Monday, March 29, 2010

We got the call

We got the call today. We got the call!

Tim asked me to call him this afternoon, and greeted me with: "Hello, Mrs. Homeowner!"

The short sale has been approved!! This has to have been the shortest short sale in the history of the world! I heard horror stories of people waiting five to six months to even hear back from the seller's bank, and now we're done with that, no haggling, and it's approved! Today, in fact, marks the date we set down in the bid contract as the day we wanted to close. Emma laughed, and we knew it wouldn't happen, but still. We put it down. The fact that the short sale was approved six months to the date of submitting our bid is a very, very good thing!

Annie says prepare to close in the next few weeks. What needs to be done next is our bank approval/appraisal, and submission of the last few bits and pieces of paperwork for the loan. (For instance, they are requesting an official transcript for me, since I have only been at my current job for 1.5 years. I thought a copy of my diploma would suffice--it is, after all, an official document stating I actually studied social work, the field in which I am now working--but no. So we paid the $5 and now are waiting an interminable amount of time to receive the notarized transcript.)

We can't imagine our bank taking issue with the appraisal, though, since the seller's bank seemed to think everything was fine with our offer and the home's worth. But still. We're waiting on that.

Suddenly it all feels so much more real. We can say, "We are BUYING A HOUSE," instead of what we've been saying so far: "We're trying to buy a house." We'll likely close in mid-April, and then take the rest of the month and most of May to paint, fix up the electrics, move around some plumbing, and pack this hoarder's haven of a rental property.

And then, when grey Chicago starts spreading the green, and the weather makes you want to fling open the windows and sing to your neighbors, we'll be moving into our house!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How I Wait

I've been putting off writing another post because I don't like to talk about things that are out of my control while I'm waiting for them to be resolved. I'm an actor, I'm used to that situation. I don't talk about auditions or offers until they are settled. I don't like to have the extra pressure of other people's expectations on top of my own (which I am trying very hard to quell). But I figured that I always could write about my response to the unknown waiting so that's what you're gonna get.

Right now everything with the house is moving along at a reassuring pace. What that means is that there have yet to be any impediments or untimely delays. It doesn't mean that we are good to go or that the end is in sight, but it does mean that there is nothing else we can do at the moment. We've submitted all our paperwork to Emma, I've set up a separate checking account for down-payment assistance from family (important to keep that separate and the money-trail clear) and now we are waiting on the seller's bank to do their own appraisal and then approve (or not) the offer.

So. I admit I am starting to arrange the space in my mind. I am trying to figure out how to fit a drum-kit, a keyboard, an upright bass, a bevy of amplifiers and assorted electric instruments into a small basement room. I'm trying to figure out where I want to put my pull-up bar. I'm also perusing the Container Store and IKEA and Craigslist looking for the right organizational accoutrement for what I have in mind.

I'm also trying to feel out what the unexpected expenses will be.

To say that I am conservative economically is an understatement. I'm the budgeting equivalent of the Idaho-militia guy who is pre-occupied with stocking up his mountain redoubt. I don't feel right ordering a drink with dinner if I don't know where all the money for every possible bill we could get isn't accounted for. I budget for parking tickets. That's how bad it is. So the thought of all the new expenses that home ownership will bring is enough to keep my mind racing.

The other thing I think about a lot is that my work takes me out of town for a large portion of each summer and I want to be in the house for awhile before it's time for me to go this year. I want to settle in and barbecue in the back-yard. I want to plant a garden and put in my rain barrels. I want to feel at home before I leave it for several months.

Yeah. So for now, I keep looking at the MLS listings. I downplay the "we're under contract" side of things and highlight the "short-sales are tricksy" side of it all. I keep an eye on the market and try to figure out when the best time to cash out our mutual fund is. I start getting names of roofers and start pricing gutters. But most of all I treat just like an audition: I assume I don't have it until I know I do.

Still, it can't hurt to keep your fingers crossed.