Saturday, April 14, 2007

Inspections, Appraisals, and Insurance! Oh My!

So we have a contract. What now? Well to start with we wanted the home inspected thoroughly for our own edification, even though the sale was for an as is home, we wanted to know what we were looking at. Then we had no idea how long the VA was going to take to get their Appraisal done. And to top it off it was time for me to start shopping home insurance.

As soon as we sent back the counter offer we started asking Natalie for recommendations for the inspections and home owners insurance. The next couple of days my ear became attached to the phone as I called for quotes on both. Quickly I realized that the inspector Natalie's fellow realtor had suggested was the most economical and moved on to the home owners insurance.

We had a much more difficult time getting the quotes for insurance since many times I had to leave messages and wait for the agents to get back to me. After 7 different quotes I thought we had the best narrowed down to AAA and since our car insurance was coming due as well I went over to their office and converted all of our insurance with them.

Finally with the Inspections set for the following Tuesday and the Insurance taken care of we had a few days to decompress. So the question became what are we going to do with so much room? We definitely don't have enough furniture to fill the entire house so we started thinking of various options.

One, do we wall in the interior access to the rear and rent it out as a 2 bedroom apartment? But we don't know the first thing about being landlords. How hard is it? What is involved? Are we ready to jump into something like that? So the idea of renting out the area was put on hold.

Two, several years ago when T. was in pre-school I did home daycare. It was the most fulfilling, successful thing I have done to date. I loved taking care of the kids, knowing that the parents could go to work and not worry about their little ones, being home for T. and a bit later S., and knowing that I was contributing to our household income. It was definitely a win-win situation as Casey would say. Could I use this excess space to do that again? I made a call to my life long friend who does home daycare and she asked if I would be interested in night care. People working nights have been desperate for a safe reliable place to leave their kids while they bring in the dough. I did night care some when I did it before and I LOVED it! You get to charge more for the inconvenience, you basically feed the kids dinner, give them baths, story time, then off to bed. Only the babies were any real inconvenience but hey, the snuggling factor totally made up for that. Then my jaw dropped when she told me how much income I could potentially bring into the family with only 3 children at a time. Good Lord! We could have the house paid for in 5 years with what I made! So I worked out a plan of action, the initial start up costs, the pros and cons and was prepared to present the idea to J. Unfortunately before I could get out the first sentence he shot me down. He feels its time for me to get a "real" job. So using the excess space for a daycare is off the list (for now "wink").

Another idea was to set it up so my brother would have a place to stay when he comes in town to spend time with his kids but that will depend on another discussion with J.

Well brainstorming on what to do with all the extra space until we could fill it the way we want would have to go on hold because it was time to go get the inspections taken care of. My mother and step-dad went with me to meet with Natalie and the inspectors. The termite inspection went fine. The EMP/structural inspector found only minor problems and seemed impressed with the condition overall.

I don't know if this is usual with purchasing a home or not but for some reason with us it seems that we have periods of no news or relative calm then everything happens at once. While we were there for the inspections Natalie got a call from Mat informing her that the VA had done their appraisal the day before and had just let him know his findings. It was bad because we got a VA inspector that was of the nit picky sort but not as bad as we feared it could have been.

There were 10 items that he wants taken care of before he will sign off on it. A couple of them were already in the contract and in the process of being taken care of (way to go Natalie on catching them!). Four were just ridiculous, such as painting a steel exterior door to be more aesthetically pleasing (even though its in the back yard). Then there were the big ones that will involve the seller raising the 2 hot water heaters and enclosing the one in the back of the house and getting a licensed Heating and Air guy out to fix some loose wires on the rear heating unit.

Natalie was not pleased about how picky this guy was and was willing to fight over some of the ridiculous items but after discussing it with Mat we all agreed that it was better to just see if the sellers would be willing to do the things required by using the money in the contract set aside for closing costs and we would just bring more money to the table.

In this time I got a call from Mat about our home insurance quote. He felt we could do $200 a year cheaper than with AAA and gave me the name of the same guy Natalie had. I hadn't gotten a quote from him because he had been slow to return my call and I got impatient so we went with AAA. After talking to him we decided that this is definitely the way to go but don't want to make any changes til we hear if the seller will be willing to help us with the VA requirements. If they aren't then the whole thing is moot.

She set up a meeting with a guy that works with the inspector that inspected our house and met with him yesterday at the house to get a more realistic estimate of the cost of the repairs required to pass VA inspection. As usual the government grossly overestimated the cost. She also found that if we enclose the rear hot water heater then the laundry area behind it will be unusable due to lack of space to get the washer and dryer back there. She came up with the idea of using a "flameless" gas heater rather than enclosing the existing one. I honestly had never heard of such a thing but she discussed it with the inspector and he thought it was worth a try as it would keep the area open and usable and it would be much cheaper. So back at the office she called the VA guy and ran the idea by him. He agreed that he would pass it if the seller was willing to do that. So she called me and told me everything, I agreed, and she sent off the new cost estimate, list of items, and the idea to the sellers realtor.

So now we are in limbo again awaiting the sellers decision. This is the worst part of the whole experience. When I have tasks to do and phone calls to make I don't feel so useless. At least J. has his job and all the overtime he is working to cushion our pocketbook even further to take his mind off of it.