Saturday, May 31, 2008

Letter to the sellers

The inspection was completed, radon is present, the next step was to write to the sellers asking for them to give attention to certian items.

So remediate the radon; replace the non-functioning air conditioner & the non-functioning heating unit; replace the rotting garage door; and clean the chimney were the items that were sent to the sellers yesterday.

The ball is in their court - I await their course of action ... tic toc, tic toc, tic toc ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Radon Levels are high!

Mike the inspector called today after the 48 hours of testing the radon levels in the basement area. He was so surprised to find them well over 5.2 and some readings as high as 6.9! Safe levels are below 4.0. So now there needs to be some remediation to fix this problem. It's not really a surprise as up here on this ridge is solid rock. Should cost about $1200 bucks, give or take.

The negotiating list begins to grow, no a/c; no heat; radon in basement; garage door has dry rot and you can put a screw driver through a few of the panels. There's a bunch of bit 'n pieces, like a light switch cover, slow drain, a few small holes in the screens -nothing earth shattering. oh I almost forgot - the chimney, while it is a steel stack type, it hasn't been used or inspected in a couple of years. Other than that, it's a nice unit!

so the tale continues.....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Stage the Place

.... Staging is an interesting process! Christine arrived to give my place the once over. It's a bit of a personal process - she is going to go through every nook and cranny of your space, all the little dark messy places. Our goal for last night is to determine what furniture should stay (for staging) and what furniture can be moved initially.

So great news, she said, while I have a bit much in the furniture area, I'm pretty well organized! Phew - so the run down is as such. Bedroom - leave some clothes in the closet / shelves / drawers; maybe look for matching side table lamps; leave the bed and side tables - all else - out of here. Bath, fine, leave a few items in the cabinet & drawers. Office - all goes, and will pull items from the other rooms to make this a bit of a sitting room; need to get Joe's (neighbor) blow up twin bed, and paint the room a very very light blue. Living room, take out one of the bookshelves, take off the top of another one so that it can show that you can have a big TV in the room, and the rest of the room can be reshuffeled. Move some of my art work around. Need to purchase some type of different window treatment for the patio door. Patio - buy a hanging plant, leave the chairs, bird feeding stuff - out of here. Dining room - move out the plants, two chairs, - done. Kitchen - empty most, though leave enough stuff to allow the buyer to see what / how it is all stored. Actually that is the secret to the 'staging'.

I feel a bit better, settled, allowing for "the plan" to begin to come together. The move will be pretty tight. The office is the toughest part as I wish to move furniture, files, and equipment and getting it all up and running in a about a 24 hours.

Besides stuff to change around she gave me hints to prepare for the listing! This will help as my unit has been upgraded quite a bit. Christine's feelings - this place will show really well!

There is smoke - is something burning?

So it is the inspection time. Mike the inspector arrives early, and he and I begin the job. He briefs me of his routine of how he does his job so that I can follow along with my notebook in hand. Turn on all the water in the house - gushy out, yet there is a snorkley sound - bubbles in the line. Somewhat expected since the place has been unoccupied for more than one year. Turn on the heat - off to the basement to inspect the HVAC. While the rest of the inspection was fine, found a couple little items, not anything more than I expected from my look-see in the place. Back to the HVAC - interesting heating system - it uses the hot water to feed the heat exchanger to heat the unit. We are waiting, waiting, ..... no heat ?? Inspect the condenser outside - I refer to it as a rusted boat anchor. It "turns on" yet ...... no air conditioning ?? In some respects - this is a Yeah. Better find out now.

So we wait a bit more when I begin to smell this awful buring odor. Actually we see and smell the smoke coming out of all the registers. Mike runs back to the basement to be sure it is all turned off and is looking for fire. Lee calls the listing agent to tell her so we can determine to call the fire department. Oh my goodness - like I need drama now! I don't even own the place yet! The son-in-law of the seller will come over. This is Tom, one of my former neighbors and who was my vice president while I was president of Woodsedge until he moved out and the current first lietuenent at Fire Company #1. Small Town USA! LOL or is it that I just know a few folks in town.

Tom with one of the smaller fire trucks shows up! Just like old days. Not sure what the problem is with the heating, though he's going to get "his guy" Ugo to come over. Now I'm wondering.... is "his guy" "my guy". Great news - Yes it is, it's my buddy Ugo. He's got one of the best HVAC companies in the area, works on a hand shake, is absoultely concerned that you are happy with the work. When he installed my new HWH and HVAC units, he re-piped the HWH because he didn't like the other guys work, and made sure it was all "pretty". Absolutely one of the cleanest and honest contractors that I've ever worked with.

Tom says this will not be a deal-breaker - maybe not, maybe will? Guess time will tell.
Now it is the waiting game - radon test is running - needs 48 hours. Once that information is gathered then we (Lee and I) write a letter to inform the seller of Mike's findings and possibly negotiate again.

Right Now - no heat, no airconditioning ------ the smoke is on hold!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Consultants Coming

Selling and buying a residence has been raised to an art form. If you've taken in the various shows on HGTV, then you'll be more aware. Now I'll remind you that I was renting my place first, went out one day as a tenant and came back as the owner. It was easy, none of this stuff to deal with.

Agent Lee has been a my right hand lady in all of this. She arranged that later today, the Inspector is coming. I'll get to watch, ask a zillion questions, and find out all I'll need to do to manage this new place. Heating, air conditioning, plugs, appliances, lights, mold, radon, and the list goes on.

Later on, the Stager will be coming to look at my current place to see what I need to do to prepare it for selling. It will be a busy day.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moving In

.. It was so long ago, I do remember the night after work when my college roommate Laurie and I went to look at this place. The night was cold and snowy - the first part of January, I was 25, my birthday was a few days away. It was empty, only pull-down shades on windows, empty, good location to downtown Hartford and all highways, central air conditioning and great water pressure in the shower. The kitchen was new, upgraded since the conversion from apartments to condominiums in 1980. Located on the ground floor, we had a patio and yard and there was shared washers and dryers in our basement. No more treking off to the laundry mat on Monday nights. That sold both of us - we signed the rental contract on the spot. That night we went out to dinner, flipped for the bedroom with the walk-in closet, I won and still use it today. A few days later we moved in from separate apartments. It was an easy move, though it was snowing that day, neither of us owned much. We had our bedroom furniture, some kitchen stuff, a couple beach chairs, we had two TVs, one clock radio and I reunited us with Ma Hawk's old wing back chair that I rescued from College West. The rent was $500/month plus utilities. This was truly a deal - we even splurged and purchased cable TV service.

In the next couple of months, we would go furniture shopping. Being accounting majors and both now working in the field, she in private and me in public, we agreed it would be great that we would purchase pieces individually, so we would not need to anty up when we got married and had to move out. She purchased the sofa and coffee table; I purchased the bookcases and the dining room set with chairs. Of course we shopped for a few window treatments, additional kitchen appliances and gadgets. Before the end of tax season, the place was all set up. For both of us it was pretty much our first home since college days. We were looking forward to the spring, to have parties with our friends, like at College West, then swimming in the pool and playing tennis. This place was like living in a resort!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Seven Days

it's now Sunday - the last ten days have been a worl-wind of changes.

I went out looking (the 14th)- not a new to-do item on the weekend for me. I've been looking seriously since last summer. We, Agent Lee and I, pick six places to view and I added a last one when I was doing my homework the night before. The search put #7 in Wethersfield, yet the address was in Newington?

What are my criteria - ranch style; garage; 3 bedroom so it is big enough room to have my office, my bedroom and a guest/den; fireplace would be nice; a deck for some outside living; newer kitchen and bath (I could dream), no underground basement.

Okay with notebook in hand, lots of print outs that Agent Lee supplied, she drove, I navigated (call me garmin), around to view each property. The first. #1, was really great, fantastic , so much light, great first floor and a second floor! - not finished being built, though I needed to be age 55! -oops, not going to work. #2, kinda nice, not a great set-up for an office at home; #3 - wallpaper, wallpaper, and scented candles everywhere - hmmm? one really must wonder what they were hiding; #4 - they didn't leave the screen door unlocked - duh - move on; #5 cute, though I'm having trouble recalling it - too much vanilla; on to #6 - omg - while some dramatic architecture (my style) it was dirty, worn out, and needed too much work; then up 200 yards to another unit in the same community.

#7 - it is literally next door to a good friend of mine, Jules, and her family. We walk in - it's clean, phew, it's a townhome, walkout basement; living floor; and bedroom floor. Now I'll have to do stairs - not a big deal, I've lived for the most part in ranch style abodes, so back to excercise - just like at the West End Oxford St office I "lived" at for so many years. This unit is unoccupied, yet it was staged. For those real estate virgins - that means you have depersonalized & placed furniture around to allow the propective buyer to see themselves as the owner in the home. Remember, right now it is truly a buyers market. By now, I had talked with Jules the night before and she had been able to give me the skinny on the unit. So with the papers in hand - we began the tour.

Living Floor - Foyer nice with hardwood floors and two stories high; half bath - no personality; kitchen is clean - old - all original circa 1989; living room - fine with a fire place, yet I'm not sure about the wall of floor-to-ceiling mirrors - but the loud dark rose carpeting has got to go!; dining area - same thing with the carpeting, and the chandlier must go or at least get spray painted something other than bright brass; doors out to the balcony - nice view!

Basement Level - it's a walkout - large windows on one side; doors out to a little cement pad on the other; the ceiling and floors are completely finished and a lovely navy blue, almost commercial, carpeting; mechanicals are enclosed in a closet; a big closet the width of the unit for storage.

Bedroom Level - hallway full bath - no personality; 2nd bedroom - nice size, great closets, faces the street (private road) good windows; washer & dryer - omg - could there be no more quarters in my life?; master suite - a bedroom area attached to a large sitting area with a walk-in closet, so big that I could rent it out!, then the master balcony off the sitting area - nice!. Oh, the master bath - not a master LOL - and again, you guessed it, no personality.

It started to wear upon me - was this the unit I looked at back in '89 that I thought I'd like to buy, remember the real estate boom? Anyway, I went home, exhausted, and confused as to what went with each home we viewed. #1 and #7 are the contenders!

By Monday a.m. I emailed Lee, lets go see #7 again. We did. Back & forth, up and down, this time I took Stanley with me. He did a great job, assisted with the discussions in each room, unjudgemental, just the facts kinda guy. Time to make a decision - the unit is still listed in Wethersfield - I knew I needed to move quickly.

By Tuesday p.m. I had secured complete financing for the unit and I can close in about ten days!!!!! Times have changed. It took me five months to close on the Woodsedge unit years ago! As you can imagine, financing is always a bug-a-boo with me. One really great part of this financing - or my ability - I don't have to sell my unit before I buy this one! Thank you Nat Nat - I did learn well! Always save some of your money! I called a good ole friend of mine, Frank, from college days - he does real estate appraisals, and he's very successful! With his advice, thought about the price I'd offer and where it may appraise at - I slept on it.

Oh Lee, I want to make an offer!

It's Wednesday - we meet at 4pm - write up the offer and tic toc, tic toc, tic toc....... by 10pm - several back and forth phone calls - it is a done deal! Of course, I still need the inspection, the appraisal and the condo docs - all items that can mucky the works. ..... Count - it is seven days!

PS - for those of you that follow my 'dating' life - Stanley has agreed to move in with me!