This is not for the faint of heart!

beth0301February 26, 2013

I never knew the whole process could be so emotionally draining. :(

I'm not really posting for any reason other than to vent I guess. There's obviously nothing anyone can do, but it makes me feel a little better to witch about it for a few minutes and I think my family is sick and tired of hearing me talk non stop about this house. I love this house. I want to live in this house until I die and then they can feel free to bury me in the backyard.

That's probably why this process has me so down and discouraged.

After a very rocky negotiation process (foreclosure Fannie Mae, multiple bidders, etc) and a long long wait period to find out if I got it, I was so happy to have this week finally arrive.

I was supposed to close today but that didn't happen. On Friday afternoon, the realtor called to let me know that they hadn't cleared the title yet. He assured me it was no cause for alarm, that it happens all the time and since this closing was super rushed (at the seller's insistence) he wasn't at all surprised.

This morning he called bright and early. When I saw the name on the caller ID I was very excited, hoping he was calling to say they'd finished and I could close today after all.

Instead, he was calling with bad news. Yesterday, Sunday, the locksmith went over to re-key the house (he did a super horrid job but that's another story). When he got there, he heard noise and yelled out to see if someone was there working.

Well, indeed someone was there working, but not for good! A burglar was there and in the process of stripping all of the copper from the house. He'd broken a window to enter and had succeeded in removing each and every water line and was in the process of removing the a.c. tubing and A coil when he was caught red, or should I say copperhanded.

He ran from the back and got away, leaving his treasure in the kitchen floor. A whole $50 ish worth of copper. That wasn't the only thing he left behind though ... in his rush to get out, he forgot his cell phone in the basement. I'm not sure if they caught him yet or not (apparently since I haven't actually closed, none of the details seem to be any of my business in the eyes of the police, sellers, etc).

I spent the morning, sick little girl in tow (no choice), getting bids to repair the damage. It came to just under $4,000.

Of course I can't close now; I don't have $4,000 to fix it and I certainly can't live in a house with no plumbing.

Back to the negotiating table we go. Hopefully they will accept my counter offer of 4K less. There's always a chance they'll reject it and put the house back on the open market.

I can't believe I've made it this far in the process to be right back to what feels like square one.

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I'm so sorry you had to go through with this. On the bright side, I can't imagine why they wouldn't accept the lower offer. After all, they have to repair the damage anyway if they didn't - it's not as if they could sell it the way it is now.

I don't think it would work out that they just accept a lower number, though. The damage should be covered by their homeowners insurance. That might impact the time of closing, but I believe insurance should pay them (not you, though) for their loss. Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:13AM
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There will be no repairs made, there is no insurance to file. This is a fannie mae repo. Finding a home in this price range that isn't torn up piece of crap is next to impossible - most of their homes in that range are not habitable.

To find one, as I did, that's in that good of shape is a diamond in a huge pile of rocks.

It's as is. I don't know what they'll do. They could throw it back on the open market and a flipper would very well pick it up as is for what I paid.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:22AM
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So sorry - that is a sad story. I hate to hear stuff like that. Like when someone breaks your car window to steal $3 worth of change and some worthless CDs, only on a huge scale.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:08AM
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You said, "Back to the negotiating table we go. Hopefully they will accept my counter offer of 4K less.",
you said "Of course I can't close now; I don't have $4,000 to fix it and I certainly can't live in a house with no plumbing"

What's good even if they reduce the price for $4k less? You still won't have the money to fix $4k worth of damages.

In addtion, I am not sure what is this post for? Am I missing something?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:42PM
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If they take 4K less, I'll use that to fix it. maybe I worded it wrong?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:03PM
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Oh I'm sorry; I didn't clarify.

I'm paying CASH for the house. What I have is what I have - no loans or other sources of money are there. Once the bank account hits zero, it's zero.

I had to bid every dime I had (except for a few hundred I saved back for closing and insurance) so the only way I can make those repairs is to lower the price I pay. The smaller of a check I write them, the more that's left in my account.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Don't you have a contract with the current owner (bank?) ?

If so, shouldn't the bank pay for the repairs? That you haven't closed yet should be in your favor, because it's the current owner's responsibility to deliver the house in the shape that it was when the contract was signed...

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:14PM
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You are putting all your money in a house with no cushion left over? Rates are so low, why wouldn't you borrow some money and keep a safety net in your finances?

What happens if you move in and the furnace breaks, you discover termites or major water damage in a bathroom? How will you fix those with no savings?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:36PM
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I am debt free and choose to remain so. I am a product of being raised by older parents that lived through the great depression, and those lessons have been painfully reinforced with recent events. In the past 5 years I've gone through a great many of those horror stories you see on the news in relation to companies closing, people losing their homes, etc. I've also gone through an ugly divorce.

I have contingency plans in place for the oft unexpected expenses that home ownership presents. These include, but are not limited to, a home warranty, the condition of the home (it's in amazing shape for the price), and the extra available cash each month that will come from no longer having a rent check to write.

Life is very uncertain - we should all know that - and while I can't say my plans are without risk, I feel confident that my situation is well thought out and carries no more risk than that of the majority of families these days (who often have debt from car payments, mortgages, etc. The difference is, if I miss a few paychecks, I won't get repo'd or foreclosed on.

This, however, is not one of those expenses. I chose this home for a great many reasons, one of which was newer plumbing, roof and electrical, meaning those three issues were unlikely to give me grief for some time. My purchase price reflected my confidence in that.

Yes, I have a contract and am due to close this week. It was supposed to be monday but due in part to two major snow storms in under a week, the title company has been closed and is running very behind.

No, the bank is not obligated to pay or repair. I do have a termination option because of the vandalism (that is, the house is not in the condition it was when I presented my offer) but am hoping I do not have to exercise it. I'm hopeful that I can negotiate a lower sales price so that the difference can be used to fix the things destroyed.

I guess I really shouldn't have posted. I was upset and lonely with no one to talk to about this and just needed to vent. There's obviously nothing anyone can do or say, and really it was pointless.

Some times people just want to talk.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:41PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about your misfortune. I dont know why this happened to your or what the ultimate outcome will be, but I truly believe in everything happening for a reason. In this case it may be something you never find out. The plumbing/electrical that was currently in place may have had a problem that wasn't yet discovered and now it'll be fixed...or there is something better for you down the road and you didn't need to be tied to this house.
It will work out one way or the other, and I hope you have peace of mind when it's all said and done.
Keep us updated, please!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:35PM
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Beth0301, I see your thought process now I wish you all the best. I know money is tight, but I would recommend you get homeowners insurance once you own the house (and I hope that works out for you). That will offer you some protection against some unforeseen problems too.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:54PM
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Thank you for the clarification, it all makes sense now if you will purchase the house with cash.

Wish you the best that things will turn out as you planed.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:03PM
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Thank goodness the locksmith interrupted the thief.

If the house has as much going for it as you say (newer roof, electric, etc) then I would do what I have to in order to finalize the deal and not let the 4K be a deal breaker. You will probably put this much into furnishing or decorating anyway, so just get through closing so you don't have to do this anymore.

My DH and I looked for a house for years. Two deals fell through before we let our RE attorney handle the messy dealing and other problems that can halt negotiations but we made it to the finish. If he hadn't helped as much as he did, we'd still be looking.

Now that we are finally settled in, we are really starting to enjoy ourselves.

It is always darkest before dawn. Hang in there and just keep repeating to yourself: this too shall pass!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Just make sure the 4K is for everything--drywall repair, paint, etc. If it is only to replumb/replace the piping, you'll be on the hook for drywall repair, (texture) paint, etc. Not sure how much he took, but 4k doesn't seem like it'd go far in a major repair.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 11:33PM
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Sucks. Personally, I'd rather see them do them do the repair than give the money or at least have a contingency set up in escrow in case repairs reasonably exceed estimates.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:27PM
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How many repair bids did you get to arrive at $4000?

Maybe it was a high priced plumber? Try a 2nd bid to see if they come in lower. Maybe the come in at $2700. Bids can vary greatly.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 10:05PM
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I'm still waiting for an answer ... over a week now. I was given until end of business that day to collect bids and resubmit my offer and only got one plumber, one hvac out there. There wasn't time for more.

I did try to choose people I thought would bid high, though I won't know if I was successful with that until/unless I get the house and have a chance to get more bids.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:59PM
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I'm so sorry this has been such a nightmare. Wishing the best for your and hopes that all the bad stuff is behind you.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Thanks for your good wishes.

The bad news is that they LOST my counter offer.

The good news is that after a week of waiting, my realtor tracked down the problem and resubmitted it.

The great news is they've accepted the lower offer!

The frustrating news is there's a lien on the house for a water softener that the previous owner bought on payments and then defaulted on. Fannie Mae has agreed to pay it but it's holding up the closing while they and the water softener credit people work out the details. I'm now 2 full weeks past closing and still in waiting for possession.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Beth, good luck going forward.

While the work is being done and before you move in, try to make the house look occupied. Put furniture in the front rooms and draw the drapes in the back ones. Leave some lights on at night. See if a neighbor would be willing to park a car in your driveway. You don't want the thieves coming back and stealing the new copper pipes.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:48AM
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Kevetching is fine with me. Other peoples experiences are good lessons too and internet support can be helpful.
Sorry this happened, when you've finally committed its hard to wait.
I do hope you like this place as much as you think you do. I'm a little worried about the neighborhood if someone was stealing copper? Hope you buying is a sign the neighborhood is stable/stablizing.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:49PM
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It's an older, but decent neighborhood, Most people have lived there a long time, only a couple of rentals on that street, but the house has been obviously vacant for several months (previous owners foreclosed on, sign in the yard, no window coverings, street light illuminating every front window).

My back yard butts up to another's backyard (they are on the corner and their house faces diagonally) so the back yard is private (plus it's nicely treed, has privacy fences, garages, etc.)

I plan to put a couple lamps on times in the bedrooms until I get moved in. I'm refinishing the hardwood floors and painting all the walls/woodwork so I can't really move anything in. I have met one neighbor, very nice lady who said she notices people coming and going a lot and just assumed the thief was a workman.

The house was extremely popular on the market, it's under priced and in a popular area. It's had dozens and dozens of showings. Even still people are in and out because it's not closed yet, it's on "show for backup" status until it's actually closed. Every time I go in there are a dozen realtor cards on the mantle. I find that a little presonally bothersome, as I think of it as "mine" even though legally it's not mine until they finally get the paperwork through and I can close.

Once I have the keys we'll likely be there nearly every day painting and getting it ready ... the only days it'll be unattended will be the 48 hours dry time between each floor varnish coat.

I do plan to introduce myself to the neighbors once I get the keys and ask them to call if they see people over there.

Stealing copper is, unfortunately, a common thing around here. They'll go in any unoccupied house they can safely sneak in to (any one without an active security system and a private back yard). It's more a reflection of the economy rather than the neighborhood.

I hope to get moved in the second week in April, provided I can close this week. The floors will take the longest but they really have to be done before I can even think of taking a single thing over there.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Keep in mind you are a seller's dream because you are a cash buyer. I'm sure they don't want to start over in the selling process either and would hate to let you go! Although all this is a PITA and slows down your closing, if I were the seller's I would be more than willing to get the repairs done, and quickly, before I lost you as a buyer.
Best of luck fo you. I have a feeling it will all work out.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Oh, sorry, I seem to have missed the part that they accepted your lower offer. Geesh, sometimes I need to slow down and read better.

Good luck with your new house!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:40PM
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