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Buying a house! But . . .

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meaniemouse posted 6/3/2014 16:53 PM

After five years of apartment living I finally felt emotionally and financially ready to tackle buying a home all on my own. This was a big step for me since before I'd always had the security of a husband which meant two incomes, plus the fact that he was both an a-hole and an attorney pretty much guaranteed we didn't get screwed over in home-buying process.

So last week I found one. Not perfect but perfectly fine to move in as is. Lots of potential for remodeling in the future to make it a really great home. Most of the big stuff done, new roof, all new windows and garage doors, painting inside and out and kitchen redone.

Two of my very best friends in the world came over to see it during the home inspection today. These two know all the BS I've been through and I'm certain only want the best for me.

At first they were impressed, but the longer they stayed and looked around the more reservations they had. Understand that both of these people have been in their current homes more than 25 years so haven't been out looking at what's available on the market like I have.

I think I'm making a good decision and have thought through how I'll address the old HVAC system (home owners warranty), the small bedrooms (there's an upstairs dormer bedroom/bath next to unfinished attic space that could be remodeled to make a dynamite second master suite), the backyard needs work but I am looking forward to turning it in to something wonderful even though I know it will take some doing.

The biggest concern they had was the next door neighbors who have a rickety fence/retaining wall that is leaning into my yard's "air space" and that those neighbors have 3 dogs.

I was really pumped about this move because the timing, the location, the floor plan, and most everything was just what I was looking for but now I'm kind of thinking---am I being an idiot or are they just being overprotective because they care about me?

Part of it may be that I'm a much bigger risk-taker than either of them and my life is much less complicated; I don't have a husband or children at home that I have to worry about. Plus I have a lot more time and energy to do house projects and for me it's fun and entertaining--for them it's not.

I think I'm making the right decision but I do value the opinions of both of these women. It bothers me that I was really excited about this until they voiced their concerns. It makes me wonder if perhaps I'm not as convinced that this is a good decision for me. OR if I'm allowing someone else's idea about what is good for me to get in the way of what I really want.

So--I'm looking for a more objective opinion and advice from clearer heads.

Sad in AZ posted 6/3/2014 17:09 PM

Well, first and foremost, have the house inspected by a reputable home inspection company. This will either confirm or deny your excitement.

The thing that concerns me is that you mention a rickety retaining wall--what is it retaining? If it does fall over into your property, will it be buried in yards of dirt? Your neighbors are, of course, responsible for any damages, but you can't always count on people having proper insurance.

I'm seriously nonplussed by your friends' concern about the yard--it would excite me to make the yard over into my own dream plan. Who worries about the yard?? Sheesh.

sunsetslost posted 6/3/2014 17:19 PM

They're probably just looking out for you. It's easy to fall in love with a house. When mine started crumbling I really struggled. Every creak, every crack, every blemish became a nightmare in my own mind. Being long term homeowners they probably feel something similar (though for their sake I hope to a lesser extent)

Good luck!

meaniemouse posted 6/3/2014 17:24 PM

Yup--the inspection was done today and the guy did great job. There were some issues but I can take care of those in negotiation and I can and will walk away if they can't be resolved to my satisfaction.

The front yards of the homes are flat but the back yards are sloped. The next-door neighbors have an in-ground pool so have maybe tried to even out their backyard with a 3 foot high stack of railroad ties along one side of their yard with a 6 foot high privacy fence on top of that which is all leaning about 40 degrees toward what would be my backyard. I probably wasn't clear; that was what was really bothering my friends--not the condition of the back yard of the house.

I was paying more attention to what was going on inside the house so wasn't particularly concerned with the neighbor's yard. But now I'm wondering if I should be.

cmego posted 6/3/2014 18:39 PM

Is there a Home Owners Association? If so…that should take care of the leaning fence. Or, ask your realtor how to address this "issue".

I'm a risk taker when it comes to houses too…I know a good one when I see one. I just bought my first house without ex, and if feels great!

I.will.survive posted 6/3/2014 20:27 PM

Congrats on taking this next step!

I'm closing on my own house next Monday. And I have "friend" reservations, too.

I understand how that can dampen your enthusiasm! I rent in my BFF's neighborhood and my new neighborhood connects with this one. The homes are smaller to similar in size, but the lots are tiny. TINY. So it feels more crowded with the street trees everyone has.

She always said "eww, no" to that neighborhood so when I ended up putting a contract on a house there, I felt bad about myself for doing it. She rode back through and decided it wasn't so bad because it didn't seem like people were crowding up the street parking on it like they used to. Hmm.

The residents here blame the residents' kids from over there for any trouble. It's all just speculation of course! But it still makes me feel bad that maybe I'm buying in an area that people look down least from this connecting neighborhood?

If the inspection is good and you are happy...that is what matters! They will see your style, see your stuff in there and change their minds no doubt. I didn't care for my BFF's house when she first bought it either! But I didn't say anything and she eventually changed paint, wall color, counters, floors, etc and it's lovely.

Who worries about the yard??
Me! I'm buying a very small and crappy backyard. It's bothering me. I'm hoping to make it happy.

fireproof posted 6/3/2014 20:42 PM


Definitely settle the fence issue before you close. It will also give you a feel if the neighbor is an issue.

I would have a family member or friends like family take a look. They will see things and point them out and want the best for you.

One time I found a house and because I wanted it so bad didn't see how much work it would require. I thought I would do XYZ- not until I found the house I loved did I look back and I am grateful someone said this house is nice but not for you because I am a move in condition type.

Regardless it sounds as if the inspection turned out great. If you can drive by in the morning or early evenings- do most work, do most stay at home, family or mainly couples, etc. our realtors always suggested that.

Good luck and Congrats!

meaniemouse posted 6/3/2014 21:42 PM

Thanks for the responses everyone--it's much appreciated! Also nice to know that others have some of the same issues with well-meaning friends.

But now another wrinkle. Today in person the home inspector was very positive. He ran through everything with me pretty quick and it didn't seem like a big deal. The written report looked a little scarier. All stuff the real estate agent says we can ask them to fix and if they don't I can walk away.

Also there was foundation work done--there are braces or pylons or something in the basement. Agent says that's good--means any foundation problems were fixed--friend says that's a red flag. I don't know who to believe.

I'm having a chimney guy come out tomorrow to check on problems inspector noted; also foundation people for the same reason.

But these inspections aren't cheap. I'm worried about paying all this money to find out what's wrong and if the seller won't fix it I'm out the money and have to start all over again. But I suppose it's better to know and be able to walk away than be stuck with a money pit.

This is some stressful shit, indeed.

I.will.survive posted 6/4/2014 05:40 AM

But I suppose it's better to know and be able to walk away than be stuck with a money pit.

That's exactly right! My brother is under contract for house #3 in a few short months! He has walked away twice after inspections.

I moved into a townhouse and right back out one night later and lost a lot of money before I closed on it. (She had agreed to rent it to me 2 weeks early. Boy did she turn up hating that decision.) It was full of mold the inspector didn't catch!!

So my point is....think of it as insurance money. 99% of the time you don't use that premium you pay, but you gotta have it.

Walk away if the sellers and the back up inspections don't give you peace of mind. It's okay!

cmego posted 6/4/2014 06:11 AM

I hired extra inspections on the last house I bought because there were possible foundation issues. I ended up buying the house, and when I sold it 3 years later…the foundation questions came up again and I whipped out that report! I sold it in 6 days

I think the inspections are worth every single penny, even if you walk away...

woundedwidow posted 6/4/2014 07:28 AM

Re: the foundation issues. Some companies that do wall bracing provide lifetime warranties; you might check and see if that is in place. When you say pylons, do you mean helical piers or lolly columns? The first is very substantial underpinning of the house; the second is never intended as a permanent sturcutal fix.

meaniemouse posted 6/4/2014 23:46 PM

Well after sleeping, or actually not sleeping on it last night I decided I had to walk away. It just needed too much work. I thought I would be sad but I'm just relieved. Thanks again everyone for your responses and support.

Back to house hunting again and being thankful for friends who are willing to tell me the truth! And for SI peeps who are the best!

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