Saturday, October 13, 2007

In the middle of our street. Was our castle and our keep. With two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard...

Those of you who keep up with the wife's blog will know that we've finally finished the haggling over repairs and have purchased a way-better-than-I-thought-we-could-afford house in the 'Couv. It's good enough, and big enough, and located in an awesome enough place, that at the ripe old age of 37 there's a good chance that I won't ever buy another house. We'll move in around Halloween, give or take a faster close, speed of pulling up carpet, etc.

It's been a helluva process. I've been exhausted all the time because of my horrific commute, and money was tight enough to delay our getting to sleep on a few nights, but it's over. I'm immensely thankful to my in-laws for letting us stay with them during a longer-than-expected transition, to my family for putting up with my mood swings in the midst of all of this, to my friends for letting me call them and talk during my hourlong commute, and to my brilliant and beautiful wife for making house-related matters into her full-time job.

That was probably the best move we made in the midst of all of this. Swankette being unemployed, I mean. She was nosing around for temp work when we got an offer for our Redmond condo about four weeks ago. I immediately asked that she NOT take any work and make her full time job condo seller/home buyer for us. There were so many days that we needed me to initial something RIGHT AWAY and fax it up to Redmond. In all seriousness, with me working in a job where I can't take a quick 15 minutes to send a fax and can't have my cell phone on, that saved us. She showed up at lunch at least 4 times, showed me where to initial, and ran off to Kinko's.

How the hell did people sell houses from a different city before faxes and email?

Then, in the buying phase, Swankette would do some marvelous things. She'd say, as I fell asleep, "OK, so tomorrow I'm going to learn about the possible costs of sealants for the exterior of the house, and I'm going to research possible structural engineers to hire." I'd get up, go to school, come back, and Swankette would have a 7-minute lecture on both subjects. Then she'd say: "I will now learn about how best to fix a roof, and who the best people in Vancouver are to do that." 24 hours later, she'd tell me.

There was a close call at the end. We wanted a good deal of work done on the place, and the sellers didn't want to do it...they just wanted to give us a pretty small amount of money to make us do it ourselves. My dulcet bride pronounced the offer as "bullshit." (This is why, in our marriage, I'm the one to talk to customer service.) I clearly laid out to our realtor the following:

--If they had offered us money, or a lower price, we would walk. We're not at a moment in life where we want to add things to our to-do list. And it always costs more than you think it will. So that was a hill we were willing to die on. We didn't want the money. We wanted the repairs.

--If they didn't give us a new roof, we would walk. We were willing to negotiate whether that roof goes over the existing one or whether we knock off the existing one, but we were unwilling to just patch it up. New roof--period.

Their offer had been low enough that we were making contingency plans for not buying this place we were so smitten with--figuring out a furnished backup apartment to use for a while in Vancouver. In fact, since Swankette was the only person their agent had ever talked to, we think he might have tried to pull a fast one on a woman who, in his view, clearly cannot have known anyhing about home repair. (Man oh man, did they have my wife pegged wrong!) But when we made our desires clear and our resolve known, they immediately came in with a 100% acceptable offer. We stood strong, and it worked.

Net result: Only about 3 more weeks of commute remain. And sheesh, I'm glad about that.

And then, for the first time in my life, I will own four walls and not share a single one of them with a neighbor.

Life is good.


pankleb said...

Very nice. Glad the commute thing is about to become much saner ...

tommyspoon said...

Congrats! The new casa looks muy magnificante!