Monday, January 29, 2007

More work than I was expecting

(Image stolen from some random website. Thanks to some random website)

I had hopes of going down to the protest in DC this past Saturday. Photo ops abound at these things. And my hopes of catching that Pulitzer prize winning moment had my head full of delusions of grandeur. But alas, it wasn't to be.

Ya see, the wife and I are house shopping. And I must say, it's way more work than I ever thought. I can't even imagine the horrors of trying to sell a house, if simply buying one is this much of a pain in the ass!

This ordeal started about three weeks ago, if I remember correctly. We picked a random bunch of Realtors (proper noun, dontchaknow) online and emailed each. One replied back with a non-canned response, so we decided to go with her. She's been in the business over 20 years, so we figured she was qualified.

On the first Saturday, I think we managed to see 6 or 8 places. Some were just plane fucking creepy. How people have the audacity to ask the prices they're asking for some of these shitholes is beyond me. We're focusing in Reston, as it's a decent commute for both of us, has lots of woods and old-growth trees, is close-ish to my kid, is close to the W&OD bike path, as well as another mountain bike loop I ride regularly.

The following weekend, we saw probably 4 or 5 more. This past week, we each took half-days on Friday and saw a few more places, in addition to seeing a couple of our favorite places again. Saturday AM, we decided to invite the wife's dad (and step-mom) over to look over the two front-runner houses so we could get another opinion. After seeing each place and hearing the thoughts of the in-laws, the wife and I decided to put in a bid on one place. So Sunday we went to the Realtor's office and spent ~4 hours in a "Q&A/sign here/sign there/initial here" marathon. The Realtor was going to put the bid in Monday AM, as the property we're looking at is "bank owned" (which means it was most likely foreclosed upon) and therefore available only on a M-F 9am-5pm kinda schedule. The Realtor tells us that "bank owned" properties are a huge pain in the ass, and many Realtors don't even deal with them. I see why, now.

So here it is, Monday morning. The Realtor gets in touch with the listing agent (seller) and hits him with a few questions we had before submitting the offer. Well, it turns out the house is being listed "strictly as is", which the listing didn't bother to mention. And, when you're selling something "strictly as is" and you don't mention's a little, what's the word?..."illegal" I think is the term our Realtor used. What a fuckwad.

"As is" in VA is tricky. Legally, *all* homes are sold "as is", however there is a paragraph ("Paragraph 7" in case you were curious) in the contract which says, basically "the core systems of the house (heating/plumbing/ac/etc) will be in working order when we sell you the place". With a "strictly as is" house, that buyer-protecting paragraph is struck from the contract. Basically, "strictly as is" is a huge fucking red flag. Had the listing agent included that in the original listing, we would never have even looked at the place originally. We've skipped 3 or 4 other "strictly as is" homes for just that reason. In addition to the "strictly as is" red flag, the house has been winterized, so all of the water is shut off. The bank will not turn the water back on, so when we have a home inspection (which the seller won't pay for), the whole plumbing system will be essentially untested and untestable. Oh, yeah, and they won't pay for a termite inspection or a home warranty either.

So, basically, fuck that joint. It's off the radar. We wasted a few days with this place, and I'm a bit pissed. I should send a bill to the listing agent. Or maybe just pay him a visit and kick him in the nuts. Twice. Either one. I'm easy.

Now we're back to the drawing board, essentially. There is another place in Reston that's at the far end of our "we can afford to pay this for a house, and still (probably) be able to afford food". So we might make some changes to our contract and point it towards that place as opposed to the original place.

The wife also found another "we can afford to pay this for a house, and still (probably) be able to afford food" place we're checking out tomorrow night. Wish us luck.