We are at a crossroads. We went out with Dave on Saturday and looked at 18 more houses. We had 26 on the list, but many of the ones we didn't see were short sales (which are anything but short when all is said and done). A few others had offers going and one (that I really wanted to see) has been recently thrashed. So with "only" 18 homes to check out, we had a little extra time to spend (ha!). Sort of. I taught that morning, so we didn't get up the hill until after 11:30.
We reviewed Dave's rules, but still ended up spending more time than we should have at the first house. I think it just had to do with it being the first house of the day. Oh, and there was a man and his teenaged daughter walking their dog. They stopped to speak with us, and I think they made the house more appealing than it really was. Once we got out of there, the next 10-12 houses were a bust. We never made it up the stairs in any of them. In some, just walking in and seeing that the "backyard slope" was really a wall of dirt taller than the eight foot high sliders was enough to send us right back out. As Dave said, "Why would you buy that house? Who the hell bought it to begin with? What were they thinking?"
Another house was too ornate inside. It reminded me of the homes I've visited of people I've met who are from Pakistan and Egypt; lovely, but certainly not my sensibility. Plus, there were two massive "sheds" built out back that were not complete, and based on the workmanship, proximity to the house and the fact that they blocked access to the air conditioning unit, not likely permitted either.
We did check out a couple of one-storey homes. They weren't bad. One would have definitely been in the running if it really had the four advertised bedrooms. The other was equally awesome, but up against a drainage ditch. In California these are cemented, so I'm not worried about erosion and sliding as much as that Corey would explore the length of it. And Mad has her own independent, somewhat feisty little spirit, too. We can't be sure she wouldn't scale that fence as soon as possible. She's just nine and a half months old and has already been taking her first unassisted steps for nearly a week. So a house with a drainage ditch? Out of the question.
Somewhere around three-quarters of the way through Saturday's agenda we finally started to find some decent homes. We had a run of good, better, best and hey, this wouldn't be too bad either! Once it was all over... around 4:00... we stopped for what turned out to be breakfast, lunch and dinner. We rehashed the possibilities, laid out a plan and went back to check out the two we were most interested in considering. They have been ranked as our number 1 and 1A choices. Number 1 is clearly better (brand new paint and carpet, but missing all appliances), but number 1A really only needs paint downstairs (why do so many people think that salmon is an appropriate color for a house? and what the hell is up with three shades of progressively worse/more neon salmon?) and to have a fence repaired. Plus it has a covered patio. We decided to put offers down on both of them and see what might stick.
Dave ran the comps and decided that we should offer about $6000 less than the asking price on each home. We heard from 1A this morning. They countered with a higher price, but said they'd pay closing costs. We have to decide by noon tomorrow.
Dave then caught up with the agent for house number one. They had an all cash offer, but it was lower than ours. He could let us know soon, possibly by Wednesday.
If you're going to have a worst case scenario, this is not a bad one to have. Say we take 1A while waiting one 1, are we then obligated to stick with our second choice if the first choice accepts our offer?
As we were debating the issue over Madelyn's playtime this evening, Dave called again. House 1 had countered... still well below asking, but they'd only pay 3% toward closing costs. It means putting about $3000 more out at the onset than we were expecting. It's not impossible to gather the money together, but we still have to buy a new stove, oven, dishwasher and window coverings. Ack! We want this house, but what are we willing to give up to get it?
A little, but not much, is the answer. My brilliant husband has countered their counter, saying we'll pay an additional $2000 if they'll pay another percent toward closing (which should just about cover it). We'll submit the offer en la manana and should hopefully find out mas rapido. The bank wants a shorter escrow of 30 days, but we're also asking for 36 days to give our broker enough time to get everything done on our end.
Please keep your fingers crossed, put good thoughts in your hearts and wish us the best. We might actually be able to do this.