Paul Berry (stereotype441) wrote,
Paul Berry
stereotype441

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House News

A lot has happened since my last post. Here is the short version:

Today I had the final walk-through of the house and everything looks good. The loan and homeowner's insurance are being processed, and it looks like we are still on track to close the sale on Tuesday.

Here is the long version:

My concerns about the inspection worked out as follows:
  • Electrical problems: The seller's electrician explained to my real estate agent that the wiring for the main floor used a kind of wiring that has a grounded shield, but no separate ground wire. It turns out that you're not supposed to put three-pronged plugs on that kind of circuit, because the ground is unreliable. That's why the inspector thought some of the three pronged plugs were ungrounded. So he volunteered to "fix" the problem by switching the three-pronged plugs to two-pronged plugs. I figured unreliable grounds are better than no grounds at all, so when I found this out, I called my agent and said "tell the electrician to forget about it". Unfortunately, by the time we had all played phone tag, the work had already been done. Fortunately, the kitchen and upstairs still have three-pronged outlets. I figure I'll have some more three-pronged circuits installed sometime after I move in.

    Oh, yeah...another electrical problem was that one of the outlets didn't have any power. That's been fixed.

  • Loose toilet on main floor: The seller explained that the toilet was new and hadn't been properly screwed down to the floor at the time of the inspection. This was corroborated by other evidence, so I simply asked for the work to be properly finished. The seller had no problem with that, and when I walked through today, the toilet had obviously been freshly caulked to the floor.

  • Broken sewer pipe: This was the big ticket item. I asked the seller to fix this, and they agreed, provided that I make my earnest money non-refundable (for those who haven't bought a house before, earnest money is a deposit you make with the escrow company at the time you make the offer. It helps convince the seller that you're serious about buying the house. If the deal falls through for some reason, the seller may be entitled to the earnest money). The reason they asked this was that they wanted to use the earnest money to fund the sewer repair. I agreed to that, and the sewer was repaired.

  • Other stuff found during the inspection (downspouts too close to house, branches too close to house, dirty furnace and intake vent): I decided to take care of these myself.

After we negotiated about the inspection, there was a long period of calm. I kept calling my agent saying, "Shouldn't I be doing something?" But there was nothing to do. Mostly we were waiting for the seller to do the repairs.

Last week, one of my friends at juggling asked me if I was looking for a housemate, because he knew someone who was looking for a house. The fellow's name is Emerson--he's a CS grad student at PSU. We chatted over e-mail on Thursday and Friday, met Friday evening, and decided we had compatible personalities. So I have a housemate! He moves in the same day I do. At first I thought this might be a little weird, but since I want to have housemates, I figure that it's probably better for me to get in the habit of having housemates right from day one.

Eventually I'll be looking for another housemate, so if you know anyone who's interested, let me know.

On Tuesday I got an e-mail from the mortgage broker saying (this is an exact quote) "Heya! So, rumor has it your insurance agent needs to talk to you and/or get some signatures from you before we can get them to issue an insurance binder. We need an insurance binder to order loan documents..." I replied saying how curious it was that my homeowner's insurance agent hadn't told me anything about that rumor. It turns out that he had procrastinated on inspecting the house, and then got sick for a week and a half. Suddenly he was holding up the entire process, and he didn't even get back into the office until yesterday (Wednesday).

I called him at 8:30 in the morning and he was very apologetic. It sounded like he had already received calls from my real estate agent and my mortgage broker, and they weren't anywhere near as polite as I was. I decided to play good cop. He explained that he was going out to do the inspection in an hour, and that we could meet at 2pm to sign everything. I was very close to firing him, but I decided to give him this one chance. Fortunately, everything went smoothly, and this morning I found out from the mortgage broker that the insurance information had arrived at the bank as promised.

Oh, and while all this was happening I was also calling utility companies to get utilities transferred into my name. Everything's set up except for garbage service, who haven't called me back. I'll try them again tomorrow.

When I was at the final walk-through this afternoon, I took my tape measure and measured the spot for the fridge. Tonight I went to Sears and bought a washer, dryer, and a fridge. The fridge has the refrigerator part on top and the freezer part on the bottom, just like ideath's. The washer is one of the newfangled high-efficiency front-loading kinds. It can wash a queen size comforter. The dryer is just a plain ol' dryer. They will all be delivered on Wednesday the 22nd. By applying for a Sears card, I got 12 months interest free financing on all three items. That's nice, considering that my cash flow situation is dominated by a rather large down payment looming in my near future.

I was hoping that the Sears installer guy could cut a hole in the wall and install a dryer vent for me (when the seller was remodeling the house, he neglected to install a dryer vent). Unfortunately, Sears won't do this. But the salesman said I could probably find a handyman who would do it for pretty cheap, and in the short term I could buy an indoor lint trap in a plumbing store. It won't be a permanent solution, because the humidity will stay inside, but it will get me through the next few weeks.

Coming up:
  • Tomorrow (Friday): Talk to garbage company.
  • This weekend: trip to California.
  • Monday: sign approximately one tree's worth of documents.
  • Tuesday: get the keys.
  • Wednesday: take delivery of the appliances, and get the phone company to re-install the phone line (unfortunately, the old phone jacks were lost (!) when the seller remodeled the house, so I will have to separately get someone to install phone jacks in the house). Get the furnace and vents cleaned.
  • Thursday-Friday: Change locks. Install shower curtain rods and blinds.
  • Saturday: Move. Fortunately I have professional movers helping me with this.
  • Sunday: Maybe talk one of my co-workers into helping me install phone jacks in the house.

Stay tuned :-)

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