Thursday, March 21, 2013

Journey to NOLA Pt 2

You can read my part 1 here.  This is basically going to be a gripe-fest about the idiot we bought our house from.  It may not be quite as dramatic as I make it seem. But this guy made buying his house extremely difficult. 

So as soon as we decided we were ready to move we started scheduling house showings with an agent we found online in a certain neighborhood we wanted to live in.  Its considered New Orleans, but its much more suburban.  We would schedule up to 10 in a Saturday sometimes so that we could make the most of our time. 

It was really tough to find houses in our price range.  New Orleans is a pretty expensive place to be a homeowner.  There are very high property taxes and the flood & homeowners insurance premiums are absolutely insane (Thanks Katrina!).  But the neighborhood we are in is expensive too because its definitely the safest area to be in. 

We were pre-approved by a bank even with keeping our current home but it was a pretty tight budget so we had to make sure to stick with the number the bank gave us.  Little did we know that even with that amount the mortgage payments would be crazy b/c of the taxes and insurance.  So we ended up having to reduce the amount we were looking at by almost $20,000!  That really narrowed the list of available houses.  The housing market is booming over there too.  We would find something online we liked, call the agent, then learn that it was already under contract.  And sometimes people were paying over asking price!  Its crazy b/c we had the opposite going on around our house. 

It was really discouraging because we wanted to be in a particular area to be close to the bridge for me to get to work.  And it just seemed like we couldn't find anything we both agreed on.  We even looked into buying a double and being an owner occupant.  My husband is obsessed with investing in real estate and LOVED that idea.  We looked at a lot of duplexes.  We were going to live in one side and rent the other side out to pay most of the mortgage while we saved more money.  Then when we were ready we would rent out the other side and build our own house.  We were very quickly brought back to reality when we realized you could not find a decent double for our price range.  Some of them were 600 sq ft shotguns on each side. No way!
typical NOLA shotgun double
So we went back to the drawing board again.  We finally decided on a townhouse.  The price is exactly where we needed to be.  Its 1900 sq ft.  The inside was recently renovated.  And it was in a GREAT area- exactly where we want to be.  We looked at it once and decided to get some quotes on insurance policies before we got our hopes up.  After getting back a "decent" price we decided to make an offer.

We need the seller to pay our entire closing costs b/c we were spending our cash on a down payment.  So we went in offering 10k under the asking price and $9000 of closing costs.  We waited.  They had 2 days to respond.  We didn't hear back until 30 minutes before their deadline.  They had countered with us paying $5,000 over asking price and them paying closing costs! WTF?!  Basically it mean they would get only $4000 under what they were asking.  We knew this was probably just the beginning.  At that point I did get a bad taste in my mouth.  I mean who prices their house EXACTLY what they need for it.  Especially in that area where they could've easily asked $10,000 more and probably got it!
source
So we countered again immediately at $2000 under asking price with full closing costs paid.  We thought for sure they were going to say yes.  We gave them 2 days to respond.  Of course, we didn't hear from them until the deadline.  They countered again at asking price and paying closing costs.  We talked about it, thought about it, talked to the bank, fought about it, etc over the next couple of days.  We finally decided we just didn't want to keep going back and forth.  I mean, in all reality $2000 over 30 years is like $10.  So we accepted their offer.  My hesitation to accepting it was- what if they are difficult to work with us in the inspection process?!  Then we would lose money at that point.  But our agent assured us they probably just knew they priced the house well and weren't willing to budge.  They would probably fix what needed to be fixed if we asked.

Right after we signed paperwork I schedule the inspections.  We were getting a video plumbing inspection and a full house inspection.  During the inspection they found several minor things.  Nothing was major.  But we did ask for them all to be fixed.  One of them was a leaking toilet, one was an area where the window leaked and caused mold, some electrical stuff, and an A/C issue.  Well guess what?!  Of course they rejected everything (after keeping us waiting for their response for days)  except the toilet and A/C.  I got pissed off b/c I felt like they were taking the easy way out.  This was just a glimpse into how big of a jack-ass this seller was!  After we talked it over for a day and got some professional advice from contractors we decided to accept their counter.  We would fix the other stuff ourselves.  They were given up to 5 days before the closing to fix everything, and they had to provide receipts from a licensed contractor showing they resolved the issue.  We fought about this a lot though because we couldn't agree on what we wanted to do.  And he wouldn't accept our offers. It caused a good bit of stress between the two of us for a couple of weeks. 

I'll be back with the rest of the buying story tomorrow.  I didn't realize this would be so long! 

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