I bought a house.
And it’s NOTHING like it is on TV – where the buyers have their pick of the litter and get to look at various options that suit their needs and budget. Clearly those shows on HGTV are “scripted.” You know, like Vanderpump Rules or the Real Housewives franchise. Because I can tell you firsthand what’s on the market (in my price range) in my area…SHIT!! And not shit you get for a bargain. Shit you have to pay good money for, replace the roof, spend 40K+ for impact windows (thanks a lot Hurricanes), and basically gut and re-do. Because they all seem to have been built circa 1862 with not so much as a granite counter top.
There were many times I strongly considered giving up to spend the rest of my life as a renter.
You may remember my previous post about house hunting with my mother. I love that woman more than life itself, but oy to the vey. Going with a posse to look at houses is a BAD idea. Too many cooks in the kitchen, as they say.
Then, after sifting through the crap my area had to offer, I found it.
The realtor I was working with was a lovely woman. I just think we had WAYYYY different personalities/perspective. I am the poster child for Type A, I’m a first time home buyer. I’m scared out of my mind. So I needed someone who was always going to be a step ahead of me, contacting me before I had a chance to check in. I needed an aggressive bulldog. Instead I had a poodle.
After accepting there was just a disconnect, I was ready to be done. Put in a couple of inquires for some properties I found on another broker’s site just to see if they were even available, and within minutes, got a call from Karen. I liked her immediately. We were on the phone for only minutes, so I have no solid reason why. But I just did. We planned to talk again to get the ball rolling a little later in the day.
And then of course, as it would only happen to me, my phone rings and it’s realtor #1 telling me there is a house in one of my top neighborhoods that just came on the market and we need to see it asap. So we did and it was adorable.
Put in the offer…there was the obligatory, painful back and forth coupled with being raked over the coals paying for appraisals and other bullshit…and I thought I was done…until the house appraised for 45K less than the offer. FML.
And of course, the same way everyone thinks their baby is the cutest (guess what? they’re not all the cutest btw), these people thought their barely 1600 sq ft house was the Taj Mahal of Boca and refused to negotiate. Basically I had to walk and I was devastated, heartbroken and over it.
I took a breather, drank some wine, regrouped, drank some wine, composed myself and drank some wine.
One thing I have always had is tenacity. My mother will tell you (over and over) the story of my first ballet recital when I was about 3 and pushed my way to the front of the pack just to be seen. If need be, I can be a ball buster and I do not like (to hear) the word “No”. No problem saying it, but do not like hearing it.
Then, I called Karen.
I expanded my search areas (which was a huge concession on my part) and we began seeing stuff immediately. She was on me like coochie cutters on a spring breaker and CONSTANTLY checking in. Even if nothing was going on. She knew exactly what I needed. We agreed on pretty much everything we saw too. She got me.
Found a perfect house, in the perfect neighborhood and went in for the kill. Put in an offer immediately. All signs pointed to yes. And then we found out the seller’s agent was shadier than the real slim shady, and the house was already under contract but he was trying to cover his ass.
I was going out of my mind. Lemme get this straight. I have to deal with shitty inventory, inflated prices, tons of competition due to the shitty inventory and now asshole agents with no ethics?
Then…a foreclosure in the same neighborhood came on the market. Again, we ran to see it. Needed some TLC, but it seriously was perfect for me. But a foreclosure?? I’ve heard nightmare stories and I’m already past my bullshit limit and one mishap away from rocking in the corner and humming like Brittany Murphy in that movie where she plays a lunatic (oh just pick one).
Eff it. Let’s do it.
I’m making it rain with everything I have in my savings account. And by making it rain I mean paying for inspections, appraisals, mold inspections, a foreclosure attorney and anyone else who will take my money and then tell me all of the things wrong with the house so I feel like a shmuck for buying it.
Oh and in the midst of this, I get a call from the owner of the house that fell through (who stalked me to find my phone number) with realtor #1, telling me she will give it to me for our original deal. Seriously!?!? Am I being punked? I had already moved on emotionally and never called her back.
Make the offer on the foreclosure, the bank tortures me and makes me wait when there are literally no other offers, then finally accepts and I think we’re golden. Well, let me tell you…this company, which I can only assume is made up of assholes sitting around a mahogany conference table surrounded by pictures of Gordon Gekko, talking about who has the biggest penis (they’re probably all tiny), kissing and telling as they high-five about their previous night’s sexcapades (they probably paid hookers) and then rolling out to lunch in their bright red lambos with vanity plates that read “BALLER” and “FRCLSE”, put me through the effing ringer. Not being dramatic. It happened. Ask Karen.
Every time we asked for anything (and I’m talking all logical things) they threw a mantrum.
“Hey, you guys forgot to initial this page of the contract you already signed, can you just slap your initials on there?”
“We’re not initialing shit, how about we just re-list the house and call it a day?”
Then the appraisal….the EFFING APPRAISAL. Comes in at 35K less than offer. Dejafuckingvu.
“Hey guys, the appraisal came in way under. We’ll pay that price and in return will not ask for a single credit or repair.”
“Nope we’re not doing that. We’re re-listing.”
“Hey guys, you have a bunch of violations with the HOA that total around 10K, so we are happy to fix them if you want to give us a credit, or you can just fix them and we’ll stick to agreed upon price.”
“Go eff yourselves. We’re re-listing and keeping your deposit.”
I know banks are notoriously difficult, but this was insane. I don’t know who pissed in their cheerios, but I’d like to shake that person’s hand because these pricks deserved it.
Then…Slim Shady (remember him from before?) calls Karen to tell her “the current deal might fall through (it didn’t in case your wondering) and do we still want it?” No, seriously…am I being PUNKED?!?!?!?
My chest was constantly tight, I wasn’t sleeping, I was a stress case. I was at my tipping point and felt as I imagine Amanda Bynes felt on the verge of “Twittergate” where she publicly tweeted to Drake that she wanted him to “murder her vagina.”
Karen told me to have another glass of wine. She prescribed that a lot actually.
Finally, we reach an agreement, and by agreement I mean the “tiny dicks” had me by the balls. I was in Foreclosure prison and they made me their bitch.
Everything was progressing and unlike the other times when I brought my parents with me to all of the houses before an offer was even made, they had yet to see it (my mother could only rip it apart via the pics on the MLS listing – where there’s a will there’s a way). They were concerned with the work it was going to need. Thought I was getting in over my head. But I KNEW it was special. So the day came. We planned to meet there. And in typical mom fashion, she was there at least 20 mins before the planned time.
She had already assessed the outside of the house, the neighbors on both sides and the cars in the driveways.
We went inside and when she saw the backyard she was hooked.
“OMG, this is like a tropical oasis!”
She’s oohing, ahhing and loving it. Picking paint colors and everything.
“You should do all browns and neutrals. Keep it simple and classy!”
(Spoiler alert: guess whose house is in all browns and neutrals. I’ll give you a hint. It’s my mother)
My parents loved it. Saw the same potential I saw. Thank. God!
So we’re wrapping up, talking about some details and my mom spots the covered hot tub.
“What are you going to do with that?”
“Nothing yet. Not a priority. When I deal with the pool I will have them look at it, but for now it’s covered and I’m leaving it that way.”
A look of disgust crosses her face as she imagines what’s growing and living in an abandoned hot tub, and she says, (in front of Jason and Bob), “Pssh…yeah…I was gonna say, I know you’re not putting your vagina in that thing.”
“Why mom? Why THAT body part? Why not start with my TOE in the hot tub? Who goes in vagina first anyway??”
And FYI, nobody even flinched because this is par for the course.
We jump through some more hurdles, rode the continuous emotional roller coaster and FINALLY it’s closing day.
I have never seen so much paperwork in my life. I’m surprised there wasn’t a tourniquet and nurse standing by to take several pints of my blood, or a kidney, along with everything else I had to provide to get to this day! Flanked at the conference room table by Karen and my attorney, we are joined by a mobile notary who is reminiscent of Rachel Dratch’s Bostonian character from SNL.
But she’s tanner than normal, probably looks older than she actually is, and has the thickest Rhode Island twang you have ever heard. Her phone rings, she pulls it out, and it’s a flip phone. Definitely a rarity these days, Karen says, “Oh! A Flip phone!”
Well…Ms. Rhode Island launches into a story about how she had a “flat screen phone” until one night when she was engaged, but still seeing her old boyfriend on the side, she called her girlfriend to tell her all about it, but accidentally dialed her fiancé. I’m gonna go out on a limb and claim straight user error on that one, but she blames the flat screen and made the switch for security reasons. This was 5 minutes after meeting her.
Then, as Karen and I are kvelling over our own mother’s and laughing, having good upbeat convos, Ms. RI channels yet another Rachel Dratch character, Debbie Downer, “My mother just died. And with the holidays coming it’s really hard. As a matter of fact I’m gonna start crying right now.”
The pile of paperwork never looked so good.
I signed every last page, felt excited and nauseous simultaneously, and walked out of that room a homeowner.
Of a home I am never leaving. Ever. I’m gonna die in that house. Because I’d rather have a pap smear in front of a public audience then do this again.
I showed my daughter pics of the house and told her it was going to be ours soon. She looked wide-eyed and exclaimed, “It looks like a hotel!” This is hardly true. Yeezus Christ, this kid has been living in apartments and townhouses too long. She also told me she wanted the master bedroom. We are still in negotiations. I really hope I get it.
Mazel Tov to me!