Sunday, June 7, 2009

Home buying

Aaron and I made an offer on a house last Saturday night. They countered our offer on Monday, and we countered their counter on Tuesday. They accepted Tuesday afternoon. Wednesday we had to sign a new purchase agreement reflecting the new terms. Yesterday we had our inspection. Escrow is set to close on or before July 30 (apparently foreclosures require a longer escrow period). Once we receive the inspection report and officially secure our financing, our contingencies will be met and then we just wait until the seller (i.e. the bank) gets everything sorted.

Here are the details: It's a 3 bed, 2 bath house, 1,900 square feet.

It's in the Lake Balboa part of Van Nuys (which is the nicer part). It's on a cute little street with lots of cute little houses (very little "manionising" in the area). Our house is on the corner of a pretty busy street, which gave us (mostly me) some pause, but I think with landscaping we can minimize the noise. The house itself is pretty quiet, but you can definitely hear the street noise in the backyard.

On Monday night when we were considering the counter offer, we drove out there and walked around the neighborhood. So we know it's safe to walk around at night. We also met a couple of the neighbors. One of whom was outside working on some new windows for his house. He said he'd been there 7 years and absolutely loved it. Apparently the neighbors next door to our potential house have been there since the 1950's and there are plenty of other residents who have been there for a long time as well. It was really nice talking to the neighbors that clinched it for us. I know I want to be in a neighborhood where neighbors talk to each other, and you get that community feel. And you can tell just by walking around that the neighbors really care for their houses (there is the occasional exception, but it's pretty rare).

Because it's a foreclosure, we definitely have a lot of work ahead of us to fix it up and make it nice. But it's not nearly as bad as some of the other houses we saw (there was one condo we went in where I had to pull my shirt over my nose because the stench was so bad). This one is relatively clean and definitely liveable while we are fixing it - and most of the fixes are just cosmetic repairs. I think the biggest thing we'll need to work on is the yard. The front yard has working sprinklers, so it could be that we'll just need to water and the grass will grow back. The back yard has sprinklers, but they don't work - and I don't think anyone has used them in a very long while. Aaron's mom loves landscaping and decorating, though, so we'll definitely be calling on her to help us make our place amazing. :)

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