The observations and opinions of a person who has no discernible insights or ideas.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Son, stocks may rise and fall, ... People are no damn good, but they will always need land and they'll pay through the nose to get it!" 

In my recent posting dearth, quite a bit has happened. I don’t feel like providing a complete update, but I can hit on some of the highlights.

In late October, we moved out of our apartment, and in to my mother’s basement. This was so that we could be more diligent at saving money, which took us a while to get going with, but has been working well lately. This is a non-ideal situation, since it robs us of most of our personal space, and if we aren’t diligent, the Stupid Dog robs us of the rest. Despite a mutual fondness between all parties, this can’t last forever.

So, at the first of the year, we contacted a real estate agent in hopes of finding an purchasing a house. Our early efforts were thwarted by a seemingly disinterested agent who made, at best, minimal efforts to contact or help us. Eventually, we gave up on him and asked Jake for his aunt’s contact info. This was a good thing.

That very (Friday) night, she called up and talked to me at some length. By Tuesday, we were out seeing houses with her, and over the next two weeks, we saw about 25 houses from over a hundred listings she had sent us, and had made three offers in one week.

The first home we made an offer on ended up being more than we wanted to spend. The second one cost about $40k less, but needed a lot of work and ultimately the owners were not actually considering any of the offers that were coming in (we hope that they do ultimately respond to our offer, so we can tell them where to stick it). The third house was between the first two in price, but much closer to home (and the freeway). Even though our offer had a 12 hour deadline on it, we got a response, and accepted their counter offer. That means that we are buying a house, which we can move into on the evening of the 18th of next month.

It feels so good to finally have a house under contract, and that it’s one that we like, where we like, in good shape, only makes things better. Buying a house in a seller’s market sucks. I’m just glad to be done with the hunting part, and we’re ready to do the closing work and move.

Best of all, we’ll have five months to get settled before the baby comes.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

"The problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world" 

In the last 4 months, quite a bit has happened. I haven’t traveled, which would explain the lack of travel logs. I moved once, and have been looking to move again. I’ve celebrated 6 federal holidays, and managed to be in the office for about 3 Fridays. That’s all just boring stuff though.

The big thing going on right now is a house hunt. We want a house. For 3 months, my mother’s basement has been good, especially in the sense that we don’t have to pay rent (or mortgage payments), but the proximity to family and Big Stupid Ugly Stupid Dog is rapidly overwhelming us. Then again, we never planned to stay down there indefinitely, and we are right on schedule to be house hunting.

We started out with a young (sounding) guy who helped my brother-in-law find his house. Since that experience had turned out to be a very good one, we decided to try him out again (we also had not got any response from Jake whenever we asked about his aunt, who is also a real estate agent). At first, working with this guy was quite good. He’d email us lists of houses. We’d drive by and then let him know which ones we liked, and then call him back to arrange a tour. After walking through one house by ourselves (using a keybox code he provided), things went downhill. He stopped returning calls, and had less and less information each time we talked to him.

Finally, in frustration I called Jake Friday night. I asked him again for his aunt’s info, and he said something about needing to verify her contact info. We started watching a movie, and I started wondering if I’d ever hear back from him. To my surprise, about half an hour into the movie I got a call from her. We talked about housing preferences and loan options for quite some time (during which I managed to miss most of the sappy stuff in The Scarlet Pimpernel), and when I got home, there was a list of about 25 houses for us to look at, most of which we hadn’t seen before. Since then, another batch of 43 has come in, this time with about 20 that are worth looking into. We’ve spent an evening visiting homes, including one that our old agent failed to get us into after repeated requests.

So, she’s already far ahead of the old guy in terms of contact and general helpfulness. To quote Casablanca, “I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

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