Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DING! DING! DING! We Have a Winner!!

After much Strum und Drang, we decided on the "All Electric" house that the sellers dropped the price on rather than doing the roof themselves.

Which *I* think is a Good Thing, because I know we'll get a better job doing it through our 'family connections' than hiring Joe Schmo Roofing Company.

The listing agent sent us a quote for the job and it was $5700. I showed it to our in-law, and had to help him off the ground after his laughter subsided.

A more realistic quote using "30 Year High Impact" shingles, along with the proper weather proofing, underlayment, new flashing, "other" repair, etc is closer to $9200.

You gets what you pays for!

And the fence quote came in lower than expected. The "Fence Guy", who it turns out is a Master Carpenter and Finish Guy, came by yesterday afternoon and explained things to my wife. Afterwards, he, I and our in-law sat around doing the "Three Guys After Work BS Thing" talking about construction, motorcycles, family, and all manner of other Guy Stuff that the wimmens don't get, but allow the guys to do as it keeps us happy, healthy, and sane.

Turns out when the fence was put in back in 1970 something, they didn't set the posts in the concrete properly, the water puddled at the base of the post, and over half the posts have rotted out at the ground level. The individual fence panels are still about 80% "good", and will only need some new slats in spots.

So, we'll get ALL new, properly set posts, panels repairs "As Required", and a new, double-wide gate and posts, hinges and hardware for about $1200, a bunch less than all new everything.

The double wide gate is a nod to the future, as it will let the "Tree Guy" get his bucket truck back there the next time we need a couple of the big trees trimmed. It costs significantly less to get a big tree trimmed if he can get his truck to it, rather than having to climb. He said what he can do in one day with his truck, would take several days if he has to climb.

Escrow should close November 6th, as planned, and the fence and tree guys will be there the next day to knock out their work, weather permitting.

The roof will be the next major project, but we don't know the weather that far out. They won't do it in the rain or snow, or below a certain temperature . As the materials get a bit weird if you install them when it's below a certain temperature, and possibly will never seal correctly, they just won't do it below "X degrees".

And then there's the washer and dryer, a snow blower ( I am NOT shoveling snow!), window coverings, and a bunch of misc work to things like ALL the sink drains in the house, some Formica (remember that stuff?) damage on the kitchen cabinets, a completely missing lower hinge assembly on the kitchen cab under the sink, and I'm sure more little things than I know about now.

The tower and antenna can wait until spring. I can always operate with my Elecraft K2 and either my BuddiPole/BuddiStick, or my "big" vertical/SGC-230 combination and one of my other rigs.

Satellite operations from DN70kn are also a definite possibility in the next couple of months. And I could also do DN70jp here in Bellvue if I got motivated enough.

So, the last i's have been crossed and t's dotted in the offer/acceptance chain.

Next stop......close of escrow!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Seller Drops Price Another $10k

Been busy here the last couple of days helping around the little place we're staying at, and waiting to hear from the seller of the house we have the offer on.

They had until midnight Tuesday to respond, but our agent called us to inform us of their response on Saturday afternoon ( ! ).

They responded by dropping the agreed upon price from $385k to $375k and selling the house "AS-IS".

The $10k price cut will pay for a first-class roofing job with all the little upgrades our in-law recommends, with a little left over, but leaves the tree removal ($2500~$3k) and fence repair ($1500~$2k) up to us.

Oh, and add another $2k for washer and clothes dryer. I'll be buying rebuilt/reconditioned Speed Queen units from a place in Fort Collins that specializes in them. They look new when they're rebuilt, and have some crazy 10-year, anything goes warranty on them. I forget which reader suggested that route, but thank you very much! The little electronics place I worked at in high school built many little boxes and modules for Speed Queen, and just hearing the name brought back many memories.

And we'll need more furnishings, window coverings, and other "woman/wife/girly" stuff to finish it out.

The bad thing about this is that we can't start any of the work until escrow closes and the property is in our name. Both agents and our contractor in-law advised against it, even if we received the current owner's written permission.

And we still haven't decided yet to accept their offer or walk, and start negotiating on the other house we really like.

Both places look like you could squeeze another garage on the property and still meet all the codes, setbacks, and easements, but it would be a "1.5 car" sized garage, and I'm not sure if it's worth it. Both houses have fully-finished, INSULATED garages, but no heater in them. One house can take a 40' tower, and the other a "50 foot" tower with careful placement.

So I doubt if I'll ever get my own garage/shop, one of my reasons for moving here, but I will be able to get a tower and decent antenna, along with a new radio......or two.

SSSSSHHH!! She doesn't know the "or two" part!

I'm still undecided on which house. This has been the first time I've ever put this much thought into buying a house. My first wife and I had two criteria: 1)Where is it?, and 2) How much is it? We wound up with a nice sized house and lot in an "OK" part of town for a great price, but getting that place in order took all the "Sweat Equity" out of me.

I do very high quality work, but I'm SLOOOOOW at doing it. That house took me about two years to get finished, with my first wife constantly on my case about it.

NEVER again......!

So we have "House 1", which I posted some pix of, and "House 2", which I haven't. They're both very nice places, #1 being on the West Central side of town, and the other being out further East, on the 'far side' of I-25.

#1 has 5 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and half-bath just off the laundry room. It's a split-level, built in 1977, and packs 3386sqft of house on a 10,500sqft lot. And it has a beautiful sunroom on the NW side of the house. It's "NW" instead of West because of the way the house sits on the lot. It has a fully-finished basement with a LOT of storage space hidden behind doors. It's "ALL Electric", and will cost us about $100/month more to heat and cool it than #2. It has NO A/C installed, but our in-law tells us it's pretty easy to install "mini-splits" which are basically multiple, small heating/cooling units run from a central compressor/condenser unit.

#2 has 4 bedrooms, 1 full bath, one 3/4 bath, and one 1/2 bath. It's also a split-level, built in 1976, and has 2645sqft on a 14,170 sqft lot. No sunroom, but a refinished deck, a sandbox area for the kids, healthy trees, and a tree swing. It needs basically NOTHING done to it, and the couple that bought it put $35k into carpet, paint, new kitchen skylight, NEW ROOF, and a bunch of other things when they bought it three years ago. We could probably get that house for $385k, as the sellers are anxious to sell it. It also has forced-air gas heating, and central A/C.

I really like both houses. I suspect we'll go with the "#1 House" due to the finished basement, and it being much more "In Town" than the other one.

Friday, October 13, 2017

It 'Aint Dead Yet.....

Now that the wife's core has cooled from her melt-down over the Home Inspection report, we're proceeding.

Our contractor in-law told her 99% of the same thing that I told her over the results of the inspection report, and she calmed down.

Our realtor has three quotes for a complete re-roof (~$9k to $10k), and she should get the estimate on the tree removal today.

We have until 2359 today to proceed or walk away, and we'll have all the estimates from both our realtors contractors, and our in-laws subcontractors in a couple of hours from now, 1145.

Th sellers have until 2359 on Tuesday to respond with a "yea" or "nay" to our demands, or offer some form of compromise, usually a price reduction.

So the ball is still in play, and this is probably the last "time-out" of the process.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Scratch One House Offer......

Inspection report came in, and other than the roof and tree, it has a bunch of little piddly shit that's freaking my wife out.

Things like typical "Home Owner Grade" repairs to the plumbing (flex-type drain hoses in the bathroom sinks, etc), and other "advisories" in the report that are intended to cajole the new owner to bring the property up to the 2017 building code when it was built to code in 1977.

I told her to call the realtor in the morning and kill the deal.

I'm absolutely NOT going to put up with her bitching, moaning, fretting and whining about $2k worth of minor repairs.

Aint worth it AT ALL.

Good night, all....gotta take the dog for her 2230 walk.

Home Inspection

We don't have the final report yet, but as expected, the roof has hail damage, and evidence of poor repairs.

I thought that so many items checked as "Do Not Know" on the seller's disclosure looked pretty shady, but let it slide until the home inspection happened.

The seller claiming they didn't know the age of the roof was especially galling, as it would have been on the disclosure statement THEY received. And seeing as we were told they are realtors, they really should have known better. One of the insurance agents we talked to about homeowner's insurance pulled the permit history of the house, and told us it was last (legally) re-roofed in 2001. For the seller to say they "didn't know" is 100% pure BS.

So, at this point, we need one run of fence replaced (we knew that already), and the cottonwood tree cut waaaay back (we also knew that), and now we have confirmation that the roof needs replacing.

Since there was a major hailstorm here in September, and there are a dozen or more houses in the neighborhood getting new roofs, it's pretty obvious that a damage claim could be filed by the current owners to cover at least some of the cost.

Anywhoo.....our contractor in-law just called his roofing guy, tree guy, and fence guy, and they'll go look at the house either this afternoon or tomorrow, and get back to us with estimates. And he said he'd be pretty surprised if the two agents let this deal fall apart over these items.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dotted a Few More i's Today.....

Delivered some required loan docs today, and drove by "our" house this morning. We also drove around the neighborhood for a while today.

There seems to be a significant number of houses in a 1/2 mile radius (several blocks every direction) either undergoing serious renovation, or for sale.

At least one or two every other block we drove by had a low-key for sale sign on the yard, or had a roofing crew doing a complete re-roof, or a dumpster out front and a company truck from either a kitchen/bathroom remodel place, or a general contractor parked at the curb.

Now this might be typical for Fort Collins, but I didn't see this much activity in any of the neighborhoods where the 20 or so other houses we looked at or drove by were located. It's fairly specific to this particular area.

My contractor in-law tells me that for the last year or so, certain areas are getting quietly bought up by "Big Money Real Estate Companies", but he didn't go much further than that, only indicate that the area was "ANYTHING North of Prospect Rd", which is the next major street to the North of us.

Maybe it's spilled South a little, or maybe the not-so-big real estate companies are coming down our way.

Geez.....I can't believe how fast I've assimilated into this area! I mean, I feel "At Home" here, something I never really felt when I merely "lived" in SoCal. It's almost like I was on a long-term Field Service assignment for a large part of my life "back there", and now that job is finished, and it really was time to move on.

I think it's fitting that I consider my "last job" in SoCal to be on the Iowa, as it was really the only place other than on the Sea Launch Commander where I ever really felt "At Home". Kinda like I was going back to the "Home Office" to clean up a bunch of loose ends, train up a few good guys, and square things away before going on to a new "assignment". It's just something about having a deck under your feet; you're "Home".

This place reminds of "home" back in Illinois, but with mountains!

Anyway......the Official Home Inspection is Wednesday, and we'll most likely find out that it needs a new roof. When we were shopping companies for homeowner's insurance, one of the agents took the address, crossed it to the city building site, and pulled a permit history for the house in about 45 seconds! Turns out the house was last roofed in 2001, and as a result of that hailstorm a while back that trashed the kid's place, along with how many others in 16 years, the roof is most likely "End-Of-Life".

Which means we'll most likely have a new roof this winter. Either the current owners can submit a claim for hail damage based on the inspection reports, or they can buy us a new roof, or make a cost reduction. The outcome has direct impact on our homeowner's insurance in that if we have a new roof, out cost is about half what it would be if we went with a repair or used the roof "AS-IS".

Wednesday should be pretty "interesting"!

Monday, October 9, 2017

"Survived" First Storm!

Mostly because it wasn't much of a storm.

We got roughly 3"~4" here in Bellvue, and it's melting. The dog absolutely LOVED it, running around and trying to catch the snowflakes.

Can't find my camera, or I would have taken some pix. And my cellphone will not cooperate with this laptop, so I can't get the pix off of it and on to here.

Big sheets of snow are sliding off the roof of the shop/apartment, and going "PLOP!" on the ground, causing the dog to run to the side door/window and look at them.

Tuesday we sign the final loan documents, and Wednesday is the official home inspection, which I'm going to tag along on....

Sunday, October 8, 2017

First Winter Storm Coming....

I'll take some pix here today, and then some tomorrow for the "before and after".

NWS says anywhere from 4" to 10" depending on what the storm track winds up being.

In the mean time, I'm helping our extended family members get the garage/shop area cleaned out so they can store a couple of boats in it, and also clearing room for the Supra whenever that gets here......

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Counteroffer Accepted, And The Clock Is Running!

Now we're sceduling the appraisal and inspection, and looking into high-speed Internet providers.

Should be in the house the 1st or 2nd week of November.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Holy Smokes.......I Think We Just Bought A House!

WoW........The realtor just called, and the sellers countered with $385k!

I had expected them to come back at $395k, but I guess they really do want to get rid of this property and avoid the financial drain of holding on to it until spring.

Now my wife is (finally) beginning to fret over the electric baseboard heat, where she's going to put the furniture (can't block or cover the baseboard units), where the big TV and entertainment center is going to be ("we simply can't put the couch there!"), blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.....

I mentioned these things the second or third time we looked at the house, and I might as well have been talking to a tree......blank stares from her. Nothing registered......

I suggested tonight that we go look at the house again so she could get all these "woman" things out of the way and she was "Oh, NO!!! That will look so dorky to ask to see the house again before we accept their counter offer!!!!".


We have until 1700 on Thursday the 5th to accept or walk away.

I talked to the in-laws "Tree Guy" today and he told me that depending on if he could get his bucket lift to the tree, or if it would be a "climbing job", the cost to get rid of all the dead limbs could be anywhere from $1k to $2.5k, including clean up. He said you can burn Laceleaf Cotton wood in your fireplace once it's dried, but that it has "an odor", and is better suited to burning in a heater or stove in your shop or garage. Most people burn pine here because it's cheap, and when I asked him about pine's reputation for clogging up your fireplace flue, he said you "just burn a hot fire", and it isn't much of a problem.

A cord of hardwood goes for about $350 here, so I'm thinking the fireplace will not be used as a source of heat.