shavastak: (Nudibranch)
A bunch of life-update-worthy things have happened recently, so it's time for an update.

1) I saw my gynecologist on the 13th, at last. She doesn't think my problems are endometriosis. "Not a classical presentation" were the words she used, which means maybe, but probably not. As of the 17th I'm off birth control for a month and then bloodwork either 3 days after my period starts, or after 6 weeks, whichever comes first. In the meantime, my GI symptoms have (at least temporarily) subsided, so I'm back to exercising in the mornings.

2) Our real estate company in Knoxville let us know our tenants will be moving out at the end of May, and our real estate agent said it's a good time to sell. She sent us listings for houses in our area and we think we should be able to get 55-60k for the house, leaving us with US$20-25k, net. Very sweet.

3) We went to the bank on Wednesday.
a) We opened tax-free savings accounts (that is, the interest isn't taxed) for both me and Chris, and Chris begins contributing to his in two weeks.
b) We did a lot of talking about what to do with the money from the sale of the Knoxville house. I think we're probably going to put it into an investment account with the hope of getting ~5% per year on it until we are ready to buy and build. There's still the possibility of doing that in the US, and using that money to pay for the taxes on my loan forgiveness in 2023/2028, or of bringing it over the border when the Canadian dollar is weak (extra value!) and putting it into our tax-free savings accounts.
c) We got a lot of information about mortgages in Canada:
i) You can't get a mortgage for just land, at least not through RBC.
ii) We can totally have Erin on the mortgage and that should make it possible to get approved for a fair bit. (Two of my technicians are working on buying right now, and I get the impression they've been approved for something in the 600ks.)
iii) Mortgages for building work differently than normal ones. You get approved for a certain amount and then they dole it out in chunks called 'draws.' These, presumably, come out when it comes time to pay the contractors for their work. 10% of each draw gets held aside in case you decide not to pay the contractors. You get all that back after 3 months, assuming the contractors haven't needed to draw on that 10%, to do what you like with.

4) Chris bought a bike recently, and he and I will be biking together on occasion as he builds his biking strength up and I start training in more earnest.
shavastak: (Default)
The drain is clear!

It turns out that the drain in the basement does actually head out toward the back yard, and had gotten clogged up with dirt and grass and such. After three failed attempts in a row to find a third estimate for the sump pump install, Chris rented a snake. When he found it couldn't enter the drain pipe, because of size issues, he got frustrated and went outside to see what he could see. There was a damp patch, and he started digging, and almost immediately a bunch of water gushed out. He went back inside, and the drain was empty of water.

We dug a careful hole around the drainpipe's exit, and sometime this week we intend to cover it with big pieces of gravel, in an attempt to help keep it clear. So yay. All we need now is a cover for the inside part of the drain and we should be good to go on the other fixes we want to do to the basement. The next major project is replacing the outside doors that are insufficient. The side door is fine, but the front door is marginal and the basement door is nigh unsafe. So that's next.
shavastak: (Default)
Part Eight: Moving Day

Read more... )

Part Nine: The Slow March to Homeness

Read more... )
shavastak: (Default)
Part Seven: Paint Spatters

Sue is sick. She spent the whole day at home, dozing. Unfortunately, this means she hasn't gotten any packing done. Chris has psychological issues with moving, especially with packing, and has been in mild panic mode all week. Earlier in the week I made him go to a doctor and get a prescription for some anti-anxiety meds. Anyway, this basically means that I was on my own today.

After grabbing breakfast for Sue and myself, I went to the new house. The cable guy came today, and the fridge was being delivered, so I painted the kitchen and the bathroom. My arms are spattered with green and blue latex paint. It was tiring, but not overwhelmingly so, and it's the kind of job that gives you a sense of accomplishment, because your progress is visually obvious. I would consider this a good day, for me. (For Chris and Sue, obviously not so good a day.)

Lessons for the day: Grate Stuff cans aren't really intended for multiple uses. The Stuff sticks in the dispensing straw, and doesn't come out nicely, and when the dispensing straw is partly clogged, the Stuff comes out around the plastic adapter and starts pushing the straw off. Chris bought a new can, and we plan to use its straw with both cans, by doing a whole bunch of Stuffing all at once.

Also, you know your house is poorly insulated when the temperature at the ceiling is 10 degrees higher than the temperature at head height. I can't wait for the insulation machine to be available again...

Right now, I'm relaxing in front of the computer, and when I feel a little more rested I'll pack a few things, take a shower to get the latex off me, and give Sue a massage. Chris is going to bed early.
shavastak: (Default)
Part Four: Exhaustion and Frustration

Read more... )

Part Five: Nope

Read more... )
shavastak: (Default)
Part Three: Hornets, Drains, and Ceiling Fans
Read more... )
shavastak: (Default)
Part One: Closing and The Home Depot Run

Read more... )

Part Two: The Squirrel Nest of Doom, and the Polyurethane

Read more... )

That's the saga so far. More posts this weekend, because that's when the big party happens where we plan to use most of the rest of this stuff.
shavastak: (Default) long, rough, winding, hilly, covered in tacks that blow your tires, and replete with sudden turns into brick walls. The destination still looks like it'll be worth it.

Twice in a row we crashed the car into brick walls and had to begin again from the start. Thankfully, we got out without paying for an inspection the second time; the seller's agent had an HVAC guy stop by and find out that all the copper piping had been removed from the system. We backed out and the seller ended up reducing the price of the house by 7k.

On the third try, we finally found a house that (still) might work. A 3-bedroom 1-bath with problems, but small problems, ones we can handle. The carpets were disgusting - but the bank owner pulled them up and refinished the hardwoods underneath. It has no appliances, but we can handle that, and the bank owner is putting in a stove of our choice for us. The ductwork is nasty, but they're getting it cleaned for us. That was all agreed upon ahead of time.

So we got an inspection and came up with a list of other minor problems that we need to take care of. The foundation is solid, but the floor is a little weak in two places and needs to be reinforced. We can do that. The roof is solid, but needs a new patch of shingles and some flashing in some places. We can't do that, but after a few months we can pay someone who can. There are some outlets that need to be recovered; we can do that. There's a gap in the floor of the attic and not enough insulation; we can fix that. We negotiated with the bank about getting them to do some of them before we moved in, on the assumption that the FHA inspector would flag them. (Things FHA flags MUST be fixed before closing, because otherwise FHA won't lend us the money to buy the house.)

Well, the FHA inspector came in, and he flagged a lot less than we thought he would, which is gad, but he also appraised the house at 10k less than we agreed to pay for it, which is bood.

What do I mean? Well, the fact that the FHA inspector flagged less than we thought he would means the responsibility for fixing the things he didn't flag falls on us and not the bank owner; on the other hand, that means that less work needs to be done before we move in, and it makes the deal more valuable from the owner's point of view. The fact that the FHA inspector appraised the house at 10k less than we agreed to means that FHA won't loan us more than the appraised value - so the owner either has to drop the price or we have to come up with 10k extra...but it might mean that we get the house for 10k less than we planned.

See what I mean about the road to home ownership being messed up?

So here's how things stand so far. The owner agreed to sell the house to us at the appraised value and pay $1000 (instead of $2000) in closing costs, and also the money they were going to give us for repairs goes out the window. The owner is also fixing the electrical outlets, which is like a $100 job if you hire an expensive electrician. There is some moldy junk that needs to be removed from the basement - mostly old boxes and shit like that, and something needs to be done to make the roof look better. These are the FHA-required fixes, so they need to be done before closing, which, if we stick to the current contract, is going to be July 15th.

Now the question is, how much of those fixes can we do and how much will the owner pay for? The issue is that under normal circumstances, because this is a foreclosure, we would not be allowed into the house to do any work on it - which is a bummer for all of us, because we can probably do all that ourselves. On the other hand, the owner obviously wants to minimize costs especially since they are now out about $6000 on the originally agreed purchase price of the house, and they still have to put in the stove and clean the ducts, which they agreed to a long time ago. We're on the borderline of the bank giving up and trying to sell it fix-free to an investor, and it's getting close to crunch time. We're running out of days to do this work on.

Wish us luck. If it works out, we'll be having a giant party near the end of July. If it doesn't, you'll hear my screams of frustration echoing through the ether for weeks to come.

Oh, I almost forgot to put in the part that makes it so worthwhile. The house we live in now costs us $950/month. This place is probably going to cost us about $325/month, including all the insurance and stuff.

Dream Home

Feb. 19th, 2010 03:17 pm
shavastak: (Default)
Well, Pyat and I got talking about dream houses, so I decided I'd go ahead and write up my ideas somewhere so I can come back and reference them, add to them as needed, etc.

For starters, it's 3 stories, with two 'first' floors. Here's how that works. It's built into the side of a hill, such that the top story has a ground-floor entrance, and the second story down has a ground floor entrance down the hill on a different side of the house. The third story down is entirely underground.

The top floor is the lightest, airiest, and has the best windows. That's where the kitchen is - the big, well-organized, well-maintained kitchen, with huge windows and a little balcony that faces the yard. The dining room is on the same floor, and doubles as a dancefloor when the table is moved out of the way. There's a small sitting room up here, nothing big, but good for chats with casual acquaintances. (Close friends get entertained in the basement; you'll see why later.)

The middle floor is where the master bedroom is (small bedroom, BIG bathroom), and the study/library/studio, where Chris does his drawing and most of the books are stored. The middle floor also contains the cat room, which is the only room in the house with carpet. This room has carpet covering all six walls (except for the litterbox area), and is also bedecked with climbing platforms and cat toys. The door is always closed, and has a cat flap in it.

The basement is where the fun happens. There's an entertainment room, set up for tabletop gaming, but that can also be converted into a movie room, video-game room, or a bunkhouse for overnight guests. It includes several computers hooked up to a LAN, a fridge, popcorn maker, microwave, and a big enough bookshelf to contain the needs of two or three weekly RPGs. The basement also contains the utility room with a dumbwaiter (good for emergency sandwiches from the kitchen as well as shipping the laundry up and down), and the terrarium. The terrarium is where the rats and snakes live. The snakes each have their own lush tank, but the rats get the really fun stuff: three cages connected with Habitrail that runs all over the room. And of course, the basement also contains The Server.

There is also, of course, a garage, but the cars don't live in it. Rather, that's where the forge and workshop are.

The yard is big enough to maintain a horse and several goats, and includes a stream with a little pond in the middle, full of ducks. It abuts against woods which are pleasant to explore. Out in its furthest corner, away from the woods, is a big concrete block like a stage. There's a basketball hoop at one end, but it's main purpose is evidenced by its numerous scorch marks. It's used as a firepit and as a platform for setting off fireworks.

The house is excellently insulated and uses all the best environmentally-friendly technology to keep it energy-efficient and running smoothly. Its construction used as much recycled material as possible without endangering its durability, and includes several back-up methods for producing electricity, including solar, wind, and human power.

That's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure I'll change it later.

Edit 2/21/10: There will also be a tower, at the top of which will be an observatory and small herb garden. It will be positioned over the kitchen in such a way that the dumbwaiter system goes all the way up to the top. This makes it easy to send herbs down, or sandwiches and hot chocolate up.

Oh, and the whole house is set up with a sound system that a) allows the playing of music or podcasts in any room, and b) connects the entire house with itself, so that you can page anyone anywhere.


shavastak: (Default)

April 2016

2425262728 2930


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 04:57 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios