28 February 2011

House Hunting/Buying 101: The process

YAY! We found a great one, that matched up with much of our list! In our price range!

The next step was to put in an offer on the house. Their asking price was $124,900.
We started out low at $117K w/ closing costs and a home warranty. They countered w/ $124,000.
Us: $119K+ Home Warranty and Closing Costs
Them: $123,500
Us: $121K + H.W. and CC
Them: $123K; It's as low as we'll go.
Us: We can't. We need 122K. + H.W. and CC
Them: Ok.

YAY! Next step: Inspection.
We had an INCREDIBLE inspector! In the KC area and need a rec? Ask! He's amazing and thorough and honest on whether things matter or not... etc.
Of course, since our house was built in 1937, and because our roof and windows were brand new, our biggest concerns were in the basement.
Here's what he found:

  • cracked wastepipe... AKA where your bodily 'waste' goes.
  • a gas leak
  • no vent for our washing machine.
  • loose floor joist... AKA what holds your floors up.
  • and a few quirky things that were inconsequential, including a vintage rum bottle
  • Upstairs
    •  he found some switched electrical switches and a 'dead' wall of electricity in our dining room
    • we found a shotty fix on a bathroom sink
    • on the same sink, the faucet was improperly installed
    • the bathtub leaked
    • the toilets were loose
    • the kitchen sink had a slight upwards slope on a pipe (their supposed to slope down)
Here's the good news:
  • Our inspector said it was in FANTASTIC shape for its age and price.
  • The foundation was in wonderful shape!
  • We have a stone basement, which turns out to be the best kind.
  • Our inspector didn't recommend a ($150) radon test because it is a 'walk out' basement b/c of our garage.
  • No mold! 
  • Minute water leakage, which can be easily fixed by extending our front gutter
The bad news: 
  • It wasn't move-in ready... those things must be fixed. Who wants to have to explain the 'stench' in their basement... coming from some pipe... that comes from the toilet. 
SO, we went back to negotiations.
Turns out, there was a fall out with the plumbing contractor and the rest of our buyers (a small company of contractors). They were unaware of the terrible job on the house.
We still asked for everything to be fixed, because not to be cold hearted, but their fall-out has little to do with us. (We learned quickly to make this a business transaction. We had to work to not be pressured by different situations of our sellers.) 
Because of this and a few other interesting turn of events, and resistance to fix the house to city code, we needed to come up with a motto. "This house is a convenience, not a necessity". We LOVE the house; great updates, great location, great size, great aesthetics. However, we aren't out of our agreement with our landlord and won't be until closing. Our current house is cute, but small. Close to family, but not close to work. In a comfort zone, but we're ready to branch out. Bottom line: It works. We're not homeless. We have no crunching time line. This house is convenient. Not necessary. 

This helped us get through the rest of the process better. 
1) We knew we could/would walk if we needed to.
2) We LOVE the house, the location, and the change, so we're motivated.
3) But we wouldn't budge on city code, no matter how 'unnecessary' it was. See #1. 

SO, eventually (after about 15 negotiations and 3 different 'resolution' contracts) things were fixed to our liking, but we did budge on a few things but got our house!

Next: What we 'budged' on. What we were firm about. Next step: Appraisal and financing.

24 February 2011

House Hunting/Buying 101: The lists

Anyone else out there house hunting?

Us Borns are learning as we go. Had no idea about mortgage's, interest rates, negotiations, offers, nada. So, if there are any other escrow-virgins, we decided to share what we're learning along the way.

Here's our experience step by step:
1) In January, our friends recommended a fabulous Realtor. (Always go with a recommendation if you can!) We met with her to see some homes and shared with her our initial stipulations.
  • a cute older home that was not a $$ pit.
  • 3+ bedroom
  • 2 bath
  • fenced in yard
  • attached garage
  • alarm system
  • in a not-terrible part of the city
2) Financing: we saw our realtor's mortgage company and after hearing about their rates and reading a few reviews on service, we landed on a mortgage company. They were very thorough in directing exactly what paperwork we needed and when we needed it. After applying for pre-qualification, we we determined our budget. We set our top budget lower than our approval, to make our actual budget comfortable. New stipulation:
  • $100-$120K budget
3) After seeing around 15 homes, and viewing 100+ online, we learned we would need to choose size or location. Either we get a GIGANTIC home in the proverbial 'hood'. OR we get a smaller home where I can go walk Punk Pup and be reasonably safe. Once we started looking with this in mind we learned what we could and couldn't live without. Our new list looked like this:
  • an updated older home.
  • 2-3 bed
  • 1-1 1/2 bath
  • fenced yard
  • a close walk from garage to house
  • in outskirts of nice neighborhoods
  • $100-120,000 budget
3) After looking at a pricey fixer-upper, we stumbled upon a cute little house just blocks from Mr. Man's school and a short walk to a well-known neighborhood, Brookside. Here's how it has matched up:
  • Built in 1937, but newly updated (new roof, windows, A/C, heater, water heater, and electrical)
  • 3 bed
  • 1 1/2 bath
  • fenced yard
  • basement garage
  • just south-west of Brookside (63rd Ter)
  • $117 when closing costs and home warranty were deducted.
  • fresh neutral coat of paint all throughout
  • walk-in pantry
  • walk-in closet
  • fridge
  • BEAUTIFUL original, refinished hardwood floors.
  • blocks from Kev's schools (maybe we can be a 1 car family! Cut costs AND tree hugger friendliness)
  • grocery store in walking distance.

  • more important: local coffee shop (w/ good coffee) in walking distance!
  • good school district if ever we have Baby Born's joining the scene.
We decided to put in an offer!
Comin' up: Saturday  (er... I mean Monday) I'll post our negotiating process and our attitudes toward the process.

14 February 2011


I am getting to my snow day projects...

Fabulous zipper pouches! I have been experimenting and tweaking this tutorial, to come up with the perfect bag. I've also been experimenting with some different stamping art on the front... I can't wait to try a DIY stamp that Cortney showed me... but haven't got that good yet.

I have a few more done, but haven't snapped the pictures yet. 

You get the idea :) Hope you enjoyed!
The goal is to be to set up shop this summer... after my dream-of-a studio is all set up in action... as opposed to taking over the kitchen table... all the time. 

13 February 2011

Reasons we're excited to move.

1) Letting our poor pup outside into a fenced-in backyard, as opposed to this method:

2) More room to organize...  we get just a peek at the pantry!
lovin' the floor to ceiling cabinets!
even I can get organized!
3) We get to paint!! I'm not too sure why, but I'm super excited about our dining room. We're thinking about one of these bad boys... Different but all fall into the 'wine' coloring. Can't wait to put all the swatches on the walls and stare!

4) Redoing more furniture. 
love the white vintage table.
or maybe one of these in a big dining room table version.
I'm dreaming of one of these to put in our living or dining room... Mmm. Individual place settings.
Bajillions of labels for serious organization.

5)A craft room! All to myself!! No more sharing with the guest room! (taken from Heather Bailey's blog)

all crafts 12 Beautiful Crafting Rooms {diy}

ps. thanks google images

10 February 2011

My morning.

Time: 6 am
Scene: Mr. Man snoring.
           Still dark outside.
           Punk Pup still in kennel.
           I, however, am bug-eyed from the noises I just heard coming from the utility room.
Time: 6:15
Scene: Punk Pup stirs. I hear him. A different sounds from the ones I heard 15 minutes prior.
           I decide it's possible someone is in our house. How? Who knows.
           But those are weird bumping-around sounds.
           Mr. Man gets pinched.
           And doesn't stir.
           So he gets pinched again. And doesn't stir.
           And gets pinched again, and says "hu". I say "sh." He says "wha". I say SHH!
           He doesn't get the hint to whisper. Because by now I am sure there is someone in our house.
Mr. Man: "What Babe."
Me: Do you hear that?
M.M: What.
Me: Those sounds.
M.M: It's the dog.
[aside: Mr. Man assumes everything is the dog when he's half asleep. Any movement, any sounds, anything. 2 nights ago, I got into bed late. He's says: "Get down. Off. No."]
Me: It's not the dog.
[sound happens again]
Me: That!
M.M: It's the dog.
Me: No. It's not.
M.M: Do you want me to go get him?
Me: Yes. Be careful. Bring your phone. [like that'll hurt someone]
M.M: Good gracious.

He proceeds to get up, let the puppy out. As per everyday schedule, Punk Pup then proceeds to leap into bed & give me good morning kisses, waiting til I raise the covers so he can take over Mr. Man's spot (that goes over well on Saturdays...). Then he usually gives me a couple serious dutch ovens (if you don't know what that is, it's probably better) and takes his early-morning nap (to be proceeded by 7 more naps during the day & conveniently no evening naps...when everyone else is tired).

All that to not-so-concisely say, nothing was wrong.
Til Mr. Man went to brush his teeth. And turned the faucet. And nothing. Take 2: try hot water. Nothing.

M.M.: Babe we have no water.
Me: No what?
M.M: Water.
[I shot up in defense.]
Me: I printed off the receipt. I payed the bill early, just like always.
[I went to the computer to show him]
M.M: I have no doubt.
[I'm a little neurotic about paying bills early.]
M.M: I don't think it's that.

I get out of bed. Call the water people. They don't tell us what's wrong. But we're "in the system".
I get into bed. Cuddle with Pup. Take a 24 second snooze.
Door bell rings
I get out of bed, scrambling to clothe myself appropriately. Punk Pup is going zany. His jowls are flopping as he barks and runs and runs and barks.
I open the door. To the water men. Who look terrified of our sweet little puppy. Or maybe my outfit. Or my hair.
They fiddle around outside. And I hear my toilet flush, while I'm in my living room. Weird. They fiddle more. The toilet stops running. They fiddle more. Tell me to check. And miracle of all mircles, it's on!

The sounds: my water pipes messing up.
Moral: I am not loopy or paranoid.

Ok, tomorrow, really, you'll get documentation of my alleged snow day pretties. I envy your forgiveness.
But today, you can have the documentation of Punk Pup cleaning up after our morning moments of chaos

Love to play while I help!

who needs a dog dish.
this is how I roll 
take 1

take 2:
read: sometimes we mistake our lips for our food.


I was much obliged, Mom

05 February 2011


I'm feeling Chinese today. And poetic. Not really... love that pic though!

However, since I'm in need of blog-worthy material, and since I thought about Haiku's... for no reason at all...

and since I couldn't pictorially document all my snow day projects (which turned out perty dern cute)
 ... or pictorially document Mr. Man (who at any time would've been caught mid-"I'm bored.")... or pictorially document Punk Pup (who swallowed feminine hygiene products... whole...), i bring you some poems... or 'pomes' phonetically (fin-e-tik-ley). Haiku poems to be precise. Remember that 5th grade English nugget? 5-7-5 poems? I didn't either. That's why I looked it up on Wikepedia...

Ok, without further ado...
(what does ado even mean?)
Okay, really now...

[insert black beret (ber-ay)]
[insert moment of transparency: I really wrote toupee first, believing that was really what it was called. wow. then I caught it.]

wet yellow-ish ice.
you wreak havoc on my house.
my carpet is gross.

[insert snaps and good coffee]

internal blizzard.
stir-crazy family
too much energy and time
not near enough space

[insert bow and a tip of the toupee (too-pay) beret.]

Batteries for the camera will be apprehended and I will show you what I've been up to... that will be a much better post... promise.

01 February 2011

So, sad news...

The second I tried to turn on my camera at the Vintage Market, it said "out of battery"; with no warning. How rude!

It was fun though, if that matters to you :)

What I can share with you pictorially is my perusings of Pottery Barn... in other words, what I will be scouring flea markets and garage sales for at a fraction of the cost :)

1) a chippy old mantle for over our bed.

2) oh. our future dining room is DYING for that awesome ladder w/ various lanterns hanging from it.

3) an old hotel organizer? yes please! perfect for craft room...

4)now, these books tied with a bow are darling. however in my house Braddock would do his own 'distressing job'... to an unrecognizable point... we know from experience. You'll know when I show you his little renovations to our house... 
 Anyhoot, those cute little books would have to go else where.
5) This is not PB, I snagged it somewhere online... oops sorry! 
LOVE those upholstered chairs and 
see in the background? Above the white buffet? LOVE those chippy mirror frames!
'Member when I told you about my Anthro coloring book? THIS is what I was talking about! But more. And different sizes. I'll be on the hunt!

And in case it isn't clear... my mind is REELING with homey coziness because we're house hunting! In fact, we've put an offer on one. If you've done this before, you know it's SO not a sure thing 'til closing day... so we'll see! I'll let you in on the journey with us! It's been SO fun!

Happy blizzarding!

 May your home be project-full and boredom free!
On snow day #6 in a 20 day period, being cooped up in our teeennnyyy little house with a biiiggg Punk Puppy... the Born house motto is:
What doesn't kill ya will make ya stronger... 

 Peace, love, warmth, and to-do lists...