I am the Elizabeth Taylor of the feline world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How I Spent My Summer (or Diary of a Nasty Housing Market)

June 22nd:
The house is pretty much finished. Realtor Jan stops by. She makes a few suggestions of things to change, including painting the cabinets in the master bathroom.

June 23rd:
Karen prepares to paint the bathroom cabinets. She goes to Home Depot where she discovers this must be done with oil based paint.

That evening Karen paints the cabinets, finishing at roughly midnight.

June 24th:
At noon (twelve hours later) the oil based paint is still not dry. In fact, the oil based paint is totally wet. Karen drops a/c temperature to 70 degrees.

3 pm: Paint still wet

6 pm: Paint still wet

10 pm: Paint still wet

Karen is very concerned.

June 25th:
8am Paint is still damp. Karen is able to reattach doors for pictures. Realtor Jan takes pictures and house is officially listed.

June 26th:
10 am Karen is freaking out because the bathroom cabinets do not look "good". Calls Juan the paint expert to help her fix a few things.

2:30 pm: In a matter of two hours, Juan the paint expert fixes the kitchen cabinets, patches a small hole in the wall behind the fridge (and paints over it), and paints the area around the kitchen window

In the meantime, Karen replaces the guts in the guest toilet, as it won't stop running. However, when replacing the "guts", a small leak appears at the water tank (seal wasn't taking).

June 27th:
Bed is made. No one comes to see house.

June 28th:
Karen cleans all bathrooms AGAIN and is not successful with fixing leaky toilet in guest bath. Still no one looks at house.

June 29th:
The house listed. Karen vows to make her bed every morning and "be neat". Two people call that morning feigning interest. No success with toilet leak, again.

June 30th:
The house is listed. No one calls to see it. Karen made her bed and is continuing to "be neat".

July 1st:
The house is still listed. No one calls to see it. Karen continues to live in a tidy fashion.

July 2nd:
The house is sitting pretty with pictures on HAR.COM. Still no showings.

3 pm: The dryer breaks with Karen's sheets in it. Karen's super awesome neighbors allow her to use their dryer. Guest toilet still screwed up as well.

July 3rd:
The house is still very neat and clean. No one calls to see it.

July 4th:
Again, the house is very neat and clean. And again, no one calls to see it.

July 5th:
11:30 am Karen decides to put part of an avocado peel down the disposal. Disposal stops working.

And again, Karen makes her bed, but no one comes to see the house.

July 6th:
House is still very neat, but no one comes to see the it.

July 7th:
Karen and realtor Jan get antsy. Decide to put ad in Greensheet. Karen still making bed and being neat. No showing, though.

July 8th:
Karen creates a blog listing to show off house pictures. Emails literally hundreds of agents with link. Karen still making bed and being neat, regardless of no showings.

July 9th:
Karen buys St. Joseph, the patron saint of real estate. Plans to bury it in yard.

July 10th:
Ad in Greensheet appears. Realtor Jan gets no calls.

July 11th:
Realtor gets call regarding ad in Greensheet from someone wanting to rent it. This is not helpful.

July 12th:
Karen learns she is not particularly patient and does not wait well. Begins to fear we will have to live in redneck hell forever. Still Karen makes her bed and lives neatly.

July 13th:
Karen changes out light bulb in bedroom. In the process breaks light cover.

July 14th:
Karen purchases new light cover for ceiling fan. It does not fit.

July 15th:
Karen returns light cover and purchases new light kit for ceiling fan. Light kit does not fit.

3 pm: Karen does not particularly feel inclined to bury St Joseph in flower bed. Decides to create a new spot for him somewhere else.

July 15th:
10 am: Karen discovers she will have to replace entire ceiling fan since Hampton Bay no longer makes light kits or light covers to fit her ceiling fan. Karen considers how she plans to remedy this problem.

Noon: Karen realizes that nothing in her house had broken in over a year and when she decides to put it on the market everything turns to crap.

3 pm: Karen places St. Joseph on the bookshelf next to the fireplace. Looks carefully at figurine and decides he is interesting and decides to start a collection of patron saint action figures.

6 pm: Karen decides to cook dinner.

6:45 p.m.: THE HOUSE GETS A SHOWING!!! Karen rushes around to tidy up house.

6: 50 p.m.: When attempting to stash something in the laundry closet upstairs, door falls off hinges.

7:30 p.m.: Karen leaves home for an hour so realtor Jan can show house. Karen returns only to see that people are still in house with realtor.

8:45 p.m.: People still in house.

9 p.m.: Karen decides visitors are wearing out their welcome. Karen returns home and meets potential buyer who had some questions.

9:30 p.m.: Karen answers all questions for potential buyer. Realtor leaves with potential buyer one.

9:45 p.m.: Realtor Jan calls Karen. Potential buyer one is very interested. However, feels that she should get a five percent discount on the house, along with a new air conditioner.

July 16th:
7 am: Karen calls Bob's AC, who agree to come out to service and inspect unit.

9 am: Unit passes inspection with flying colors. Karen still gets bid on new condenser.

9:30 am: Discusses this with Realtor Jan. Karen agrees to get new condenser if buyer agrees to full amount.

10 am: Buyer says no dice.

10:30 am: Karen calls potential buyer one a few nasty names (to realtor Jan, of course, not buyer). Realtor talks Karen out of the tree and says the best thing to do right now is nothing.

July 17th:
9 am: Karen gets call for another showing. All excited, Karen makes bed and takes out trash.

9:15 am: Doorbell rings and Karen finds potential buyer one standing on her doorstep with new realtor.

9:16 am: Discovering a case of a realtor slut, Karen thinks to herself that she just can't wait to mention this to realtor Jan, who buyer one had verbally agreed to work with as a mediator. (This cuts fees to four percent.)

9:17 am: As buyer one looks at entry hall closet Karen grabs her purse to leave. She then turns around and ever so casually says to buyer number one, "I thought you didn't have a realtor." Buyer number one stammers in front of new realtor or whomever.

9:18 am: Karen leaves and calls Realtor Jan on cell phone. Realtor tries very hard to stay professional.

9:30 am: Karen is secretly relieved, as wasn't totally comfortable with "mediator" situation anyway and buys refrigerator light bulb from Home Depot.

10 am: Karen returns home, not feeling the need to give potential buyer one another two hours of her life. Buyer one leaves shortly thereafter.

July 18th:
10:30 am: Karen gets call for another showing that afternoon.

10:31 am: Karen specifically asked showing service who is showing the house, as not particularly interested in going to much trouble for buyer one. Karen discovers this time it will be shown by a completely different realtor.

10:32 am: Karen makes bed and tidies up house and goes about her day.

July 19th:
9:30 am: Realtor Jan calls Karen and tells her that she hasn't heard a word back from buyer one and potential buyer two would prefer not to leave hometown, which is Karen's hometown. She also asks Karen to find out if she has a windstorm certificate. Since Karen has no idea what this is she assumes she does not.

9:31 am: Karen wonders why potential buyer two looked in redneck hell if wasn't interested in living in redneck hell, which, by the way, is one of the fastest growing cities in the Houston area. However, this is only a temporary distraction from the fact that she doesn't have a windstorm certificate.

July 20th: Karen is beginning to feel quite confident she will live in redneck hell forever. Nevertheless, she is still making her bed every morning.

July 21st: No showing today, even though Karen made her bed.

July 22nd:
10 am: Karen calls insurance company to find out if she really needs windstorm certificate. Insurance people have no idea what she is talking about and research topic.

1:00 pm: Karen's insurance representative calls after research to tell her she might be grandfathered in and won't need the certificate to sell the house. However, he won't know for sure until the state insurance people return his call, which won't be any time soon since a hurricane is headed straight for south Texas/ Mexico.

3:00 pm: Insurance dude calls Karen again. After talking to some other people, he tells her she has to have the certificate and doesn't know how she'll get it without replacing the roof.

3:01 pm: Karen spends hour crying, as she really doesn't want to replace a ten- year- old roof

3:45 pm: Karen calls HOA president as means of researching when roof was replaced.

3:46 pm: Karen was not successful in this endeavor.

3:47 pm: Karen is once again worrying she'll have to live in redneck hell forever.

July 23rd:
9:00 am: Karen calls realtor Jan, who explains to Karen she doesn't have to "prove" her roof is only ten years old, but only have it inspected.

9:10 am: Karen calls engineering company to schedule time for inspector to inspect roof.

Still, Karen is making her bed, despite no one looking at her house.

July 24th:
3:30 pm: Roof inspector comes out to house. Says roof will pass after minor repairs.

4:30 pm: Roof repairs made by a dude named Tom in less than twenty minutes. Karen writes check to $200 bucks.

July 25th:
Roof reinspected and passed. Karen writes another check for certificate.

Karen realizes she is writing a lot of checks.

July 26th:
Karen persuades the evil Jeff and her father to come over Sunday and help her fix the laundry room door, the disposal, the toilet, and help her change out the ceiling fan.

July 27th:
Evil Jeff and Karen's dad are successful in fixing the toilet and the laundry room door. They even help her out with the attaching the motor of the fan. However, they were not able to fix disposal.

July 28th:
Karen goes to Home Depot and buys a disposal and schedules a time for them to install it. Inspired with all the fixed stuff in her house, Karen decides to clean laundry room. In the process of cleaning the laundry room, Karen fixes dryer.

Karen decides she's the Martha Stewart of home repair and calls everyone she knows to brag. She also does a load of laundry to celebrate.

And again, no one looks at her house, but the bed is made.

July 29th:
After starting a load of laundry the night before, Karen discovers that that her washing machine stopped after cycle one, leaving clothes sitting in water.

Karen calls a repairman who agrees to come out the next day.

July 30th:
10 am: Disposal guy comes and installs the disposal in less than ten minutes.

2 pm: Washer repair dude comes and repairs washer in less than five minutes.

Karen no longer feels like the Martha Stewart of home repair.

But still, she made her bed.

July 31st:
Karen decides to distract herself by completely redoing the flower bed in the front of her house. Power washes front of house, as thought it was "dingy".

August 1st:
Karen borrows gardening tools from parents. Father threatens to cut off hand if said materials are not returned.

August 2nd:
Spends close to $150 on dirt, plants, mulch, fake stone, and other gardening materials.

Spends entire day clearing flower bed and trimming hedge.

Very relieved no one is coming to see house, as entry hall looks nasty from dirt.

August 3rd:
Plants flowers and bushes in flower bed. Looks very nice.

Still, no more showings, despite Karen making bed.

August 4th:
Problem: tropical storm forms in the gulf headed straight for Galveston.

Karen curses herself for not paying attention to the local news.

Karen mops entry hall and kitchen to clean up after the dirt.

Karen gets call for a showing that evening.

August 5th:
4 am: Karen wakes up in anticipation of the storm. New casters mention that the storm veered north towards Louisiana.

4:15 am: Karen walks outside. Absofreakinglutely nothing. No wind, no rain.


5 am: Karen walks outside again. Still absolutely nothing.

OK, this is our complaint about news coverage and storms: Is it really necessary to have all day news coverage on all three major networks? First of all, the people who really need the information probably don't have power. Second, being cooped up totally sucks. Wouldn't it be nice to watch a nice 007 marathon?

Karen gets another call for showing that evening.

August 6th:
Karen gets contract. Karen is too numb to get excited. Karen and realtor Jan talk numbers for negotiation.

August 7th:
Karen doesn't hear back from realtor and realtor doesn't hear back regarding negotiation. Karen once again resigns herself to living in redneck hell for the rest of her life.

August 8th:
Realtor Jan calls and gives final information regarding deal. Now we go to inspections.

August 9th:
Karen is worrying about everything. Right now she's concerned about appraisal numbers.

August 10th:
Karen is still worrying about everything.

August 11th:
Karen discovers that she is not only wretched at waiting, but is also a wretched negotiator.

August 12th:
Karen is trying to distract herself with work stuff.

August 13th:
The inspection is set for Thursday. Karen gets a referral for a fence guy to repair the back fence.

Two very tan shirtless dudes (but not in a good way) appear at the house and rebuild fence. The fence was repaired in roughly an hour.

August 14th:
Inspection is completed while Karen sits at a work meeting. She said it was very surreal knowing someone was in her house poking around while she was away.

August 15th:
And the inspection comes back. The buyer amends contract for only one thing:

A brand new air conditioner.

Karen and realtor Jan offer $1,000 in cash towards the purchase of a new unit, along with a $350 renewable home warranty.

August 16th:

8:30 am: Karen waits to hear from realtor

9:00 am: Karen still hasn't heard from realtor

10:30 am: Karen waits very nervously

11:45 am: Karen is still waiting.

1:30 pm: Karen is still waiting and more nervous

2:00 pm: Realtor Jan calls to tell her that she hasn't heard anything.

2:05 pm: Karen is beginning to resign herself to living in redneck hell for the rest of her life.

2:15 pm: Karen even more nervous. Says short prayer and promises to be incredibly nice to the kiddoes next school year.

3:30 pm: Karen's realtor calls to tell her the offer was ACCEPTED!!! Karen says another prayer of thanks.

3:45 pm: Realtor Jan emails paperwork to Karen, which Karen signs, scans, and sends

August 17th:
Karen moves a lot of her belongings into the parent's house.

August 18th:

Appraisal dude appraises house. Karen trying to not loose sleep.

August 19th:

9 am: Karen gets call from realtor Jan, who tell her house meets appraisal value.

2 pm: Realtor Jan calls again. Apparently survey was done incorrectly when Karen bought house. The right corner of the back of the house was marked "south" instead of southwest. This is keeping closing paperwork from being processed.

Once again, I could not make this up.

2:05 pm: Karen cries.

4 pm: Karen calls title company, who originally did the closing back in 2001, to rant. Underwriter Linda was very nice and Karen didn't have to give her planned out speech involving law suits and fire.

August 20th:

Karen gives presentation at work. Glad to be distracted from house drama.

11 am: Realtor Jan calls Karen to tell her closing papers were finalized with a different underwriter. All is good but might need a new survey.

2 pm: Realtor Jan calls again saying no new survey is needed.

August 21st:

Closing date is changed to Thursday, August 28th.

August 22nd:

All is pretty good with the world.

Title company needed Home Owner Association information. Karen leaves work early to give it to them.

August 23rd:
Karen moves out of house and gets her hair done, but not in that order.

August 24th:

Karen rests, trying not to worry.

August 25th:

Problem Number One: Tropical Storm Gustavo.

A house in Galveston County cannot go to closing when a hurricane is in the gulf. Storm not expected to enter gulf until Sunday, much to the relief of Karen.

Karen worried about buyer wigging regarding natural disasters.

Problem Number Two: Labor Day weekend is the busiest weekend of the year for closings.

Problem Number Three: According to title company gal, the loan office used by buyer is notoriously SLOW.

Can we see problems???

August 26th:

No word on anything. Karen is attempting to stay patient.

August 27th:

4 pm: No paperwork yet, according to realtor Jan. Agreed to talk in the morning. Buyer purchased insurance a day in advance, as insurance provider would not bind policies Friday as storm was too close.

August 28th:

10 am: Karen called realtor Jan. No papers yet.

1 pm: Still no papers. Realtor Jan tells Karen to call before she leaves.

3 pm: Still no papers. Realtor Jan tells to head on out, but prepare for it not to happen.

Karen makes arrangement to Friday to miss work for the closing.

4:30 pm: Karen calls realtor Jan from Sonic to find out if she has time to get something to eat, as did not have time for lunch today. Realtor Jan informs Karen closing will not happen.

Neither Karen or Realtor Jan is overly thrilled. But closing is scheduled for three the next day.

August 29th:

10 am: Karen gets call from Realtor Jan. Apparently closing papers were held up again because insurance policy was written wrong.

Realtor Jan tries very hard to stay professional.

New policy being written by a different company who was willing to bind today.

10:15 am: Karen decides to spend her day shopping for a dining room table.

1 pm: Karen calls realtor Jan who tells her that papers are still not in, probably because of insurance screwup and not to hold breathe about closing today.

Karen still shopping.

1:30 pm: Karen calls underwriter. Karen discusses matters with underwriter who again blames loan office. Karen asks for name of loan office so that she can tell EVERYONE she knows not to use them. Karen also suggests that she call loan office herself so that to inform them of her one woman attempt to "spread the word", so to speak.

Underwriter agrees to call loan dudes.

Sometimes it totally pays to be a little off kilter.

1:45 pm: Underwriter calls to tell Karen that papers will be at office in 45 minutes and her closing will be at four.

Karen is happy. Continues to shop for table.

4:00 pm: Karen gets to closing. Meets buyer, and buyer agent.

4:15 pm: Karen waits

4:20 pm: Number need to be checked on paperwork. Karen continues to wait.

4:30 pm: Karen continues to wait.

4:45 pm: Underwriter announces that house won't be "funded" until Tuesday.

5:00 pm: Buyer's agent begins discussing "rentback" with buyer.

5:15 pm: Negotiate rentback

5:30 pm: Jan and Karen flip through People and discuss Sarah Palin (this is before knocked up teenage daughter, so conversation was limited to, well, everything not related to knocked up teenage daughter).

5:35 pm: Discuss Britney Spears' mom writing a parenting book. Karen mimics the Deliverance theme in waiting room of underwriter's office.

5:40 pm: Karen entertains buyer, buyer's agent, and realtor Jan with Hurricane Rita evacuation story: driving fourteen hours (roughtly 6 mph--average-- slower than horse and buggy, I suspect) to Austin. Karen wigging out about people who live 75 miles from the coast joining the evacuation (see the problem) and listening to Coast to Coast crazies talking about their alien abduction stories. Karen considered calling in herself and telling those crazies off.

FYI: If you've never heard Coast to Coast it runs at like 3 or 4 am on AM radio nationally. At least once in your life you gotta listen to it, as it is completely bizarre.

5:45 pm: Karen beginning to get antzy.

5:50 pm: Discusses new house options with realtor Jan and buyer's agent (more on this in next post my friends), as buyer works on getting power and water in Karen's soon to be former house.

6:00 pm: Finally begin to sign papers.

6:05 pm: Karen signs about a kajillion pieces of paperwork declaring her house is, well,no longer hers.

6:10 pm: Karen still signing.

6:20 pm: Karen still signing.

6:30 pm: All papers are signed. Karen and realtor Jan hug. All is hopefully good with the world.

August 30th:
All television coverage is "Gustavo" which is probably good for Govenor Palin, as people get really pissy when Repubicans have drama.

However, this is very boring.

August 31st:

Still all television is Gustavo. We are totally bored with so much coverage which only involves us if we choose to take Interstate Ten to join those evacuating from Louisiana and spending a long weekend in Houston (this time not in the Astrodome).

September 1st:

Result of Gustavo in relation to Houston: it got kinda windy this evening.

It might rain Wednesday.

September 2nd:

9 am: Karen is told that she has to drive an extra thirty miles after work to return to closing office so she may sign a HUD document which was drawn up wrong.

On the bright side she will get her house money today.

5 pm: Karen gets house money. Drives across the street to bank and deposits check.

5:15 pm: Deposits check.

And, as far as I know, all is done with the house drama.

Karen would like to thank realtor Jan and the gals with Southland Title for a riotous last few days. It's been memorable.

So basically, that was our summer. Hopefully next year will be just as exciting.

Anywho, in the next few days I'll let tell you about phase two of our housing mission: the new house.

Go 'Stros.


Kerry said...

dude. that was exhausting. and all I had to do was read it!

Merry said...

I'm with Kerry. Whew!
Plus, I was reliving my house buying drama of December. (Incidentally viewed the house for the first time during the tail end of a genuine typhoon, which is pretty unusual for the Pacific Northwest.)
My drama included a piece of paper from the bank that needed to be signed by my husband. When I explained I did not possess such a creature, nor ever had, they wanted me to prove in writing that I'd never been married, or I couldn't get the loan. Things went downhill from there.

Do you think they like to do this? Maybe these companies have huge amounts of stock in whoever makes Prozac and Jack Daniels?

Anonymous said...

Someone help me.

I read the WHOLE THING!

Do I get a medal?


just bob said...

So the last day Karen made the bed was August 3rd?

Crabby McSlacker said...

How stressful!

So glad it's done. Some folks have had their houses on the market for like, years, so I guess relatively speaking, you did great!

(We got out of our California house just in time. Even with a quick sale it was really anxiety-provoking, can't imagine what you just went through.)

Melissa said...

Geez Louise. This is such a page turner, except, of course, no pages. Well okay, it's a scroller!!!! Golly, my blood pressure went up reading it.

Mucho congrats on your sale! We have my mother-in-law's house for sale in Jacksonville now, and it has been just sitting there forever. So we sympathize. At least we don't have to make the bed, thank God.

(Just curious, did making the bed all that time result in your kind of getting a bed-making habit going or did you just say "ah the hell with it?")

Geosomin said...

God...I thought buying our house was difficult.
You should get the sanity prize and a box of cookies for all that :)

Mom In Scrubs said...

Well, I guess at least it's done. We had similar drama BUYING our house 'cause the people we bought it from were morons.

I want a new house, but now I don't want to sell the old!!

BTW, did you ever actually BURY St. Joseph? Maybe if you don't bury him he turns evil?

SUV Mama said...

Your best post. I serioulsy was about to post about Coast to Coast AM, which starts here at midnight.

YEAH for house closings. Having done it a few times, I can tell you that it NEVER gets better. Isn't that nice?


Still, I'm totally jealous that YOUR house sold. I'm still trying to find a damn realtor.

BlueBella said...

Damn - I need a nap now!

My favorite was all the stuff you broke while just trying to do everyday stuff . . isn't that just the way it goes??

I hated selling my first house -and that's exactly what's keeping me in this house - the house selling drama sux!