Sunday, December 23, 2007

Early Christmas update

I'm a bit behind on posts so I backdated a few so they are lost in the archive. Here is a post that I just wrote and put in the blog so don't forget to look: Thanksgiving.

So it’s been awhile since we’ve last posted. Sorry, of course we’ve been busy. With us buying and selling houses, Christmas coming and more we’ve been maxed for time. I can’t believe I didn’t even ORDER Christmas cards this year until Dec 10th. We normally always get a Christmas photo done. This year we didn’t. The kids were sick, we were in Texas two weekends in a row and it just didn’t work out. Our Christmas cards involved family photos from different points in the year. That was the best we did this year.

So this is what we can tell you about the house because a lot of people have asked:
  1. The structural inspection was fine. They said there needed to be more than one compression joint on the side of the house – and there was only one. They recommended structural piers on the side of the house and they go under the foundation. He said it would be about a $4000 cost. We found out it is under home warranty so we won’t have to pay to have that done. That’s good. Also we asked Tannah if someone would be turned off by the fact that we had a structural repair done and she said no, if it were her she’d rather buy a house that had repairs done because she said that most houses need work sooner or later and that this one would be fixed and would no longer require work in the future. So that is good.
  2. There are issues with the heating and cooling but no more than $600 worth. Nothing major – maybe a starter.
  3. We are still in limbo with the house blinds/shutters. We got a quote from someone and it was expensive – of course blinds and shutters are anyhow. We wanted a second quote and the people don’t have their crap together. They are supposed to get back to us the 28th to go over what we want in the house. It’s good they waited anyhow because I want to go over it with my mom.
  4. We move January 11th. They pack us up on the 10th. We are sooo very excited!

Let’s see what else has been going on.

Friday night we had Christmas at Grandma Norma’s house. The kids got a lot of great toys – remote control cars and trucks. Justin got some clothes. Joe got some nice dress clothes. I got a Macy’s gift card. We all got money.

Joey's new train.

Char and Grandma made LOTS of cookies!


Saturday morning we did Christmas at Joe’s mom’s house. I got my Sirius boombox I wanted. I wanted it so badly because I really would like to listen to my satellite radio when I’m working from home in Texas. The kids got Joe some clothes and some nice ties. Joey got a cheapo train and tracks that occupied him for hours. Joey got a few games – Candy Lane and Hungry Hungry Hippos! Joe got Transformers Risk game. Joe got a new Tiger’s ornament for the Christmas tree. Joey and Justin got some trucks and a really cool Tonka set with a trailer to haul a bulldozer. It was cool. We all got an electronic snowglobe that has falling snow in it and plays songs.

I got Grandma and Mom these books from which is a book about themselves. It asks questions about their lives and they are supposed to return it to us completed. I gave the book to Grandma and she started to cry. I hope they finish the books and return them. It would be a great keepsake for the kids and Joe and I.

To go along with the sentimental thoughts this year and the fact we are moving far away we got my father, Joe’s mom and Grandma digital picture frames. I already loaded photos on it. I told Grandma that when she’s ready she can send the card back to me and I’ll reload it with new photos. I also got mom and Grandma digital picture keychains. Those are sooo cool! Then we got both of them Calendar’s with family photos and then everyone chipped in and got grandma this huge throw blanket that has a huge photo of the family in the fall under the leaves. She loved that too.

The blanket we got Grandma. It's almost life-size!

The kids at Grandma Char's.

Joey's cheapo train.

Justin and I.

Last night we went to a party at the shack – the place all Joe’s friends from high school used to go to party. Everyone from highschool that they used to hang out with was there. We stayed until about 12am. Everyone was drinking (except Doug’s wife, myself and Travis’s wife). Joe had a BLAST hanging out with his old buds. We had a great time.

This morning we are on our way back home for another Christmas party. Joe’s mom is giving us her pool table for our new house so she’s following us in her truck home. We decided to load the van and truck with as MUCH stuff as we could from Grandma’s house. We loaded our van and the truck to the HILT and there is STILL stuff at Grandma’s house. Joe looked at me and said, “I know we have a 3900 sq foot house but I still don’t think it has enough room for all these kids toys!!!!”. I agreed and told him we’d really need to go through everything and donate a bunch of this stuff. We totally can not move all this stuff! We have too much stuff! The reason why is Joe’s family saved ALL of his toys from when he was a kid! So not only do we have all of the kids toys in the basement, we have all of Joe’s old stuff – even the GI Joe’s and He man figures. He even had 100’s of transformers – which is cool because it’s all coming back, but there is soooo much stuff. I don’t know how we are going to get it all back to our house before we move. We’ve been bringing this stuff home since we found out we were moving nearly a year ago! Crazy!

Well that’s about all.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Back in Texas :)

Sunday/Monday was are back in Texas for inspections on the house. Lucky for me, it's my day off tomorrow. Fortunate for Joe, he had vacation days to burn and had taken tomorrow off anyhow, so that worked out great.

Today we flew to Dallas. We thought we may get stuck in a snow storm here but lucky for us, it stayed away and we took off without issue.

Unfortunate for us, it was storming - thunder and lightening and raining BUCKETS - in Dallas, so we circled in the air for a long time and then ended up landing in Austin to refuel. Then we got back in the air to land in Dallas. Our flight was supposed to land about 10:20 and we didn't land until NOON! I feel for the people who had connecting flights. I'm assuming they missed them.

We were late to meet the inspector at the house. We were supposed to meet him at 1pm. We did not check in luggage this time so we ran to the car rental shuttle pickup, was shuttled to the car rental place. I impatiently waited for this dumb woman to use the mapquest terminal there to map everything on how to get to the Galleria, probably to how to get to Timbucktu. I was like, will you please MOVE so I can get directions to ONE place!? Finally after 10 minutes, she moved. Joe told me you could tell I was getting annoyed! I got our directions to our house from the airport and Joe got the information for the car rental and off we went.

We got a red Grand Prix. We got that last time and Joe liked it because it's fast.

We drove to the house. Tannah got us Taco Bell for lunch since we hadn't eaten since 6am in the airport and we were starving.

The house inspection went well! There were a few things that were minor, but the biggest thing is that the furnace needs to be looked at. Everything else works great. It's amazing. The water works great. The garbage disposal does need to be replaced. Tannah is writing all this down and having a handi-man come to the house to make repairs before we move in.

Tomorrow we meet with the structural engineer and the blinds lady to put up window treatments.

I forgot to add we found a daycare. The first daycare we looked at last time was nice, but seemed like the kids were in very small rooms and I didn't like that. The second one - Children's lighthouse seemed great. Big rooms, security cameras, nice playground, Christian based cirriculum that looked challenging.

The third daycare we looked at just didn't feel right. We were talked to the lady and asked her how cold it had to be for the kids to stay inside. The Children's lighthouse center said if it's colder than 55, the kids stay inside. I thought that to be funny, so she said 40 degrees, which I thought was more reasonable. When I left the room, the caregivers for the toddlers threw me a look as I was walking out but turned around and saw it. I couldn't believe it. I didn't say anything but I got out of there quickly. I'm glad my kids aren't going there. It would probably also be the reason there were only 4 kids in the room I saw, yet about 10-15 in the other center we liked.

As we walked out Joe said to me, "You know how when you were looking at houses, you know if it was 'IT' or wasn't 'IT'. I said "Yep". He said, "That wasn't 'IT'". I had to agree with him on that one!!

The community we are moving into is called Stonebridge Ranch. This is what the website says:
In the heart of north Dallas stands Stonebridge Ranch™. With one private country club featuring two courses, an 18-hole public golf course, the only Beach Club & Swim Lagoon in North Texas, a multitude of parks, an aquatic center and miles of hiking and biking trails, there is no place like it in Dallas.

It's pretty cool so if you come visit, the whole family will have lots of stuff to do!

I'll let you know how the other inspection goes :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

I'll update tonight

I just wanted to say that I goofed on the numbers (I'm sure Joe is not surprised, I am so NOT good with numbers). The house was listed at $275 and we offered $260. They came back with $272 and we then accepted an offer for $269. I originally put down 175 instead of 275. Sorry. Our house is worth in the 100's and I'm not used to typing 200's yet.

We are going down on Sunday/Monday to do inspections and if everything passes, the house is ours. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday Update

Ok all, no photos today. I'm sure I've provided you with enough in the past few days anyhow.

So today we started out going to IHOP for breakfast. YUM. I got a veggie omlet. YUM.

Then off we went to McKinney. Our Realtor called us with the lockbox combo to the house we liked so we could go back and check it out.

Joe and I stayed about an HOUR in the house today, checking out anything that may need to be fixed. We took a video of the entire house, all potential issues, and talked it over.

We then met our realtor for lunch and discussed things.

We then went to her office and made an offer. We offered $260,000 and it listed for $274,900. We didn't ask them to do inspections or anything standard since it was a foreclosure.

We then faxed over the papers.

Afterwards Tannah left to go meet someone who works on the types of houses this house is (it's a Drees house and highly reputable builder) to discuss the potential issues with the foundation.

While she was meeting with him, we went ahead and went to a daycare close to the house. We were highly impressed. Each child age is in their own room so they can work with the kids based on their age level. They are highly secure. You can't get in without a keyfab. The kids seemed happy and gave lots of hugs. People were friendly. They seem to eat healthy meals and have a full-time staff to prepare meals for all the kids. It's called Top of the World Preschool and is a private preschool. Tuition will be about what it is now so that isn't too bad. They seemed flexible about naps, potty training, etc. We were happy that we found a daycare that was nice. We are going to see another tomorrow. That is a HUGE load off our minds.

Then we went back to the house. Tannah said that the builder said that they didn't make the compression joint on the side of the house deep enough, which caused pressure on the end of the house, that caused the crack. He actually said he thinks that the builder, Drees, will fix it under warranty.

Even better - they think Drees will fix all the windows under warranty!!!! Drees has a 10 year warranty on their home, and it includes foundation issues and windows!! Yeehaw!

Tannah, Joe and I took another look around the house. She said she would work with us to get people into the house (while we are in Michigan) to make it ready by the time we move in. She did NOT have to do this, this was very very nice of her.

So we made a list of things that need to be done.
  • There is a bunch of ants in front of the back window. They looked like ants, and not termites, but we'll need a pest inspection and exterminator to spray IN and OUT of the house.
  • We decided we needed a painter to paint a 30 foot wall. The rest of the walls look good. The wall on the stairs looks like it was touched up and looks bad. It needs new paint.
  • We need to hire a cleaning service to clean the house. There are bugs inside that are dead that need to be cleaned, and the toilets, etc.
  • There are a few minor things that we need a handyman for - we need a new back door frame since it's rotton, we need to see if he can replace a tile at the base of the stairs, there are a few cracks in the wall we may have him repair and a few electrical sockets that may need to be replaced.
  • We need the house inspected
  • We need the house structurally inspected.
  • We need blinds in the house. It has nothing.
Also, Joe and I decided we want to get the carpets steam cleaned, though it does look clean, just to do it once over.

We also decided we want to have a pergola built on the back porch so it will deter the golf balls from hitting the house.

We also want to have a media services person to the house to hook up our entertainment center and our built in surround sound. We actually have surround sound that goes throughout the entire house. No, I'm not kidding. Even outside - it's sweet.

We did find out that there WAS a golf ball that hit the house once. There is a broken window in the trash can. We also found out by looking in the garbage that this house on up for auction in September and did not sell. I think there is just so much on the market right now!

Can you believe this house has THREE air conditioners and 2 hot water heaters??

We were at dinner tonight when Tannah called. The bank that owned the house came back with a counter-offer. They wanted 272,000 and they only gave us a 5 day window instead of our 7 day window to get all inspections done, which we think is bull crap, and they also went ahead and crossed off other parts of the standard contract, such as litigation clauses, etc.

She told us to wait a day to think about the offer and we'll catch up tomorrow.

We do want the house. This house is probably worth about $350,000. We got other comps comparable to the house. On the SAME street
5 bedrooms - 4 bath, 3930 sq feet (the house we like)
5 bedrooms - 4 bath, 3832 sq feet listed for $314,000 and sold for $305,000 on 6/29
4 bedrooms - 4 bath 3162 sq feet listed for $329,000 and sold for $325,000 on 8/29
5 bedrooms - 4.1 bath 3723 sq feet listed for $339,000 and sold for $339,000 on 7/23
4 bedrooms - 4 bath 3920 sq feet listed for $369,000 and sold for $370,000 on 6/27. This was a 3 car garage and ours is a 2 car. This is the closest comp to our house!!

We know we won't have the inspection done by the time we leave tomorrow afternoon. Tannah is going to be present for them for us and we're hoping to fly back down so she can let us know what the inspector found.

Oh boy, we have to go home tomorrow. We are so spoiled here with great weather. To think I need to go home to 8 degree wind chill weather just makes me shivverrrrr!!

Tomorrow we are off to check out more daycares and we are getting up EARLY to do the drive into Dallas for Joe. Fun fun! See you soon :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Day 3 House 1

House 1:

This house wasn't that bad.

  • The kitchen was nice.
  • The view was nice - a golf view. It was a golf course lot - very close to the green.
  • The backyard had a patio with a misting system.
  • Feels really big and open.
  • There are three bedrooms upstairs AND a gameroom and there was only ONE bathroom! That is bad for resale value!
  • Compared to the houses from yesterday, this wasn't the one.

Misting system on the back porch.

View from upstairs.

Day 3 House 2

House 2

Ok, I'll tell you right off - this was our FAVORITE house. As soon as Joe and I walked in and looked around, we both looked at each other and said, 'I think this is IT'. Funny how that happens. I was so doubtful that would happen at all!

  • Awesome golf view
  • awesome kitchen
  • great living room/kitchen
  • Great media room
  • The neighbors were nice. We talked to a man with kids 7 and 4 that were next door and he was very nice. He said the neighborhood had many families.
  • Great layout - 3 rooms downstairs - master, guest AND extra room (sb room!).
  • Upstairs 3 rooms.
  • 3930 sq feet.
  • The floor plan was PERFECT
  • We looked on zillo and think it's worth $50,000 more (around $325,000) so we hope that we have resale value in it right away.
  • There were cracks in the ceiling of the game room and a dark spot. It could be nothing, it could be something.
  • There was a large crack in the outside corner of the building. It could be nothing since it was on the corner, and not in the middle of the house. We plan to have a structural engineer check the crack. We are HOPING it's nothing big.
  • It's close to the golf course. We are hoping nothing pelts the house! :)
  • Some of the windows need the thermal layer replaced in it.
  • Tannah told us it's a relo but the sheet says foreclosure, so I'm not sure which it is.

Living room with a tv cabinet that closes up.

View from back.

Master bedroom - overlooking the green.

Master bath.


Kitchen. Ok the wallpaper looks crazy, but it's really pretty when you see it in person. It's a tan with purple grapes. I hate wallpaper normally and this really did look nice.

Day 3 House 16

House 16
This house was just ok. The park across the street was nice.

I just happened to notice this house down the street. Is this a wreath on the door, or extra clippings from the bush? We couldn't tell.

Day 3 House 3

We went back and looked at the house on the golf course that I loved so much yesterday and tried to compare it to the prior house. We liked the prior house much more.

Here is the house from yesterday.

House #4 was a No. We walked in. It was ok, saw the kitchen. There wasn't a counter top on the island. Not sure where it was, but it was gone. Check out the photos on the link. It didn't say foreclosure so I had no clue what was going on. Weird.

Day 3 House 5

Ok, this house was impressive. Originally 420,000, down to 325,000. In a great neighborhood and looked GORGEOUS.

Ok, you need to check out these photos. Needless to say, this was a foreclosure with bad people in it.

There was another Realtor showing the house in there and as she walked by she said, 'Bizarre, just bizarre'. I was like, what is she talking about, and then I saw the kitchen.

Gorgeous outside.

This is the kitchen. The people ripped out all the cabinets AND the granite!

Do you have enough? How about ripping out the mantle around the fireplace?

We didn't even go upstairs. I think we knew we WE NOT buying this one!

Day 3 House 6

House 6
This was one of the houses I really wanted to see. The story is they canceled yesterday on us. We tried again today and finally got a show time from them. The story was they have FIVE kids and have to move all the kids out of the house. Can you imagine? eek!!

So we saw the house. We liked the house but it was very very worn. I mean - 5 kids? The carpets would ALL need to be replaced. There was popsicle stains or something all upstairs on all the carpets.

The house was nice. The yard was very nice and deep but it wasn't 'it'.

House #7 Day 3

House #7

No - bad carpet. It wasn't an open floor place though it had a nice kitchen. It wasn't 'it'.

Day 3 House #8

House #8
This wasn't it. I didn't even need to walk inside. It backed to a road and I wasn't interested.

House #9 Day 3

House 9

We walked in. The people were still there. They went out on their back porch. There was soooo much stuff in this person's house. It had low ceilings, not the soaring ceilings. We didn't stay long.