Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The House Negotiations

Okay, you probably read my old House/New House post last week and thus know that we are in the market... kind of.

A friend is moving and wants to sell her house. We want to buy a house similar to hers in a neighborhood similar to hers. Easy, right?

Consider the following:

CON: We just bought a new minivan and are about to embark on a very expensive vacation that has been planned for months. No, we cannot cancel; every morning, my five year old daughter checks the calendar and tells the breakfast table and everyone at it how many days until Disneyland.

There is literally $30 in my savings account. Do you think they'll take that as a down payment?

PRO: One CAN buy without a down payment, even in today's edgy mortgage climate, when "one" is (like us) a couple with a more-than-decent income and excellent credit. As for closing costs, this would take about a month, which gives us ample time to beg wealthier relatives for a short term loan. We could also put them on a credit card or add them into the mortgage. Or we could cancel Disneyland (just kidding).

CON: The house is about half-remodeled. I know nothing about remodeling except what I have learned from HGTV and I wonder whether necessary permits were obtained and whether everything was done to code. I have no idea when one needs a permit, or how to get one... do the owners? Also, we would be moving into a house that needs work, immediate work. Did I mention we have five kids in our home and we homeschool?

PRO: It's a lovely house with almost infinite potential and they have done great things with it. I see where they are going and I approve. They have six kids and homeschool as well, by the way.

CON: My husband isn't feeling it. I see potential; he sees work. I see an adequate house in an awesome neighborhood; he thinks we could get more house for the money given the stagnant real estate market. In fact, a customer who is a realtor told him so in those exact words. The family are friends, so hard core negotiation and all of the included techniques are out of the question. We think they are over-valuing the house because they love it (as do I).

PRO: A simple appraisal could clear that up. I happen to have the name of a great appraiser, one who works for my bank, who is known for being a stickler about these things.

CON: An appraisal costs $600. That's a lot of money to pay for a house we may opt not to buy.

But we have to start somewhere.

ANOTHER CON: A house a few blocks away of similar size is for sale... for less... and it doesn't need work unless you have something against country blue (I do). My husband says, let's just buy that house... we don't know them... we could offer 50K less than asking and probably still get it. Everyone knows houses aren't selling right now.

I don't like that house. I mean, I would like it if I didn't know about and want this other house. I say, shouldn't we be willing to pay more for a house that has the potential to be our dream home? Even if it is a tad more than we would have to pay for a similar home without dream potential?

It has a book nook, goshdarnit. A freaking book nook. And a tree house.

What do you think? I'm up for opinions and advice. I think the person who owns the house in question reads this blog, and that's okay. I don't mind having everything out on the table. I think if she and I sat at a table with no husbands, we'd have it worked out in no time. Husbands tend to resent these type of deals. At least mine does.

Right now we are applying for a mortgage. Then comes the appraisal. A house will be bought and bought soon, money or no money, this house or that one or another. I feel so out of control with all of these mitigating factors and pros-and-cons and feelings to consider. I console myself that I only feel this way during times of huge growth, and that I always seem to come through it unscathed. It's an exercise in dealing with power issues, and I just need to do yoga and keep my emergency inhaler near at all times.


Burbanmom said...

I feel for ya. Nothing can cause more fights than picking your new home. And choosing is just the beginning. Once you move in, every little thing that you find wrong with the house will be blamed on the person who lobbied for it.

It's the glue that keeps marriages together.

Good luck! I'm sure as hell not gonna get in the middle of this! :-)

Emily the Great and Terrible said...

lol, well, I'm glad we're not the only ones.

Lisa Russell said...

Let's just go have margaritas and close the deal without the boys. Then we can take all the blame for everything and live happily ever after. What's the worst that could happen?

NNAAHH- I hope your husband feels better knowing mine was an electrician in California (IBEW Local 40 in North Hollywood)

Anyhow- things always work out. Life always ends up better than we could have planned, doesn't it. I hope that if this house doesn't work out that you'll find one you love even more. And I'm glad you like the book nook. I call it a library because it sounds more impressive, but let's be honest- it was a walk-in closet!

I think the reason the assessor doesn't list the bedrooms is because the windows aren't xx amount of inches off of the ground, for fire department entry purposes? But I bet if we asked a realtor or someone professional they'd know the better answer? hmmm... When we moved in they really weren't liveable.

Gosh- I should just call you.

Greg Staker said...

If my math is correct, that would be 5 cons to 3 pros. :)

The work that needs finished and the uncertainty of the permits would be the biggest cause for concern.

I look forward to seeing what your decision will be.

Thanks for the inside look at your home buying process.