Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A HOUSE IS A HOUSE FOR ME

As I started to write about in this post, I've been house-hunting since January and it's basically become a full time job, but we finally found a house! The search started out for rental houses but there is such a shortage of available and affordable houses that will also allow all the pets, it was a huge struggle. I made endless calls and emails, went to countless viewings and filled out too many applications. I was turned down from many and realized others were in unsafe neighborhoods or just too expensive even though we were approved.

A pet-friendly place we can afford:/

So then I started looking at sale houses since my parents graciously decided that they wanted to invest in a property that I could make the payments on. I started out working with their realtor which was a total nightmare. She is an older lady and clearly sick of her job. So with every question and email, I felt like I was totally putting her out and in a hugely competitive market, the whole thing was so much more stressful. During one meeting, she got out a map and told me where I could and could not live, highlighting the only areas I was allowed to look at. She also scolded me every time I found something online and asked her about it, saying she would be the only one doing the searching. I should note that she scolded my mom about the same thing and my mom said, "Too bad, you can't stop me." Haha...

A cute house I was not allowed to look at:(

The worst part was her gripe with my dogs. She would often say to me, "I've never had a client before who buys a home for their dogs." I kept trying to explain to her that just because I wanted a home with a nice yard to enjoy with my dogs, does not mean I am buying a house just for them but it never sunk in. And she would point out things that would really irk me, like one house that had a sort of tiny "studio" in the yard(more like a concrete box with a roof), but she said, "Oh, there's somewhere for the dogs to go when it's raining." Not seeing the humor, if there was any, I had to reply, "My dogs come inside when it's raining. They're not going to stay out in the cold in some weird box."

Can you see the "studio" in the corner?

Another conversation went like this at a house with a mud room...

realtor: There's a good place for the dogs to sleep.
me: But the dogs sleep in my room.
realtor: They do? [shocked]
me: Ya, well...they sleep in my bed with me.
realtor: [all color drained from her face and she pulled the same statement my mom always says] What about when you meet a guy and he does not want to share the bed with those dogs?
me: [this is getting way too personal but I gave her my standard response] Well then he must not be the right guy for me. 
realtor:  Ok.....
[awkward silence to follow]

How can anyone not want to share a bed with these two??

Needless to say, I ended up switching realtors to the most amazing realtor of all time...in my opinion. He was so easy going and fun, yet very professional and knowledgeable. He'd answer my emails from early morning to late at night and he'd hop on any property I'd inquire about. He humored me when I wanted to look at really "out there" houses, like the one up 100 steps and the one with a 2nd floor addition built on 2 by 4 stilts. When I finally spotted the perfect house, I had the dreaded feeling that we wouldn't get it. He wrote up a 30-page pdf of recent nearby sales for comparison which was actually very interesting and gave us all the info we needed to make the right offer. I even wrote a cover letter since the owner had lived there for 21 years and was, of course, emotionally invested in the house.

Are 102 steps too many to get to the front door?

We had to wait weeks for the offer date and I visited the 2 open houses, wishing away all the other people looking at it too. I made friends with the owner's Garfield look-a-like and told the realtor how much I loved the house, while I dreamed up renovation projects. There ended up being 13 offers on the table and even with our offer of 100k over asking price, it was very close. My realtor told me that evening that we were in the top 3 and they would have a decision by morning. I thought to myself, there's no way I am going to get any sleep tonight, but by midnight I got another email from my realtor and he said we got it! I was so excited that I got very little sleep anyways.

Our new house!

So for the past few weeks, we've been doing inspections and my dad has been pouring over documents. Unfortunately, he's been traveling overseas and they've also been working on the sale of my grandparents' house in New York so it's been a very stressful time for him. Needless to say, he's going to get one heck of a Father's Day card! Living on the east coast, my parents have not actually seen the house yet so I am so excited to show them in person. Another exciting thing is that the house has an extra room for them to stay in when they visit and Zoey too when she travels west! I can't wait to have bar-b-ques in the backyard and watch movies at night rather than have them go back to their hotel.

Our new yard - it has a usable brick fireplace!

Another cool thing is that while I was at the inspection I got to meet the owner of the house so she told me all about the house, the neighbors, the neighborhood and herself. She raised her two sons there and she's an artist so she pointed out that almost all the paintings in the house are hers. And I was formally introduced to her kitty, Mango, who was born across the street 11 years ago. The house itself is a beautiful craftsman bungalow built in 1922 and has all of that charm to go with its age. But the whole downstairs was finished off 4 years ago so it's got a great combo of old and new. And unlike all the other older homes we looked at, it has a new foundation, a new roof, new plumbing and new electric so I think we ended up getting the perfect house!

Mango in the living room :-)

recently built downstairs

The area is very pretty too. It's a block away from Mills College and though I've never been there, I've heard it has a beautiful campus so I look forward to walking around it and hopefully I can walk the dogs there too! The house is also just a few minutes from my favorite hiking spots and favorite areas for shops and eating. Now I just can't wait to move in! The owner needs to stay in the house for another month so we're headed to my parents house in Tahoe so that we're not so cramped in my studio for another month. I am actually very excited because I haven't been there since winter and it's like outdoor heaven for the dogs (and me.) But that means it's the dreaded time to pull out the boxes and pack up my whole apartment to put into storage. And I've already been spending countless hours on houzz.com looking at design and decorating ideas. Anyone else love that site?

Mills college campus, the house is by the far side.

sun room at the front of the house :-)

Related Posts:
Times They Are a Changin'
Our Snocation!
Kaya & Norman Do Lake Tahoe

27 comments:

  1. That house is amazing! It's so airy and charming that anyone would fall in love with it. Congratulations on your new abode, I'm sure you'll be very happy there.

    Oh, and of course I would want to sleep with those two cuties as well. :-)

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  2. Congratulations! It looks like a lovely house with plenty of room for the doggies :) We may have to move at the end of this year and I'm worried about finding a rental property. Fingers crossed we'll strike lucky!

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    1. I think a big part of our problem trying to rent is that I am self-employed and my friend just moved here so she's not yet employed. Does not look good on an application!

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  3. Hooray!!! I know how frustrating house hunting can be but you stuck with it and found the perfect home. YaY!! What a relief! Will it just be you moving or will your friend and Sophie be moving in as well?

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    1. As of right now it will be all of us, but I am going to ask my friend if we can have Sophie go live with the friends of hers who adore her. I worry about moving with Gina in the state she's in:(

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  4. That looks wonderful and sounds like a win-win situation for you and your parents. It will be great to not have 2 people and 4 animals crammed into a studio... we feel squishy with 2 people and 2 dogs in a 1 bedroom!

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    1. Yes, anything will be better than a studio! To me, with just myself here, no amount of animals felt like too much, even with 3 dogs and 2 cats, but add another person and all their stuff and it's just...whoah.

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    2. I don't even want to think about how overwhelming that would feel. I have regular freakouts about our lack of storage space and fitting in 2-3 dogs' gear.

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  5. Woot! Congrats!! One of the big reasons (but not the only one!!) that I bought my house so quickly after I moved here was because I wasn't sure what kind on properties I'd have available with my size (and unfortunately type) of dog. It was just so much easier to buy!

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    1. Yes, I am so lucky! Even though I know my dogs won't destroy a property, it's such a relief not to have a landlord involved!

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  6. This is great news congrats on the house, I'm sure you and the pups will love your new place!

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  7. Wow! Congratulations! I actually interviewed for a job in SF recently, so I might be asking you about places to live very soon! :)

    Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie
    www.ourwaldobungie.com

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    1. Yes, Definitely! I may be biased but I think this is the best place on earth! Fingers crossed! :-)

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  8. Congratulations! I'm excited for you!

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  9. Congratulations on your new house and good luck packing!!

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  10. Oh my gosh! Congratulations!! This house is so so beautiful and I just know Kaya and Norman and Gina are going to love it too :) I am very glad all that waiting was totally worth it! And mom says she can't wait to see how you decorate it; she is totally into that stuff ;)

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    1. Thanks:D I will definitely be highjacking the blog for design and remodel posts!

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  11. CONGRATS! I know how awful home buying can be (I have three ugh)

    Stop on by for a visit
    Kari
    http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

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    1. Haha, it seems like it should be fun but it is so stressful!

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  12. That is fabulous news! Super exciting and the house looks really, really nice!! YIPPEE for all of you.
    As for the dogs sleeping on the bed...uh, where else would they sleep?! : )

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    1. Thanks! And ya...I looooove dogs in the bed;)

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  13. Restrictions are always present when it comes to rental properties. Some properties are really strict when it comes to allowing pets. It's unfortunate that you weren't able to find the one that suits with your lifestyle. But wasn't it great that you ended up with a better option which is investing in a house? Yours was great. I can feel that you absolutely got the one that's right for you.

    Von Madison @ GoldTeam.ca

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