to blog on Sunday evening and then again yesterday... better late then never, right?
Over the weekend I learned to cook.
Well, not really cook, but I did learn what goes into egg rolls and how to roll them.
While I learned that, Matt learned how to smoke meat.
If you have been reading my blog for any length of time you should know Matt and I like our food. :)

Matt's mom chopped up all the ingredients the day before so when I got there on Saturday she dumped bags of cabbage, carrots, onions, clear noodles, ground pork, and ground beef into a giant bowl.
After adding some spices and an egg she mixed everything together.
Check out the mix:

This batch ended up being a bit more meat then she was expecting, but I thought it was good.
We made a second 'special' batch that Matt made - cabbage, onions, mushrooms, and chicken.
Once everything was mixed together we taste tested it to see if it was needing any extra spices.
Here's this mix:

Now that the tastes were correct, it was time to roll.
Wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Rolling the egg rolls was kind of fun.
Here are some rolled, uncooked ones:

And here are some fried one:
I can see how the entire process is frustrating since it takes SEVERAL hours to prep, roll, and then fry them all.
I think we ended up making about 140.
They were so YUMMY!

(The dogs got to lick the bowls when we were done. Notice Rusty is IN the bowl!)

I wont go into detail on Matt's smoking of the meat, but here are some pictures of the brine, what we cooked, and while it was being cooked. I forgot to get a picture of the finished food.
 The meat was left in the brine for 24 hours.
3 chickens
2 roast beef chunks
2 fillets of salmon
Smelt SOOOO good!
Made Matt smell SOOOO good!
If someone figures out how to make this smell into a cologne - they will be rich!

I would buy some for Matt!
While they are at it they should make a charcoal smelling cologne as well.
Too bad I can't invent it...
The smoked meat tasted delicious and was so moist!
We should smoke meat monthly.

It stormed SO bad here around 4 PM to 7 PM-ish! The news said about 2 inches an hour. 
I had to show you how my backyard looks...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Money, Money, Money....Monnneeeyy...

You have to sing the title....
Not sure what movie or song that is from. I tried to Google it, but had no luck.
Do you know what I am referring to?
Let me know if you do. It is bugging the crap out of me! I feel like it is on the tip of my tongue!
I feel like this guy right now (and have since I received a certain phone call from a certain someone this afternoon).
The call came right on time - I was having a down in the dumps sort of day if you know what I mean.

Back to my story -
My realtor called with a bit of good news. :)
Let me back up first.

I called him the other day because my lender said we needed it in writing if the mortgage company would be cutting 2 checks from the sale of the house I am buying. (They owe me a credit and I gave them the option of having a cashier's check at closing or to have a check cut from the amount they would be getting.) My realtor said he would call the seller's agent and have them call my lender to verify what they were doing.
Today my realtor called to tell me the seller's will have a cashier's check written in my name at closing.

Whoo hoo!
What a relief!

I knew they had already agreed to it in the contract, but boy am I happy to know for sure they will have it.
Now do you see why I feel like the man in the picture above?
Too bad it will all be spent before I even blink an eye.
Maybe I should take a picture of myself with the money like this fellow did?!?!?
Ha ha ha!
Just joking... I'll end up depositing it directly into my bank account so this won't even be an option for me.
All I will see will be checks and credit/bank card transactions.

8 more days....

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wonderful News

You read that correctly - WONDERFUL!
I got the paperwork back from my appraisal yesterday. (Yes, I was too lazy to get on here and type this out.)
My house appraised for $3000 more then I will be paying for it.
Whoo hoo!
Means I already have equity in my home!
I am feeling good! I feel I can finally get excited about the house! Good thing I got some boxes this weekend from my mom's husband - packed about 5 yesterday. Plan on doing more today. Hence why I did not type up a blog post yesterday.
Do you forgive me now?
You should.
It could be worse - you could be the one packing.
Packing is NOT fun!

Anyways, back to the house...
I can hardly wait! I hope time flies until I close. I am sure it will though since it is already June 6th.
I wanted to close on the 21st, but now I have to do it next Friday since I didn't bother to take into consideration the 30 - 40 days in the original contract I agreed to.

Oh well - Matt and my mom think it is better because then I will have more time to get everything done that needs to be done. I suppose they are right. I just hate the fact I will be paying rent on my apartment and a mortgage at the same time.
Life goes on though and I will get over it. At least now I won't feel as rushed about getting certain things done.

Speaking of getting over things...
I gave my 30 day notice to get out of my lease (turn in keys) on the 25th of July via a letter also asking how much my prorated rent would be for the month of July. The lady who runs the place called and left me a message saying they do not prorate the last month of rent. Okay - so I called again leaving a voicemail message asking how much I will receive back. To make a long story short - my lease does not say anything except you must give a 30 day notice. So I feel I should get a portion of my rent back since I will not be there for the entire month of July.
I called every single day last week and left at least 1 message per day.
Did she call me back?
Of course not!
Finally I got a call on Friday from the lady who works there part-time but she was not able to answer my question. (I did make sure to tell her how the other lady never return my calls.)
I was able to find out there are several owners of the place where I live and I got one of the owner's name and number.
I am not sure if I will call - not sure it is worth my time, but I am glad I have the option.
It is very frustrating to have someone ignoring your calls!
Besides, this just goes to prove what I already know - she is never at the office!

I must eat, watch a little 'Everybody Loves Raymond' and pack so I am going to stop typing. I'll let you know if anything else comes up with the house.